2. Three hundred murders, and counting. Baltimore had a population of 736,000 in 1990. There were 353 murders in 1993, a rate of 48 per 100,000. That is a horrific homicide rate, on par with the worst years of the worst cities in the United States ever. This year Baltimore is worse. With a population of 623,000 today, the 336 murders already recorded as of Dec. 21 puts the city at 53.9 per 100,000. St. Louis, Milwaukee, and other municipalities are seeing a similar spike, but Baltimore's 2015 homicide rate is on par with some of the most dangerous municipalities in Brazil. It exceeds the murder rate in Cape Town, South Africa, which, outside of officially recognized war zones, is considered the most violent city on that continent. The carnage is especially devastating in African-American communities. As of mid-December at least 290 of those murdered—86 percent of the total—were African-American men. Approximately 30 percent of Baltimoreans are African-American men. This means that, within the black male population of Baltimore City, the murder rate is more than 150 per 100,000—nearly three times the city's murder rate as a whole. The homicide rate in the U.S. nationally is 5 per 100,000. That means that a Baltimorean is 10 times more likely to be killed than the average American, and a black male in Baltimore City is 30 times more likely to be murdered than the average American. If black Baltimore were its own city, its rate of killings would put it fifth in the world, behind only San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Caracas, Venezuela; Acapulco, Mexico; and João Pessola, Brazil. Why is this happening? Is it because the police "took a knee" after the Freddie Gray protests and subsequent riot? Is it because criminals are emboldened by charges against police officers in Gray's murder? Or is there some other reason, perhaps revolving around unseen changes in the immense drug trade that serves as one of the city's largest industries by both revenue and employment? Whatever the reason, Baltimore has regained its ignominious distinction as one of America's most violent cities, and while that creates thousands of personal tragedies citywide, it also hurts everyone in the region.