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For Hogan, Baltimore is little more than a laugh | READER COMMENTARY

Police officers investigate the shooting scene in Southwest Baltimore The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. October 6, 2020
Police officers investigate the shooting scene in Southwest Baltimore The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. October 6, 2020 (Justin Fenton/Baltimore Sun)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan continues to act in a manner unbefitting a leader. Last week, he made it known that instead of voting for a legitimate contender for president in this year’s heated contest, he spent his vote on someone who is deceased. The action drew its fair share of ire, but his most recent statement during a WBAL interview should receive even more negative attention.

When asked about what he can do to help curb the violent crime in Baltimore including calling in reinforcements from the Maryland State Police or the National Guard — both viable alternatives that should be explored — he made an insensitive, off-the-cuff joke about running for mayor of the city and taking care of things himself (“Maryland Gov. Hogan: To fix crime, maybe ‘I’ll just run for mayor of Baltimore,'” Oct. 27).

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I am not arguing in any way that Baltimore has had a strong leader for decades. No one in his or her right mind would. The city has witnessed a mayor desert the city while it was burning instead of standing side-by-side with its citizens. It has seen several criminals run the city, lining their pockets with illegally obtained money and gift cards while the streets were lined with blood. It has seen a mayor in way over his head, absolutely clueless of what the city needs.

For the governor to make the joke that he should just run for mayor and fix the city himself, however, is crass and distasteful. His joke takes place as the homicide rate in Baltimore continues to be of epidemic proportions with fatality rates by bullet astronomically higher than those set by COVID-19. It takes place as young men and women succumb to extreme poverty and hopelessness, willing to kill others for a very insubstantial return.

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And Mr. Hogan’s joke comes less than a week after at least three high-school-aged children were shot to death, one behind the wheel of his car.

Death is not funny. Homicide and brutality is not a joke. Lack of hope and despair is not a laughing matter.

Before Governor Hogan considers his next political move, he should reconsider the life (and death) of those who cannot laugh their way out of a dangerous situation. He should consider how young adults like Ethan Ellerbe can’t laugh anymore because of a fatal gunshot wound (“9 shot, 1 killed in shootings across Baltimore on Thursday, police say,” Oct. 23).

Maybe Mr. Hogan should stop being snarky and actually consider ways to help bring an end to the danger that has become Baltimore. Then, maybe then, I will once again concern myself with what he says.

Tim Fazenbaker, Sparrows Point

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