Shots ring out every night
in this city gushing blood.
And in daylight, it’s the same,
awash in a crimson flood.
Sirens are our lullabies;
a crime scene, our parade.
We stand and stare at the dead,
then into a grave, they are laid.
None of it makes any sense,
Black men killing their own kind.
And I just make excuses
as though to reality, I am blind.
I blamed it all on poverty;
a lack of jobs and single moms.
And I threw in for good measure
that so many are bearing arms.
I thought I had all the answers.
Open a store or two in the hood
that catered to the poor,
but that won’t do us any good.
What is needed, I don’t know.
I throw my hands up in the air.
Our murder rate is off the charts.
And it would seem that we don’t care.
Another day, another murder.
And sometimes, more than one.
We’re just mowing each other down,
and hell, there ain’t nowhere to run.
More babies without fathers,
more mothers without their sons
because we have lost our minds,
when to solve our problems, we use guns.
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland
‘Did you hear that?’: Amid Baltimore’s surge in killings, a faint cry in a locked car
BALTIMORE — No one saw the baby.
She sat in a gold-hued car with tinted black windows as her 26-year-old father lay on the ground outside, dying.
All eyes were on him, another fallen body in a city increasingly defined by them.
In portions of Baltimore, the strobe of police cars is as much a part of the landscape as boarded-up homes. But the pace of the killings this year has been stunning as the city struggles to recover from rioting in 2015. As of Friday, 124 people had been slain, including five on a recent day, making Baltimore’s homicide rate one of the highest in the country. It is more than triple Washington’s rate and higher than the homicide rates in New Orleans and Chicago, two places that have become national symbols of gun violence.
I came to this city, not with expectations of having everlasting fun, but with the hope that there was something I could do to help in a city that claimed my heart over a decade ago. And now, I am beyond frustrated. If I told you all that has happened to me since I’ve been here, you’d all wonder why I have not thrown myself into the nearest psych ward and wrapped my own ass in a wrap-around jacket. I have been carjacked, almost robbed at gun point on a city bus, my cousin was shot two months after arriving here and I am terrified to leave my own neighborhood. I am already preparing to leave this city. I have not seen anything like this. I guess when I was here before, I was young and fearless, but now that I am older and damn near completely incapacitated thanks to injuries, I look at things differently and I am absolutely horrified at what I see. This city is off the chain. I ask myself all the time, “What was I thinking?” And if you read the article, a statement by a former Baltimore planning director tells it all.
“People don’t realize it’s worse than Chicago,” said Otis Rolley, former Baltimore planning director and a onetime mayoral candidate. His 23-year-old nephew, Andrew Zachary, a former Marine, was the 15th person killed in the city this year. “This man was trained by the U.S. government and had the skills and ability to survive in a combat situation overseas but was unable to navigate the streets of Baltimore. And that is a scary, scary thing.”
There is no need to suit up and head to Iraq or Afghanistan to see some combat action, just come to Baltimore. You’ll get more ‘action’ than you bargained for, believe me! Baltimore is a warzone! Helicopters fly overhead, non-stop. Sirens are non-stop. It is not even safe to take public transit. It is not safe to drive. It is not safe to walk down the street. It is not safe to peep out your window. For the love of !!!!!