I have to write a little bit about my hometown, Baltimore, Maryland.
Ok, I am actually from a town twenty minutes south of Baltimore. Once my addiction started, my husband and I lived in Baltimore. For those familiar, the Edmoson Village area, and Franklintown area. Yes, the areas from “The Wire”. It is violent, and full of drugs, but there are great things about Baltimore.
For people not familiar with the are, the town that I grew up in is about equal distances from Baltimore and Washington D.C. If you know anything about the two towns, you know that while they are not too far apart geographically, they are worlds apart. Baltimore people tend to hate D.C., and vise versa. They are rivals. I never copped in D.C. My husband has always been apart of a D.C. Union, but when he would get off work, we got our drugs in Baltimore! not D.C., even when we didn’t live in Baltimore.
People tend to want to reference the high murder rate. In 2012, we had 218 murders. That doesn’t sound too bad, until you realize that we have just over 620,000 people. It is said that if we had the population of New York, we would have 4,000 murders a year. Yes, I have had friends murdered.
Yes, there are open air drug markets all over the place. They put the 24/7 police cameras all over the place, but the dealers just move. I moved to Tennessee for like a week, and drove to Knoxville to cop because my hubby and I were so ill, and I was shocked at how scared everyone was. Here I was this blonde haired, white chick from Maryland going up to people in the projects asking for dope. Disappointingly they really only had crack. If you know about being dope sick, you know that if you are deathly sick for dope, you REALLY don’t want crack. We left and drove the 8 hour trip back to Baltimore and got well at 3 am.
I had never been so happy to cross the Baltimore County/ Baltimore City line! I was so shocked at how scared everyone was in Knoxville. I was so happy to be back where they stand on the corner, everywhere.
Recently, I read an article written by a woman in Federal Hill (a richer area of the city) about how she was sick of the crime. It spang from a woman who was killed in that neighborhood by a teenager. The boy had burglarized her home previously. It was tragic, but her response was, and I quote that “we should lock THEM up for trespassing and open containers, so THEY will take that shit back to where THEY come from”. Basically, as long as the murders stay out of the rich, white areas, it is fine. She didn’t care about the rash of gang killing that happened daily over the summer. They didn’t happen in her part of town.
First of all, I have been in Baltimore City Central Booking, or as call it, Hell on Earth. The cells that say single cell will have 15 or more people in them. You can’t move. it is inhumane. Back in 2010, they tried the “lock up everyone” tactic. It didn’t work. The courts have too many cases as it is. All the trespassing, open container, needle, etc. charges never even made it to court because they couldn’t. The extremely crooked ass cops already lie and put charges on people. (You only hear about cooked cops in Baltimore on the news weekly.) You start trying to throw people in jail for petty shit, bookings has to be taken over by the Feds again because of it being so inhumane. But you know, out of sight, out of mind.
Secondly, there may be violence, but there is community like I have never seen. One time my husband was waiting for me to pick him up in a really rich part of Montgomery County (Rockville for those familiar) and his phone was dead. He had to ask like 10 people before someone would let him use their phone. This was 2012, and everyone is saying that they don’t have a phone. Right. By contrast, in the ghetto-ist parts of Baltimore, you might have to ask two people, and honestly that’s only because the first person may have really not had a phone. I have been about to run out of gas, and had no problem getting a little money to get home. People who know what it is like to be down on their luck will help out others if they can. I used to walk around alone or with my children, and the majority of people were always so nice.
Summertime in the city is always so fun. Everyone is outside on their steps or front porch drinking, smoking weed, listening to music, playing dice, or whatever. There is always something to do. I loved it.
Baltimore is a lot like a recovering addict, you can’t just look at the bad. You can’t judge the city just on the murders, the corrupt cops, or the prison corruption scandal. (In case you hadn’t heard 30 people were indicted, both inmates and COs, for bringing in drugs and cell phones. The Black Guerilla Family was running the jails. A head man in the gang even impregnated three different COs. While he was an inmate!) if you do, you are dismissing a great city. We have more good things to offer than The Ravens, Orioles, and crabs. If you give it a chance, you might love it as much as I do.