Last night I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and I kept seeing posts about this one girl who died earlier that day. Her face was familiar to me because she was “IG famous” and she was on my explore page every single day. She was super young from what I understood-early 20s- but was very well-known throughout the city. Of course I had so many questions about what happened, was it even true, how did she die. I kept scrolling and clicking until I found answers to my questions. She had been shot and killed near her home. It didn’t end there. That wasn’t even half of the horrific story.
When I see tragic stories like this one on social media I have learned to check the news as well to confirm and get more background. It’s sad that it is normal to see these kind of stories on our news daily. I searched on Baltimore’s Fox 45 news website and discovered that this wasn’t even the worst of it. There had been 8 shootings, back to back, in the East Baltimore neighborhood. Each of the shooting occurred within blocks and minutes of another. My jaw dropped with disbelief and disgust. Eight shooting, six deaths, a whole city torn. How could this be true? Why would anyone do this? Who would do something like this?
I love my city and where I come from. I will forever be grateful for the things my city has taught me and prepared me for throughout my life. The one thing that I hate about my city the most is the lack of support for one another. Baltimore is a city full of jealousy and greed. Everyone is competing with each other, but are so quick to support people who are not from here. I just don’t get it. It’s like everyone will support a rapper from New York but local rappers get bashed. It is always a competition of who has more money, who is living a better life, who is doing more for themselves. I hate that my city, year after year, can not seem to get away from this vendetta. There is no gain from this kind of mindset, only loss. The burden of that loss is carried by families and friends all across the city.
I’m not exactly sure what events took place to lead to these shootings, but I know it wasn’t just a coincidence. Of the six deaths, one story stood out to me the most. A 37 year-old woman, mother of eight, grandmother of two, shot and killed in her home, right in front of her kids. Six of children are under the age of 18. They will never unsee what happened to their mother. They will never understand why someone would want to do something like that. The woman had been living in the neighborhood for quite some time and often complained of vandalism and theft among the other crimes going on on. She wanted more for children, and not living in the crime scene was one of them. Minutes befor her death, she had police visit her home after a bike was stolen from one of her children. Not even 10 minutes pass before the police are being called to respond to a shooting. Masked gunman had approached her as she was still in the doorway of her home.
All of the other stories are similar. From what has been reported, none of the victims were involved in any illegal activities. It wasn’t a wrong place, wrong time situation either. It was simply that the victims were targeted for their role or lack of a role in whatever had been going on in the neighborhood. I can’t speak on something I know little about but this struck close to home for me.
Last summer, after news of the death of one of Baltimore’s greatest rappers, Lor Scoota, the city was deeply hurt. When you have so much support from this city it really is a blessing. It’s hard to come by that so many Baltimore natives support and uplift one of its own. I am a huge Scoota fan and when I heard of his death I honestly cried. I never met him in person or had a conversation with him, but I respected him and admired him for what he accomplished in his short-lived career. The entire city was affected by his death. He gave us all hope for better days to come. And it was because someone let greed and jealousy determine the fate of his life.
In 2015, Baltimore had the deadliest year in our history with 344 homicides. Two of them were my age and actually went to school with me when I was younger. Another of the homicides was my uncle. I’m no stranger to death but when it is in numbers like these, all in the same time period, it can be hard to deal with and even understand. Gun violence has been tearing our city apart and continues to get worse each year.
I just want to find a way to get the city off this track and onto a positive one. I work with the top employer in both the state and the city and my office works closely with many communities within Baltimore. Hopefully, we can find a way to influence the community to change. I don’t know where or how to start but something really has to be done. Please pray for my city, and if you are from here, be safe.
Until next time,