Lawyers, Guns and Money

It’s a rare night in Baltimore that you’re not awakened by the familiar ringtone of the Citizen app, an online alert that notifies users of a shooting incident and geo-locates it based on the distance to your home. Sometimes you even hear the shots yourself. That’s usually followed relatively quickly either by the whirring overhead of a police helicopter – known locally as Foxtrot – or a symphony of sirens.

The daily Baltimore PD blotter on Facebook usually makes for repetitive, and depressing, reading:

The city has the nation’s second-highest gun-related death rate, according to the most recent CDC data, while 2021 was the seventh straight year where homicides as a result of gun violence surpassed 300.

The Baltimore Sun maintains an updated, searchable listing of homicides – by all sources – with an accompanying map.

  • Update May 14 2022: Just in the past few days…
Homewood Quaker Meeting, near the Johns Hopkins campus

While Baltimore is often cited as a worst-case example for the consequences of urban gun violence, the city is far from alone. Again, going by the latest available CDC data, a total of 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries across the US – by far the most on record for a single year.

This translates to 124 individuals on average dying from gun violence every day, while firearm homicides increased by 35% in 2020.

Tragically, it’s hard to be shocked any more by each successive mass shooting, with literally multiple incidents happening on most days.

But one more thing that has proved particularly shocking in the past couple of weeks has been episodes at two little league baseball games; the first in North Charleston SC, the other in Chicago.

This past weekend, another shooting incident took place at a middle school athletic field in Manassas, VA, where a game of flag football was under way.

It’s often been said, in one way or another, that if Sandy Hook wasn’t enough to shake the nation out of its love affair with guns, then nothing would. It looked for a while that the March For Our Lives movement in the wake of the Parkland tragedy might resonate with legislators, many of whom remain in the pockets of the gun lobby.

I guess not.

Christchurch Cathedral, Cincinnati

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Read the conversation with Baltimore Pastor Grey Maggiano:

“There were things I didn’t expect (about Baltimore) – like how incomplete the story The Wire is telling actually is…”