A two week stay in downtown Baltimore

Vincent Chiarello writes:

A few thoughts and impressions about the Baltimore Intifada.

It is approximately a fifty mile trip from the Washington, D.C. suburbs to Baltimore, a journey that I rarely undertake, for Baltimore has little or no interest to me. Visiting Baltimore’s Aquarium, Camden Yards or “Little Italy” is not worth the effort, especially in the evening. Both cities have been in deep decline for decades, and long before the spiked article was to appear in The Baltimore Sun, anyone with any sense—or brains—would stay away from Baltimore, for the threat to physical security, especially that of white people, is palpably present. That is equally true of Washington, but no one in The (Black) Washington Post (my term) would ever write so honest an article as did Ron Smith. Sometimes, however, circumstances override such reluctance.

Last November, my wife had spinal surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, located in the heart of Baltimore. Her surgery and rehab required a stay of nearly two weeks, so I decided to use the hotels/motels nearby, that is until I was advised by the people at Hopkins that going to and from the hospital at night might be a tad risky. Remember, this advice was coming from people who receive requests about the housing of patients from all over the world, as is often the case, near the Hopkins’ hospital. It should also be mentioned that Hopkins keeps a noticeably large security force around the perimeter of their medical center, and, as we read, for very good reasons.

I, too, grew up in the streets of Brooklyn in the 1940s and 50s, but Baltimore’s inner city bears no resemblance to any urban environment of that time. There is a presence of danger that hovers over these streets and that one senses—and avoids. Although I grew up in a low-income housing project, I cannot imagine the lives of people who live here. I read once that sections of Baltimore have the highest rate of child illegitimacy in the U.S. That phenomenon is noticeable when one drives through the streets ringing the hospital in the morning. But it is at night when this sense of lurking danger is far more evident; you can taste it.

One evening toward the end of my wife’s stay I drove back to our home to prepare for her return. Either I was distracted or made an error in driving, but I was lost, and to get to the highway required passing through “inner city” Baltimore. [LA comments: echoes of Sherman McCoy in The Bonfire of the Vanities.] It was nearly dark, but at corner after corner, block after block, all I saw were groups of black young men staring at all cars that passed by. I cannot believe that anyone with common sense would come within miles of these streets. It is, truly, a very scary experience.

Several weeks ago, The (Black) Washington Post ran a short article which reported that many of the businesses in “the Inner Harbor” were declaring bankruptcy. I told my wife why this was so: people—both black and white—are frightened to go to these areas because of the omnipresent threat to their safety, and this was long before the Smith article. The destruction of the family, a predictable consequence of liberal policies, is largely to blame for what is happening here, and until that is changed, these cities, and others, will sink further into the abyss.

Mr. Chiarello adds:
I overlooked one less known aspect of the dangerous current physical security climate in Baltimore in general, and the Johns Hopkins Hospital area in particular: its potential impact on the recruitment of interns and medical residents. That problem is not new: a decade or so ago, the NYU Medical School had to construct “safe” residences for their medical and nursing staffs, for the school’s executives feared that the then hazardous personal safety conditions would greatly diminish their ability to attract the “best and the brightest” medical and nursing graduates.

Johns Hopkins Hospital is, simply, among the very best in the world. To have used their medical and nursing staffs, as both my wife and I have, is, unfailingly, to undergo what one doctor called “the Hopkins experience.” I cannot, however, believe that the dangers that are now implicit in a trip to Baltimore will do anything but dissuade some people from going there, which is very unfortunate. In the end, if the situation remains the same or deteriorates even further, I foresee that Hopkins will be compelled to build, figuratively, a moat around its perimeter to resist the incursions of the barbarians.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 07, 2009 04:40 PM | Send

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