Jermaine Schofield was gunned down in Baltimore on Sunday, one of three murder victims in the city that day. Today, Schofield’s family held a vigil for him.
During the vigil, a gunman fired at attendees. Five were hit. Thankfully, all are expected to survive.
These events are not an aberration. Baltimore has descended into chaos since, in the aftermath of Freddy Gray’s death, the city failed to back its police force.
Murders surged a staggering 63 percent in 2015, with 344 people killed. This year hasn’t been quite as bad so far, but the murder rate remains abnormally high.
Meanwhile, Baltimore’s police force is shrinking dramatically. According to Blake Neff of the Daily Caller, at the beginning of 2015, Baltimore had 2,805 police officers. By the end of the year, the force was down to 2,634 officers, a drop of 6.1 percent. In June of this year, there were only 2,445 officers in the force, a decline of 6.8 percent since January.
The shrinkage in the size of the police force seems clearly to be related to the events that followed Freddy Gray’s death — the riots during which Baltimore’s mayor, having talked about making space for “those who wish to destroy”, had the police stand down; the prosecution of six officers on charges that appear to be without merit; the wave of anti-police sentiment that politicians like prosecutor Marilyn Mosby have fueled and legitimized.
According to Gene Ryan, president of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police, these events were, as one would expect, “morale killers” for Baltimore cops. Many officers, he adds, are defecting to the police departments of nearby cities, including Washington, D.C.
Ryan says that lack of personnel has forced many specialty agents to fulfill routine roles like responding to emergency calls. Instead of trying to prevent crime, these agents are simply mopping up. Ryan also believes that officers are “walking on eggshells,” which also means less proactive policing.
Simply put, there is less policing, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Not surprisingly, the murder rate has spiked.
Jermaine Schofield was black. The overwhelming majority of murder victims in Baltimore are black. If black lives matter to Black Lives Matter, it should not have demonized Baltimore’s police force and pressured city officials to do the same, thereby unleashing deadly violence in predominantly black neighborhoods.
It’s difficult not to conclude that Black Lives Matter is about something other than black lives. If, after what has happened in Baltimore and elsewhere, Black Lives Matter persists in its anti-cop campaign, it will be impossible to avoid this conclusion.