Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Firebombing in Charles Village

Well, it happened again. Five effing oxygen thieves tried to firebomb the home of a neighborhood activist. You'd think after what happened to the Dawson family, that wouldn't happen again. Put them away for life. Forever. In solitary. That's a line you don't cross. That's terrorism.

And anyone in Baltimore who feels like wagging their fingers at the mayor, or the cops, or the prosecutors, or the "culture," or feels like blaming anyone or anything, first ask yourself, "How am I part of this?" You live in Baltimore, too. What are you doing to tie the loose ends of civic life that the government and non-profits aren't able to get to?

This is why I actually like the BELIEVE campaign. It's essentially a conservative message: the government can't do everything for you, so GET INVOLVED. Become a cop, mentor a kid, turn in drug dealers anonymously, get treatment if you're a junkie.

You don't have to be Edna McAbier or Angela Dawson or Bea Gaddy or Philip Berrigan or Rebecca Yenawine to build a better city. We wouldn't need heroic community activists if everyone did just a little bit. It's not always easy. What small business owner wants to pay a living wage or take a chance on a former addict? What first time homeowner wants to live in a neighborhood with boardedups and robberies? Who wants to report drug dealers after seeing this terrorism? What mother wants to send her child to a school where her child is exposed to more arson than arithmetic?

None of these things is appealing if we do it on our own. But they'd be very easy to do if we were all doing it. How we get there I don't know. And I'm no saint--I don't have kids, and I bought a house in a fairly safe neighborhood (although I tried to find a house in Charles North but couldn't find one). But we all have to do something.

Please do something. Anything. No matter how small. It's not *what* everyone is doing, it's the fact that *everyone* is doing something. Sheer numbers.

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