Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Smash-n-Grab

Here's my story:

I commute by train from my beloved Baltimore to the vile city 30 miles south of here. Its not the best set of circumstances, but its certainly better than driving for a whole host of reasons. Anyway, because I live in Hampden, and the train station is in the newly dubbed "cultural arts district," I must employ some mode of transport to get there. Busses are too unpredictable to ensure that I get to the train on time, so I used to ride my bike. It was great - a 10 minute bike ride along the almost empty Falls Road - until my bike was stolen in broad daylight from in front of the train station. Anyone who uses Penn station knows that there are usually several armed police officers and Amtrak police in front of the stations, but none of them noticed when somebody broke the U-Lock on my bike and rode away with it.

I have adjusted. I started to drive my faithful 10-year old beater of a Toyota truck to the station, parking in free spots on Calvert and Guilford near the station. I have to say that I wasn't particularly surprised to get off the train one day to find that one of my back windows was smashed in and that someone had nabbed my pocket knife and tried (unsuccessfully) to rip off my stereo, ruining my dashboard console in the process. I was more surprised when the next day, someone (maybe the same person) peeled off the plastic duct taped over my window in an effort, I guess, to steal whatever was left.

Anyway, all of this reinforced the lesson that 30 years in this city have already taught me: folks will steal anything that isn't nailed down in this town. So I was a bit surprised to hear that state's attorney Patricia Jessamy, someone who is presumably more familiar than most with the amount crime in B-more, got more than a thousand dollars worth of jewelry and personal papers stolen from her truck while attending an event at the Reginald Lewis Museum. If I can't manage to keep a Swiss army knife in my beat-up truck in broad daylight, how does Ms Jessamy expect to hold on to the untolled riches that she apparently keeps holed up in her fancy SUV?

Now, don't get me wrong, I sympathize. I have certainly grieved over the state of my truck (on which I no longer carry theft insurance) and the absence of my bike, and I'm sure that Ms Jessamy is feeling upset all of this. And I still think she should be mayor, but I just how she thought she wasn't asking for it.
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