While America celebrated, Baltimore bled

22 people in Baltimore were shot over the long holiday weekend, bringing the total shot in Baltimore this year to 204. That is nearly equal to the total number shot in Baltimore over the whole year of 2014.

Three of the victims this weekend included a 4-year-old, a 6-year old and a 61-year-old woman in a wheelchair. They were shot after the assailant left a dice game angry, who then opened fire on an unsuspecting crowd.

In another situation, a 23-year-old woman was shot in the neck and a 20-year-old woman was shot in the arm. None of the shooters from this Labor Day weekend have been identified yet.

“It’s certainly something that is disappointing and frustrating. We need to see the community as outraged as we are that these trigger pullers are operating in anonymity.”– T.J. Smith, Baltimore Police Department spokesman.

Where’s the Community Outcry?

While the public is quick to protest and outrage against police misdeeds, there is not that same level of anger when these communities tear themselves apart. Since the ‘morale killer’ Freddie Gray’s death, Baltimore Police Department enrollment continues to decline. Enrollment decreased 6% in 2015 and another 6.8% over the first half of this 2016.

These communities need to realize that their best hope for security is their local police forces. Individuals need to report crimes when they see them, and in return our elected officials and representatives must take action to prevent the murdering of their constituents.

Congressmen Sarbanes, Ruppersberger, Cummings, and Senators Cardin and Mikulski (all D-Md.) were quick to call for a federal investigation into police brutality and misconduct in the Baltimore Police Department. However, they all continue to remain silent regarding the killings within the communities.

All charges against Baltimore Police officers for any wrongdoing relating to Freddy Gray’s death were subsequently dropped .

Community Change Must Come From Within

A similar bloodbath occurred in Chicago over the same time frame, leaving 13 dead and 52 wounded. In that case, the police department stressed that many of the victims were on a list of known criminals.

“Impoverished neighborhoods, people without hope do these kinds of things. You show me a man that doesn’t have hope, I’ll show you one that’s willing to pick up a gun and do anything with it. Those are the issues that’s driving this violence. CPD is doing its job.” – Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

While systemic change needs to come from within communities, security must be achieved through our law enforcement. Communities and elected officials need to start building trust between the police and the people they protect, not continue to deepen the divide. If we continue down the terrible path our cities are already traveling down, the number of senseless deaths will only increase.