Hey! Look Over There!

On tape, a robbery and attempted shooting in Baltimore.

Baltimore is on the ropes. It is on track to achieve, if that’s the right word, 300 homicides by year’s end. The police commissioner has been punted. Five of the city’s schools have been labeled “persistently dangerous”.

So what does the Baltimore police department focus on? In a cross between crass legerdemain and a perversion of the “broken window” theory the Baltimore police have decided to focus on dog fighting.

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From the Baltimore Sun:

Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, the city health commissioner, and Frederick H. Bealefeld III, the acting police commissioner, are expected to announce the creation of a multi-agency dogfighting task force today. A police detective will investigate dogfight rings and will collect evidence against organizers, trainers, breeders and spectators. The effort could stem violence in the city and animal abuse, officials say.

“People who are destroying animals and engaging in this criminal conduct are … also associated with drug culture and drug dealing,” said Bealefeld, the former head of a police narcotics unit. “This is absolutely an easy integration into our gang enforcement efforts and our overall goal to reduce violent crime in the city.”

The press releases accompanying his arrest have made a point of emphasizing a connection, undocumented as far as I can tell, between dog fighting and illegal drugs and illegal guns. It may be true but I can make the same parallel stick to rappers and no one is organizing a task force to put them out of business.

This is nothing but cynical showboating. A celebrity, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, has been charged with dog fighting. The Baltimore police leadership, and I use that term advisedly, have glommed onto dog fighting as a device to convince a battered population that they are interested in doing something.

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