A Disturbing Notion

The Sun ran a story today noting how Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was basically unprepared and way over her head during the Baltimore Riots last April. It should how the Mayor’s office and the Baltimore Police Department were in virtual disarray during the first few hours of the riots, and were completely unfamiliar with the idea that something like this could happen in Baltimore.

Of lesser note, but just as disturbing, is a response from City officials regarding calls to call in the National Guard. Many Baltimore residents had been contacting City Government pleading for the National Guard to be called out in order to put a stop to the violence before more people and businesses got hurt. But this was the thinking in City Hall:

In an interview with The Sun, Kevin Harris, a spokesman for the mayor, said Rawlings-Blake was trying to balance the need to call in the National Guard against the concerns of some citizens worried about children being harmed by soldiers.

“For every person who said ‘Bring in the National Guard,’ there were people saying ‘Don’t hurt those kids,'” Harris said. “She’s the mayor for all those people. She can’t pick and choose who she cares about.”

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The mayor “had concerns about calling in the National Guard,” Harris said. “The National Guard can’t even technically make arrests. ‘Is this the right solution for what we’re experiencing?’ They talked through the logistics of that.”

One of the reasons is took so long for Governor Hogan to activate the National Guard was that it too so long for Mayor Rawlings-Blake to ask him for additional assistance. And it sounds like one of the reasons was because Rawlings-Blake was concerned that National Guard soldiers might hurt people.

It’s hard to explain how disturbing that notion is. Does Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have such a low opinion of Marylanders who commit to serving in the National Guard that she thinks that soliders would be giddy to roll into Baltimore and bust heads? Was she so concerned with what the National Guard would do in Baltimore that she was willing to “give space to those who wished to destroy” to put off what, by the time that afternoon, was the inevitable?

While I can understand (to a point) the rational about why some parents would be concerned with a National Guard deployment, it’s absolutely mind-numbing to think that it took the Mayor longer than three seconds to dismiss those concerns outright. This wasn’t a situation where there was n ephemeral threat against the city, or this was a response to a slow moving incident. This was a clear situation where public safety was at risk, and we saw on live television the violence and consequences of playing the waiting game. Was the concerns of a few parents really worth the additional destruction and violence we saw on the 6 o’clock news?

It’s very clear that Stephanie Rawlings-Blake lacks the wherewithal to be Mayor of a lemonade stand, much less continue on as Mayor of Baltimore. The city desperately needs leadership that can make tough decisions and can act in the best interest of all Baltimoreans. The more we learn in the aftermath of the Baltimore Riots, the more we realize that her trial by fire was even more of a disaster than we first thought. She has to go.

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