Something is rotten in Baltimore, not Denmark
The current discussion about Baltimore begs for commentary by someone who is not a racist and who has actually lived in Baltimore. As a white person who marched at some risk for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the South in the 1960s, only the most mentally challenged would call this commentator a racist. Moreover, in 1960-61, while a student at the US Army Counter-Intelligence School at Ft. Holabird, I lived in the Dundalk section of Baltimore.
That was 59 years ago. But, except for demographics, I do not think Baltimore has changed. Back then, as it is today, Baltimore was rife with crime, corruption, and rats.
While we students were advised to stay on or near Ft. Holabird, there were some surveillance and counter-surveillance exercises we had to run in downtown Baltimore, even along the infamous 400 Block of East Baltimore Street.
Before each exercise, our instructors warned us to avoid the corrupt Baltimore police. But, when you are trying to shadow faculty members playing the role of enemy agents, there was always the risk of some civilian thinking you look suspicious and calling the cops. In which case, we were to call the local FBI office and let them deal with the police.
Some of the Baltimore cops were linked to a ring of car thieves. The upside was the cops always knew where your car was being held. The downside was having to bribe the cops to get it back.
Because there was no on-base housing for students at Ft. Holabird, the Housing Office maintained a list of locals who rented basement or attic apartments to students. My landlord and landlady could have played the role of Archie and Edith Bunker. Virtually every male in Dundalk worked at Bethlehem Steelís Sparrows Point Steel Mill.
While the steel mill provided jobs, the mill also coated Dundalk with a fine mist of metal and coal soot. No matter how often you washed your car, by the next morning, you could write your name on the hood. But, back in those days, that was the only black you saw in Dundalk. The Democrat-controlled labor unions saw to it that Africa-Americans had no jobs in Dundalkís steel industry.
During the Civil War, Baltimore was a hotbed of support for the Confederate South. The train bearing Abraham Lincoln to Washington for his first inauguration had to pass through Baltimore. Mr. Allen Pinkerton insisted Lincolnís train would only transit Baltimore at night. Moreover, for stealth, the train was drawn quietly through Baltimore by a team of horses.
But now, the once pro-slavery Baltimore is no longer white. Yet crime and corruption remain. When touring Baltimore in 2015, the Socialist-Democrat, Senator Bernie Sanders, said the town was like a "third-world country." Comrade Bernie would know.
When Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh toured her city for a TV special in September, 2018, the eponymously named Pugh said, "Whoa, you can smell the dead rats."
When President Trump suggested Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings spend time cleaning up his Baltimore congressional district, some called Mr. Trump a racist. But race is not the issue here. Baltimore, under whites or blacks, has always been the way it is.
©2019. William Hamilton.
William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. Dr. Hamilton is the author of Formula for Failure in Vietnam: The Folly of Limited Warfare, McFarland Books, (2019). For pre-publication orders: Toll free: (800) 253-2187 "Central View," can also be seen at: www.central-view.com.