Last night, although we live in Virginia, I happened to notice a commercial inviting visitors to the National Aquarium, located in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area. Now, if you have never been to the Inner Harbor, it is a very interesting tourist destination. Once upon a time, it featured an aquarium, a science museum, a novel place called the Power Plant with all kinds of exhibits, lots of places to eat and an unending supply of crabs cooked about any old way you'd like.
The overall setting on the water in the harbor was really great, especially on a summer's day. Camden Yards is nearby, and we loved to go to baseball games there. If it sounded like a great place to spend a whole day, well, it was. My family went up to the Inner Harbor a lot when our kids were younger. You'd never get through all that was there to see, but we pretty much always went to the aquarium every trip up there.
So it was with a bit of wistfulness that my best girl and I watched the commercial last night. When it was over, we looked at each other and shook our heads, thinking the same thing -- "No way in heck would we go back there now." We've been married a long time, so we think the same things a lot.
Why, you might ask, would it be so obvious that we would not go back?
It's very simple. We would not feel safe in a city where the police force is uncomfortable protecting the people and doing their jobs, because their mayor has told them to.
We've been down the whole Freddie Gray thing more times that I can recall, but now that the weather is warm, and thoughts of visiting the Inner Harbor or Camden Yards again arise, we have to quell them immediately. We just fear for our safety in a way we would not have in recent years. If anything were to happen to us, we simply do not trust that the police would be willing to act decisively against those who threatened our safety.
And so we turn to the city's current mayor, one Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (referred to in our household as "Mayor Hyphen"; it's less vocal effort). Mayor Hyphen is dramatically and memorably responsible for ordering the police force of the city to stand down during the recent riots after the Gray incident. As a direct result of her orders, buildings were burned and looted, people were injured and the police, who would then have five of their own arrested and charged with various offenses up to and including murder, stopped policing. The crime rate since has soared.
I'm sure Mayor Hyphen is not terribly sad that the cops aren't out there arresting people any more. After all, the more crime, the more that people get hurt and buildings get vandalized, the more that she can say how much more government is needed to restore order. Liberals do that, dontcha know.
But really, Mayor Hyphen, what's more important? If my ordinary, typical American family, within striking distance, has now crossed off the Aquarium and the whole Inner Harbor from our list of day trips, how many others have? I'm sure she doesn't really care about us, per se, she already has an election next year that she's going to have some trouble with.
I just don't think it is a good thing for the city, if tourism takes a dive because people don't feel safe going there. The National Aquarium can advertise its brains out, but it isn't moving. It's still in Baltimore, and its patrons still have only the Baltimore Police Department to protect them, and they ain't showin' up, thanks to the mayor.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is going to have one heck of a time getting reelected if her opponent -- and word is that a former mayor, very popular, is going to run again -- can point to disastrous loss in tourism revenue. I doubt that all those crab houses in the Inner Harbor will be big fans of Mayor Hyphen either, if they're losing business ... or the fishermen who supply them ... or the staff that gets let go because the volume can't support them. Oh, yes, Mayor Hyphen, you're going to be really popular if you don't figure a way to get the cops back to being cops.
Otherwise, Mrs. Mayor, the most probable hyphenated adjective associated with your administration and its legacy will be this:
Copyright 2015 by Robert Sutton
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