Looking at CNN this evening, you’d think every block of Baltimore was overrun with mobs of looters. Jen and I watched some of the initial coverage from a Pho restaurant while Finn picked up noodles with her fingers. Later, after we got her into bed, the tempo of the reporting picked up, and we sipped cardamom tea while the senior center burned on the east side of town–miles away from earlier footage. Anderson Cooper actually did a decent job of keeping some sense of balance up until 10PM, frequently reminding the audience of the expanded scope and scale of the reported incidents, showing a map of their locations. Then, at 10, Don Lemon came on and immediately declared the city was falling apart into chaos.
I lived in Baltimore for fourteen years. For eight years I lived less than a half mile away from the Rite Aid you saw burning this afternoon. I bought a house downtown and lived there for six good years. I love Baltimore. It’s a confounding, mysterious, friendly, enchanting little city clinging desperately to relevance and prosperity. It doesn’t deserve to tear itself apart again, especially the areas that need investment the most. Because Rite Aid isn’t going to rebuild that store anytime soon, and the people in that neighborhood need it more than it needs them.
I hope to God things settle back down quickly.