Five Baltimore children under the age of 17 have been shot over the past week, the Baltimore Sun has reported.
A 10-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy, a 15-year-old boy and two 17-year-old boys are among the city’s latest gun violence victims and Mayor Brandon Scott is vowing to hold city agencies accountable for providing better resources for Baltimore’s youth.
In a statement last week, Mayor Scott said he was “deeply frustrated by the amount of young people who have been victims of violence in our city, especially in recent days.”
“We cannot accept this,” Scott said at a news conference Friday. “We have to understand that these are children, no matter what was said or what was done. They’re children, and children have to be treated differently than adults, especially when you’re taking about the life or shooting or harming a young person.”
“We have seen a 10-year-old shot in the chest, a 12-year-old shot in the arm, and a 17-year-old shot in a public intersection,” Scott continued. “There is nothing harder than talking to a parent whose child has become a victim of violence.”
Scott is also calling a meeting with Baltimore police leadership “to identify special initiatives targeted at quelling the increase in shootings we have recently seen.”
Fourth grader Kaelin Washington is suffering a punctured lung, fractured rib and emotional trauma after walking to the store last weekend to buy a bag of chips.
“I don’t care what your silly, stupid little beef is. That 10-year-old baby had nothing to do with your beef,” Mayor Scott told news reporters.
A 15-year-old boy was pronounced dead at a local hospital last week after an argument escalated into gunshots.
“Imagine what the world would been like for my family if that had happened to me when I was 15 years old. And it could happen to anyone,” Scott said.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said at Friday’s news conference that the department is “working aggressively to identify who is responsible and bring them to justice for these senseless acts of violence. Detectives continue to follow investigative leads, some of them very promising.”
“All these incidents speak to the perpetuating culture of violence in our city to include the easy access of guns by criminal and their desire and willingness to use these guns to solve conflict,” he said.
City Council President Nick J. Mosby said the coronavirus pandemic is putting many children in harm’s way, since it has been keeping children and teens out of the classroom.
“This pandemic has displaced our children from the safety of their classrooms, it has upended their routines and stability, exacerbated behavioral health challenges and created even more economic distress for many families,” Mosby said in a statement Friday. “Layering that on top of Baltimore’s longstanding challenges means too many of our young people are in harm’s way and often in dangerous situations.”
Mayor Scott released a plan last month to increase safety within neighborhoods and expand opportunities for youth.
Scott wants to arrest the most violent offenders in the city and focus on the trauma that drives young men to choose gun violence.
Scott will focus on giving more resources to the housing, health, employment and addiction departments.
Scott’s plan will incorporate the Police Department into his public health strategy. Before the new plan, law enforcement agencies and public health departments worked separately and were often at odds. Scott is forcing the two sides to talk with each other. He is also resurrecting the Strategic Decision Support Centers, where cops, prosecutors, and state prosecutors work together to reduce violence.
Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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MS-13 operates as the heavy hand for drug cartels in the U.S.
Continuity Global Solutions CEO Jerry Torres shared his insight on the rise of cartels at the border with Sara Carter. According to his experience as a defense contractor and documentarian, immigrants aren’t leaving their countries because of the cartels, but for economic opportunity.
“I’ve met with our special operations forces,” Torres told Carter on the latest episode of The Sara Carter Show. “They have been training on the El Salvador and Special Operations folks, and I met with the deputy director of their special ops folks there. And they said there are no MS-13 here. There might be pockets of them here and there in small neighborhoods, but they pretty much wiped them out.”
Yet, the Biden administration considers the treat of MS-13 a pillar of their lax immigration policy. Instead, Torres says they’re not a threat at all. The locals actually get along fine despite the organized crime. “They’re not in fear of their country, they’re not in fear of the police, they’re not in fear of MS- 13. They just want a better life,” Torres said. “And the thing is, is if you take a look at what they’re claiming asylum, well, asylum is not for economic reasons.”
Meanwhile, the cartel has taken on a new role: human trafficking. Immigrants aren’t afraid of MS-13 because they turn to them for advice. Sara Carter has been reporting on this symbiotic relationship for years. “They’re basically rehearsing with a lot of the people, the migrants that are coming across, this is what you need to say, when you get across. This is what you need to ask for, or you won’t be able to stay,” Carter said. “So it’s kind of like a dress rehearsal of sorts. Before they come here, they are taught: what are our loopholes and what do you need to say.”
Under the Trump administration, the Department of Justice established a task force to fight the murders and other serious crimes committed by MS-13 members.
You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.
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