One Baltimorean’s Take on Life Among the Riots

Reader JF writes:

The past week has been nothing short of disappointing, outrageous, and nerve-wracking here in Baltimore. Since Saturday, the city has fallen into spasms of disarray and chaos not seen here since the riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. The initial hesitant and restrained approach of policing ordered by the mayor only emboldened rioters and criminals. After all, they were being given “space to destroy.” . . .

Despite living in Baltimore for nearly my entirely life, I have never been as frightened and on-edge as I was on Monday evening. I work barely five minutes from where the riots began at Mondawmin Mall. My drive home takes me from the center of the city through east Baltimore. Not only did I need to leave work, but my wife is essential personnel at a major downtown hospital and I needed to take her back in for her shift. That meant nearly two hours of driving in and out of a deteriorating situation with no legal means of defending myself or my wife with a firearm.

For those who don’t know, Maryland is one of the few may-issue states when it comes to wear and carry permits. Residents must show that they have “good and substantial” reason to carry a handgun. Generally, that “G&S” is being someone who transports large amounts of “business currency.” Even then, most of the issued permits are restricted in that it only works if you’re within the bounds of what your G&S. Getting a permit as a jeweler and then using your permit to get groceries on the weekend would be outside of those restrictions.

Long gun open carry is also forbidden within Baltimore. The irony is that these restrictions were passed into Maryland law as a result of the riots in 1968. It’s an entirely subjective infringement that puts lives at risk, especially during a time where violence is as widespread and sporadic as it is now in Baltimore.

For myself, I had to resort to my folding Kershaw that goes where I go and a baseball bat that I keep in the car. When police were being injured by bricks and bottles and carjackings have been on an uptick, these aren’t the kind of items one wants to rely on (I’ve since added some other legal-to-carry items to the mix). Though I had to completely change my route home to avoid some areas where violence was increasing, my drive that night didn’t result in either of us getting hurt.

My stomach and nerves were very, very upset due to the unknown of what would happen to my wife at work or myself at home. That feeling has subsided somewhat since then, but my alertness is depressingly high. No one should have to feel like they’re going to face a group of thugs without any shred of regard for the lives of others, or the law all of the time, but that’s been the unfortunate truth for many here. Some places of the city are safer than others, but if it can happen at Camden Yards, it can happen anywhere.

Since the arrival of the National Guard and law enforcement from outside the city, things have not escalated to where they were on Monday afternoon and into Tuesday morning. However, this city has gone from pangs of ‘Escape from NY’ to ‘The Wire’ (Snake vs Omar…that’d be a show!).

While the CNN chopper hovered over North and Penn with only media in attendance after the curfew last night, Baltimore still suffered from the normal background level of crime. We’ve had at least 10 people shot in the last 36 hours in different parts of the city; many of those being chest and head shots. Assaults and robberies persist. Places where the National Guard are posted, like City Hall, the World Trade Center, Camden Yards, etc., have been quiet. Funny how it works when there’s numerous well-armed and well-meaning individuals, huh?

We still have a long way to go with the looming release of more information on the Freddie Gray case that sparked all of this. What’s worse is having the feeling that this city — no this country — may never be the same after this shakes out. Anxieties are running high by everyone here and those who wish to be able to defend themselves and their family will continue to do so at a mammoth disadvantage…until they don’t.



  1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    I feel your pain. My kid and grandkids live in Owings mills. And I understand about being disarmed living near Chicago. And I’m an OFWG married to a beautiful blac k woman with 2 large IRC sons.I get it-hang in there.

    1. avatar SD3 says:

      And interestingly, Baltimore is burning, precisely due to the assumption that the offending officers are racist, white men. They’re the KKK, basically. Now we’re informed that three are white, and three are black. One, in fact, is a black woman.

      No justice, no peace, Cuz.

  2. avatar AllAmerican says:

    Honestly man, I would just carry anyway if I was in your situation. Obeying unjust law isn’t worth your life.

    1. avatar Tomyironmane says:

      And end up like Freddie Gray… who was arrested because he was found to be carrying a knife, as I recall… what a great choice. Pray for the good folks in Baltimore.

      1. avatar B says:

        He wasn’t arrested. He was an undercover police informant. It was an act to protect his cover.

        1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

          Cite your source?

        2. avatar Stinkeye says:

          Since he ended up dead with a broken neck, I’d say it was a very convincing act…

        3. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          Sagebrushracer, there was a Baltimore cop who stated that last night (in anonymity). He said that Gray put on an act in public but was an informant and helped the police solve a lot of crimes.

          A Baltimore cop also said (in anonymity) that they were directed down from the mayor through the police commissioner to let the demonstrators riot and loot. They were told not to arrest anyone.

    2. avatar Anonymous says:

      Yep; this.

      An AR pistol, or anything hi-cap and a few mags.

      You and your wife, in your car, being surrounded by 5+ thugs with no protection, the phrase ‘hey, at least I am a law-abiding citizen of Baltimore’, doesn’t really bring much to the table. It’s cliche, but I would rather take my chances with the ‘judged by 12 vs. carried by 6’.

      All I can think of is the Reginald Denny beating when the idea of driving through or near a riot is discussed.

      1. avatar Taylor TX says:

        +100 If i had to transport my family during something like that, legality would probably be near the bottom of the list.

      2. Extar 5.56. Lightest AR pistol available, good rep and fairly easy to obtain. Muzzle brake designed to mitigate recoil.

        Keltec PLR-16. Second lightest. More expensive, harder to get.

        If you value the size of the holes you make more than weight savings–
        Zavasta PAP m92 AK Pistol. 7.62×39. Easy to mod, sig brace or SBR. Draco/Mini/Micro fit into this catagory as well.

        All of these run in the $450-$550 range and take standard AR/AK magazines. Potent enough caliber for self defense, cheap enough for a trunk gun while retaining hi capacity.

    3. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Cops are kinda busy, I doubt they’ll be checking people in cars trying to escape.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        ^ This!

      2. Weren’t they told not to be concerned to people breaking the law to begin with?

        “Oh, wait, wait, wait… NOW we care.”

  3. avatar Mk10108 says:

    Man hug for you friend.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon (South Africa) says:

      Another from down here.

  4. avatar TTACer says:

    If those cops are not convicted it is probably going to be worse.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      The biggest problem is that we don’t all the facts of what happened, and may never know.

      1. avatar Mk10108 says:

        One FACT is six officer laid hands on Fred and at least one severed his neck. All ignored his pleas for help.

        1. avatar AllAmerican says:

          Where did this “FACT” come from? Cite please.

        2. avatar SD3 says:

          Tell me, what color hands were they, mk10108?

        3. avatar Mk10108 says:

          That would be the six officers charged, unless Fred arrested himself.

        4. avatar Mk10108 says:

          Color of hands? Privilege badge carrying Lilly White and Latte Brown.

        5. avatar neiowa says:

          Poor Freddy just be a hurrying from choir practice to his volunteer work at the soup kitchen, then off to get ready for his college finals. He was a good young man, making his way in the world to day (sing it).

          Shocking that any of this has happened such a wonderful place as the Peoples Republic of Maryland. Shocking. Who could have thought.

    2. avatar Grindstone says:

      The case was handled completely ham-handedly from the beginning. I think most know around here that I am very vocal about police accountability. That does not make me anti-cop. I don’t know if these guys will get an actual fair trial. But if the department had been transparent and forthright from the beginning, I don’t think things would’ve gotten this far. Not to mention whatever caused the injuries in the first place should never have happened.

      1. avatar Mk10108 says:

        If cops lived by leadership principles, showed empathy, had integrity and knew laws concerning legal sized knives, Fred wouldn’t be dead.

        1. avatar SD3 says:

          Similarly, if Fred weren’t a crack-dealing, thug, serial-rapist, he would also probably be alive today.

          But that’s also just speculation, isn’t it?

        2. avatar Mk10108 says:

          Assuming an officer is held to a higher standard of behavior than a serial rapist and a crack dealer, begs the question was he selling crack or raping when police approached him? If the answer is no, how does one crack their own spine cuffed and laying horizontally in a van? Cops don’t shoot people in the back either.

        3. avatar Grindstone says:

          SD3, would you mind explaining how any of that is related to the arrest and his subsequent injuries while in police custody? You do know what “custody” means, right?

        4. avatar B says:

          Its looking like Freddie was the neighborhood snitch. He put on an act when they put him in the van so the onlookers wouldn’t suspect, but actually went along voluntarily for his report to the cops. That’s why they didn’t strap him down in the van. He might have actually hurt himself making a scene in the van after they picked up the other guy to keep his cover.

    3. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

      Forgive the conspiracy theory, but I guarantee the cops will NOT be convicted. Notice how a white cop fatally shoots a black suspect, barely capable of lumbering away, in the back multiple times in South Carolina and not a peep from the activist (racist) left? Why? Because the cop was arrested, and will be tried and convicted. ‘No justice, no peace’. That’s the rallying cry. But if you don’t want peace you don’t chant that knowing that justice will be served.

      Now, notice the conniption over Michael Brown? Trayvon Martin? Why is it that they only riot when the facts prove that the killing was justified? I don’t know who is pulling the strings here, but I do know that they have no interest in amicable relations between the races. Trust me, there will be no convictions. The cops are innocent, otherwise they wouldn’t be rioting.

      1. avatar B says:

        Here’s a conspiracy theory: Freddie was a police informant who has helped the cops on many occasions. You don’t need probable cause if the guy is coming in voluntarily. He made a scene to protect his cover. The cops didn’t hurt him because you don’t hurt your informant. He likely hurt himself after they picked up the 2nd guy. Prosecutor just dumped on 6 cops without talking with the police because the Gray’s attorney is her biggest campaign donator and ran her transition campaign.

      2. avatar Grindstone says:

        That is some horribly tortured logic.

        1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

          It’s not logic, it’s fact. Every time they gin up racial animosity over a ‘white’ guy killing a ‘black’ guy it turns out that the killing was justified and every time it’s not justified they hush up about it.

        2. avatar Grindstone says:

          This is gonna be good…

      3. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Somebody is guilty of abuse of authority, there was no probable cause to question him, much less arrest him. Someone is also guilty of falsifying evidence, swearing in writing that he was carrying a switchblade when he was not. And all seem to agree that his fatal injury occurred in police custody, when he should not have BEEN in police custody, if nobody is convicted of anything after that, I might have to drive up there and demonstrate myself. If he’s a two-bit punk, then arrest and prosecute him for a crime. Picking him up off the street for no reason, and then killing him, is flat unacceptable.

        1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

          Of course Michael Brown had his hands up and said ‘Don’t shoot’ when he was gunned down by a racist cop, except he wasn’t. And Trayvon Martin was gunned down for the crime of drinking tea and eating skittles while black, except it was lean he was drinking when he attacked a Hispanic because he though he was gay. I’m not saying that it doesn’t look really bad, but we have a long reliable history of the media getting the facts wrong and ginning up racial animosity for no reason.

        2. avatar Hobbitmom says:

          Numerous lawyers have said the cops had probable cause for stopping him. The Baltimore law against knives would include a “spring assisted” knife, which is what he was supposedly carrying. I think a lot of the weapons laws in Baltimore are insane, and I have my doubts about U.S. probable cause laws in general, but they’re still the laws on the books and people can still be arrested according to them.

          With Michael Brown, I had little doubt early on that he was guilty; the way he fell, the spread of evidence cones, the layout of the crime scene, all made the TV witness version of things highly unlikely. I am less convinced of cop innocence this time around, but OTOH it’s obvious we aren’t hearing the whole story, and Baltimore politicians have just as ugly a history of corruption as Baltimore cops. We clearly don’t know as much as what the cops and politicians know (there seem to have been three prisoners in the van, for instance, which hasn’t been explicitly stated), so it could go either way I suppose. Still, ynless there’s major evidence somewhere that hasn’t been leaked, I don’t think the charges Attorney Marilyn Mosby proposed are going to stick.

          The fact that Mosby has said she think Darren Wilson should have been charged, along with her assurance that she’s seeking the kind of justice the Baltimore protestors are looking for (mob justice rather than blind justice), makes me think those charges are more political than actual.

          And, to be honest, Gov. William J. Le Petomane’s theory has occurred to me as well. While I sometimes imagine Obama and Eric Holder tearing at their hair every time one of “Obama’s sons” turns out to be a thug who was probably up to no good when killed, I can see the logic of deliberately using thugs for their “racial oppression” cases. Their problem is that when the cop is clearly in the wrong, most white people want that cop in jail every bit as much as black people do, so rallying and fussing over cases where the cop clearly did wrong would end up demonstrating that they’re not nearly so oppressed as they like to think.

          Choosing thugs to support their case means they’ll have very few white supporters joining in.

        3. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          the cops had probable cause for stopping him

          Yeah, like the cops could see a knife in his pocket from a few hundred feet away.

        4. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

          To be honest I haven’t even been paying that much attention to the details because I’m convinced the reporting is faulty. But I would add that Ms. Mosby did not turn this over to a grand jury, so there is no evidence that a jury of their peers would find a conviction likely. It also seems like they overcharged. Manslaughter would be much easier to get a conviction on.

    4. avatar ghost says:

      So no matter what, convicting them will be better?

  5. avatar Gunr says:

    Knowing that you probably cannot defend yourself, and attack is imminent, has got to rank right up there with laying on an operating table knowing that 90% of the folks who had your operation, didn’t make it.
    The only solution, MOVE! Any other action is too risky, or takes to long. I simply would not stay anywhere that infringes on my 2A rights that much!

  6. avatar ghost says:

    Meanwhile, here in Texas, all is quiet out here in the open. The burning of a socialist city state here would not bother many of us.

    1. avatar Tomyironmane says:

      I wish I could remember who said it and when, but if you give the enemy an hour to call his own, a place to call his own, he will use it to do things you do not wish him to do…. and he will work to expand that hour to cover the whole day, and that place to cover all places. You must not give him a place he can call safe, or a time where he can find peace. Your attitude, written into ROE and rammed down the throats of our armed forces, is the reason we lost so many good Americans in so many bad wars in the last 50 years.

      You don’t give a damn about Baltimore or anywhere else, you say, and it is an attitude I have heard from others. Many of them are from Texas, more the shame. Who’s gonna give a damn about you when Baltimore has burned down and the rest of the county lives under someone’s bootheel?

      1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

        Who’s gonna give a damn about you when Baltimore has burned down and the rest of the county lives under someone’s bootheel?
        It is apparent that the Liberal Elites do not care about the middle of the conservative country anyway and we are to be treated as the enemy. So be it.
        I still think and know that the course of the nation will sort of follow that of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged with the nation becoming balkanized into spheres of semi- city nation states as it economically and politically breaks down. The BosWash corridor and the Left Coast are in the vanguard of the Progressive Movement and will eventually collapse under their own bloated government weight. Venezuela is a good example of this.

      2. avatar Indiana Tom says:

        Your attitude, written into ROE and rammed down the throats of our armed forces, is the reason we lost so many good Americans in so many bad wars in the last 50 years.
        Maybe we should not have gotten into the lame wars we have gotten ourselves into the last 50 years in the first place.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          I think he said that.

        2. avatar Taylor TX says:

          Pretty sure thats why he called them “bad wars”…

      3. avatar ghost says:

        You over estimate the importance of Baltimore.

  7. avatar bolero says:

    In a small way she is starting to understand the basis of cultural Marxism and the negative effects of having a lot of “useful idiots” around to move it forward.

    1. avatar Mary Land says:

      We keep ours in Baltimore. Where do you keep yours?

      1. avatar bolero says:

        Denver and Boulder, front range in general.

      2. avatar T-DOG says:

        Seattle and Olympia…….

      3. avatar Taylor TX says:

        *Insert metropolitan area here*

        1. avatar IdahoPete says:

          Nailed it. Once the population in a city hits about 500,000, you can figure the effective intelligence of the residents and politicians by taking the IQ of the stupidest resident and dividing it by the total number of residents. Generally, the number approaches zero.

  8. avatar tmm says:

    That’s an excellent video embedded here.

    1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

      The soft bigotry of low expectations.

      1. avatar SD3 says:

        Indeed. Exactly how ‘low’ can expectations ‘go’?

    2. avatar doesky2 says:

      Ton of other 5 minute videos on all kind of topics life / politics/ religion / family.

      To be honest, she was one of the least engaging speakers that I’ve seen on Prager videos. That may be due to the fact that they are normally given my nationally known or experienced speakers.

      To show how the videos open up a new way of thinking here is a video with Prager himself talking about commandment #3 about “taking the Lords name in vain”. You think that’s pretty simple and you know what that means…..but here’s a reading that you’ve probably never heard before….

      1. avatar ThomasR says:

        A black woman that actually covers the high points of the racism of low expectations in less than five minutes.

        So to the victim industry, what’s the female version of an Uncle Tom? An Aunt Jemima?

  9. avatar Felix Mag says:

    If you can, move. City living ain’t worth it. East/West coast living either.

  10. avatar Seth says:

    You can continue to be a slave and whine about it, or you can move out of Maryland and live like a free man. It’s your choice.

    1. avatar SD3 says:

      +1. Vote with your feet.

  11. avatar Bottled Scotch says:

    I can somewhat empathise with you, in that I am unarmed. During the rioting in Brixton in the ’80s, my father was there visiting and he was terrified. He had to call someone to try and get him out.

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      I would then get armed and stockpile ammo, water and food. It just is going to get worse. I would also try to live in an area that might be more socially stable and at least a little bit less statist.

      1. avatar SD3 says:


  12. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    The Fred Gray incident highlights the beneficial science of Maryland Marxism and Baltimore Bolshevism. This is another product of the wonders of Scientific Soviet Socialism Statism
    You would think after awhile people would wise up that layers of the brown liquid goo of government is detrimental to society. Reminds me of oozing Brown 25 in the Groove Tube Movie.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “Reminds me of oozing Brown 25 in the Groove Tube Movie.”

      Excellent reference, and a fun movie.

  13. avatar Sprocket says:

    I think the old axiom “Don’t go stupid places, with stupid people, who do stupid things.” applies here. Pack your stuff and move someplace that isn’t filthy and crime ridden, where you’re free to exercise your rights.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Amen and dittos

  14. avatar Spartan 86 says:

    Definitely feel for you. To be deprived of a right via manipulative twist of corrupt politicians would make my blood boil.

    The mayor tells the Baltimore police to stand down?! There goes the “police are here to protect me, not an icky scary gun” mantra out the window.

    I live in MI. The legislature has made it even easier to get a shall issue CPL. Detroit’s police chief, a former gun control advocate, has stated publicly he 100% supports and has even encouraged firearm ownership because his guys cannot always get there in time. Publicly endorsed CPL’s as another layer of protection for Detroiters

    If you can, move. I grew up out East, will never move back, primary reason is destruction of my 2A rights by the likes of NJ, NY, MA and especially MD.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      I lived in a couple of those states in my life. I won’t move back under their current gun comtrol regimes. Don’t even like visiting.

      The crabs in Virginia are just as good as the crabs in Maryland, and at least you can get a CCW in VA.

    2. avatar FedUp says:

      But if you OC in Detroit, the best words of the chief will not protect you from unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution.

  15. avatar Aaron says:

    This story cannot be true. 10 people shot in 36 hours in a city that that doesn’t allow carrying? Inconceivable!

    With progressive rule for 60 years and strict gun comtrol, it is clearly impossible for baltimore to be anything other than a peaceful worker’s paradise!

    ok, enough comedy. dude, MOVE!

  16. avatar FedUp says:

    I would not carry a bat as a weapon, especially in a legal hellhole like MA/MD/CT/NY/RI, without also carrying a fielder’s mitt or a batting helmet and a baseball or two.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      Carry a toolbox or toolbag in your car with a few tools, including a long-handled box wrench. A long handled box wrench is a little expensive, but it is innocuous and makes a GREAT blunt force weapon. The other tools are to provide cover for the real weapon.

  17. avatar Davis Thompson says:

    I may be a minority voice here, and while I don’t condone police brutality in any way (if that is what happened) it is a bit ironic that Freddie Gray is being celebrated as some sort of hero. He was a drug dealer. The product he sells has caused more deaths than any city’s police force. He was a terrible man, with a long rap sheet who preyed on the addicted.

    Not saying he deserved it or it was okay for him to die, but the guy was no martyr.

    1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

      When you’re right you’re RIGHT…but 2nd degree murder is ridiculous.

  18. avatar Paul53 says:

    Just waiting for a white guy to get shot. Gonna get some other whites and riot at the local outlet mall. Loot Williams and Senoma, Victoria’s Secret, Dillard’s, maybe torch the food court?

  19. avatar JetJockChunk says:

    It has nothing to do with color/race. It is all about education, respect, decency, and family values. I wish we could get back to the core of all of these. IMHO, education and family values are the most important. If we could work on these issues I think we could see a positive trend. Unfortunately, it is a slow process. In today’s, results now society, people aren’t willing to see the change over the course of a generation.

  20. avatar bontai Joe says:

    If you are going to carry a baseball bat in your car, please add a ball and mitt. Some (not all) cops feel that a bat is an obvious weapon, and you can’t say that you have it in your car to play baseball if you have no ball or glove. Just trying to keep you guys out of trouble if possible. I carry a 6ft nylon tow strap with largish metal hooks on each end and I carry a 6 cell Maglite, because I am afraid of being stuck in the mud somewhere in the dark.

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