Verdict Is In: Baltimore City is Hopeless

Joseph Alexander Ulrich killed in Midtown section of Baltimore City.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Joseph Alexander Ulrich, 40, moved from the Gettysburg, PA, area last April, to Baltimore City, to start a career as a photographer.

He was gunned down in the Midtown early Friday morning.  He died Sunday morning.

Another man, Lawrence Peterson, 56, was also shot and remains in critical condition, according to the Sun.

Police do not have any information on who the killer is or what the motive was. 

The Sun article states that the murder "shocked city leaders".  Oh, really?  And why would that be?

Maybe they are shocked because someone was killed in Midtown?  But that shouldn't shock them.  According to the Baltimore Sun data base on crime, there had been ten murders in the Central District so far this year, up until the death of Mr. Ulrich.  He made 11.     

Maybe they are shocked this time because Ulrich was a young white man whereas most of the victims of murder in Baltimore City are young black men?  

I can't speak for our "city leaders."  Maybe they can come forth and tell us exactly why they are shocked.          

I don't think "shocked" is the word to describe how I feel about the death of Mr. Ulrich.  I think disgusted, depressed, and hopeless, more accurately fit my mood.

I feel so sorry for the families of Mr. Ulrich and Mr.  Peterson.  Our city has failed them. 

I hope there are no candle light vigils for Mr. Ulrich.  We've seen them before.

I hope that no "city leader" makes a bold proclamation calling for reform.  We've heard them before.   

I know for a fact that the residents of Baltimore will not rise up and demand real change.  They never have in the past. 

It is too late for all of that now, anyway. 

Our city has failed. 

I am afraid we are hopeless. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sean Tully August 15, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Update: According to the Sun there was a candle light vigil this evening at the Washington Monument. I will not disparage what was said there by the mother of the murder victim and others. I will simple say, again, I think the time for vigils are long past. They don't change anything and they give a false sense of hope. Baltimore is hopeless as it is now. Here is the Sun article link: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bs-md-ci-mt-vernon-shooting-vigil-20120814,0,6357923.story
Dave August 15, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Sean, On what planet is a 40 year old considered a "young white man"?
Kathleen C. Ambrose August 15, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Sean, Baltimore is not hopeless, it's helpless. Individuals must take more responsibility as the City government and law enforcement agencies are unable or unwilling to fulfill their duties. I know, like many residents, we are paying high taxes for little return. Historically, it is the citizens who have and can influence change. I agree, stop the vigils, but start taking action.
Kathleen C. Ambrose August 15, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Dave, on my 55 years-old planet.
George L. Peters Jr. August 15, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Dave August 15, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Kathleen, 55 is not young, nor is 40. The point that Sean was trying to make is that we in Baltimore don't seem to care when young black men (any reasonable person considers that to be around 18 - 25yrs. old) are killed, but we get all fired up when the death involves a white person (especially those attending places like Johns Hopkins. That is a hypocrisy that Baltimore must confront. Unfortunately this instance doesn't fit the young black death vs. young white death scenario. If black youths in Baltimore make it beyond age 30, they usually fair pretty well.
Baltimore Matt August 15, 2012 at 03:11 PM
The police often pick up violent criminals but it doesn't help that they are put right back out on the street by the court system. It's the courts that regularly allows for violent offenders to go free with nothing but probation or a suspended sentence. Judges in each county are only given some many slots in the prisons. That is why you may get more time for committing a misdemeanor in Western MD or the Eastern Shore than what some receive for felonies in Baltimore. Furthermore, cases are often rescheduled and reschedule by defense lawyers until they are thrown out of court or the criminal is given only a slap on the wrist.
William Bull August 15, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I think what Sean was saying is that there are shootings every week in the poorer, mostly African American neighborhoods, but its the shooting of lighter skinned folks in the "better" neighborhoods that garners most of the media attention. That's America folks. Doesn't make it right, but it is what it is. As well, we can hold all the damn vigils and make all the speeches we want, but the fact remains that as long as America maintains it's love affair with firearms, events such as this, as well as movie theater massacres will continue to happen. "Tougher gun laws!", we always cry out after these events, but the truth is, guns are here to stay, and as long as that's the case, guns will continue to fall into the hands of criminals and the mentally unbalanced. Gun laws will not save lives. Criminals can and will find a gun if they want to. It's hard not to feel hopeless, and perhaps the only hope is to limit the manufacturing of the damn things in the first place. The NRA and other gun lobbies have a deep hold in this country and they pull out the constitution at the mere suggestion that access to firearms needs to be limited, and fighting that battle does feel hopeless.
Kathleen C. Ambrose August 15, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Sorry, Dave, I concentrated on "young" as opposed to "white man" in my reply,. However, if that was the point Sean was trying to make, I'd rather hear it from Sean.
Kathleen C. Ambrose August 15, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Again, if that was Sean's point, I wanna hear from Sean. I do not live in a "lighter skinned ...better" neighborhood and I try hard through this blog and my own to promote diversity. However, if my cousin from North Carolina visits and get mugged/raped/murdered in my community, that will, unfortunately, garner media attention because we are almost inured to the everyday violence that occurs here. I feel helpless, not hopeless, about getting justice in the City. My post was simply a plea for responsibility on the civic level. The Second Amendment allows the right to bear arms; it does not give leeway to commit a felony. Once again, it's up to the individual to choose how to use that constitutional power.
Sean Tully August 15, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Dave, "young" maybe not the absolutely correct word, but the victim was not old. Middle-age? Maybe. 40 is still pretty young.
Sean Tully August 15, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Kathleen, the reason Baltimore is hopeless, in my opinion, is because people will not take responsibility for their government. I would agree that if the citizens completely sweep the current "leaders" out of office and put in new, realistic, tough, leaders, there might be hope. But they won't, thus, in my view, we are hopeless.
Sean Tully August 15, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Age is relative. John Kennedy was 43 when he was elected President of the United States. They referred to him as "the young man at the top". A 40 year old baseball player is considered old. When Mick Jagger turned 40, he was considered an old rock star. Now he is 69, and when you see photos of him at 40, he looks pretty young. My point is that Ulrich was young enough to come to Baltimore to start a career as a photographer and live in a fairly young and "hip" area of the city. But, yes, if I had the chance to edit this blog entry, I'd probably not focus on his age so much. And, yes, Dave's point about race and murder is valid, although I don't try to answer for the city "leaders" as to why they were so shocked. My point is that murders happen all the time in the Central District. Why be shocked now?
Sean Tully August 15, 2012 at 05:10 PM
My main point wasn't so much on the race of the Mr. Ulrich or the race of the other victims of murder in the Central District. I was just considering why all of the sudden our "leaders" were "shocked" (according to the Sun article). In the end, I think I state that I can't answer for our "leaders". Hopefully, the point I did make was that it is a little late to be shocked when murders happend all the time in the city and the Central District.
Dave August 15, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Sean, After reading your comment about age being relative, I'd have to say I completely agree.
Sean Tully August 15, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Thanks, George. Personally, I wish that crowd would have marched on City Hall and demaned that Mayor Rawlings-Blake come out and hear just how angry they were. But, again, I have nothing to say about the actual vigil or what was said there. The family and friends of the shooting victims are very hurt, I am sure. I feel very bad for them. The death of Mr. Ulrich is such a waste, in my view. So sad.
Sean Tully August 15, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Thanks Dave.
Kathleen C. Ambrose August 15, 2012 at 07:27 PM
And thank you Sean for clarifying your post. Not only age, but interpretation, also is relative. The Sun couldn't use "lackadaisical civil servants" or "chagrined" in place of "leaders" and "shocked" as this would not impact most of their readership. (My choice of "chagrined" is because, as I stated earlier, Baltimore is inured to this type of violence, not only in the Central district, but citywide. I know I'm not "shocked" when I learn of this type of crime, and I doubt our "leaders" are, either.)
Sean Tully August 19, 2012 at 03:45 PM
According to the Sunday Sun, Al Jazeera English is airing a documentary on Baltimore, called "Baltimore: Anatomy of an American City" this week. It will be available for viewing by some 260 million people worldwide (but not in the Baltimore area, although it will be on Al Jazeera English's Youtube channel in a week or so). The show is how decimated the "other" Baltimore is. They make my point about the city being hopeless much better than I do when they state: "When you walk through neighborhoods like this," Al Jazeera correspondent Sebastian Walker says, picking his way down a narrow street of weeds, garbage and rowhouses at the end of the documentary, "it's hard not to feel that the legacy of the war these communities have been living through is so bad that rhetoric or anything short of radical change simply won't solve the problem." http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/tv/z-on-tv-blog/bs-ae-zontv-aljazeera-20120817,0,7300918.story


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