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Smith: Baltimore Needs More Than Arrests

A head rolled -- Commissioner Anthony Batts’ head. 

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake opened a "war room."

At another press conference, blame was affixed to the proverbial small group of bad guys.

Over the weekend, another six people were shot to death.

The latest half-dozen murders followed almost immediately upon the firing of Commissioner Batts.  Shootings, including fatal shootings, continue through the roof.

 Police have made some arrests in the last few days, but more fundamental action will probably be needed.

Everyone wonders what’s really going on. One conclusion: whatever it is it probably won’t succumb to the reflex action of leaders in trouble, rolling heads, opening war rooms and press conferences.

Something like a war room might be good. But will likely depend on who’s in the room.

Much of what is happening in the city may indicate a new dynamic on the streets – or in the ranks of the Baltimore police who have been suspected of backing off in the performance of their duty. Some claim the police are fearful of indictment after six of their colleagues were charged in the death of Freddie Gray in April.

Whatever the answer, it would appear obvious that Baltimore has an emergency. We need some new thinking – or some new old thinking. We may wonder what former Commission Fred Bealefeld might do under the circumstances. Or if not him someone else with expertise in these situations.

If we don‘t have a police slowdown, what do we have?  What may have changed in the world of the drug seller and user – and in the world of gun-delivered street justice?  Why are so many more people dying in Baltimore?

We need answers before can get solutions.