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Fraser Smith's Essay: September 20, 2012
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September 20, 2012
The shooting death of the scientist and musician Peter Marvit in a quiet Baltimore neighborhood leaves the city in mourning – and looking over its collective shoulder. WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith comments in his weekly essay.
With his friends and fellow musicians, Peter Marvit sang “Carol of the Angels” and left for home overlooking Herring Run Park.
The 51-year-old scientist, musician and father didn’t make it. He was shot and killed steps from his front door. Police say an attempted robbery may have been underway.
Once again, the violence and death we hear about becomes graphic, concrete and dramatic. We know these things are part of life in Baltimore, but many of us are removed from it. Until we are not.
Then we can think about the toll. Too late, we meet a man like Peter Marvit, who worked with young people, hoping to impart his love of music’s enriching and uplifting power.
We are left to mourn another kind of robbery – the robbery of talent, of involved kind-heartedness, of science and of commitment to the city.
Inevitably, we wonder if any of us are safe. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake says Sailabration, Artscape and the Grand Prix came off this summer with little if any disruptive violence. But a city minister says what many of us are thinking: crime and violence are still facts of life in the city.
Greater Baltimore Committee CEO, Donald Fry, concurred with the minister. Many city neighborhoods are safe, but “there are five where homicide is the third leading cause of death behind cancer and heart disease.”
City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young three people have been killed within three blocks of his house over the last three weeks. Two other shootings were reported on the night Peter Marvit was killed. People may move to Baltimore, as they mayor hopes, if they think the city and especially flashy events here are violence free. But Councilman Brandon Scott says the neighborhoods have to be crime free as well.
Newcomers won’t stay if their cars are broken into constantly – or if their neighbors can’t make it home alive after choral practice.
Commentaries from WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith are a regular Thursday feature on WYPR. You’re invited to respond at email@example.com.
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