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HEARTBREAK OVER A HOMETOWN: Baltimore Riots from a Native Perspective

I was born in Baltimore. I was raised in and out of the state of Maryland, but Baltimore is home. My parents were born and raised here. My father grew up on streets that are now in decay and disrepair. My roots are in this city and I love it, warts and all. The events of the last few days make me angry and sad. They also make me glad my father is not with us to see what has happened over the last few days. He’d be heartbroken. And pissed.

My father was in law enforcement, and he started his career in the Baltimore City Police Department. He was always proud of serving the city he loved. He used to walk a beat on a street that now barely gets a police car through. That street was part of the events of the curfew stand off last night: Pennsylvania Avenue. When Dad was an officer there was plenty of crime, but there was more respect for the badge in general than there is today. Police of any era have never been perfect, but most are hardworking men and women who put their lives on the line daily. Thanklessly too.

I have been hearing a lot about how all of this violence is the fault of the police and white people. CNN’s Brooke Baldwin blamed it on veterans who are now police officers. Marc Lamont Hill said the violence was justified and he encouraged it to continue. Ridiculous. The rioters have now made any credibility the protesters had disappear into thin air.

Here’s the facts about the supposed underlying issue – Freddie Gray: the City Police has never denied responsibility; they suspended 6 police officers over the incident almost immediately; the investigation is still ongoing because contrary to TV, test results don’t take 3 minutes, they can sometimes take months; and lastly even the community agreed things have been handled appropriately up until outside agitators came in and started the violence.

Here’s the real problem in Baltimore. The city has been under Democrat control since 1967. State government has been under Democrat control for more than 30 of the last 40+ years. The legislature is overwhelmingly Democrat, despite the fact that most of the state is more conservative than not. The City Council is overwhelmingly black and all Democrat. The Mayor is black. The Chief of Police, and his predecessor, are and were black. More than 60% of the population of the city is black. The problems in the city aren’t caused by conservatives or white people. Neither are in any position of power in the city (conservative and white) or state (conservative). Governor Hogan has been able to make a few inroads to change the mess O’Malley left, but he is getting stymied at every turn by…DEMOCRATS!

I’m sick of being told that I am the problem. Am I poor? No. Am I black? Nope. Did I grow up in run down neighborhoods? No, and thank God for that. My parents worked hard to not stay poor and raised us in places with good schools and safe streets. I am not the root cause of the issues in the city. I am also not out of line in asking how does destroying what little you have, destroying what positive changes have been made in your community, because you are “enraged?” Businesses were slowly moving back into Baltimore. Now they’ve been burned and looted, and I’d be willing to bet they won’t come back or rebuild. Jobs gone. More decay. Great job guys!

If you’re angry at your circumstances, protest. If you don’t like how you neighborhood looks, do something to improve it. Burning it down solves nothing.

And I want to praise the Police Department in all of this. Why? Because with all of the violence, all the rocks, bottles and other things thrown at them, not one rioter died. Not. One. If someone was throwing things at me that could possibly kill me (and if a rock hits the head the right way it will kill), and I had a sidearm on my person, you better bet I’d pull it and if needed use it! The BCPD showed incredible restraint under fire.

I love Baltimore. I hope that the city can recover and the money that is sent from the State and Federal government to help rebuild actually goes to rebuilding and not the Mayor’s pet projects. I encourage everyone to come and visit us once things calm down. 90% of Baltimoreans are NOT the people you saw on TV… and are disgusted by what was done.

Marylanders are a friendly bunch. And Baltimoreans know how to welcome visitors to Charm City. Come, have some steamed crabs, visit Ft. McHenry, the Flag House, Shot Tower and all the other historic sites. Come watch the Orioles on their journey to FINALLY get to the World Series! Just come and help us show the world that we ARE the hometown I love.


Suzanne Olden

Suzanne Reisig Olden is a Catholic Christian, Conservative, married mother of two, who loves God, family and country in that order. She lives northwest of Baltimore, in Carroll County, Maryland. She graduated from Villa Julie College/Stevenson University with a BS in Paralegal Studies and works as a paralegal for a franchise company, specializing in franchise law and intellectual property. Originally from Baltimore, and after many moves, she came home to raise her son and daughter, now high school and college aged, in her home state. Suzanne also writes for The Firebreathing Conservative website ( and hopes you'll come visit there as well for even more discussion of conservative issues.