It is always tempting to ignore the bluster and bombast emanating from the vicinity of Patrick L. McDonough, the
But his latest bloviation demands attention — if only because ignoring it might suggest it was excusable (which it was not) or something other than blatant racism (which it was). To paraphrase
Delegate McDonough issued a press release this week entitled "Black Youth Mobs Terrorize Baltimore on Holidays" that invites reporters to attend a "press conference" on the subject at noon on Friday at WCBM, which broadcasts his show. In his one-page release, the delegate frets that the "image of Baltimore is suffering" and then fatuously suggests that Gov.Martin O'Malleydeclare the city's harbor area a "no travel zone."
Why is the race of those involved in criminal behavior pertinent? It isn't, of course. People are people. Criminals are criminals. One doesn't have to be of any particular race to break the law. Yet after Del. Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. challenged his "race-baiting" tactics during the last day of the special session, Mr. McDonough decried the criticism as "political correctness on steroids."
Sorry, but it isn't even steroid-free political correctness. Political correctness is when there's excess sensitivity to race, gender, ethnicity, etc. Race is simply irrelevant in this instance. That those involved in the St. Patrick's Dayincidents at the
It's also reinforced by the delegate's suggestion that no one should visit the Inner Harbor, one of the state's most popular tourist attractions. Would Mr. McDonough offer the same suggestion in the wake of crimes committed in his own legislative district? It's always easier to blindly hate people who are outside one's base of support.
Earlier this week, we chastised Baltimore officials for playing down the extent of the problems that took place over St. Patrick's Day. After reviewing several hours of dispatch tapes and talking to eyewitnesses, The Sun's Peter Hermann discovered the mob was far more unruly and the situation more difficult and threatening than police had let on. His reporting also documented how ill-prepared the city was to deal with the sudden appearance of hundreds of young people downtown on an unusually warm spring day.
But to the best of our knowledge, police never hid the race of those accused of any crime. It was simply irrelevant — the equivalent of mentioning whether they were wearing Nike or
Yet with his own attack, Mr. McDonough has single-handedly given city officials justification for withholding information from the public. After all, they now know there's an irresponsible politician itching to exaggerate the extent of the threat and give people the false impression that the Inner Harbor is especially unsafe — no matter that the facts (and falling city crime rate) don't support that view.
Known outside his district primarily for championing anti-immigrant legislation in Annapolis, Mr. McDonough may seem a mere buffoon to his colleagues, but his rants can't go unchallenged. That he might personally profit from outrageous behavior in the form of higher ratings on his radio show makes it all the more distasteful.