me, Baltimore is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
The combination of 19th century architecture, a clarity and
color of light that seems more Tuscan than mid-Atlantic, and
its own unique brand of urban decay, make my heart beat faster
every time I visit. Behind the crumbling Victorian facades
of West and East Baltimore, there is a civil war happening
that is very different from the civil wars of Africa. In Baltimore
the enemy is within; many of the citizens try to resist the
temptations of the gangsta life: money and even a kind of
dark glamor, in exchange for selling one part soul and one
part crack or junk.
Homicide detectives, who I spent an intense 5 weeks with in
October 2000, do not think of the gangsta life as anything
but evil. It's not romantic or glamorous to them in the least.
It's greed pure and simple. Trying to turn the tide of a monolithic
addiction and murder rate haunts the men and women of the
Homicide unit. Among them there is alcoholism, broken familyism,
and the blackest humor I've ever witnessed. They’ve
seen it all, twice, as they often say. They also say that