It was evident on Monday afternoon, evening and night that the Baltimore City Police were ordered to stand down. On Tuesday morning, there were numerous police experts commenting on news shows as to the embarrassment that they felt for their brothers and sisters in blue. Being pelted with rocks, bottles, bricks, paint cans and trash cans on fire and not being able to do anything. Allowing businesses to be looted and burned to the ground and not being able to do anything, but just stand there. The comments and actions, or lack thereof, from the leadership at Baltimore's City Hall will have ramifications for years to come. By allowing the lawlessness to occur and the Mayor actually saying things like "we gave those who wish to destroy the space to do it" and the Police Commissioner saying "people ask why we didn't act faster--these are 14, 15 and 16 year old kids who should know better but they are still kids, we had to take that into consideration." The businesses in Baltimore will pay dearly for those comments as well as the actions of those "kids" primarily with ridiculously high insurance premiums.
Even those businesses that were not affected will see their premiums rise significantly. Someone will have to pay for those astronomical claims that the insurers will have to pay to those businesses affected by the riots or those that simply has their business interrupted due to safety concerns, closures or curfews. Every time there is a report of a hurricane, home owners in hurricane prone areas receive a premium hike in their wind, hail and flood insurance almost instantaneously. I exaggerate, but not by much. These businesses will be severely impacted in so many ways: decisions to rebuild / reopen; can I afford to stay in business; do I relocate to a safer section of the city; will the police and City Hall have my back the next time; will tourism and conventions dry up for the next several years; the questions are endless.
I am not one to openly criticize another executive unless I have walked in their shoes. I have never dealt with riots, thank God. I have learned that although you can't prepare for every possible situation, you have to be as well prepared as you possibly can; that didn't seem to be the case on Monday. One would have thought that after Ferguson, Missouri, every big city would have gone to school on what happened there and had a plan to address rioting, looting, lawlessness, etc. I have also learned that under such circumstances you need to be heavily scripted and well prepared when dealing with the media; that too didn't seem to be the case in Baltimore. I have admired Mayor Rawlings- Blake from a far since she won her last election with 86% of the vote. The last week was, if anything, a great learning experience for the leaders of Baltimore. Hopefully, all will go to school on what happened and Baltimore will be a much better city as a result.