CVS and Sandtown

Will CVS Rebuild Their Looted Store? – The Daily Beast.

It would be nice if CVS rebuilt a the store in Baltimore that was trashed by rioters earlier this month. It would be a fine gesture on the part of a large corporation that it was not holding the entire neighborhood responsible for the behavior of miscreants.

On the other hand, we should not blame them if they decide not to do so. If anything has become clear in the last few weeks, it is that the depiction of the city of Baltimore in the long-running HBO series the wire may be dark, but it seems Pollyannish in comparison to the reality.

This is not about the inexcusable behavior of the rioters. It is not about the hard, penetrating questions that need to be asked about the Baltimore cops and systemic brutality of practices like “rough rides.” It is not about the dysfunction that seems to permeate city government.

It is about all of those things put together.

I am not suggesting that CVS sit back and await the gentrification of Sandtown before it ventures back in. What it should do, if it really wants to make a difference, is say “we want to go back into Sandtown bigger than ever. But we are not going to do it until this city starts taking care of the problems that the residents themselves have been complaining about for years.”

Building a pharmacy in the heart of a blighted neighborhood is, possibly, a good thing. Building a pharmacy while pursuing a coherent approach to removing the blight is an unquestionable public good.

Book of the Week: Rise of the Warrior Cop

Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces
Radley Balko 

PublicAffairs; July 2013;
400pp Hardcover.

Given the events in Ferguson, it is clear that the time has come for us all to understand how our Boys in Blue are being turned into stormtroopers.

Balko is not one of those reporters who can be readily dismissed as a left-wing cop-baiter. His research has been widely praised, and he started his career at the libertarian Cato Institute. If anything, he is more right than left.

But that should not be the point. The problem is that supporting law and order does not mean giving the cops a blank check, any more than supporting business means giving the Fortune 500 or Wall Street unfettered reign over the nation.

Balko makes the case that we have done the former, and it is time to change course before it is too late. The events in Ferguson only make his point more timely, more poignant, and more urgent.