Lie-In D.O.A.

On Sunday, 246 people were supposed to lie down in War Memorial Plaza to provide a visual representation of the people who have been murdered this year in Baltimore City. It was a noble idea and one that we were rooting for. Finally, a visual that would bring home what Baltimore's homicide statistics really mean in loss of life. Finally, people were getting together to show our leaders that we aren't OK with so many citizens' lives being taken.But rather than destroying the image of Baltimore as a city indifferent to its own blood- soaked streets, the rally illustrated it. Maybe 200 people showed up at War Memorial Plaza, significantly fewer than the number of homicide victims to date. No elected officials were present, though Mayor Sheila Dixon and City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake sent representatives who did not address the crowd. Even U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who goes to everything, just sent a representative. Where were the police commissioner, the City Council members? (Mayoral spokesman Anthony McCarthy says Dixon, for one, had a prior committment.)On Oct. 21 there was a rally in Philadelphia calling for men in the community to pledge to help keep their streets safer. The speakers included state representatives, members of Congress, and the city's mayor. According to estimates given by organizers to The Sun, between 8,500 and 10,000 people attended.We don't doubt the sincerity of the organizers of Sunday's event. And we certainly don't doubt the commitment and passion of those who showed up, many of whom had lost family members to homicideĀ—their memorials and words put a much-needed human face on the toll violence takes on families in this city. But it's almost shocking how few people attended and how little interest was shown by our city's leadership, considering the fact that Baltimore's murder rate is almost double Philadelphia's.And most disheartening of all, the event's organizers decided not to have the participants lie down because the grass was wet. Apparently, while people in Philadelphia pledge to patrol the streets themselves, Baltimoreans won't even get damp to stop the violence.Update: Stephanie Rawlings Blake's spokesman, Shaun Adamec, got in touch to note that the council president was on a plane returning from China during the lie-in, but that she helped organizers obtain permits and, as reported above, did send a representative.

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