News Van at Guilford & I83

After a long day at work, I drove home, choked down a snack, and then hopped on the bike to head down to McKeldin Square to meet up with folks at Occupy Baltimore. Man, there was a lot going on there tonight, and it was complicated, and after a couple of hours it was time to head home and do some thinking. A police helicopter flew overhead as I left, and an unmarked cop car flew up Calvert. I pedaled along, passing cop car after cop car, braking to let that one cop car take a left out of the gas station on Fallsway, and blinking away the blue lights flashing as I climbed up to Guilford and over the I83. This news van passed me–with the requisite three feet, I’m happy to say–and pulled up against the barricade to check out the scene too, and I swear somebody jumped over the railing to get a better look under the guiding spotlight of another police helicopter overhead. I continued up the hill, past the rows of cop cars at Guilford and North Avenue, under the blue lights warning me of warning cameras, past the Johns Hopkins security vans blocking traffic to exchange information, until locking up my bike outside the burrito place, next to a Baltimore City government vehicle–not a cop, but cop-like. Sometimes, because I’m privileged like that, the police state fades just a little bit into the background, but tonight it was everywhere, and none of it made me feel any safer. We’ve got to get a better imagination for building secure communities, in the broadest sense, and more cops and more prisons and more security with more guns? That’s not imagination, and it doesn’t work.

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