With humble apologies to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Maryland Del. Keiffer J. Mitchell, I have to say this: Del. Patrick L. McDonough is absolutely right.
A word or two about McDonough: He's already persona non grata with a lot of folks in Maryland, for four reasons. He's white, he's male, he's a Republican, and he's a hard case on the illegal-immigration issue. You know, one of those annoying Americans who believe our immigration policy should be made here, and not in Mexico.
So you can imagine the reaction when McDonough's office sent out a press release Wednesday headlined, "Black Youth Mobs Terrorize Baltimore on Holidays." In the body of the press release, McDonough called for Maryland State Police to assist Baltimore City police in patrolling the Inner Harbor on holidays, the better to control the swarms of teens -- most or all of them black -- that descended on downtown Baltimore this past St. Patrick's Day.
The video of the Arlington tourist being beaten, robbed and stripped nearly naked on a downtown Baltimore street fewer than five blocks from the Inner Harbor has already gone viral on the Internet. The tourist's attackers were all black.
But that wasn't the only violence that happened near the Inner Harbor that night. Hundreds of other teens, almost all black, came to the Inner Harbor. There were several fights and at least two stabbings.
Last week, Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Hermann reported that city police misled residents about the extent of the violence and the size of the crowds. Hermann had to practically twist the arms of a police department reluctant to release 911 tapes and reports about what exactly went on in the Inner Harbor the night of St. Patrick's Day.
After noticing that Baltimore cops weren't exactly forthcoming with information about what went on at the Inner Harbor this past St. Patrick's Day and witnessing, with his wife, a 100-teen fracas at a downtown Baltimore street corner, McDonough felt compelled to issue his press release.
That didn't go over with Mitchell, a black delegate who hails from a prominent Baltimore civil rights family. (His grandfather was Clarence Mitchell Jr., an NAACP civil rights icon whose name adorns the Circuit Court building not far from the Inner Harbor.)
McDonough was "race-baiting," Mitchell declared. Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, a Democrat from Montgomery County, couldn't resist the urge to throw in her two cents' worth on the controversy, either: "I'm not surprised at his inappropriate behavior," Gutierrez sniffed, adding that she'd "never send such a racially tinged statement released by a colleague," according to a story in the Baltimore Sun.
And would this story be complete without a comment from O'Malley? Here's what the governor said, in the same story from the Baltimore Sun that quoted Gutierrez: "Delegate McDonough should come and visit [Baltimore] sometime. He might enjoy it."
So McDonough brings up a serious public safety matter, and O'Malley responds with flippancy. Editors at the Baltimore Sun accused McDonough of racism, and if you didn't see that one coming from a couple of light-years off, boy, what kind of alternate universe have YOU been living in?
McDonough defended himself the old-fashioned way: with truth.
"We can say the Black Caucus and we can say the Black Ministerial Alliance, we can say a black scientist achieved this or that. But we can't talk about black youth mobs who are creating black victims."
Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.