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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


High-profile trial offers one more reason to be thankful

Post-Thanksgiving reflections on the good things in life probably didn’t include this reason to be glad you live in this area: at the start of Monday’s jury selection process for the Freddie Gray trial in Baltimore, the 75 people called as prospective jurors were asked if they ever had been the victim of a crime or ever had been charged with one.
Thirty-eight people – that’s one person more than half of these randomly selected people – stood up to say “yes,” that they were either victims, perpetrators or alleged perpetrators at some point in their lives.
As astonishing as that is, an even greater number of people stood up on the second day of the proceedings to declare the same thing. Again, these are people whose names were, metaphorically speaking, pulled from a hat.
Even though this hardly qualifies as scientific survey – and it’s possible that more than a few people lied to avoid jury duty for this volatile case – it still suggests that a substantial percentage of the city’s residents either have been accused of doing something unlawful or have had something unlawful done to them.
It may be that we lead sheltered lives down this way, where crime is, for the most part, a quieter and less confrontational affair that is more or less restricted to the fringes rather than spread in all directions.
Sure, there are break-ins, vandalism, plenty of drug-related activity, DWIs, a few robberies and, rarely, much worse things, but crime hardly ranks at or near the top of local society’s concerns and it certainly doesn’t involve 50 percent of the population.
Chances are, the victims in the Baltimore jury pool far outnumbered the offenders, but still, imagine how it would be to live in an area where half the people you know have been affected by crime. And then be happy that you live here and not there.