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Update on situation in Baltimore Jewish community

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by chaim, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    Some of you participated in or read this thread:

    Well, here is an update of sorts-

    I have spoken to the friend I usually stay with, and while he doesn't like it, he will "allow" me to take one of my handguns with me when I stay with him for the sabbath.

    I won't say my decision about carry. Carry in MD is illegal and if I would carry I wouldn't announce online that I'm breaking the law. If I'm not carrying I don't want the chorus of "better judged by 12 than carried by 6" or "move" posts I'll get. I would say, I wish carry was possible here and I wouldn't need to make the choice.

    Things have definately gotten worse for the Jewish community in Upper Park Heights/Greenspring in Baltimore.

    In the past when there were "problems" a few people would talk about it, but most would ignore the situation (especially in Greenspring which is usually a pretty safe part of the community). Well, everyone is talking about it. Everywhere I went over this past holiday (Succos) everyone was talking about it. At a rabbi's dinner table we were talking about it. At a table in Greenspring people were talking about it. Synagogues are posting warnings. It is getting ugly, pretty much everyone knows someone now who has been a victim.

    Being robbed at gunpoint is now a mild situation.:eek: When people are being robbed at gunpoint it is usually on our holidays or the sabbath when we don't carry money and the criminals are now getting frustrated and beating people until they have to go to the hospital.

    There has been a rash of home robberies and outright home invasions of occupied homes.

    There have been beatings for being Jewish. One guy was surrounded by a crowd he thinks was at least 20-25 and was beaten by at least 5 of them. He ended up in a hospital and now needs over $3500 in dental work (he's luckly to not have brain damage or to have survived at all). This was just 2 weeks ago, and at a location I am often near. One old woman was actually attacked in broad daylight in the parking lot of the kosher supermarket and knocked unconcious.

    The way things are escalating quickly it is only a matter of time before people are killed.

    While robbery has been part of it, it is also clear we are being targeted as Jews. Things the attackers are saying suggests this, as well as the fact that our neighbors don't seem to be experiencing the same problems and money isn't always being taken.

    From the looks of it, I'm guessing gang activity or gang initiation, but we can't completely ignore the large "Nation of Islam" presence in nearby neighborhoods so it may be outright hate activity. Strangely (or maybe not) this doesn't seem to make the newspapers :banghead:

    Anyway, with all that's going on, I'd be bringing a gun with me even if the friend I stay with didn't want me to (and I do believe in honoring the wishes of the person who is providing you hospitality). I also think that for most people it may be getting close to where the danger of not carrying is greater than the danger of being caught carrying illegally. I do worry greatly, less for my own safety (whether I carry or not, my mindset is self-defense minded so situational awareness is high), but more for my friends who live there and many of whom have young families. I don't know how and when it will end, though at least one member of the "ring" has been arrested to date (news of that is on the bulletin boards of nearly every neighborhood synagogue).
  2. swampsniper

    swampsniper Well-Known Member

    Why stay there at all? There are countless cities and towns to choose from.
    The situation you describe is totally foreign to most of us, and totally disgusting. Take care.
  3. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    Oh, one tactical addition:

    I am definately a revolver guy, yet.....

    Home invasions? Escalation of degree and frequency of violence? One guy ending up in the middle of a mob of 20-25 and with 5 of them actively attacking him?

    I'd prefer to bring my AR and all 7 20 round mags. Next would be my Benelli Nova with 6 rounds of 12 ga loaded (one in the pipe, 5 in the mag), 5 rounds on the butt cuff, and 20 shells on an ammo belt I have for 12ga.

    However, I can bring one small handgun only. I don't think with what is happening in the neighborhood that I'll feel comfortable with my 5 shot .38spl Taurus 85CH or even my 6 shot .357mag S&W 65LS when I am in town.

    So, should I use the smaller (and thus more convenient) Taurus PT140 Milennium Pro (10+1 rounds of .40S&W isn't bad, and I will be buying some more mags) or should I go with the larger 1911 (when the current bug in it is fixed- 8+1 rounds of .45ACP plus extra mags is pretty nice) or should I forget about small and take 15+1 rounds of 9mm in my CZ 75B. I may buy something sooner than expected and get a Taurus PT911 just for this situation (noticably smaller than the 1911 or CZ, not that much bigger than the PT140 and holds 15+1 of 9mm) or even get a 24/7 asap (17+1 rounds of 9mm in a not so large package would be nice right now).

    I guess the smartest thing would be to stay in Columbia on the sabbath, but I don't live in walking distance from a synagogue (can't drive on the sabbath). I could start staying with people in the Silver Spring community, but I don't really know anyone there (and there is no way I can afford to move there with DC area rents). So I am pretty much stuck with staying with friends in Baltimore for the sabbath for now.

    Anyway, this is having me rethink my self-defense philosophy somewhat.

    I've been a revolver guy since I first started shooting. I love wheelguns.

    I have been a strong supporter of revolvers for defense. They are nearly 100% reliable, much more so than autos. However, reloads are a bit slower. I didn't worry about that as I always felt that with FBI stats showing most situations involving one attacker and fewer than 3 rounds so I felt comfortable having revolvers by my bed and with the idea of carrying revolvers when and where I can carry (i.e. when out of state).


    I think it is the mob attack that has me thinking. It may be rare, but it can and does happen. Maybe there is something to be said for being prepared for the worst. If we prepare for defensive gun use we are preparing, why not prepare for as much as we reasonably can?

    Should I abandon revolvers for defensive use? I think I'll always have the first gun to hand at home be a revolver- it is more reliable, it is a MOA I am quite comfortable with, and at home if I need more, then more can be available. But for hotels, when staying with a friend, or when carrying, when it isn't possible to have as many options available I'm leaning towards autos with the higher capacity and faster reloads.

    Just thinking out loud (or on the keyboard I guess)
  4. bogie

    bogie Well-Known Member

    Chaim, let me get this straight...

    You can't turn a key and press a gas pedal, but it's okay to ignite a primer? Just kidding, just kidding (I used to live near University City in St. Louis...).

    Sounds like a situation for a little "group therapy." Walk in groups. While you're at it, put a few of Oleg's posters up in the neighborhood. May gain some converts. Then again, the lowlifes might escalate. Sigh...

    Call the newspapers, televisions, etc... Tell them that your people remain willing and helpless victims, but that you don't have any bling on the sabbath, so wait until Monday....
  5. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    Well, Halacha (Jewish Law) values life above just about all else.

    I couldn't go target shooting on the sabbath, however in certain situations carrying a gun would be ok. Certainly, if someone breaks in and is threatening to do you harm you would be within Halacha to shoot him/her even if it is the sabbath. Using the car example, if someone needed to go to the emergency room I could jump in my car and drive them to the hospital on the sabbath (even though driving is usually totally banned).

    Not a bad idea. I don't actually live in the community so I'm not always "in the know" about everything. I'll have to find out if there have been any safety experts brought in to speak. If not I'll have to bring up the idea with a few rabbis I know.

    Even without carrying any kind of weapon there are things that can be done- walk in groups, situational awareness, unarmed combat, etc. Maybe people can even be convinced to carry pepper spray, knives, and whatever else as well. I do know quite a few gun owners in the community, and a few people (knowing I'm a shooter) who have been lukewarm about letting me take them to the range have suddenly become interested.

    One safety concession I've heard talked about (but no decision) is even though one usually can't carry money on the sabbath or on holidays, maybe people should carry a $20 bill so they have something to give and there is less chance the BG will be angered to violence. I think a few people have done this on their own. Not the best solution, but better than no defensive techniques and not having what the armed BG is looking for. Of course, this will only work for the attempted robberies and will do little to nothing for the hate based attacks.
  6. svtruth

    svtruth Well-Known Member


    I'm not Jewish, but with the history of the holocaust, it would seem to me every Jewish household would be well armed.
  7. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    Chaim, you have my sympathies - it's a tough situation to be caught between your religion's principles and the realities of the street. I agree with you that the Nation Of Islam presence in neighboring communities is likely to be behind a lot of the violence - I have all-too-close contact with this group through my prison work, and Louis Farrakhan's anti-Jewish propaganda is constant, vitriolic and scary!

    As for revolvers: remember that a high-capacity pistol has its place, but most people only use them to miss a lot! If you can put five or six accurate, effective, heavy-caliber rounds into the same number of assailants, it's very unlikely that the others (if any) will stand upon the order of their going... and as for rapid reloads, check out www.moonclips.com and have your "fighting" revolver(s) modified to use them. I've done this with a S&W 13 and 65 in .357 Magnum, and my 625's are, of course, already set up for moonclips. With practice, reloads are almost as fast as with a pistol.

    As for which pistol to carry, if you decide to go that way: I'm as comfortable with the .40 S&W (given decent loads, typically the police-issue 165gr. JHP's) as I am with the .45 ACP, so either one would work for me. I am NOT a fan of the 9mm. as a stopping round, even with today's more effective ammunition, but I know there are many who disagree with me. YMMV...
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    My feeling is that these punks are picking on you and the others because (1) you are Jewish, and (2) they expect you to be unarmed. If you confront them with a gun - almost any gun - I think they will go look for someone else to pick on, if for no other reason then they'll think you're some kind of law enforcement officer cuz' no one else can carry ...

    The best advice I can offer under the circumstances it that the Jewish Community as a whole should make a big stink! Document what's going on and head for the news media. Charge that the Baltimore authorities aren't protecting you because they don't care about Jews. (May not be true, but it will get their attention - the powers-that-be don't want to be hung with that kind of reputation.) Go to the Governor's office and ask for state intervention (you probably won't get it but it will make a splash in the national media). Demand better police protection! They can at least do a better job of keeping track of things on the Sabbath. I don't know if it's permitted, but can you folks carry cell-phones?

    As for home invasions ... That's what they make shotguns for.
  9. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    If you decide to go the revo route, and don't want to get your guns modified for moonclips, obtain _several_ safariland type speedloaders, especially since facing down a mob is a possibility.

    The cartridge release button faces the cylinder, so all you need to do is cram it in, and let it fall away. No additional push or twist motion is necessary, and with good technique and practice, it is for all practical purposes as fast as a mag swap.

    A few years ago, a reader of mine mentioned that Baltimore has one of the oldest and most sucessful _armed_ neighborhood watches in America, which was the result of a mixed community deciding that their common cause was reclamation of their streets. Perhaps community leaders ought to be looking into that.
  10. Andrew Rothman

    Andrew Rothman Well-Known Member

    Fuff is right. It's time to make a loud, continuous stink.

    While you're stinking, apply for that CCW. If your target status is not sufficient to get you one, it's time to make another loud stink.

    If you were in my town, I think I could round up a posse of not-quite-as-observant Jews like me who wouldn't have ANY problem carrying in your neighborhood on Shabbat.
  11. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    I've thought about that. However, I never have bought the 3" K-frame that I want to be customizable. Right now I'd probably have it done on my S&W 65LS if I did it, but being my first .357mag I don't really want anything done that isn't reversable. At the minimum, would it be possible to use it traditionally after the conversion was done, or would it only work with moonclips? One thing that looks interesting, if you use TK custom to do the work instead of one of the other companies on their site, they use titanium cylinders. I assume that means you keep your old cylinder so it could be converted back, and I assume it would cut the weight an ounce or two making it a little lighter for (out of state) carry. Of course, that would probably also add a lot to the cost (one of the more local companies charges $75 for the conversion, I'd guess the titanium cylinders would cost closer to the price of the revolver itself). Last, how much quicker than speedloaders are the moonclips in reality (i.e. is it worth the expense)?

    Going that way would get embarrassing quite fast. The Baltimore Jewish community and the Baltimore Police have worked together on a neighborhood watch program for years that has become a nationwide model for how to do it right.
  12. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    I could try, but in MD in all likelihood the only result will be the waste of a hundred some bucks. In MD the application specifically states that self defense is not a valid reason to seek a permit. You either need to own a business that does a lot of cash deposits, or a business that deals in a commodity highly valued on the street (i.e. a jewelry store or gun store). A security guard can get one limited to while he/she is working. Otherwise, the only other option is if you have documented and direct threats to your life- you have to be able to show that you have personally been repeatedly attacked, or you have to have had death threats with witnesses. Even with the attacks or documented death threats, it is still a crap shoot (the only near automatic permits are for guards and for certain business owners).

    Things are bad enough that the only thing (if any) that keeps me from carrying on shabbos at this point is MD law not Jewish law (I'm sure the crime rate is bad enough that carry on shabbos would be OK by halacha).
  13. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    Yes, you can use the revolver with standard loads - there's a rim left around the cylinder to catch the cartridge heads. The moonclips simply speed up the loading/unloading process. Your 65LS is a perfect candidate for the job.

    As for the cylinder, AFAIK the conversion is done on your own cylinder. That's the way it's been on all mine, anyway. If you want to do a spare cylinder, I'm sure that can be arranged, but I suspect you'd have to buy the spare cylinder and crane, and have them fitted to your gun.
  14. cowboy77845

    cowboy77845 Active Member

    Call one of the "Talk Shows" like Rush Limbaugh or Neal Boortz or Bill O'Reilly. Unload all over Baltimore and MD but be factual and objective. With all the negative media attention about New Orleans, you should get some reponse. Talk to the JDL folks. Get them involved. Hope all goes well.
  15. bosshoff

    bosshoff Well-Known Member

    Just remember, when attacked by a pack of dogs, always shoot the lead dog first.
  16. Live Free Or Die

    Live Free Or Die Well-Known Member

    If the violence you're describing exists when "doing it right," I'd really hate to see the results of doing it wrong. :confused:
  17. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    Ummm...that doesn't square with the increasing attacks. Something isn't working....
  18. Oleg Volk

    Oleg Volk Moderator Emeritus

    I agree on the recommendation for Safari speedloaders.

    In MN, a couple of people I know used to provide sniper overwatch for the synagogue events, after arson attacks. Nothing ever happened on their watch...mainly because such events are still rare.

    I see no solution but to carry sidearms. Many at the local synagogue do. If the local authorities are also the enemy, which they are in your case, then moving and denying them the tax revenue would be good. Let them rule the remaining barbarians.
  19. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Considering the situation you've described, I think their "nationwide model" isn't up to what it should be. Maybe a few quite words with the right people on the government side saying that if things didn't get better you "might" have to go to the media might get some results. Doing something is better then doing nothing.

    Never forget ... Never again.
  20. scout26

    scout26 Well-Known Member


    Not sure what the gun/carry laws are in MD, but here in Illinois CCW is illegal. However there is a way to and "technically" remain legal. This theory has not been tested in courts. It will also require a switch from wheelguns to semi-automatics.


    I can neither confirm nor deny that I have used this when I worked in some of the more seedier areas of Chicago.

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