It was one of those Sunday nights when the crowd at Bourbon Street empties onto the streets in downtown Baltimore. Now this doesn't happen every week, but it's hard to miss it when they do. Civil order goes to the wind for the better part of half an hour as former club goers flow into the street. Invariably the BCPD arrives to shuffle people along, and eventually all goes back to normal. Tonight there was nothing less than civil disorder as a group of 10 or so kids threw punches at each other in the middle of Guilford Ave, sending streams of people running up and down the street, and police officers running with flashlights drawn.
For us residents down here in this part of town, it's somewhat entertaining watching the disorder from a few stories above the street. On the other hand, something's got to give here. It is intolerable that this scene plays out on a Sunday night as many downtown residents are trying to live their normal peaceful lives, or go to bed. Traffic comes to a stand still as hundreds of younger people fan out in clumps down the streets, crossing in the middle of traffic, and causing a public nuisance.
Should the clubs be liable for this? Some would say yes, and I could definitely understand, but then again the clubs cannot control the mob once its out the door. In this blogger's opinion, it should be the mutual responsibility of the police and club owners/security to maintain order outside, move traffic along, and keep people out of the streets.
Lastly, it sets a terrible example for current and potential downtown residents when things get routinely out of hand. How is this city supposed to encourage downtown growth, visitation, or market its "Happy Place" brand with scenes like this playing out?