The Fort Avenue pub crawl stabbing – Backlash and fallout

In case you were not paying attention to the Baltimore area internet in the past few days, it was initially reported on Monday by Sun reporter Justin Fenton that during a pub crawl along Fort Avenue on Saturday (an overlapping pub crawl not associated with the one plugged a few days prior), an altercation broke out which eventually resulted in one man being stabbed in the back by another, the details of which unfolded during the day in the form of edits on the original post. The nature of the report and the individuals involved – for whatever reason – sparked what essentially amounts to a race war in the comments section within a few hours; truly some of the most vitriolic commentary I’ve seen in relation to Baltimore neighborhoods and their opinions of one another in a very long time (this line of commentary continues on Sam Sessa’s Midnight Sun blog here). I recommend reading these as a case study on how truly screwed up we are as a community, especially given the fact that someone’s life was nearly lost in the incident.

Last night the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association (SBNA) held a meeting to discuss Saturday night’s stabbing which stemmed from a pub crawl along Fort Avenue, and the sometimes problematic nature of pub crawls in general. SBNA member Tom Bullock (police and community relations committee) led the discussion, expressing his concern for the disruptive nature of pub crawls and that something like this could happen, noting “We cannot and will not have a regular somewhat unorganized display of public drunkenness in our streets. We have to be able to do this together or else it’s simply just not going to work.”

“Even the little league parade in Locust Point needs a permit. … [Pub Crawls] have absolutely no need to even let the police know. So we’re going to try to work on the state level to get that changed because unfortunately liquor is a state issue, not a city issue. ”

He went on to state that he would be in works with various city and state officials, notably 10th district councilman Ed Reisinger and state delegate Brian McHale (who were in attendance as well), in an effort to make changes to the law which would require a permit for those who wish to organize and participate in a bar crawl. Additionally, he stressed the importance of cooperation between crawl organizers, businesses, police and community in an effort to prevent dangerous situations in the future.

Ed Reisinger gave a few words to the crowd as well, pointing out the fact that pub crawls are banned in Rhode Island as a result of the 2004 death of a Connecticut college student. “I don’t want that to happen here in my district or in the city of Baltimore,” he said. He went on to reiterate the importance of being a liquor license holder and a business owner, as it relates to the fact that when someone is visibly intoxicated, they shouldn’t be served any more alcohol.

Reisinger, along with delegate McHale and various residents/business owners also noted that requiring a permit for a pub crawl would be difficult, as they often times can be organized on the fly without any prior notice to anyone at all. And even given the requirement, may still not prevent such instances as Saturday’s stabbing from occurring again.

(editorial: despite the fact that the stabbing occurred as a tangent to the pub crawl and could have happened entirely on its own without any such pub crawl existing)

Pub crawls have been an extremely popular staple in the Baltimore area for those looking to socialize or raise money for various charities over the years. Saturday’s incident has shed an unfortunate spotlight on these events as out of control binge drinking disruptions that end in violence, a perception that may be difficult to shake unless future events go smoothly, featuring the cooperation and courtesy among businesses/organizers the attending members of the SBNA meeting spoke of. Whether or not a piece of legislation for required permits for pub crawls will be introduced remains to be seen.

(my full opinion on the matter of permits for pub crawls is here)

6 thoughts on “The Fort Avenue pub crawl stabbing – Backlash and fallout

  1. After reading some of the comments in Sam Sessa’s blog and some of the comments that follow Justin Fenton’s article — wow am I glad I’m 42 and boring. I never thought in a million years I’d say that, but WOW.

    “Screwed up” is putting it mildly, my friend.

  2. I will be curious to hear your full opinion. I like the idea of some, if token, formality involved if this is what is going to happen at future crawls.

    PS- I am NOT HampdenHon in those comments.

  3. The newcomers to the SB area within the last 7 or so years who paid upwards of $200,000 for their homes should maybe think about moving to the suburbs to get the kind of neighborhoods they think they paid for. First and foremost, why move to a neighborhood that just about has a bar on every corner from Hanover Street to Andre Street, and what, think there would be no issues. Some people shouldn’t think they’re better than anyone else in the same neighborhood in SB just because they paid way tooo much for their house to begin with.

  4. I am somewhat taken aback by the amount of neighborhood “class warfare” I have observed on the various blogs. Then again, the same vitriol can and has been spewed for any gentrifying neighborhood in Baltimore–Hampden, Canton, Locust Point, Federal Hill, and others.

    Like Evan, I was also part of the same overlapping bar crawl that day. We encountered the Hitmen multiple times on our stops. There were two distinct groupings of this bar crawl–some older men and women who were enjoying their beers and having a good time and some younger men and women who were out to have a good time, irrespective of anyone else around them. They made comments about our bar crawl, taunted some of us while in the same bar, and threw snowballs from across the street at us.

    The idea to regulate pub crawls is a solution best described as “Ready, Shoot, Aim!” It is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to a result that was a statistical outlier.

  5. Oh it is horrifying. Like most Sun comment sections, though- I think it is comprised of a few sensible people; a few people who were there, get offended & over-react; and 80% constantly commenting freakshow bigots.

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