HOT TOPICS ▶ Climate Change     Undoing The New Deal     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    

  July 11, 2017

Baltimore Man Starts Hunger Strike to End Violence, City's Addiction to Policing

City resident Kevin McCamant says he will not eat until the killings stop and the city emphasizes methods other than policing to cure violence
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

An awesome daily supply of genuine, un-spun world news - Chris Attwell
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


Stephen Janis: This is Stephen Janis reporting for The Real News Network in Baltimore City, Maryland. It is another year of record homicides in Baltimore, and what that usually means to City Hall is more cops, more police and more jails, but one man is trying to change that dialog and stop the killing, and what he's using is a fast.

There are few traces of the typical media presence that accompanies press conferences about violence in this vacant lot in East Baltimore Monday. Perhaps that's because the topic on the agenda has little to do with cops, jails and the usual litany of law enforcement attitudes. Or maybe because it wasn't held at City Hall or police headquarters or even in Annapolis, where Mayor Catherine Pugh was meeting with Governor Larry Hogan to address a recent surge in murders.

Instead, a plea for peace came from a single man sitting under a tent in Baltimore's Rose Street neighborhood in the form of a hunger strike. His name is Kevin McCaman. He's a Buddhist and former prison psychologist who has been working with the community to stop violence through mediation for years.

Kevin McCaman: The number of homicides from my calculation this morning, a person has been killed every 25 hours and 20 minutes since January first of this year, and that's just horrendous.

Stephen Janis: The record pace of killings this year has taken its toll on him, but two weeks ago, one murder brought him to the precipice of making a momentous decision.

Kevin McCaman: I had mentioned that I had two people that I know, one who was killed, one who was severely wounded, but the thing that really pushed me was when Charmaine Wilson was killed in front of her kids. That kind of horror takes things to a whole new level.

Stephen Janis: Which is why this day he's making a pledge to not eat until the violence subsides.

Kevin McCaman: What I'm looking to do is to move the needle on these homicides. We've had, like I said, by my calculations this morning, a homicide every 25 hours and 20 minutes, and I want to push that back to a homicide every 48 hours. If somebody does decide that they're not going to take a life, I would like them to come down here and tell me, so that I can personally thank them. I just am trying to reach out and touch the hearts of those people to get them to call a halt, even if it's a temporary halt, and then engage in some summit negotiations with one another to figure out a different way. There are alternatives. There are options. There are different ways that these beefs or retaliations, whatever the issue is, can be resolved without taking somebody's life.

Stephen Janis: It's a fast to engender peace that is not solely aimed at the mayhem on the streets, but also changing the dialog that is often predicated on the premise that aggressive police tactics can solve the problem.

Kevin McCaman: I'm going on this fast because it's the only thing I can think of to do to say, "The lives of the people who are getting killed, right? The lives of the shooters are worth it to me to put my life on the line, to get some reconsideration of this way of dealing with them."

Stephen Janis: It's a philosophy he has put into practice. The Rose Street community has been implementing a cure violence model for years, a strategy using mediation to prevent conflicts that often lead to shootings. "It's an idea that has worked," says Danny Webster from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health "and should be expanded."

Kevin McCaman: Our most recent analysis, that looks at data through 2016, when we average the effects over all those different sites, our estimate is about a 27% reduction in shootings compared to a similar areas that did not have the program. So that's very encouraging.

Stephen Janis: Which is why Kevin has vowed to go without eating until something changes, a decision that has unknown consequences for him, but a stand he says he must make to address the pain of a community too often overlooked. How far are you willing to take this? I mean how far are you willing to go?

Kevin McCaman: I guess I'm willing to go as far as it takes. I mean I'm trying not to think about that too much.

Stephen Janis: I totally understand.

Kevin McCaman: But I'm not playing around here. I'm not playing around here.

Stephen Janis: This is Stephen Janis and Taya Graham reporting for The Real News Network in Baltimore.


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at

latest stories

Splits in the Ruling Elite Over Trump
Cuba's New President Faces Many Serious Challenges
Corker-Kaine Bill Claims to Limit President's War Powers, but Actually Expands Them
Starbucks Teams up with ADL, Pro-Israel Group that Spied on Activists
How the Massacre in Gaza became an Opportunity to Sell Israeli Weapons
India's Ruling Hindu-Nationalist Party Combines Fascism and Neoliberalism
Trump, Corruption and the Crisis of the Global Elites
Economic Update: Struggling Against the System
Cuba has a New President: Is he 'Fidelista' or 'Raulista'?
India's Far-Right PM Modi Meets Protests in London
Why Black Lives Don't Matter: Q & A Session
Laura Flanders: Workers, Wildcats & New Models for Labor Organizing
Why Black Lives Don't Matter: A Radical Interpretation of U.S. History
Israeli Forces Kill 4 Palestinians, Injure 40 on Israel's Independence Day
Infamous Mercenary Erik Prince Being Considered to Build Trump's Foreign Army for Syria
Leaders of China and Japan to Meet -- Could Be a Game Changer
Marc Steiner Show: Chelsea Manning
House Raid Illustrates How Baltimore Police Refuse to Take Black Residents Rights Seriously
The Baltimore Bureau Podcast Show: April 20, 2018
Korean Peninsula in Historic Peace Talks - Thanks to Activists, Not Trump
Teacher Strikes Continue to Spread - A Symptom of Public Education Underfunding
IMF Says 2018 Economic Outlook is Rosy, But Austerity is Still Needed
Debunking the Myth of American Exceptionalism, with David Swanson
New Student Movement Seeks to Change Hopkins from Within
Corbyn: Does Strike on Syria Justify Bombing Saudi Arabia over Yemen?
Fighting the Oligarchy Inside the Democratic Party
Lopez Obrador's Lead Widens in Mexican Presidential Race Thanks to Trump
Justin Trudeau Vows to Bail Out Profitable Oil Company, Kinder Morgan
Global Warming's Impact on Ocean Currents to Amplify Sea Level Rise
State's Attorney's Race: Thiru Vignarajah on Freddie Gray and Gun Trace Task Force,, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting