Not Far Enough

Baltimore Mayor Young suggests boxing bouts to settle street beefs

#BMOREUNITED Rally is a rally to stop the gun violence in Baltimore by giving people an opportunity to learn about resources available throughout the city to help them have a productive and peaceful summer.

Colin Campbell

Colin Campbell Contact Reporter The Baltimore Sun

The day after a teenager was killed and four others were injured in shootings in Baltimore, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young suggested an unconventional approach to preventing gun violence.

Mediation is one option to settle disputes that might otherwise erupt into the shootings plaguing the city, he said. Another alternative? Lace up some boxing gloves and slug it out, the mayor suggested.

“If they want to really settle them, we can have them down at the Civic Center [now called Royal Farms Arena], put a boxing ring up, let them go and box it out, those kind of things,” Young said. “[May] the best man win, and the beef should be over. Those are some kinds of things I’m thinking about, and hoping that we can get these people to put these guns down.”

History Repeats, Maryland and the Field of Honor

Bladensburg Dueling Grounds

During the time when fighting duels was popular, the Bladensburg dueling grounds was the scene of 26 duels. The problem with the mayor’s proposed boxing matches is that potential combatants may not be evenly matched.

The traditionalist may want to adopt the Code Duello. An alternative take would be the purely American “The Code of Honor, Or Rules For The Government of Principals and Seconds.” In either case, potential foes and supporters are required to follow a rigid set of rules in order to settle their differences.

This begins with the choice of weapons. In the interest of fair play weapons should be limited to pistols. Not just any pistols but pistols purpose built for the duel.

Percussion cap dueling pistols.

The mayor has the beginnings of a good idea. It just needed some refinement. Bringing back the duel acknowledges Maryland’s history. It may also serve to de-popularize the preferred method of drive-bys and back shooting. With a dedicated space, nominal control and limited firepower the only thing society stands to lose is the collateral damage of innocent bystanders being shot.