BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 23: Members of the Service Employees International Union join hundreds of other demonstrators to rally and march in front of Baltimore City Hall to protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray April 23, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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We all know the names and places. Michael Brown, shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri. Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Cleveland police.

The latest police involved death is the current case in Baltimore, Maryland where Freddy Grey died of injuries while in police custody. Like Ferguson, Missouri, the Baltimore case has spawned two days or more of riots from local residents.

Gray had been arrested 18 times previously, mostly on drug dealing and possession charges. No word on how much time, if any, he had spent in jail or prison.

But protesters are making local residents pay the price for police action in the form of looting and arson before allowing the justice system to work. So much for due process.

Police Protection

Local police departments in large cities are experiencing an expanding public relations challenge.

It seems that every evening there is some sort of news story about police and black or Hispanic residents having violent altercations with each other. And white on black shootings, especially with police, rise to the top of the nightly headlines.

Even our local detention center has come under scrutiny concerning prisoner deaths.

How Safe Is Your City?

Murders in this part of the country are thankfully rare. One reason could be because everyone is armed all the time.

Or, it could be that people here don’t have the same stresses of discrimination, less job opportunities and poverty that seem to be prevalent in large cities.

While all those things do exist, on some level in most cities, including Bozeman, people in smaller towns usually know each other and finds ways of working out differences without resorting to violence or gunplay.

In Gallatin and Park counties we also have the advantage of living in valleys surrounded by mountains.

It’s a more serene and peaceful environment.

Maybe inner cities need more mountains and fishing streams rather than multistory high-rise tenements.

I also think your quality of life has some bearing on your personal feeling of wellbeing.

Big City Safety vs. Small Town Security

Some people love big cities. All the amenities you could ever want. Sports events, Broadway shows, every kind of restaurant in every possible price range.

But there is also traffic, crime, and cost of living that require you to put in a pretty good days work to afford that more affluent lifestyle.

Small towns are usually less expensive in housing and other costs but you also pay the price for the lack of, what some would call, big city fun. Small towns do have local events that give the town its character and culture and most folks that choose to live here are completely satisfied with that.

Some Final Thoughts

One of the most common reasons people tell me they like it here is the safety and lifestyle. Most of those starting a family are looking for a safe place to raise their kids with good schools.

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys the outdoors there’s few better places you could pick.

Traffic’s not a nightmare — yet. Instead of a rush hour, I’d say we have a “rush twenty minutes.”

I suppose no place is safe if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. But it’s still pretty nice that we can call, “The Last Best Place on Earth,” home and feel safe here.

So while you are watching the riots in Baltimore on the evening news take a second to really appreciate where you are. And, stay safe out there.

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