Youngstown is blessed with a variety of media outlets which allow public discussion on local topics. 570 WKBN has local talk radio. The Vindicator has their message boards. The local blogs allow and encourage comments. So where is the outrage over the murder rate?
There is discussion about the crime rate, after all. It's not as if there is total silence. The regular crop of bigots and naysayers all have a comment when something like last week's rash of murders occur. The Vindy message boards have a group of contributors that make a point of making disparaging remarks on every crime article. There are others who write about Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley who should be lauded for the number of positive topics they find to write about. There are times, though, that their optimism borders upon unrealistic. Is there never any time appropriate to comment upon the elephant in the room that is hindering Youngstown's revitalization?
However, there are others, like Ron Verb, who seem genuinely interested in having an open and honest discussion about crime. During last week's shows I heard callers offering reasons for why the murder rate is high and suggesting ways to curb it. There were also callers who wanted to do nothing more than proclaim the city was a haven for criminals and pat themselves on the back for moving out. Yeah, hooray for you. Unfortunately they forgot that Youngstown is the heart of the Mahoning Valley. What happens there affects all of us. We can't all just turn a blind eye to the rampant crime and cluck disapprovingly. "That's Youngstown," they tell their friends, "I live in Canfield." or Poland, or Hubbard or Austintown or Boardman.
Big deal. When your community borders a city that has a murder rate of 40 per 100,000 people, you are affected. Your property values are lower, job opportunities are fewer and your children are more likely to leave the area. Pretending you are oh-so-smart because your address does not fall within the city limits is simply ignoring the problem.
So where is the outrage at the murder rate? Where are the letters to the editors of the Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle decrying the violence? Even if people accept Police Chief Jimmy Hughes explanation that a criminal lifestyle begets a violent end, a pregnant woman, her unborn child and another son were executed this year. Another child, age 3, was killed in a separate incident. All victims are not leading a criminal lifestyle. Where is the realization that the rest of use have to live with the aftermath of so many murders?
Why is there silence regarding the broken families these murderers come from? If dad isn't around are we really surprised when kids drop out of school and deal for a living? Has it become so acceptable to slough off our responsibilities as parents that no one wants to criticize those who do so? Perhaps it's time to consider that having kids outside of marriage is a terrible idea. You know why? Not for any puritanical notion of morality but rather because it is hard to raise kids. It takes two people. Work, laundry and feedings take their toll. Kids need attention they won't get shuffling between babysitters. Maybe it's time to look at fathers who are not at home with their kids at night and say, "Hey, get home to that kid so you don't raise a thug".
We should all be upset. Our outrage must be stronger than our apathy or nothing will ever change.
4 hours ago