I noticed some increased traffic to Tales From the Rust Belt originating from this thread at the Vindy.com message boards. In the thread, a poster takes the Youngstown blog community to task for not criticizing Mayor Jay Williams' handling of the city's crime problem. Later in the thread someone who has actually read the blogs in question helpfully provides links to this blog and others where crime has been discussed.
I can't speak for the others but I take great pains to address the crime issue the way I try to address any other issue; by taking the time to understand it and suggesting ideas to improve the situation. It would be ridiculous to see a rising murder rate and simply point the finger at Mayor Williams. Using this forum to write diatribe after diatribe criticizing the mayor for inaction when he has taken action isn't going to interest anyone. In his position he has secured funding to demolish abandoned houses, helped implement the Youngstown 2010 plan to manage a shrinking city and put as many police officers on the street as possible. We may not all agree with his approach but he is taking more action than previous administrations.
As has been addressed on this site and others, the problem lies with all of us. The worst mass murder in Youngstown just occurred and there isn't a thing the mayor or police could have done to prevent it unless a patrol car was driving by just as that vicious little coward was pouring gasoline on the front porch of the house. You can't legislate behavior. It is up to each one of us to treat each other with respect, to raise our children correctly, to make sure that we all realize we are responsible for the place where we live. It doesn't matter if you don't live in the city. The crime there is your problem. It affects you because the Mahoning Valley is centered there. Having a rotten core ruins even the most well polished apple.
So I come here and I write about solutions to crime and its causes like education and poverty. I try to promote solutions like using Crime Stoppers or stir up outrage among readers at the climbing number of murders. Others in the local blogosphere take that a step further through implementing as much action as possible, like Phil at Defend Youngstown. John at I Will Shout Youngstown is a tireless champion of the city, its history and those who strive to make it better. The message I think we bloggers are trying present is that the city is much more than just a place where crime happens. People live in the area. Good people who deserve better than constantly hearing about how bad their city is. There are good stories to be told . There are stories of success that shine among the gloomy headlines. To ignore all that would be to abandon hope that things will ever improve. It would mean that we, as good folks, are powerless to raise ourselves up to something greater. I refuse to believe that.
So I will continue to write about issues that I see as important and I will criticize politicians when I feel it is appropriate and constructive. I will continue to map the homicides in the city because I feel a visual representation of data is useful for people to see and make decisions. This is what I will try to do to effect change.
SPEKTRMODULE: Podcast 22 – The Deeps
11 hours ago