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The roots of senseless violence and death run deep in the city



Published: Wed, October 12, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Youngstown’s new police chief, Rod Foley, certainly knew that he wasn’t walking into any bed of roses when he took the job.

But five separate homicides over a period of three weeks is more than anyone would have bargained for.

Homicides, unfortunately and tragically, have become far too big a part of Youngstown’s daily life over the last two decades. A half century ago, Youngstown’s most infamous murders were part of mob wars and often involved the detonation of bombs attached to the ignitions of automobiles.

For a period of time in the ’90s, the city registered 50 or 60 homicides a year — an average of more than one a week. Much of that carnage was attributable to a new generation of gang wars that focused not on the control of gambling, but on the sale of drugs.

In this recent spate of violence, motives were less clear., ranging from grudges, love triangles and, yes, drug dealing.

But all of these murders — today, 20 years ago and 50 years ago — have one thing in common, a lack of respect for life. In each case, the killer was willing to put his own interests, whatever they might be, above the right of someone else to live.

An illustration of this wanton disregard for others can be seen in one particularly poignant detail of the Oct. 8 murder of Tequon J. Sharpe, 20, who was shot in the head while his 10-month-old daughter was in the house. She was found more than 12 hours later, crying beside his body.

Violent death is never pretty, but some people appear to go out of their way to make it more horrifying.

First response

Homicide, like poverty, will always be with us — and there’s more than a casual connection between the two, but that’s an editorial for another day. For now, the immediate need is to put a stop to a spate of killings before it evolves into an epidemic.

In the short run, that translates into a return to the zero tolerance policies that were used in prior years when the level of gun violence became absolutely intolerable.

The department conducted a sweep over the weekend with the cooperation of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and there’s no reason there shouldn’t be more of those. Gov . John Kasich pledged state support for a crackdown on violence when he was in Youngstown in January. Local and state officials have also worked with the U.S. Attorney in Cleveland in the past, and will again.

Those types of initiatives will help. On another front, the courts must do more to send convicted felons to prison and to see to it that they serve their sentences. The courts and the department of corrections are looking for ways to cut prison overcrowding, but felons, especially repeat offenders, belong behind bars.

Starting young

No matter how conscientious the police and the courts may be, however, they can only instill fear of apprehension and punishment. They cannot instill the basic respect for other people that is lacking in those who carry guns and apparently see nothing wrong in pulling the trigger.

There may already be a sizable part of a lost generation, wandering the city without a moral compass. But mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers should resolve today to instill in those young enough to be saved a basic understanding that violence and guns are not an answer to anything. If they don’t, they will inevitably be feeling the pain felt today by the loved ones of those killed in recent weeks. Or they may know the special pain of the families of those convicted of murder, who can look forward to someone they love spending wasted decades behind bars.


Comments

1Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years ago

It's all about freedom in the hood . Doing your thing with 24/7 time on the taxpayers dime . What's the worst if you get caught ? Probation ? JJC ? If your attorney does you wrong you may then get free housing and three squares a day . . ..

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2MARGEOMATIC(128 comments)posted 3 years ago

The South Side was pronounced dead 40 plus years ago -smothered by the W.M.D. DIRTY BOMB of sec 8 housing that was launched opon unsuspecting citizens that never thought they would be forced out of their own homes and businesses by the hostile racist WMD'S that made living a decent life there -impossiable.Now after demanding the South Side from the productive and responsible the very people that demolsihed it - created the welfare pleb design expect everyone else to fund- clean up the- mess.NAAA OPE- IT'S TIME FOR THE WMD'S to clean up thier own hood-.

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3MARGEOMATIC(128 comments)posted 3 years ago

40 - 50 years ago people that once owned the grand homes near the park - New Port- Idora areas could never have imagined that those homes would be ruined beyond recognition - Houses galore that once were in someones family for decades - cracked out- smashed out to the bones in typical demo-tardic fashion - sadly paid for by you ! The WMD's ruined the South Side and have no one to blame but themselves...The tax paying citizens forced to surrender their family homes because it became far to vicous of an area to sell to anyone beyond a slum lord - have paid enought for the failed welfare program that is the South Side...

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4MARGEOMATIC(128 comments)posted 3 years ago

The only way the South Side will ever gain - one step up from a sub-human level- is to call in the National Guard to police the WMD zones that everyone has known about for decades - even prior to elderly people leaving church- deliberatly gunned down by racist WMD'S out to proove a point- (that was chocked up as a case of mistaken identity?????). That is when the NG should have been deployed to fight the real war on terrorism !

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years ago

"Homicide, like poverty, will always be with us — and there’s more than a casual connection between the two, but that’s an editorial for another day. For now, the immediate need is to put a stop to a spate of killings before it evolves into an epidemic. "

We already have an epidemic ! Perhaps generating jobs for the SouthSide should be put on the agenda .

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6ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 3 years ago

Unsure who penned this editorial.

It's fine except for the poverty equals homicides stupidity. I can agree that people playing the poverty card claim more than their fair share of homicides or at least it seems that way. Problem is, we have probably 150 million or more people in the US that are deemed impoverished today.

Statistically, they are the majority, so even with a big percentage of the total homicides it's probably per capita insignificant.

Hopefully, the writer of this piece is on the payroll at the Vindy and takes the time to write a piece showing whatever inferred relationship the two have.

I'll be waiting anxiously to batter that article :)

As for the decayed left over hulk we have for a city.

Let someone answer, who is it that keeps heaping Section 8 and housing projects on towns? What happens if an area says no to these incubators of future problems? What are the feds going to do about it?

Every town I know of that is in great disrepair has notorious PROJECTS in their borders.

Every town I can think of where the neighborhood has gone to the critters is infested with subsidized housing (Section 8 mainly).

Not everyone in these programs is a loser or a problem, but tons are.

Clearly, the feds with their urban SCUM missile housing keeps it in population centers. So, moving away from population density is better for your health and financial well being.

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7ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 3 years ago

Subsidized government housing = crime incubator.

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8ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 3 years ago

Ahh, revision:

[URBAN] [HIGH DENSITY] subsidized government housing = crime incubator.

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9MARGEOMATIC(128 comments)posted 3 years ago

SEC 8 /sec 8 ball housing has caused more damage and expense than all mod-day warfare- the never ending cycle of smash it - break it - spray paint it - loot the plumbing - happening each and every day all over American that is beyond saturated in the welfare fat of the land.There are thusands of South Sides littering America. . Rewarding people for being rejects- having more rejects for others to pay for - has not worked anywhere. Name one housing project or WMD zone that is not a crime infested land of the lost worthy of - never ending public funding.No such place exsists never has and never will. Scud Missel launch pads = sec 8 breeder cribs targeting safe areas - sooner or later will be a direct hit on your safe neighborhood and schools ...It is time for the people that actually pay property tax to decide where the sec 8 housing and projects end up. ..

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10ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 3 years ago

I agree MARGEOMATIC!

".It is time for the people that actually pay property tax to decide where the sec 8 housing and projects end up."

To extend this:

"It's time to have the people who pay property taxes in a town determine if they want Section 8 and housing projects in their community."

Clearly, this should have always been a local and state rights issue. More erosion of rights via the feds throwing money around.

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11pac1234(21 comments)posted 3 years ago

The southside is gone. No amount of police presence will clean the area up, planting community gardens certainly will not help. Juvenile delinquents are placed on probation with no real consequences, adult offenders are released from jail-again with no real consequences, but in reality the county cant keep them in jail due to the past federal overcrowding lawsuit. Sorry, but this area is one big mess..........

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12mrblue(999 comments)posted 3 years ago

The crime will continue because there is NO fear of the law and no value on life.

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13Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years ago

"There may already be a sizable part of a lost generation, wandering the city without a moral compass."

I sum it up as "THE CULTURE". The rules of society are hated and their contribution to society is destruction .

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