Published August 22, 2012
Here we are...again?
Scrambling for answers to the questions: 'why did this happen and how do we prevent it from happening again?
Locals know what I'm referring to: the killing of a child asleep in his bed...an 8 year old child...an eight year old child who was where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing, by (allegedly) a 21 year old young man who was where he shouldn't have been doing something he shouldn't have been doing. Now we have more questions and no more answers.
Folks are saying THIS will be the event that galvanizes the community to say: NO MORE. Hmmm, no more? Today's(22 Aug) Vindicator's front page, above the fold ,lead story
INNER-CITY GUN VIOLENCE - Valley Kids Caught in the Crossfire, 10 children - 2 unborn -have been killed since 1996. Since 1996 there's been a lot of pulpit pounding, folks in leadership positions (most of them failing to lead) looking to be quoted,Sunday morning summaries, crimson candlelight vigils, memorial t-shits, front porch teddy bears, theories (for free and for sale),tears,anger and fears.
...and then there was this associated press story a couple of years and a half ago:
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - In a hard-luck city trying to keep people from moving out, Angeline Fimognari stayed put, often attending Mass twice daily at her beloved "St. Dom's" — almost a mini-fortress with a 6-foot locked fence and 23 security cameras.
The last to leave services one recent Saturday morning, the 80-year-old woman was fatally shot in the head inside her car in the parking lot at St. Dominic Catholic Church, an apparent robbery victim. Too upset to return, her family held her funeral at a suburban church instead.
Maybe my minimal expectations are too high.
The after-mass aftermath didn't galvanize this community, but it DID get some houses torn down, gardens planted and political lack-leaders elevated and fulfilled some who's prurient interests are satisfied by their garnering media attention.
We nixed the successful V-Grip program (...Violence Gun Reduction and Interdiction Program .V-GRIP is a cooperative effort of federal, state and local law-enforcement officials that focuses on gun crimes. Members of the U.S. Marshal’s Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, FBI Violent Crimes Task Force and the Mahoning Valley Violent Crimes Task Force...)
but added the CIRV program (The Youngstown Community Initiative to Reduce Violence)TODAY 16 kids on juvenile probation with ties to local gangs and their parents,or parent, or guardian, or aunts or grandparent or someone who porports to care about them, were mandated to attend a summit/workshop...a "dose of reality that their actions have consequences"
Ten CHILDREN murdered since 1996, and 80 year old devout Catholic murdered after early morning mass, an elderly man gunned down during peak sunlight hours on the main drag, and here we are HOPING and PRAYING that the community will............will WHAT? Just stop doing 'IT'?
Too many years ago, a US Federal Judge ORDERED an examination of Mahoning County's criminal justice system . The 'special master',Atty Vince Nathan found OUR system to be "DYSFUNCTIONAL" We were to enact a CRIMINAL JUSTICE WORKING GROUP which quickly imploded. I've spoken with the commissioners at their meetings and in my studio, asking that they re-start the working group before another tragedy happens in this community. ANOTHER community tragedy happened this week. Yesterday,FOP President, Mahoning County Sheriff's Depatment Sgt T.J. Assion was on the show with me and AGAIN talked about the dangerous conditions in the county with the jail overcrowding, staffing issues, the jail not fully open, the 'revolving door(emergency release programme), etc. Sgt/FOP union president Assion made an impassioned plea at a commissioners meeting stating his concerns regarding a possible tragedy and/or federal law suit.
A FUNCTIONAL criminal justice working group could bring ALL facets together, where ideas could become implementations, where open and honest communication COULD create pathways to a FUNCTIONAL COMMUNITY. A working group that COULD include those in the juvenile system, the therapeutic community, etc. Just as The Regional Chamber has events to network, a functional, open and honest working group could create pathways, networks, maps,etc.
Yes, I know, as I talk about this every day on the show: there are many societal issues that have created fertile soil for the weeds of crime and pain to grow. We live in a world where childhood, in too many cases, has become filled with emotional and physical pain, instead of fun and wonder. Children attempting to parent their drug addicted parent, becoming prey to mom's so-called boyfriend. We've become a community where well said trumps well done, where politics trump people, and if we don't stop the bleeding, physical AND emotional, SOON, the BLOOD of this community's children will fertilize the growth of the next generation.
Maybe these are wasted words, after all, today's Associate Press ran THIS story:
Americans tune out Afghan war as fighting rages on