Published February 5, 2007
About a year after he dismissed an incident on Youngstown's North Side as nothing more than a bunch of kids letting off steam, Councilman Richard Atkinson found out just how dangerous the streets of the city have become.
On Jan. 10, Atkinson, R-3rd, was driving south on Hudson Avenue near Sheridan School when four gunmen jumped out of a black car and began shooting at three men who were walking south on Hudson. It was shortly after 2 p.m. broad daylight, that is.
The councilman said he did not get a good look at the shooters because he ducked when the gunfire began. Police found a large bullet hole in the front of his car.
Yet, in December 2006, Atkinson and then city police officer Rick Alli accused this writer of overreacting for expressing outrage at what a female Vindicator editor experienced on Fifth Avenue one evening. She was driving alone when her car was surrounded by a swarm of thugs as she slowed down.
When she grabbed her cell phone to call the police, some of the young criminals began pounding on windows and hood of the car.
Atkinson and Alli seemed to suggest that there was no reason for the woman to fear for her life. However, she had no way of knowing if they were armed. Young city thugs are known to pack heat.
But given his own experience in the shooting gallery that is Youngstown, Atkinson can be expected to be more understanding of the trials and tribulations of others. Right?
Now, if only other members of council got an up close and personal look at crime in the city, it wouldn't be long before the National Guard were called out.