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'Stop the violence' a basketball cheer?

By Todd Franko (Contact)


Published January 28, 2008

Lots of yells and screams can be heard coming out of any high school basketball game around the area.

It's hard to adjust, however, to a cry of "Stop the violence."

But that was one student's plea Friday night as fans of Chaney and East high school hoops teams left East High. The game was stopped with six minutes remaining after a fight broke out, then supposedly another.   

School officials, according to board member Loch Beachum Sr., will sort out the issue this week. No night games and suspensions are possible.

Thankfully, no injuries were reported and kids actually stood outside peacefully awaiting rides home. Maybe they were just lucky.

Tragedy -- sometimes obscene tragedy -- seems to lurk too often on Yo streets. It's obscene enough that even the most distant, hardened ex-Youngstowner now living in ATown or Canfield or wherever has to look back and wonder "What the hell ..."

Friday's event comes amid the sorrow of the deaths of six people - four kids, their mom and their grandma - in an arson allgedly set by a neighbor angry over a stolen cell phone. They will be buried Saturday.

And this week marks one year since 4 people were executed in a Yo. house. There are no answers to that one. Don't expect them.

"Stop the violence" was the student's cry. But how?

We had a good editorial Saturday that deserves a read if you missed it; a second read if you saw it once. It frames the six deaths and the suspect's future. 

Saturday night, 15 or so folks gathered at Rosetta Stone downtown to discuss Youngstown vioience. It was clear that the problems are, well -- I guess, they are what they are based on where you live.

If you live amid it, it can be 'just another night in Yo.' If you don't live amid it -- and I don't -- it's stunning. 

Just another night or stunning -- either way, people are grasping for something.

They click off incidents like a shopping list, with the most exasperating being last year's 4 dead and the incident a couple years back when the guy emptied his gun into another person at a school sporting event -- and then walked away. 

They also click off solutions: March downtown, march the neighborhoods, get with the moms, get the kids early, juvenile center, no juvenile center, conflict mediation, jobs, good news reporting, etc ...

Truth is, there is no one fix. There seldom is for something this deep. It is many fixes.

And whether you live amid it or if you sleep peacefully in a surrounding town out of earshot of the gunfire, it is a problem to be fixed by many of us.


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