The Genocide of Our City's Youth
It's the mayor's and police commissioner's worst nightmare: the continuation of the genocide of our city youth as we cautiously enter the new year ("Murder Ink," Jan. 7.) What used to be a major concern to the city of Baltimore is now a potential powder keg that has enormous ramifications and impact on the future of our city.
This epidemic has to be dealt with before it takes a stranglehold on the city and brings it to its knees. Why has the extermination of our city youth been recently exacerbated? What are Mayor Dixon's office and Commissioner Bealefeld's office doing to address this? As it stands now, I believe this should jump to the top of both their lists as priority number one.
I firmly believe that as Commissioner Bealefeld has to start by ramping up foot patrols exponentially. Police officers in automobiles are perceived by much of the citizenry as being unapproachable. Get these officers out of their cars and into the streets, where they can begin to truly know those whom they are employed to protect. Knock on doors, get to know the people in their precincts intimately. Ask questions, uncover potential sources of pent-up youthful anger. One life potentially saved would be a large moral victory. Assign adults in neighborhoods the responsibility of communicating with youth of single-parent (or no parent) households. Grasp the "big brother" or "big sister" concept. The results just may be totally enlightening (and life-saving).
If there were ever a time for city residents to show their passion, now is the time. Where is the rage and anger? There are choices. We can stand idly by and watch our beloved city buckle at the youth violence, or take a stand to stave off what could conceivably be the "death knell" of the beautiful city we know as Baltimore.
Patrick R. Lynch
It is extremely curious that in your lengthy piece on Gianna Talone-Sullivan and the response to her visions from the Catholic Church ("Something About Mary," Feature, Dec. 24, 2008), you omitted any mention of the immense medical charity she and her husband have contributed as a result of her "divine" inspirations.
In 1994, Gianna Talone-Sullivan (a pharmacist) and husband Dr. Michael Sullivan, having relocated to Maryland from Arizona, as you report, on invitation from the Virgin Mary, founded the Mission of Mercy, an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), nonsectarian community-based organization that utilizes active and retired licensed medical professionals to provide free medical and dental services and prescription medications to the uninsured working poor, homeless, and economically disadvantaged people of Arizona, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas, via a mobile medical clinic that visits 13 clinics located in the four states. Mission of Mercy provides all medical and dental services regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, or religion. All services are free and no fees are charged. No one is denied service because of inability to pay. Mission of Mercy provides annually in excess of 22,500 medical and 1,000 dental patient visits (Mission of Mercy has provided over 200,000 patient visits since 1994), and dispenses annually over 48,000 free prescription medications (Mission of Mercy has dispensed over 345,300 free prescription medications since 1994). See amissionofmercy.org.
Having been associated with an adult-education program for homeless and disenfranchised families in the 1990s, I observed first-hand the work of the Sullivans. There was no proselytizing or converting of the patients. The large mobile medical unit arrived at the site on schedule and treated throngs of needy individuals, efficiently and according to medical standards. Both Gianna Talone-Sullivan and Michael Sullivan were always completely professional, serious, and dignified. In that role, never was Gianna Talone-Sullivan in the posture of the charismatic channeler of the Virgin Mary that is known to be the other side of Gianna.
It just seemed a huge omission to portray only the one side of this woman, a side I never observed and on which I do not care to comment.
Chris Landers responds: The Sullivans chose not to talk to me for the piece, or I might have included more information about other facets of their lives. Thanks for the letter.
Your Nov. 12 "Murder Ink" column only states one side of the story, which is an assumption. I cannot get into many details, because I have to try to appeal my conviction, but I would like to say that I had a very unfair trial and a lot of my rights were violated. I can only speak for myself. I was arrested because of something someone else did, for another person's actions.
The incident happened at a block party for the memorial of a little boy who was struck and killed by a car a week earlier. When a car almost hit my son, one of the men in the car and I got into an argument. A fight broke out, people from the block party came running. It was people all over the block, and, like, two or three minutes after the fight broke out, someone started firing shots. When I heard the shots, I ran, like anyone else who hears gun shots. I heard that the police had my name involved with that, and I turned myself in, only to be arrested and never asked my side of the story or what I did see. They said that the victim said that it was my fault that the situation happened because I started arguing with him.
Now, this man never said I did anything to him, we were just arguing. The police locked me up for that, an argument. But they charged me with everything they charged the shooter with.
I am in a situation that anyone could be put in, even yourself.
I would like to ask you a question: If you or anyone else in this city or county or state were to get into an argument or fight, and someone--coworker, friend, enemy, or family member--came and did something thinking they're helping you or for whatever reason, and they hurt someone, should you be punished for it?
I am talking you never asked them to help you, you never told them to do this or do that, should you be punished for their actions?
I would like to tell you a little about myself. I am 25 years old, the father of two children, a daughter, 10, and a son, 7. I was attending the Magna Institute for the machinist class, and I was an automobile salesman. I was working on some other goals, too. Me and my longtime friend, partner, and love were planning on getting married.
I hope that this letter helps change the way people view stories, not only in your newspaper, but in all of them.
A whole year of Important Comics by Dina Kelberman? This is an April Fool's Day joke, right? You can't fool me.
Editor's note: The new year is bringing a number of changes to City Paper. First, we no longer run The Straight Dope. Readers who miss Cecil in these pages are encouraged to visit him at straightdope.com. Second, starting with our Jan. 21 issue, the paper will be smaller. In an effort to save paper--and, yes, money--City Paper will be printed in a new size about two inches shorter than our current tabloid format. And third, while working on adapting to the new printing format, we decided, what the hell, why not redesign the whole thing? The new look also debuts Jan. 21.
Most other things about City Paper will remain unchanged, including Free Valentines, which we're doing again in our Feb. 11 issue. Click here to enter yours.
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