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I am appalled by The Blade’s series “Battle Lines: Gangs of Toledo” (April 28-May 1). I agree with Toledo Mayor Mike Bell that the series is irresponsible.
As the primary print news source in our city, you have a responsibility to portray Toledo accurately and with integrity. It is important to tell what is happening on our streets, but if your focus is only on the negative, on the violent, and on what sells, you have done a disservice to your community.
How many children now know which gang territory they are living in because of you? How many mothers are afraid to have their child walk to school because she’s worried her baby might get picked up by the neighborhood gang?
Your gang map can only do more harm to this city. Those streets do not belong to those gangs; they belong to all of us. By creating that map, you have reinforced the idea of which block belongs to which gang.
Where is your massive series on Toledo’s garden gangs, which are rallying to plant food for the city? Where is the series on the groups that feed the hungry every Saturday morning?
Where is your series on the 500-person community that just presented Artomatic 419, all getting together to prove that Toledo is not violent and scary but beautiful?
Shame on you.
2 Blade staffers have steel nerves
Your courageous staff writer Taylor Dungjen and photographer Amy E. Voigt must have nerves of steel. I have talked with law enforcement officers over the years, and even though they are heavily armed, they are cautious about single-car cruises in gang-controlled areas.
The exponential growth rate of gang activity throughout Toledo is astounding and more than a little frightening. I can’t imagine why Mayor Bell refuses to make the public aware of the severity of the problem. Only by acknowledging that there is a problem can you ever hope to solve it.
It’s been nine years since The Blade won a Pulitzer Prize. It’s time for another. Congratulations for fine reporting and an outstanding public service.
Hit the books,not punching bag
Your investigation was maddening. It seemed as if you were nominating Mitchell Moore for father of the year (“As fathers falter, gangs fill the void,” April 29).
Released from prison, Moore now wants to turn his life around and be a father to his son in eighth grade, as well as his other 16 children. Society should help him and men like him.
But the notion that training troubled youths to box will give them the tools to succeed in life is ridiculous — violence begets violence. In the real world, when these children enter the work force, they may be asked to join a golf league, or a bowling or softball team, not a boxing club.
The youths of our city would be better off hitting the books with a concerned father by their side instead of hitting a punching bag.
Public schools offer extracurricular activities that represent every interest. Dedicated teachers labor mightily to give their students the tools necessary to make it.
Success starts with reading, writing, and arithmetic. Youths should learn these skills before they turn to boxing.
Series explains mayor’s travels
It is wonderful to see that you have recognized your responsibility as a newspaper to keep citizens aware of matters that are important to them and their families, in spite of resistance from Mayor Bell.
After reading your articles, I understand why Mayor Bell takes all the trips that he does. It’s a lot safer than staying in Toledo.