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Breeding Grounds

To the Editor:

I am writing in reference to the article titled “A Thug’s Life” [May 30] and the response to it titled “Gang Land?” [Letters, June 13]. When I read this article, I found the tone extremely alarming. I grew up the child of a probation officer and a child-protective intake supervisor. Evidence of various gangs being active in the Albany area existed as much as 10 years ago. The attitude taken by the Albany Police Department was the traditional “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” This attitude gave fertile ground for gang activity to get started.

That, combined with the current efforts of people like Alice Green who continuously talks about the “black community” out of one side of her mouth, while at the same time demanding that politicians and outside organizations fix problems that stem from the lack of the very same “black community.” Having been a teenager myself, I would suggest to Ms. Green that any group of teenagers, no matter what race, creed or color, is probably up to no good especially if they are wearing gang colors and throwing gang signs.

Incidents such as the one described in “Gang Land?” will become more common. As the pall of gang violence slides over our city, there are fewer and fewer decent neighborhoods where one can walk in relative safety, unmolested by panhandlers, perverts, drug addicts and general miscreants.

My concern is not for myself. Being large of stature and relatively experienced in means of self-defense, my concern is for the untrained, unprotected majority.

It is difficult to nearly impossible for a law-abiding citizen to acquire a pistol permit. Most pepper sprays, C.S., O.C and other blends of sprays are still illegal and/or hard to come by, making for a guaranteed pool of unarmed and defenseless victims for these gang members to choose from. Furthermore, to add insult to injury, if an individual defends oneself, that individual will most likely be arrested.

Although, in the particular instance of the response letter, I cheer for the courage and strength it took to fight off such determined attackers. The police are not there to protect you! They cannot be everywhere at once. It should be up to each individual to prepare oneself and everyone should be encouraged to do so. Doing so will guarantee that those who would perpetrate these types of crimes will most likely think more carefully and perhaps not bother trying.

Money for after-school programs . . . of course. Let us not forget that we must deal with our insanely underfunded child-protective system and change laws that put children back into the hands of dangerous or abusive parents. Stop breeding another generation of criminals.

John Grossi

Your Bad

To the Editor:

Quibbles with your “See No Evil” story (June 20).

1. Too short, too long in coming, and it had to be copped from another publication.

2. No mention of Voices in the Wilderness,, the No. 1 campaign organization to end the U.S. led genocide in Iraq, which threatens to eclipse the ’80s horror of Cambodia in which 2 million died.

3. Photo-essayist McBee’s innocent patriotism. Quite clearly a brave woman, she seems not to have grasped that most of the world’s deadliest violence is nationalistic in origin. The Iraqis are simply our family.

4. The faux pas of following such evocative photos with a fashion spread. Only in America.

Joe Quandt

Editor’s reply:

The “See No Evil” story was not exactly “copped” from another publication, as Mr. Quandt states; rather, we were alerted by the editors of the Colorado Springs Independent that one of their photographers was offering the story to interested alternative newsweeklies across the country. We found the piece to be of high quality and therefore purchased the rights to print it. As the story appeared in the Colorado Springs Independent the same week it appeared in Metroland—and seeing as the paper’s editors were kind enough to offer us rights to print it—we found it appropriate to give them credit for the story.

Further, this was not the first time Metroland has published a first-person account of the situation in Iraq. As far back as 1999, for example, we published a full-page interview with Brad Simpson, an eyewitness to the U.S. bombing of Baghdad and the devastating effects that U.S. sanctions against Iraq have had on the Iraqi people. For the record, Simpson visited Iraq as a member of a Voices in the Wilderness delegation.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at

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