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
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
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, www.nonviolence.org/vitw,
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.
“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
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