Baltimore Sun

Questions go beyond youth employment


A teenager from Baltimore County stands on a Baltimore street corner with his buddies, offering to clean motorists’ windshield­s. Though he is only 15, and it is illegal for people under 21 to own a handgun in Baltimore, he has been able to procure one. Maybe he had been threatened before by motorists, annoyed at being approached once too often by kids offering their services?

Certainly one such person let his annoyance boil over, stopped and parked his car and started threatenin­g the kids with a metal baseball bat, then chased them with it when one of the kids, in self-defense, threw a rock at him. At this point the teenager drew his gun and shot the motorist multiple times, killing him. Why did a white motorist feel threatened by Black kids approachin­g his car offering a service, to the extent of carrying a weapon with him, if that’s why he had it? What would have happened had he caught up with kids? Might he then have been the one charged with assault or worse?

What fear for his safety made a Black teenager feel that he needed a weapon in broad daylight on a downtown Baltimore street? And why is he being charged with first-degree murder, which implies not only intent, but premeditat­ion, when at least his initial pulling of the trigger appears to be self-defense?

These are questions that go far beyond a need to find employment for underserve­d youth. Hate and fear beget violence and violence begets more violence. How can we stop this vicious cycle?

— Sabine Oishi, Baltimore

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States