The Mail: 1/13-1/20

Readers respond to our issue dedicated to the 344 homicide victims of 2015.

Remembering the victims

Thank you for this spare yet devastating edition of the 344 murdered Baltimoreans. In the research I've done so far for my crusade, the Million Gun Victims March, I have homicide records going back to 2001. We have been living through a slow-motion genocide of young black males throughout this entire century.

It will always be a personal shame, as an artist who is supposed to observe life, and as a human being that I only realized this less than three years ago.

But now my eyes are open I vow to bring every face behind the name to the light, to gather every victim from every background together in one place in order to reveal the true loss to our city and our country, no matter what it takes.

Kimberly Sheridan

Baltimore

A black veil over our city

I've been meaning to write this for so long, and this week's CP made me pause or "shocked me out of complacency," a small thing to do in light of the enormous toll so many people experienced in 2015.

This is what I have to say: The killings that happen are mainly due to poverty. Period. People living in safe, comfortable homes, green neighborhoods with wonderful activities, creative new schools, and ample opportunities for work most likely will not kill other people. There is no mayor that will come in and make it not happen. There will be no police chief that will lead this to an end. The state of the deplorable conditions around the city took decades to happen.

Imagine this: every neighborhood with affordable, clean, safe housing with trees and green space. Neighborhood activities, parks and rec, swimming pools. Many small-scaled schools with innovative teaching that are bright, warm, and welcoming. Jobs for people with all skill levels. A central community medical, mental health, addictions, and social work services in each neighborhood. When people are able to take care of their daily needs, receive a valuable education, live in a nice home and community with work opportunities there will be less guns pointed at each other.

Utopia? Yep. Unrealistic? NO! If people experienced life feeling connected, hopeful, and optimistic, I'm certain that our city would not be in this mournful state. We need to have this as our goal. De-investing in our community has proved wrong. We need to clean up the horrible mess. We need trauma-centered care around this grieving city, get innovative and easily accessed addictions, create affordable housing with social workers available. Too idyllic you say? Not enough money? Bullshit, the money is there, it's just not prioritized to create a place like this. Baltimore, we are waking up and it's time for large-scale change.

Pam Stein, mother of three boys, social worker

Baltimore

Pass the salt, hold the music

I read your review on "Smoke" Restaurant on Cranbrook Road, Cockeysville (Eats and Drinks, Dec. 16), so my wife and I tried it. The food was good, no complaints. However, I experienced a first. They have no salt nor pepper on the table or anywhere else. When I asked for it, the fellow with the ring in his face and all the tattoos said that I could get my salt within their barbecue sauce. I guess he was trying to be smart, or funny. I didn't say anything.

I had to ask the girl at the counter to see if she could get the hard rock music turned down. The music was turned down but soon replaced by loud rap music. I guess I should have guessed that somebody in the restaurant is a big hard rock fan. The men's room is wall-papered with cut-outs of rock bands and rock stars. If I go back to this restaurant I will get carry-out.

David Boyd

White Hall

From the Web, Facebook, and Twitter

"Nicholas Heath sentenced to 20 years in Ottobar employee killing"

Not justice but something like it. Thank you to Judge Howard for trying to make right something so wrong.

—"danigrove1971," Jan. 8

This is the kind of story that breaks your heart and makes you VERY PROUD of your tribe. There is no words to truly describe the loss that was felt by so many, no words to truly describe the continued void so many feel, no words to truly describe the courage I witnessed in my friends... the strength and support that became a message and a tribute to a lost member of this tribe. We are not what these types of people do to us... we ARE how we react, how we come together, how we stand in solidarity for our friends.

We are used to being marginalized and told we don't matter, so used to it that we almost expect it but I have to admit, this time, thanks mostly to THIS judge - this feels a little like justice!

—"bettyrebel," Jan. 8

In addition to the trauma inflicted on Tom's family, Marty Clay is trying to live with his injuries in addition to the loss of a dear friend. Judge John Addison Howard should be strongly commended and thanked for the actions he took. In a situation where the prosecutor seemed to work more for the defense and the jury makes no sense at all Judge Howard brought justice for Tom and Marty. Thank you very much Your Honor Howard.

—"liz0000062," Jan. 8

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