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Rash of assaults raises concern among city bike riders

"I lost the boys and escaped physically unharmed. Emotionally, the danger in my psyche persists," says one victim.

bike rider watching city hall crash scene

A bike rider watches aftermath of recent car crash outside Baltimore City Hall in which a pedestrian was killed.

Photo by: Fern Shen

Baltimore bike riders are reporting an apparent recent spike in assaults against cyclists, including one incident yesterday in which a group of teens threw the rider off his bike and punched him.

It happened at about 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of Lanvale Street and Guilford Avenue, the Baltimore “bike boulevard” designated as the city’s favored north-south route for cyclists.

“They did manage to land a few punches and throw me down as I was trying to escape, but some residents of the 1700 block of Guilford stepped in during the scene and helped chase them off before things got bad,” wrote Mark Brown, of the blog Car Free Baltimore.

His post on the incident was widely circulated yesterday, and  linked to on the Facebook page for Bikemore, a city cyclists’ advocacy group.

“Aside from a few scrapes and black eye, I’m fine,” Brown wrote. “The police tried to chase the teens down in Greenmount West, but they escaped through an alley.”

Bikemore founder Chris Merriam was unharmed after a brush earlier this week (teens on the Fallsway threatened and chased him, yelling “Gimme that bike!”) but he is clearly concerned about what’s going on right now.

“Bikemore is meeting with Garnell Green of the Baltimore Police Department next week,” Merriam wrote. “Our main concerns are police treatment of bike-involved crashes, and the recurring rash of real or threatened violence against cyclists.”

Some Attacks Seemingly Organized?

City cyclists have become fairly sanguine about occasional verbal, possibly joking taunts from people they pass. But the recent incidents appear to be more serious.

“I thought I’d just outrun the attackers. Wrong,” wrote Brown, who said his escape route was cut off. “Unless you’re going down hill or already have some major speed, they will block your escape routes and grab any part of your bike or clothing to try to bring you down.”

He said he also thought the attackers would just grab the bike and run, but they apparently “wanted to inflict some pain.”

Another city bicycle blogger, Seth Lueck, of Baltimore Velo, had a bad experience yesterday on his way home from work:

As I passed Mt. Royal and headed north approaching the Copycat building, I saw a group of boys aged 13-15 ahead. Nearer to me was one of their peers.

I passed the first male and approached the rest. Suddenly, the first boy yelled out, “Bike!”

Suddenly, the entire group of 4-5 teens charged full speed at me simultaneously.

It’s funny how the body can operate on adrenaline on a dime. I accelerated as fast as I could away from the group. I was nearly knocked to the ground. Ahead in the distance were 2 cars in the on-coming traffic lane. I headed towards them to try to intimidate my pursuers before swerving out of the way.

I lost the boys and escaped physically unharmed. Emotionally, the danger in my psyche persists.

How to stay safe?

So, what should bike riders do, aside from calling 911, to protect themselves?

Opinions vary. To start the conversation, here’s a post with suggested safety tips by cyclist Liam Quigley that ran in The Brew and generated 64 comments. We published it after a similar problem arose in 2010.

Be sure to check our full comment policy before leaving a comment.

  • http://baltimorevelo.com/ seth

    One point of clarification — my incident occurred one block south of Mark’s.

  • http://twitter.com/jedweeks Jed Weeks

    If you are a victim of an assault or attempted assault while riding in the city, get to a safe place and call 911, not 311. Demand that an officer meet you at your location.

  • ddbs00

    If the cretins dragging people off their bikes had a little fear, such as of a concealed weapon, they may think twice about this. As it is, they attack cyclists without worry and slip away when chased to intimidate, harass, and steal again.

    • altarego

      This is bullshit. Defend yourself, but don’t advocate for concealed carry. You’re a cyclist. You have a lock. Keep it in your back pocket, and don’t be afraid to pull it out.

      • ddbs00

        You’re deluding yourself if you think swinging a lock at a group of 4-5 people is going to scare any of them. If that was true just thinking a lock might be there to be swung would deter the cretins. Let a bike rider have a little .22 within reach and see how much safer he’d be.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1510154191 David Kennedy

          i was going to post about carrying a taser, but again, not so simple to fire that baby up when you’re riding, trying to get away, and the adrenalin is pumping.

        • altarego

          Dude, I HAD this happen to me last year, and the kids let it go when they realized I’d brain them with the lock if they got close.

          I don’t want to kill these kids. I understand why they’re doing it, and I know that half of it comes down to the fact that they don’t have anything to lose. They’re human beings, they’re just in a nasty situation, they’re bored, and they’re teenagers looking for a cheap thrill. That’s half the reason they’re willing to risk injury or arrest anyway. They’ve probably been beaten before, and they’ve had things taken from them constantly. They don’t see what they’re doing as a big deal.

          Do I want to take the beating passively? No, but none of what they’re doing warrants using a weapon against them that’s designed to kill.

        • altarego

          I’m not deluding myself at all, dude. This happened to me last year, and the fact that I was wielding a lock was the only deterrent.

          These kids don’t deserve to be shot for seeking a cheap thrill. I’m not going to stand by and take a beating, but I also don’t think the use of a weapon DESIGNED to kill them is an appropriate response.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1059383626 Liam O’Rourke

          Just so we’re clear; you’re advocating shooting unarmed children. Is that about right?

          • Gov’t Employed Anarchist

            Absolutely. If you attack someone while they are in traffic they could die as a result of the ensuing accident and/or assault.

            Deadly, defensive force is legally acceptable in that situation. Shoot one “child” in legitimate defense and watch the whole problem disappear. Of course at that point the parents will get involved because someone’s “child” is dead in the street, and who doesn’t love a good riot.

      • Gov’t Employed Anarchist

        Don’t presume to know what someone else is comfortable with.

    • Evan

      Just to be clear: you’re talking about using guns to scare 12 year olds, correct? That strikes me as a little odd.

      A way to help avoid these situations where multiple cyclists are ambushed in the same afternoon by the same group of kids is to set up an alert system. All it would take is an email list, which is extremely easy to set up and can. Everyone has a smartphone.

      • http://www.facebook.com/wally.h.namer Wally Hyatt Namer

        Why not just put your head back down in the sand and hope that it all goes away…

  • http://twitter.com/editbarry Edit Barry

    At what time did these assaults happen? During commuter hours? After dark?

    • altarego

      They usually happen after 9 p.m.

      • blackeye

        I wouldn’t say that for this type of attack. Muggings, yeah. But over the past few years these incidents have often occurred during commuting hours…the kids aren’t stupid; they know when more cyclists are on the streets.

    • baltimorebrew

      I believe Mark Brown said in comments elsewhere that his incident occurred about 6:30 p.m. And Seth Lueck’s incident was “when he was riding home from work.” Added that to the story – f.s.

      • altarego

        More brazen than ever.

  • martindize

    @ddbs00 stupid..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=13951934 Jameson Ribbens

    I had an incident yesterday at about 5:30pm with what sounds like the same group of kids. It was also at the corner of Guilford and Lanvale. They yelled something and ran behind me but never caught me. I didn’t think much of it but as I turned left onto Lanvale some rocks flew past me. This was pretty bold as there were plenty of drivers around. I’m sorry to hear these kids got somebody.

  • discer

    Sadly, this is part of the risk of riding in a urban area. But, this does not justify a second amendment solution. Maybe a different route or riding in groups would be something to consider. I used to carry maze when riding but had to use it only once on a dog.

    • ddbs00

      So you’re suggesting people give up even more of their liberty. That’s a great idea.

      • Barnadine_the_Pirate

        So you’re suggesting imposing the death penalty for “attempted bike theft.” That’s a great idea.

  • Zoe R

    I’m with discer. I often ride home from my job in Fells, but changed my route about 3 years ago. My former route included Guilford to Lafyette to Fallsway. Even though it was the best route as far as traveling without too much bother from cars, I started feeling uncomfortable because it started feeling too isolated. The stick that broke the camel’s back occurred as I was cycling through Hampden. I was approached by some kids who yelled that they were going to knock me off my bike and take it. I got away with no trouble, but it left me addled. I was determined to keep riding and have chosen a less-preferred route (Mt Royal then north on Charles), but it’s been working out and the increased car traffic actually makes me (ironically) feel safer…Three years with the new route and not a single problem.

  • Guest

    This story sounds so much like the experience I had a few years ago when a group of 7 or 8 teens attacked me on my daily commute (the third and most severe incident of about two years of bike commuting). I continued to ride for maybe two more weeks, armed with pepper spray and baton, then I got a bike rack with the idea to take the riding outside of the city, but then stopped riding completely. I’m still not over this after all that time and think I’ll have to seek professional help one day. Emotionally I went through fear, panic, frustration, depression to moments of extreme anger – the full spectrum.

    Keith Devlin, a Math professor, talked in an interview about the relationship between fear and perception of danger and the mathematical probability of it actually happening. He presented an example of when he had to take a flight the day after the 9/11 attacks. The plane was empty – everybody was afraid to get on a plane that day. But the real probability of this occurring again was much smaller compared to say, getting killed in a car accident.

    His perspective helped me a little with the violence in this city, but if I combine things that happened to me personally (by foot, bike, car, or at home), with things that I witnessed myself happen to others, with things that I heard or read about, and relate this to the time frame (have been living here for 9 years), then I have to conclude that the probability is still relatively large.

    Another thing I try to tell myself to overcome this is that it’s probably better to die happy riding a bicycle, than rot away unhappy and depressed, locked in my own home. Although this thought makes perfect sense to me – I find it difficult to implement.

    In the end I’m still not sure how to fix it – moving away is not an option, and my brain always tries to find a way to avoid the danger (meaning: stay inside) instead of facing and braving it. Maybe one day…

  • celeph

    This story sounds so much like the experience I had a few years ago when a group of 7 or 8 teens attacked me on my daily commute (the third and most severe incident of about two years of bike commuting). I continued to ride for maybe two more weeks, armed with pepper spray and baton, then I got a bike rack with the idea to take the riding outside of the city, but then stopped riding completely. I’m still not over this after all that time and think I’ll have to seek professional help one day. Emotionally I went through fear, panic, frustration, depression to moments of extreme anger – the full spectrum.

    Keith Devlin, a Math professor, talked in an interview about the relationship between fear and perception of danger and the mathematical probability of it actually happening. He presented an example of when he had to take a flight the day after the 9/11 attacks. The plane was empty – everybody was afraid to get on a plane that day. But the real probability of this occurring again was much smaller compared to say, getting killed in a car accident.

    His perspective helped me a little with the violence in this city, but if I combine things that happened to me personally (by foot, bike, car, or at home), with things that I witnessed myself happen to others, with things that I heard or read about, and relate this to the time frame (have been living here for 9 years), then I have to conclude that the probability is still relatively large.

    Another thing I try to tell myself to overcome this is that it’s probably better to die happy riding a bicycle, than rot away unhappy and depressed, locked in my own home. Although this thought makes perfect sense to me – I find it difficult to implement.

    In the end I’m still not sure how to fix it – moving away is not an option, and my brain always tries to find a way to avoid the danger (meaning: stay inside) instead of facing and braving it. Maybe one day…

    • blackeye

      Thank you for writing this. What you say here validates my own feelings about living in the city. I’ve lived here for eight years now and while I have very much loved it at times, encountering the violence on a personal level changed my perspective in a way that now feels unalterable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cris.cowan.1 Cris Cowan

    a ULock to the teeth would probably slow them down

  • blackeye

    Seth writes: “Emotionally, the danger in my psyche persists.”

    To me, this is the worst effect of this violence. Until it happens to you, it’s more of a worrying abstraction than a very real threat. And when it does finally happen (because it will one day, if you bike regularly in this city for years), the threat of it happening again can torment you for months, even years. I was attacked on my bike a couple of summers ago while commuting home. Luckily, the kid didn’t want my bike (purely random violence…yay) and I only suffered a black eye. But the surface damage to one’s body is not the problem. The enjoyment of my commute was shattered at that point. I altered my route constantly after that, and groups of teens in the street struck fear in my heart for months to come. I never stopped riding, but it took a very long time for me to start feeling comfortable again.

    More policing is not the answer. These kids are doing this because they’re bored and angry about their lives. And yet the city is shutting down recreation centers. If the mayor wants more people moving to the city, as she claims, then she needs to first start taking care of the people who have always lived here, and a big part of that is offering the youth of the city opportunities to do something other than roam the street looking for cyclists to beat on. Because who wants to move to a city where that is a problem…

    • celeph

      Well said – yup, until it happened to me I didn’t perceive the stories as real threats. I thought some distracted or aggressive drivers were more of a danger than any bored kids. But it all changed when it actually happened. I had no trouble with rush hour traffic, but I wasn’t prepared for this at all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1510154191 David Kennedy

      more accurately, they’re bored & angry about how they have been raised! and I use the word “raised” loosely. People are not born nasty; they’re taught nasty. What a world of lousy losers who hate themselves.

    • Ed

      Yeah lack of rec centers is the reason why they attacked you.

    • Ed

      Yeah lack of rec centers is the reason why they attacked you.

  • Paul

    I still remember two summers growing up in West Baltimore where there would be at least 60 bikers from other neighborhoods and most of them were at least two to a bike stealing occupied bikes in our alley. It was so many that attempting to defend yourself physically would not work. Hope this is not the same scenario, sounds like a bunch of bored teens.

  • KnowNothingParty

    These arent random attacks, they arent crimes of oppurtunity, and they arent committed because “kids” are bored. Do not for one minute you are not being targeted. You are.

  • jspoke

    Kids will do this to people who ride 49cc scooters as well. They will get in the road in front of you trying to block you or knock you of your scooter. They are super brazen, and the cops do NOTHING. My husband and I have both experienced this behavior, pulled over, called the police, and waited for no one to come. It is frustrating and scary.

  • PeterD_inBalt

    I rode around that area (including some side streets) just before 6:00 PM but didn’t see any group of kids. I have been harassed riding through there before. The folks on the street seem to be angry at bicyclists in general. I’m not sure why. Do they think the bicyclists are narcs?

    • Adam H

      My experiences with the residents of that community has been nothing but positive. I smile and say hello. They smile and say hello. We chat. No problems. It was residents of that community who came to the aid of the battered cyclists yesterday.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1510154191 David Kennedy

    2 things really strike me:

    [1] “Guilford Avenue, the Baltimore “bike boulevard” designated as the city’s favored north-south route for cyclists.” Seriously? It’s deserted & you are a gazelle who’s been running for miles, and the jackels are closing in.

    [2] “…real or threatened violence against cyclists.” I thought threats were considered real violence!

    It’s simple, really. Stay on very-well traveled roads. Period. Because if you bike on Guilford, where the hooligans KNOW you are going to be, you will be assaulted.
    So endure the occasional idiot taunting you, and preserve your psyche. I guess it’s just too much to ask to have police patrol the more abandoned parts of Guilford. I know, they can’t be everywhere. But they can be where the “rash” is happening. Why is this so damn difficult?

    • Evan

      I agree. I was very disappointed when I heard that Guilford was chosen for the “bike boulevard” as well. Should have been Calvert. Move all the parking to the left side and build a protected lane there. Never going to happen, but a man can dream.

  • http://twitter.com/ecogordo Gordon Steen

    Stay aware. Stick with traffic. Guilford can be pretty isolated. Even though it is a bike boulevard, I prefer Charles going north with more cars and more room to maneuver going up hill. I wouldn’t go the weapon route. Next time they could back with weapons as well which escalates the situation for the next biker.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.e.wolfe David Wolfe

    At about 6:15 pm yesterday a block or so past the Copycat Building a group of kids yelled something and one of them ran behind me but didn’t catch up. They didn’t appear too menacing, so I didn’t think much of it until other cyclists reported their experiences.

  • Arcturus1

    I saw these same kids, around 6:00 or 6:15pm on the corner of Guilford by the copycat building, just at the bridge. I was headed south, downhill at speed- they yelled bike, ran out a little bit and threw something but they never came close to hitting me. Wasn’t the first time either, and that’s why I don’t use the Fallsway and Guilford. Bikers should stick on St. Paul and Calvert, screw the motorists.

  • KnowNothingParty

    If you hurt one of these predators, you will be portrayed as the over reacting racist and they will be portrayed as a poor victim. The police cant seem to stop, find or charge these thugs for attacking NUMEROUS cyclists – but you will damn surebe charged if you injure one of them defending yourself or your property. And if others in the hood witness you fighting these cretins, they wont hesitate to help – the predators that is. You do not have to wait for someone to assault you to defend yourself, ohh thats rights you arent allowed to defend yourself in Owe’Malleys Maryland

  • Gerald Neily

    Here’s my 2010 Brew article about how to make Guilford Avenue work for bikes and the community, with 21 more reader comments to add to the present 38.

    http://www.baltimorebrew.com/2010/09/01/making-guilford-safer-for-baltimore%E2%80%99s-bicyclists/

  • Gerald Neily

    Here’s my 2010 Brew article about how to make Guilford Avenue work for bikes and the community, with 21 more reader comments to add to the present 38.

    http://www.baltimorebrew.com/2010/09/01/making-guilford-safer-for-baltimore%E2%80%99s-bicyclists/

  • HS

    I realize that common sense is at a premium these days, but has it ever occurred to any of the cyclists how foolish it is to be riding a $300-$1000 toy, while dressed like a twit, within a half mile of some of the most impoverished areas in Maryland? No wonder the cops don’t do anything–they’re hoping some of the silly gets beaten out.

    • Arcturus1

      Toy? I don’t own a car, my bike is my primary means of transportation- losing it would be a disaster, because I would have no way to work, etc. I’m sure I’ve spent far less on my bike than you on your car (I assume you are a motorist, or you wouldn’t say something so idiotic), yet because I bike I’m at fault somehow????? Pardon me for not being rich. I imagine most of the commuters that use Guilford are in about the same situation.

      • HS

        Hundreds of thousands of people in Baltimore have no car. I was one of them for years. Yet, somehow, they all find a way to get to work, school, and stores regularly without endangering themselves or others, while impeding traffic.

        It all goes back to that common sense thing: Riding a bicycle amidst 3000-4000 lb moving machines, operated by drivers of dubious ability, is sheer stupidity. This is particularly true when considering that most riders’ main objective is to be seen, not transportation. If I’m so wrong and bicycling is so necessary, why are there so many less bikes on public venues during the winter?

        • awk82

          I nominate HS for Uninformed Brew Commenter of the Century!

        • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.mirenzi Aaron Mirenzi

          I’ve read some evidence to suggest that per commute, you are more likely to die in a car than on a bike. if true, it wouldn’t be sheer stupidity to ride a bike. Moreover, your assertion that bikers are dumb for riding with cars misrepresents role drivers have in actually causing accidents with bicyclists. Your attitude is such that any bike accident is the bikers fault and that drivers shouldn’t assume responsibility because bikers are dumb for even being there in the first place.

          I understand why people have reservations against biking. People just like to get in their cars and get where they need to go without impediment. But more cars are definitely not the answer. Half the time, congestion caused by cars allows me to bike faster than the flow of traffic. And here’s the thing, if you think traffic is bad now, its only going to get worse as Baltimore gets re-urbanized. Think about the Harbor Point development. Traffic on Aliceanna is already parking lot, and its liable to get worse because of this development. I bike between the “moving” cars and parked cars in the sharrows bike lane and basically blow the cars away.

          Any healthy city is going to have a mixture of cars, bikes, buses, and public transit, or its not going to function optimally. Your going to have to get used to bikes on the road: they aren’t going away. Here’s another point: bikers don’t take up parking sports. Whenever you are driving behind a biker and get annoyed, just think that if this biker drove a car, they may be taking the parking spot your driving around 15 minutes to find.

          Your idea that bikers just want to “be seen” is pretty ludicrous.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=821545716 Ken Benjes

            Hi Aaron

        • http://www.facebook.com/bsicard1 Bob Sicard

          HS….. I must ask how u know all of these people found alternate ways to work without endangering themselves or impeding traffic? So you’re saying no one should ride bikes because drivers don’t have the ability or common sense to avoid cyclists? How did u and these other drivers get licenses? Your idea of common sense lacks any idea of common sense. What do you base your objective that riders wanting to be seen? WTF? What did your parents to do you? Please stay off the roads.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wally.h.namer Wally Hyatt Namer

    Why don’t the city pole-leece dept. do some real work and have some plain clothe cops riding plain bikes in the trouble areas so that some of these aminals can be stopped! Oh that’s right, it doesn’t fit their agenda!!!!! morons!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/wally.h.namer Wally Hyatt Namer

    why not just get t-shirts. all cyclists must wear them so the street crap can readily identify you as – VICTIM !!!!
    That will fix it for you and the mini-mob who want to beat you silly and take your stuff. But that is okay because your ‘leaders’/guv’ment tells you it’s okay!!!
    morons

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeff.dudley Jeff Dudley

    Uggghhh! My daily bike ride on that route is the best part of the day. One day last week I saw a group of kids, maybe 12 or so in the street by guilford and 22nd. No way I was going through. Just went over to Calvert for a couple blocks. No easy solution.

  • Gerald Neily

    The basic physical problem here is “Border Vacuums”, a term invented by Jane Jacobs (who else?), and of which Baltimore seems to be the leader among U.S. cities. Marc Szarkowski has been writing a fabulous ongoing series of articles about this. It’s so good, it should be made into a book.

    http://envisionbaltimore.blogspot.com/2013/02/baltimores-border-vacuums.html

    The big border vacuum here is North Avenue, and specifically the Alice Palace Education Administration superblock which interrupts Guilford Avenue. While most urbanists rail against cars and persistently call for two-way streets, which Guilford already is, Marc tells the real story.

    • William P. Wang

      And this certainly isn’t a new phenomenon. Back in the early 90s, my roomate was chased by a group of kids trying to get his bike. We lived in Mt. Vernon and he was riding late evening back from the UM School of Medicine along the Howard Street corridor.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jamiehunt344 James Hunt

    PeterD_inBalt wrote: “I rode around that area (including some side streets) just before 6:00 PM but didn’t see any group of kids. I have been harassed riding through there before. The folks on the street seem to be angry at bicyclists in general. I’m not sure why. Do they think the bicyclists are narcs?”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Probably not … it’s been many decades since I was a thirteen-year-old boy, but I seem to recall it as a time of hanging out with other thirteen-year-old boys, goading each other into ever more stupid and sometimes violent activities. Fortunately, most of us had fathers who — once they caught on to what we were up to — put the hammer down. Unfortunately, what Gerald and Mark refer to as “Border Vacuums” are analogous to the island in the book “Lord of the Flies.” No adults around; cyclists are stand-ins for the character known as “Piggy.” It’s nothing personal; the tribe just wants your glasses, er, bicycle.

  • Evan

    I think that situations like last week might be able to be largely avoided with a simple mailing group for area cyclists, so I went ahead and made one:

    https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!aboutgroup/bikesafebmore

    “Cycling can be dangerous! This email list serves as an alert system for dangerous situations as they occur. If you are threatened, assaulted, or attacked, after you have gotten yourself safe, please send an email to the group so that the area can be immediately avoided. Thanks!”

    It seems like such an easy and obvious way to avoid repeat incidents like this. I’d encourage you guys to join the group.

  • cwals99

    There is no way we will have peace if the injustice is so great! Think of what Baltimore’s public policies do to people in need.

  • pfc30

    I ride up Calvert rather than Guilford because it’s more populated. With all the cars though, it does feel a bit scary. If more folks would bike up Calvert on the evening commute, it might make the cars behave better. In the mornings though, Guilford seems fine to bike down.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jamiehunt344 James Hunt

    cwals99 wrote:
    +
    Flag as inappropriate
    There is no way we will have peace if the injustice is so great! Think of what Baltimore’s public policies do to people in need.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    You mean like the homeless, whose share of the city budget is larger than the Pratt’s or Rec and Park’s (not to mention the thousands of volunteers who contribute hundreds of thousands of additional hours and dollars to help them)?

    • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.mirenzi Aaron Mirenzi

      What do the homeless have to do with bike attacks?

  • Andrew

    Stop making excuses for these “cretins”. If they really want out of their ghetto they could study at home for their SAT’s. That’s the social contract of the United States. Equal opportunity, but you have to at least try. We need less rec’ centers, not more. Part of the ghetto they live in is the culture of “sports for black kids, academics for white”. They aren’t owed anything. Plenty of people have risen out of poverty in their own lifetimes to become model citizens. And athletes don’t count. Being poor and black, they odds of getting a full-scholarship to a great university with just a C average are about 100X that of their white suburban counterparts. Great schools are fighting over who gets them so as to balance out racial quotas that are mandated.But no, we owe them special programs, remedial reading at age 18, at-risk programs, special understanding for not having the slightest inclination to act in their own interest. It’s our fault that they mug us.

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