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What does Freddie Gray have to do with Mount Vernon arson?

Your article regarding the arson incident on the morning of Dec. 21, provided a thorough report of this crime spree (“Cars set on fire overnight in Mount Vernon; warrant issued for 'person of interest',” Dec. 22). This is exactly what I was looking for when I read the article. However, it seems you need to be reminded that no one died in this incident. Why does there need to be a discussion of the fact that 300 murders occurred in Baltimore already this year in this article? Why use this incident in Mount Vernon to reinforce another very negative narrative that only serves to support negative stereotypes about the city? Should we discuss the murder rate if a shoplifter gets arrested?

It seems your reporter was able to find a resident of Mount Vernon whose quote could also support The Sun’s apparent desire to push the despair narrative. Thanks for this, Sunpapers. City living can be perhaps described as a tenuous balance between hope and despair. Hope leads to all the good things that can fulfill this city’s great potential. Despair leads nowhere but to more despair. So, my question is why use a report about a crime spree in Mount Vernon to editorialize about your apparent despair?

In addition, there is literally nothing to indicate that this incident was in any way related to the riots following the Freddie Gray tragedy. All indications are that these fires were the result of the actions of one individual. To somehow connect what happened three years ago with the acts of one individual in Mount Vernon seems to be a preposterous reach. It does, however, serve to push your negative, despairing narrative.

Parenthetically, you mention that 2018 is seeing an overall reduction in crime in the city. Wouldn’t that seem to be a signal that there is hope? Instead, your report seems to minimize this progress. Any understanding of the problems that this city faces would almost regard as fact that change will not occur overnight. Signs of improvement should be emphasized and, perhaps, even celebrated rather than ignored or diminished. Your treatment of this improvement in crime seems to be dismissed as an inconvenient truth that must not interfere with your preferred narrative of despair.

By the way, at this point, it seems an individual has already been arrested for this series of crimes (“Police arrest woman in Mount Vernon car fires,” Dec. 22). But don’t let that get in the way of of your story.

Joseph James

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