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Once again, we see a possible double standard applied in reporting white-on-black homicide versus black-on-white homicide. The stabbing death of Robert Ponsi, allegedly by three black teenagers, is justifiably covered as a tragedy by The Sun, presented as straightforward reporting of a theft and assault leading to a homicide outcome, which I believe is accurate and appropriate. However, given past media coverage, I have to wonder how the story would be portrayed if three white youths did the same to a young black man ("Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake calls killing of bicyclist 'tragic,'" Jan. 13).

I think activists and some media would leverage the opportunity to classify it as a hate crime, using it as further evidence of systemic white racism rampant in the city and country at large. The fact is that outside of those obvious incidents of true hate crime (for example, the South Carolina church shootings and the murder of a sheriff's deputy in Texas), assault, theft, and homicides unfortunately occur far too often across all racial and color lines as crimes of opportunity or greed and are not representative of any endemic societal issues beyond criminal activity.

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My empathy goes out to the mother of Mr. Ponsi, and my admiration goes out to Thomascine Greene for her measured and heartfelt comments as well. I do not criticize the Sun's reporting — in fact, I commend it. I only hope that the same fair and objective reporting and perspectives from the black community are in the same tone when the assailant and victim colors are reversed. Robert Ponsi was white, and given the loss of this fine young man, no one can argue that white lives do matter as well. Dawn Ponsi would appreciate hearing that.

Jerry Cothran, Baltimore

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