Did last week’s Sun Press editorial on July 7th upset anyone but me? In case you missed it, the Sun Press wrote an editorial supporting Cleveland Heights and our response to flash mobs, rioting, unruly teens, and the crimes they have committed. In the editorial, they labeled these teens, “terrorists,” and concocted an analogy with 9/11, for some inexplicable reason. I can’t respond to the Sun Press in print because I am a candidate for City Council in Cleveland Heights, so I thought I’d share my displeasure with this kind of sensationalism with readers of the Heights Observer Blog.
Our city acted decisively to restore order, which the Sun Press editorial supported. I do, also. They should have stopped right there. Instead they went on and labeled these juveniles “terrorists,” which is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. Yes, these teens committed crimes and behaved like thugs, and innocent people were harmed. Local businesses have suffered. Our community was shaken. That doesn’t make these teenagers “terrorists.” Not by any stretch of imagination. There were no bombings or senseless murders. Out of control delinquents, yes. Criminals to prosecute, yes. “Terrorists,” no.
The editorial went on to recommend that we mirror our response to this problem with teenage “terrorists” to our country’s response to 9/11, which is a ridiculous and overblown analogy. 9/11? Really? Bring on the predator drones! Sensationalism still sells newspapers, apparently.
I prefer the saner approach we are taking. Demonstrating and reinforcing appropriate behavior for teens begins with parents & adults doing so, with support from our city government, law enforcement, local businesses, community leaders and organizations, educators, mentors and the media. Fear mongering commentary from the Sun Press contributes nothing positive to the steps we are taking and the discussions we are having to resolve this challenge to our community and restore our way of life.