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That Image Thing
January 25, 2010 - Joe Gorman
At about the same time Saturday morning, two images of Youngstown were vying -- one was fantasy, and some would even say, utopian, while the other was a harsh reality.
At the Covelli Centre downtown the state championship football teams for Ursuline and Mooney were being feted in an event that one observer told me was nothing more than a glorified photo op as politician after politician offered tributes and resolutions to both teams.
About three or four miles on the other side of the Market Street bridge, there were photos being taken there also: in the darkened parking lot of St. Dominic's Church on East Lucius Avenue where an 80-year-old woman was killed after attending Mass. Crime scene personnel and detectives -- along with news crews -- were recording every detail they could get on film of the crime scene and the body of Angeline Fimognari, who attended Mass every day and stayed behind to pray before she was killed.
At the Covelli Centre, that was an event that should have been celebrated: Large groups of young people and their coaches representing two schools in the city who used their God-given talents and abilities to the utmost.
But in the parking lot at St. Dom's, that was the top story on the news and that was what everyone was talking about. And no matter how many achievements there are to celebrate, or how many new ``tech jobs' or ``green spaces' are being created, the simple, basic truth for those in the city is that in some neighborhoods, you are taking your life into your hands even when you go to worship the Lord.
That is the image that has been created by more than 15 years of mind numbing violence, mostly thug on thug violence, but violence nevertheless, that hardens the hearts of most residents, leaving them uncaring and unfeeling as long as it does not hit them or their neighborhood.
But this murder Saturday -- the fourth in the city already this year, not including the death of a man killed by police after he shot up an East Side apartment complex before turning his gun on responding officers -- will wake some people up. For awhile at least. And I know it has raised the ire of detectives. Indeed, one long time investigator I spoke with on the phone Saturday evening did not mince words when he spoke about his anger that such a victim was picked and his hope that the person responsible is caught soon.
But this period of being roused from a deep sleep will only last for awhile, even after the guy is caught. I don't blame the cops in the trenches. They don't have the luxury of celebrating or atending press conferences or photo ops. There's always another case that needs solved, always another person that gets in trouble and needs help.
Is that fair? Who knows? But it's reality. And that's the image of the city, right now, the image of senseless violence that catches an 80-year-old churchgoing woman in its snare, and until something changes the hearts and minds and even souls of those in the neighborhoods, it will stay that way, no matter how many championships or jobs or dollars from the federal government come our way.
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