The following letter was sent by Omar Simpson to Harford County Executive Barry Glassman and County Council President Richard Slutzky. A copy was provided to The Dagger for publication:
Before he passed, my Uncle woke me up in the middle of the night, while it was still dark, and said, “Grab your stuff. Let’s go fishing.” “Fishing?”, I said. My 13 year old mind had no idea why my Uncle would want me to go fishing at 4 A.M. But being the dutiful nephew, I packed all our gear and we headed out to the beach. When we got to the beach we went to the pier and set up. All my uncle said was, “Let’s sit here.” My young boyish mind thought at first, that I’d be bored, but a funny thing happened. The stars came out, bright and beautiful and the waves lapped at shore while the wind danced across the waters. Before I knew it, my Uncle was telling me it was time to go home. So we packed up and quietly headed home. To this day, this is one of my fondest memories. Just me, my Uncle and the waves. To this day, I still believe that a few quiet moments next to the waters can solve any problem. So, let’s go fishing and solve Harford County’s issues. My main concerns Jobs and Violence.
Violence in communities is in large part a byproduct of poverty and need. Not race or ethnicity. According to the U.S Census, Whites tend to commit crimes against whites in their impoverished areas. Blacks tend to commit crimes against blacks in their impoverished areas and Hispanics tend to commit crimes against Hispanics in their impoverished areas, etc…etc. This fact is well known. You rarely see wealthy or even middle class whites, blacks or Hispanics killing each other unless you happen to be watching the ID channel on cable! So, to me, it seems the common denominator in violent communities is poverty. If this is the case, shouldn’t a large part of our efforts to reduce violence be aimed at eliminating poverty in violent communities? Wouldn’t we get the most bang for the buck that way?
Before he left office, Sheriff Bane and I talked on several occasions about how to reduce crime in Harford County. I strongly believe that poverty is a major factor in criminality. Poverty is the mountain we must overcome. One of the programs we discussed was a church program called “HomeBoy Industries.” (Check out: https://www.facebook.com/HomeboyIndustries and http://www.homeboyindustries.org/ ). These programs take at-risk young people and teach them marketable skills that they can use to feed themselves and their families. If we are serious about reducing violence in our community, this is the type of program we need to create here in Harford County! Making at- risk youth employable is the key to reducing violence! A man with a good job doesn’t want to risk it, so he is calmer. A man with a job is more at ease because he knows he can feed his family.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” ~ Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837–1919)
Worried about costs? Heck, don’t worry! Give me a call and I’ll gladly help you get a program similar to HomeBoy Industries up and running in Harford County! One thing we can agree on…we need to reduce violence and create Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
Let’s go fishing!
Omar Simpson, Esq.