Written January 29, 2015     
 

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© 2015 Bob Lonsberry

 
 
ADVICE FOR THE YOUTH OF ROCHESTER

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I have a message for the youth of the city of Rochester.

When you are making a video of a beat down, hold your phone horizontally.

That’s the flat way. Wide, not tall.

That way, when they play it on the evening news, it fills the whole screen, instead of that bogus little narrow picture like we had last night.

Honestly, if you decide this is your day to become king of YouTube, and you pull out the Samsung like every other yo on the block, try to get it right.

I’m a little tired of Rochester beat down videos having such crappy production values. Nothing says amateur quite like shaky-ass videos that show more shoes and treetops than they do actual beating.

It’s just embarrassing to see Detroit or Chicago beat downs, steady, no extraneous shouting and heckling, lots of action, and then compare them with Rochester beat downs. It’s like we turned all the cameras over to 2-year-olds.

When I turn on the evening news to see the gang assaults at the new bus station, I don’t think I should have to put up with the crappy video we got served up last night.

If the city is going to be killed by the savagery of its residents, for crying out loud, we at least ought to get some good video out of it.

That’s point one.

Point two is that Rochester is never going to be anything other than a washed up hell hole until somebody somehow does something to stop rampaging city youths, overwhelmingly black, who act like marauding monsters on a pretty much daily basis.

The new bus station, years in the making, pitched as the solution to a variety of woes, is barely two months old and already has a reputation as a dangerous and uncomfortable place to be. The daily fights and savagery at the Liberty Pole have merely been shifted a couple of blocks and around the corner to Mortimer Street.

Taxpayers spent untold millions of dollars to replace uncomfortable outdoor shelters with a beautiful, climate-controlled bus terminal and the physical and spiritual degradation of it began immediately.

That’s not because cops don’t have body cams. That’s not because of a so-called school-to-prison pipeline. That’s not because New York prosecutes some 17-year-olds as adults. That’s not because Rochester doesn’t get enough state aid.

That’s not because of concentration of poverty or the fact a bunch of white people moved to the suburbs.

That’s because people don’t raise their kids right. That’s because the culture of much of the city has collapsed upon itself, failing in almost every regard, most notably in its ability to produce civil, law-abiding children.

For years teen-agers ran rampant downtown. That’s what killed Midtown Plaza. It clustered at the Liberty Pole, it got shifted to Main and Clinton, now it’s at the bus terminal.

It defines downtown.

And all the money and all the effort and all the hope and hype won’t amount to a hill of beans unless and until the city can clamp down on inappropriate behavior and bring it to an end.

Period. No exceptions.

That is the immutable law of the universe.

All the fancy lofts in the world aren’t going to draw people to downtown if they fear they won’t be safe coming and going. The state money can keep flowing and the big talkers can keep talking and every time they Tweet out another fight or assault at the bus terminal, or some video ends up on the evening news, downtown’s future grows a little more dim.

Those weren’t victims on the news last night, they were predators. Jackals running wild.

The bus terminal pushes them outside and pretends they’re not their problem. The police come and do what they do. And tomorrow it’s the same thing all over again.

And sometimes somebody gets some video.

And it’s not even good video.

So I repeat my request.

If you and your Galaxy are going to record the death of a great city, if the chapter we add to Rochester’s history is to be a sad one, let’s at least have some quality.

So take a deep breath, press your elbows against your body, put your feet shoulder width apart, hold the phone horizontally, and push the red dot. Pan the camera smoothly to follow the action, trying to move your body instead of your arms. With a little practice, you should be able to improve substantially.

That way, when we watch beat downs on the evening news, we won’t get motion sick.


- by Bob Lonsberry © 2015

   
        
   
 
    

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