Monday Briefing: The irony of gang initiations

KENT ANIMAL SHELTER COURTESY PHOTO | 4-month-old Mona Lisa was almost killed by a gang of youths as part of an initiation.

While working as a reporter in NYC I often found myself responding to crime events involving slashings. I remember one in particular, in which a young woman in Washington Heights was slashed several times across the face one night as she was on her way to a college class. I interviewed her in her home with her devastated father sitting nearby.

The Daily News ran photos of her cut and bandaged face.

Police said that slashing came as part of a gang initiation. I think a suspect was located days later, and some people in the neighborhood roughed him up before he was held for police. The News ran a headline that mentioned something about street justice.

As we reported Friday, a puppy was recently rescued from certain death in Bellport just as a gang of youths was hanging her from a chain as part of a gang initiation.

This is the ultimate irony, prove your toughness to us by attacking defenseless women and animals. One of our Facebook posters suggested “these so-called gang members should all just do us a huge favor and hang each other.”

I can understand the passion behind such a comment, but of course many of these young people either don’t have healthy home lives or cave under intense pressure from people they consider friends. And many have the ability to be rehabilitated with the proper love, time and attention.

I would suggest a sort of public service campaign where gang members aren’t glorified but cast as exactly what they are — a bunch of scared little cowards.

• The News-Review reported Friday that Oct. 11 will be the day Riverhead School District voters will be asked to head to the polls to vote on whether or not to approve a $78.3 million infrastructure improvements bond. The school board is also putting a separate proposition on the ballot, one asking voters whether they want to spend $7 million to build an additional gym at Riverhead High School.

We’re hoping to get a copy of the building plans early today; they should be available in the school clerk’s office. Check back later for the details.

• I would make a great PR person for MacArthur Airport. I love describing to the un-initiated what a pleasure it is to fly out of Islip instead of making that sometimes interminable trip in Queens, or God forbid, Newark, N.J.

It is literally possible to get to MacArthur Airport 15 to 20 minutes before a plane takes off and still make the flight — with minutes to spare.

The best part of flying out of Long Island is you don’t have to deal with that all-too-stressful experience of airport security personell screaming at you to “Move it, meatball!” as you’re desperately trying to pull that first huge piece of luggage from your dad’s packed trunk.

Now comes word that MacArther is on JetBlue’s short list for a new location. Yes, the best airport in the region could be getting one of the best airlines. I’m crossing my fingers; I’ve always had good experiences on JetBlue. If this does happen, however, I think airport executives should consider capping the airport’s size, lest it becomes another JFK — and Veterans Highway becomes another traffic-clogged Van Wyck.

• If you haven’t done so already, scan our homepage today. There area tons of slide shows and stories from a busy weekend in Riverhead!

• Like it or not, most folks love celebrity stories. That became evident again this week when the most read story on our chain of websites had to do with “Real Housewives of New Jersey.”

• Another water rescue in Wading River brings attention to how careful we need to be in the water. Be safe people.