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'Save Our Sons' meeting focuses on youth violence

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The theme for the evening was "Save Our Sons." The event attracted a crowd looking for ways to deal with murders of young black men in Buffalo.
The event was the latest from County Legislator Betty Jean Grant's series "We Are Women Warriors." A crowd was there to listen to the issues, hear what's being done and to deal with the problems survivors of street violence face.

Karen Ellington says her son did the right thing and left Buffalo for a job in Memphis, only to be found in a car trunk with five bullets in him. The former council member says it's hard afterwards.

Erie County Probation Commissioner Brian McLaughlin was there because his agency deals with approximately 400 young people, mostly male. McLaughlin says Probation is trying to put fewer people in detention, instead trying to help them outside to succeed.  

"We're always looking for a better program. We're always introducing new programs. And, depending on the kid and how involved and willing their family is to work with it, we can get some results. It is better than it was. Like I said, the whole attitude of the system, going in,  is more about, let's fix these kids before they get in front of the judge, before they get deeper into the system, before they get into real trouble," McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin added there is less violent crime than there used to be, but there is still a lot of it.

Robert McKethin from the FATHERS group was there, saying young men need their dads and if dad isn't there they need mentors from groups like his to learn the right path.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.