We receive hundreds of submissions on our Open Source platform, where readers can submit questions to our newsroom that we answer in article form.
Other submissions aren't always fit for a story. Sometimes it's because they're easily answered in one or two sentences. But other times ... well, you can read for yourself.
Please keep scrolling to find our most random assortment of anonymously-asked Open Source questions, and their answers. And if you'd like to be featured in our next installment, click here to submit your question.
• Richland County Equity Question. Why are the minorities committing most of the crimes?
I'm going to assume you asked this question earnestly and give you an earnest answer.
This is a statement that is factually untrue in Richland County.
Our local law enforcement agencies in Richland County regularly submit Uniform Crime Report statistics to the FBI, to be used in monitoring the crime rate for the United States. These totals are voluntarily submitted by the agencies.
I looked up the violent crime statistics for the year 2020. Our police departments in Butler and Lexington reported no violent crimes in 2020; Bellville reported two incidents, Mansfield reported 98 incidents, Ontario reported 1 incident, Shelby reported 22 incidents, and the Richland County Sheriff's Office reported 58 incidents.
Of these incidents, 124 violent crimes were committed by a White offender, 70 were committed by a Black offender, and two by an Asian offender.
Also of note: According to the latest U.S. Census data, Richland County's population is 87 percent White.
So by this math, in regards to your question, the answer is: Minorities are not committing most of the crimes in Richland County. You can check the statistics for yourself here.
Now, if you were not earnestly asking this question and your intent was to be snarky, then I suggest you explore where this bias might come from.
According to this study published by the nonprofit The Sentencing Project, White Americans tend to overestimate the proportion of crime committed by people of color due to unconscious racial biases — you can test your own implicit biases using this test.
While you're at it, I also recommend reading this piece from the Richland County Equity Challenge about implicit bias in our criminal justice system:
I will leave you with this bit of wisdom from psychologist Adam Grant: It takes humility to consider information that contradicts your opinions; it takes curiosity to actively seek evidence that challenges your views.
• Does Carl (Fernyak) have any regrets selling MTBT?
I asked him. He says no.
• The mortgage stimulus program ad on your site is a scam ... please look into removing it
Unfortunately this happens from time to time on our site. For this answer, I had to go to our digital services manager, David Yoder:
"Thank you for alerting us. We have a dedicated team that tracks and monitors quality of advertisers constantly. Occasionally, due to real-time bidding, bad actors will find a loophole that skirts the industry-leading measure we have in place. When that occurs, the quality assurance team and monitoring software usually work quickly to find and remove them in under three hours.
"If you see the ad persisting over the course of days, please let us know again so we can address it. If you have a screen capture, URL or name of the advertiser, we can also submit it for immediate removal."
We have that! Our Area History section is chock full of stories from columnists Tim McKee, Mark Sebastian Jordan, Kenny Libben, our very own editor Larry Phillips, the Ohio History Connection, and more.
• Why is a banner that says "F——K BIDEN" allowed to be displayed on the front porch of a home on the south side of Cook Road not far from Malabar School?
Look, I get it: How is a word we're not even allowed to print allowed to be flown freely for small eyes to see.
The short answer is, the first amendment. The long answer is, it's a tough question that pits standards of public decency against our Constitutional right to freedom of speech.
Where I live in Shelby, an identical flag flying in town on West Main Street caused similar concern with the nearby school. Police Chief Lance Combs was called to respond.
"In general, it's a protected first amendment right," Combs told me. "It's in poor taste, but it's on someone's own property. Everything that we researched says, because it's on someone's property, it's a free speech issue."
The mayor of Munford, Tennessee said it most succinctly: "It's vile. It's vulgar. It's protected speech under the Constitution."
• not sure
Well ... we appreciate your honesty. And just FYI, while we do love to hear from our readers, if you don't have a question ... you certainly don't have to submit anything...
But! If you do, please hit us up anytime using our Open Source platform: