A great picture by Andy Molloy in the May 14 Kennebec Journal caught my eye. A superb teaching moment, if you will.

The picture shows Gardiner police Chief James Toman chatting with at least five students on bikes reminding them that anyone under the age of 16 must wear a helmet.

I have been a cyclist for 30 years and I also remind young people and adults about the safety involved regarding wearing a helmet while biking. Helmets do prevent serious damage to the head if involved in a cycling accident.

My concern with the photo pertains to the caption under the photo. Not sure who is responsible for writing the photo’s caption, but I find it difficult to imagine the chief calling the kids riding their bikes a “gang,” as the caption reads.

I have seen Mr. Molloy speak with teens and never heard him use the term gang. The connotation of the word “gang” used with this picture disturbs me and maybe others. Kids riding bikes, practicing wheelies, etc., is so far removed from what many imagine a gang to be.

Perhaps a more precise and accurate word could have been used to describe those young people enjoying themselves on an all too rare sunny day in central Maine.


Greg Durgin

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