Thorns to continuing decay of our fair city. Hmmm, let's see, you can take a few minutes walk from, say, this newspaper building, and come to the sight of an apparent arson of a downtown building; the residence - God bless his soul - where a helpless infant boy stayed who lived a death sentence while beaten and brutalized before ultimately murdered and; take you pick, go to a number of locations where in broad daylight drug transactions have taken and take place on a regular basis including at a public park located smack dab in the center of Salem. You can't blame the cops. There aren't enough of them to cast a net over all the poison people. We have been staunch backers of the Salem Police and other local law enforcement agencies and will continue to do so. The hard crime element in our city and surrounding communities has become a plague. You can't possibly expect to eliminate all of the locust. Part of it is the infiltration of heroin and meth-based drug filth from Youngstown and other large areas. Part of it are absentee landlords who do not monitor their rental properties as long as the rent check is being sent on time. Take a walk around some of our neighborhoods and draw your own conclusions. Some of these places are scum magnets. Obviously crime has always occurred to some degree. But are we the only ones who feel that serious crime has become almost routine around here?