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Shootings ahead of Father's Day weekend underscore importance of father figures

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 18:29:31-04

BALTIMORE — The recent violence going into Father's Day weekend underscores just how important father figures are as it relates to safety and violence.

It’s a typical day for Munir Bahar and his two little girls, spending quality time at the park feeding the ducks and blasting off rockets.

He tells us as a father, his number one priority is educating, guiding and nurturing his daughters; but, most importantly it’s protecting them.

With shootings skyrocketing throughout the city, it underscores what's missing in Baltimore that guidance that prevents senseless killings which is why Bahar tells us the responsibility of being a father extends beyond the walls of his home.

He's built a years-long relationship with young men from his neighborhood like Demetrice Lucas focused on guiding them through manhood.

Some days they spend training, others they spend working on construction like on Thursday.

Demetrice after being shot about a year ago knows first-hand the importance of having the right type of men around him.

"I wasn’t arguing with anybody. MY surroundings you feel me,” he recalled.

Someone shot him with the intention of hitting someone else.

Choosing the right company is a life lesson he learned after being shot and it's reinforced by being around Munir everyday who could teach him that through his life experiences.

But everyone, like we saw in Wednesday’s mass shooting doesn’t have that influence.

“If I think positive and another guy thinks negative and he wants to kill me, in my head I'm going to try to prevent it, but at the end of the day I'm going to protect myself. Both sides have to have the influence. The influence doesn’t matter if both sides don’t have it,” Lucas explained.

That’s why Munir intentionally bridges that gap for young men across the city working to figure life out.

According to United Families International, boys who are fatherless from birth are more than 3 times as likely to go to jail as peers from intact families

“Men in Baltimore, we've got to see this like we're at war. People say it starts at the home. Some of our kids don't have a stable home so we're past that point. Let's stop saying that and figure out what we've got to do to wrap ourselves around these young brothers up here,” Bahar shared.

“We've got a whole generation of kids who don’t have no fathers. Their fathers locked up, their father's dead. Their fathers getting high. We just cant leave them to the streets to figure out manhood on their own. They're not going to figure out manhood,” he added.

So that they learn by example how to be better for the families, communities and generations behind them ultimately creating a safer Baltimore for his daughters.