You could easily say that last week was an unusually bad news week.
The headlines included “substitute teacher charged with sexual assault”, “Parks director arrested”, and “three arrested on drug charges”. However, the most upsetting headline, if you had to pick one, was obviously, “1 dead in shooting.”
We have not kept count of the exact number of homicides that have occurred in our community and county so far this year, but we can assure you it is far too many for a town this size. The truth of the matter is that one murder is too much for any community, no matter what the size.
Killings are bad enough when it involves rival gangs shooting it out over their respective territory but they do choose that lifestyle. However, it is a whole different matter when the casualty is an innocent bystander who becomes the victim of random stupidity.
On a late November evening a 47-year-old Helena-West Helena resident apparently heard gunshots coming very near his home. He opened the door and in the twinkling of an eye and the blast from a 40-caliber Glock pistol his life tragically ended.
We don't know what physical or emotional state the suspect in the shooting was in when he fired that fateful shot but he certainly wasn't thinking clearly. With one stupid act of random violence, a man's life was lost and the lives of his family were forever changed.
If possible, an even dumber act took place when another man gave the suspect (a convicted felon) access to the weapon.
This is not the first time such random acts of violence have taken place in Helena-West Helena, just the most recent. Over the years, thugs and gang members firing indiscriminately into crowds of people have killed innocent teens.
If you think this is going to turn into a gun control editorial, think again. We firmly believe in people's rights to defend their family, homes and personal property. It is ridiculous to have to live in fear in your own house or neighborhood. People are being subjected to watching drug deals go down on their street corners and idiots roaming the streets high as kite from their heroin and cocaine addictions.
We truly wish that arming oneself with a gun were not the solution to stopping the rising crime problem in our community. What else works? Neighborhood watches would if the people would truly get involved. But frankly, the public is frustrated when criminals are picked up and put back on the street faster than you can spell “bail.”
We are now at the mercy of an undisciplined society and we live almost constantly in terror of the children that were beget by children.
Unless the judicial system changes dramatically and quickly, this problem doesn't look like it is going to have a happy ending anytime soon.