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Editorial: Curb the violence

POSTED: February 8, 2007 5:05 a.m.
The first month of the new year has been a rough one. Not only has Liberty County lost two of its young people to violent acts, but two others were killed in a car crash.
The one-vehicle wreck Sunday evening claimed the life of two teenage girls, both of Hinesville. Two young men received minor injuries in the wreck. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Prior to that, a Riceboro toddler reportedly died from neglect and physical abuse. The youngster’s body was found in a crib.
The child had been in the care of a female relative for the past 10 months. The woman and her boyfriend have been arrested in connection with the case.
Mid-month, a teen was shot to death in a Hinesville mobile home park. A place said to be rampant with violence. One person told the Coastal Courier people avoid sitting by their windows in the evenings because they are afraid of getting shot.
First of all, it probably wouldn’t matter where someone sits since bullets can travel through a mobile home – maybe even through a few of them.
Second, sad it is people in our community are forced to live this way. After all, Liberty County is a place that was established by Puritans, named after an ideal – not a person – and survived the hardships of the Revolutionary and Civil wars.
The people of this area, historically, have been fighters and promoters of freedom. Two signers of the Declaration of Independence hailed from Liberty County. Today, our community is home to the 3rd Infantry Division.
But lately it doesn’t seem much like we’re willing to fight for a cause. Not even one that affects our quality of life and the lives of our young people.
As residents — people who have a vested interest — we need to take steps now to help stop the violence and needless deaths.
What can be done?
Communication, education and action are key  to finding workable solutions.
The community needs to report crime, and pay attention to even the smallest details. Don’t wait for someone else to do it — it may not get done. Stay alert to what’s happening around you.
While the tendancy is to protect our young people from the horrors that can unfold around them, doing so does them a disservice. They need reliable information to make smart decisions.
We need to offer better education about safe driving.
We must teach our young people about the bad things in this world, such as sexual predators (who are sometimes close relatives, friends and leaders of the community),. They should know what they are facing early in life as opposed to later, or it could be too late.
 We need to work together to solve issues pertaining to gangs and drugs. Across our nation, when communities have lost their way, churches have stepped in to help restore the peace. Religious leaders, working in coordination with law enforc—ment, have called on their congregations to help take back the streets.
Families (who do not do so) need to make their children a priority in their lives, Youngsters depend on us to protect and provide for them. When we don’t, they look elsewhere (such as gangs) for that security.
We need to fight for tougher penalties for violent offenders, and make sure our elected officials know we are serious about crime prevention.
Does Liberty County have enough resolve to take action and remain ever digilent in our efforts to stop violence?
 

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