While preparing pudding for my son’s caregiver on the night of Tuesday, Dec. 21, I heard an explosion of shots in front of my door. Within minutes, the Hinesville Police Department responded with unbelievable swiftness. Thank you, Chief George Stagmeier, Capt. Johnetta Reid and the Crime Suppression Unit, Cmdr. Chris Reid and Maj. Thomas Cribbs along with the team of investigators.
A motion of action is long overdue after being emotionally shattered by the sound of gunshots yards away from a home I love. The most chilling part was witnessing my neighbor and former Jordye Bacon honor roll student lying on his front lawn, bleeding from gunshot wounds. As I compose this letter, my heart still aches for him and I fear for my special son and the rest of our subdivision.
Our mayor personally invited me to share my comments several months ago to determine whether the Crime Suppression Unit had been a positive influence in our subdivision. I relayed how after the shooting incident at the stop sign on Greenbrier Trail, the unit’s efforts made our cul-de-sac safe and calm once more. At this meeting was the president of an organization that my great-uncle founded in Liberty County. He served as the club’s first president. Mayor Thomas, Chief Stagmeier and City Manager Billy Edwards were attempting to see if Azalea Street and Point South Subdivisions had seen positive results from law enforcement efforts. I was invited because I knew of at least five incidents of targeted drive-by shootings less than an eighth of a mile from my front door.
Naturally I had praise for our law enforcement, but I was personally criticized during and after the meeting ended by the leader of this organization. Most appalling was the rude, unprofessional and disrespectful behavior to Mayor Thomas, Chief Stagmeier and City Manager Billy Edwards. This behavior was exhibited to such an extent that after several warnings from our mayor, the meeting had to abruptly end.
I challenge all of our leaders — political, religious, educational — and all citizens who have been passionate, prayerful and visible in the media during these last weeks or previously unconcerned, to join forces with our law enforcement and Mayor Thomas. It is very easy to march, hold candlelight vigils after tragedies and then quietly go back to witnessing the same unproductive, idle behavior of our youth. We remain silent until the next barrage of bullets or tragic death happens now too often.
True leaders are willing to convene with other leaders in a respectful, collaborative manner and offer immediate and long-term solutions to problems. True leaders exhibit professional conduct, never resorting to personal threats during meetings and boasting of ousting our current leaders for political gain. We in Point South have had enough. If you are not willing to be a part of ending this tragic situation, in the words of my late brother Jerome Smith, "You are part of the prob-
— Carolyn Rebecca Smith Carter
Point South resident,