We applaud the dozens of people who took to Main Street and wound around to the Civic Center complex Wednesday morning to protest the recent bloodshed our city has seen.
There have been four homicides since Sunday — a stunning amount for a city our size.
But what is the answer to ending violence? The harsh truth is that there is no simple answer.
Just look at Chicago, where homicides measure in the hundreds each year. It’s a war zone on too many streets in that city. And, so far, they have had no solution.
Is the answer more police? Is it better community involvement in dealing with youths, steering them away from the streets? Is it prayer?
We say a combination of all of the above would be a good start, but it won’t prevent a growing sentiment among many in our society that a life isn’t worth much at all. Far too many folks would be all too happy to pick up a gun and shoot someone in cold blood just for “doing them wrong.”
There is something greater at work here — a kind of mind warp that halts many peoples’ consciences from guiding them through right and wrong. But, once again, what is the root cause?
What about gun control? Our government can pass all the laws it wants to on gun control, but how are we going to get the guns that are on the streets now off?
And the majority of the guns that are used in homicides are stolen or imported from Mexico, funneled to California or Texas, then brought into Arkansas, according to some law enforcement sources we have spoken with.
How do you stop that from happening? There are already laws in place that are supposed to stop gun trafficking, but they aren’t working.
So what do we do, Pine Bluff?
As we have written before, our best hope for a successful, crime-reduced future is to try and reach kids before they turn to the dark side. Kids without upstanding parents are especially vulnerable because they have no role models to show them how to act like men.
If you know a young person, try to mentor them as best you can. Take up time with them and show them that a life of crime is a terrible waste. Teach them that all lives matter. Most important of all, teach them that their lives matters. Teach them to have pride in their community and to respect other people. Teach them good manners and that drugs are bad.
Drive them up and down the streets of our city and tell them how things used to be and that things can be that way again. We can have neighborhoods filled with pride instead of garbage. We can have success again. Teach these kids that they can be a part of that — that they are the key to that.
Open your arms, Pine Bluff, and embrace our youths.