To those of you who want to tear our community apart with violence: You will not win. You may think you have a hold on our city with your so-called “Murder Gang,” but you don’t.
It’s just temporary. You don’t run our city.
Do you hear us?
You do not run our city.
Law-abiding, tax-paying people with values, ethics, morals and common decency run our city.
Trust us. The law’s coming for you.
You gunned down an innocent young man in the prime of his life Monday night, but you will not win.
Brandon McHan loved Pine Bluff, and he wanted nothing more than for our city to succeed. He had just joined the Pine Bluff Small Business Association not too long ago, according to the association’s vice president, Pine Bluff Alderman Bill Brumett.
Brandon was the kind of person we needed to help rebuild our community, yet he was gunned down in cold blood inside his Camden Road pawn shop.
Stop what you are doing right now, Pine Bluff. Stop and think about Brandon for a few minutes. Stop and think about how we can end this senseless violence in our city.
We have to take back our city from the hands of criminals. Talk and prayer aren’t enough. They were never enough.
Marches against violence aren’t enough. They won’t ever be enough.
Action is needed — tough, raw action.
All of these gun-toting, wanna-be gangsters need to be rounded up and locked up and made to pay for the scourge they have placed upon our community.
Look at our school district. It’s in shambles. Look at the average age of the criminals who kill people in our city. It’s somewhere around 18 years old. That’s senior-level high school.
The failed state of our local schools is directly linked to this madness. We’re sick of it, aren’t you?
It’s time we demand change. Not just talk about it. Demand it. We are not Crime Bluff. We are Pine Bluff.
To make things right, we have to first clean up our schools. Discipline is key. Teaching kids morals and values is key.
Here’s another key.
From the Chicago Tribune comes information on how that city has helped to curb its growing gun violence issue.
Enter Gary Slutkin, the University of Illinois at Chicago epidemiologist who founded Cure Violence, formerly known as CeaseFire, an anti-violence program that has been adopted by more than 20 other cities, including New York and Los Angeles.
Clarence Page with the Tribute wrote: “Last year I wrote about how Slutkin had predicted a rise in violence when the program lost its state funding amid prolonged political gridlock. Unfortunately, Slutkin turned out to be right. The only districts that didn’t experience a surge were two that found funding elsewhere.
“But after funding was restored this year, Slutkin told me in a telephone interview, gun-related violence in the affected districts ‘dropped by 30 percent in the first six months of this year.’
“Unlike more traditional programs, Cure Violence doesn’t focus on root causes of violence or saving one child at a time. Its ‘violence interrupters,’ some of whom are ex-offenders themselves, focus on individuals who have a beef that can lead to the sort of retaliatory attacks that boil up behind most of the city’s homicide statistics.
“Slutkin came up with the idea while working with the World Health Organization to fight AIDS, cholera and tuberculosis epidemics in Africa. Treat violence as if it were a virus? That’s the idea and it works, according to a 2008 Justice Department evaluation and various university studies.
“Cure Violence certainly isn’t a one-stop solution to violence in Chicago or any other city. But its violence interrupters show how knowledgeable civilians can remove fuel from the boiling rage that leads to more violence.
“Even so, Chicago’s program has produced less impressive results than its New York and Los Angeles operations, in part because of funding interruptions like the Springfield budget gridlock, Slutkin said. He hopes such political nightmares are behind us. So do I. Politics should serve the public interest, not overlook solutions that may be right under our noses.”
It’s time to push for programs like this in Pine Bluff.
It’s time to push for a better education system.
It’s time to push for saving our children.
It’s time to push the low-life criminals out of our city.
It’s time to push for common decency to prevail over madness and murder gangs.
If we don’t, Pine Bluff has no future.
May God bless Brandon McHan’s family and comfort them in their time of great despair.
We will pray for the killing to stop.
But it won’t be enough.