Gunfire has become far too common
Saturday, June 01, 2013 8:05 PM
Honestly, when it's not shocking anymore, we've got a major problem.
I guess we've got a major problem, then.
Late Thursday night, I was in a car on the way home from Atlanta. My brother and I had been to see the Braves play the Toronto Blue Jays.
My brother was driving, and I was in the passenger seat, scrolling through Twitter in the darkness as we rolled north on Interstate 85.
Sometime just before midnight, a tweet from Index-Journal associate editor Scott J. Bryan popped into the Twitter feed.
"Shooting on Franklin Street in #Greenwood about 2 1/2 hours ago leaves one man dead," Bryan had tweeted. He also provided a link to on-the-scene coverage provided by Index staffers Matt Walsh and Matt Bruce.
"Well, it looks like someone else has been shot in Greenwood," I said, as if this type of thing happens too often, perhaps because it does.
"Yep, it's getting bad out there," my brother replied. "Really bad."
This is the new reality in Greenwood, South Carolina. Gunfire. People getting shot. People getting killed.
The man killed in Thursday night's gun violence on Franklin Street was in his mid-20s. The Greenwood Police Department is investigating the incident.
Unfortunately, this is far from the first incident this year in which someone was shot in the City of Greenwood.
According to longtime Greenwood Police Chief Gerald Brooks, city officers have now responded to 12 incidents this year in which at least one person was shot.
Meanwhile, Greenwood County Sheriff Tony Davis said county deputies have responded to four incidents in which one or more people were shot, though at least one of those shootings was an accident.
So, discounting the accidental shooting in the county, there have been 15 incidents to which either the GPD or GCSO have responded this year in which someone was injured or killed by gunfire.
Keep in mind, that number only includes incidents in which someone actually got hit with a bullet. It does not count incidents where people were shot at, houses and cars were riddled with bullets or incidents in which a gun was simply discharged unlawfully.
That also doesn't count all the stabbings, beatings, armed robberies, home invasions, drug deals and other incidents of mayhem that have been featured in the pages of the Index-Journal.
Fifteen incidents this year in which at least one person was shot. Twelve of those in the city limits. Today is just June 2.
This is happening in Greenwood. Right here in this town. It's too much, y'all. Way too much.BEFORE ANY OF YOU GUN rights activists jump down my throat, this isn't a gun control column. If you are an adult and you own a gun legally, that's fine with me.
This is a column about violence and a lack of accountability and a disregard for human life.
Too many of the victims in these cases are young people, either teenagers or in their early 20s. Many of the suspects also are in that age range. So sad.
Some, but certainly not all, of the gunplay and other crime that has gone on has been attributed to gangs or groups operating like gangs.
Surely, there must be a way we can reverse this trend. Lord knows some are trying.
After a rash of gun violence earlier this year, various groups had marches and vigils and desperately tried to bring awareness to the issue.
Meanwhile, GPD and GCSO agreed to form a Violent Crimes Task Force. This task force would be a multi-jurisdictional unit assigned specifically to help investigate murders, attempted murders and various other violent crimes inside and outside the city limits.
However, I'm afraid marches and task forces aren't going to be enough. Those are valiant efforts, and thank God we have people willing to try to bring an end to this.
But, at some point, it's up to us as a community to make the decision that enough is enough.
It's up to us to make the decision we are going to provide the funding needed for law enforcement to help combat these shootings.
It's up to us to make a connection with young people early on, teach them right from wrong, teach them the value of a life, show them there is a better way.
It's up to the fathers out there to start being just that: fathers. Many of these young men are quick to pick up a gun to show how tough they are. To show how big of a man they are.
Picking up a gun and taking someone's life, that's not being a man. Running around out in the streets, selling drugs and shooting people, that's damn sure not being a man.
Getting an education, working hard and being diligent at your craft, whatever it might be, that's being a man. Taking care of your children, giving back to your community, watching your neighbors, simply choosing to do right, rather than wrong, that's being a man.
Live by the gun, die by the gun. An old phrase. Sounds cool, but in real life, there's nothing cool about it.
One young person getting clipped by a bullet is one too many. I'm sick and tired of it.
How about you?
Trainor is the senior staff writer at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-5650; email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @IJCHRISTRAINOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.