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Meanwhile, mayor decries race baiting

By Peter L. Banks Mayor of Barnesville It has been suggested that as mayor of Barnesville I’m not concerned about crime in our community. Because I haven’t held a press conference, written a letter to the editor or called a town hall meeting I’m somehow not outraged over the sad and senseless murder of John Dixson which occurred in our community. First, I won’t let the acts of criminals define this city. Yes, we’ve had a tragedy, yes it’s devastating and painful but it doesn’t define who we are. This city is its people, its businesses, its churches and institutions. Barnesville is defined by the thousands of acts of kindness and caring that occur here day in and day out: Visits to comfort the sick and shut-ins, food banks that help people struggling to feed their families, volunteers who give of their time, talent and money to help those who are elderly or have been affected by disaster; acts of love done not for honor or recognition. I’m sure each and every one of you know of many examples and in fact silently do your part to make things better for others. Barnesville is defined by the hard working, loving parents who teach their children the importance of honesty, charity and morality. Most parents in our community are still concerned about the development of goodness and integrity in their children’s lives. Daily, parents strive to protect their children from evil influences by giving guidance and direction. These virtues, which are being taught in homes on every street in our community, will continue to define who we are. No crime, regardless of how tragic or violent it may be, will define our community. Last week I joined several hundred people who came downtown to a candlelight vigil to share in grieving John Dixson’s death. Last Saturday hundreds of people took part in a fundraising benefit motorcycle ride for Hailey Power and Anna Hambrick. These acts define who we are as individuals and as a community. Planning has begun for the fifth annual Great Day of Service May 12. Last year the coordinated efforts of nearly 500 volunteers built wheelchair ramps, painted and repaired homes, cleaned overgrown yards, planted community gardens and much more. These acts of love and charity define Barnesville. Comments have been made regarding the extraordinarily high number of drug cases on the court calendar. These cases represent the fact our law enforcement agencies are working to protect Barnesville and Lamar County. You can be assured Barnesville has the finest, best trained and most dedicated police force in our history. I’m dismayed that in all the race baiting and class warfare speech that permeates the Herald Gazette comment threads no one has acknowledged the success of the investigation that led to the arrest of the suspected murderer of John Dixson within 12 hours of the crime. The police department, sheriff’s office and GBI are working diligently to complete the investigation and prosecute this case. Yes, we have crime and evil among us but we cannot succumb to such despair that we cannot see good outweighs evil and for every person who fails society thousands uphold their responsibilities in the indispensable work of training their children, caring for the elderly and helping others who are less fortunate. As mayor, I ask that you become involved, be a mentor, a foster parent, a coach, a big brother or big sister; because by these individual acts of love we can and will make a difference. You can change the life of one person and thereby change the world.

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