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Time to face the facts; we have a real crime problem

This is a submitted opinion piece. Yet another shooting. Yet another death! It is time to face the facts. Barnesville-Lamar County has a serious crime problem and it is growing worse by the day. There are dozens of men and women in law enforcement here who dedicate their lives to protecting us from the criminal element. They work long and hard at their jobs but their efforts are not enough. The fact is, you may not be safe as you walk the streets or sidewalks in your neighborhood. Imagine if you had pulled into Jr. Food Mart late last Wednesday to get a gallon of milk as you returned from the beach. Suddenly all hell breaks loose and a stray bullet hits your child as he or she sleeps in the car seat. This scenario was all too possible at our latest shooting scene. Make no mistake about it, local cops and deputies know who the thugs are, where they live and where they congregate. They should be encouraged to run roadblocks in these areas ( the parking lot at Huddle House in the wee hours of Friday morning would be a good start) using drug dogs. Vehicles should be searched. Weapons should be seized. People should be jailed. These searches should tiptoe right along the line of encroaching on civil liberties to be effective. That is how bad things have gotten here. Once these thugs are jailed they should find jail to be an inhospitable place they have no desire to return to. Able bodied, nonviolent offenders should be on the roadside picking up litter under the watchful gaze of a guard with a shotgun. Those who can’t go out should be doing laundry and food preparation. That food should be barely edible and served in portions just large enough to sustain life. Those who are able bodied but too violent to leave the premises can make small rocks out of big rocks in the yard and, if they turn their picks on each other in anger, then society really hasn’t lost much anyway. Then we must bolster our court system. There should be no such thing as plea bargaining. Every case for which there is sufficient evidence should be adjudicated. Every penalty should be the harshest. This is the only way to clean up our streets. The question is this: Do we have the courage to demand it!

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