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Where is the outrage?

An opinion piece by Walter Geiger Fourteen days ago in this space I penned these words: We learned there is no shortage of thugs out there willing to kill you for your valuables. They are up all hours of the night doing drugs, communicating by text message and looking for their next target. That column was written after the murder trial of Lakievius Eleby who is now doing life in prison plus 20 years for the murder of rival marijuana dealer Danavan Bussey. It was written to warn you just how bad things have gotten and that you need to be aware of your surroundings and protect yourselves because, basically, our thug element has grown to the point it far outnumbers our law enforcement coverage. Now, just two weeks later, we have had a basically defenseless 76-year-old cab driver in the early stages of dementia abducted and brutally killed for his fare money. John Dixson was loved by many and very well-respected in the community. Ironically, Jamarris Williams, the near lifelong thug charged in the murder of John Dixson, is one of the young men Eleby’s defense attorney Pam Bettis tried to pin the murder of Bussey on. Less than 48 hours after the murder, we experienced a drive-by shooting at a party that went on into the wee hours of the morning and landed four people in jail but, thankfully, resulted in no injuries. I am going to preface the remainder of this piece with these caveats. Barnesville-Lamar County has plenty of white citizens who are serial lawbreakers. There are just as many white thugs walking our streets as black. The white criminal element controls local methamphetamine manufacturing and marketing and is in no small measure responsible for crime in the community. With that said, it must be noted that violent thug crime here is dominated by blacks. Young blacks, particularly males, grow up in a culture that embraces violence. Rap and hip-hop music is filled with lyrics encouraging and glorifying drug use, violence and abuse of women. This may not be nice to hear and it is not intended as racist but it is the truth. To deny it is to turn a blind eye to what is going on around you. Our young people of all races have fewer and fewer positive role models. Many grow up in broken homes with one parent trying to hold things together. Many are raised by grandparents because the parents are dead, jailed or just don’t care. Our entitlement society which, by its very nature, rewards and encourages sloth contributes greatly. Children of all races routinely grow up having never seen an adult family member get up, go to work and earn a paycheck. They think the check comes in the mail and that is all they aspire to themselves. In the eyes of the criminal element, John Dixson was a business owner and he worked for his money. As a result he became a target. And now he is dead. Killed, no doubt, for drug money. So, why is no one speaking out? Not one elected official, clergyman, educator, prosecutor or law enforcement official of any race has stood up, stepped out and condemned these violent acts that have become commonplace in what was once a quiet little community that people moved to escape just the sort of thuggery that is now rampant in our streets. The silence of those who have enough respect among our young people to get their attention has been deafening! It is up to you to call them out. It is up to you to demand change. There are proven methods of attacking such crime. One is the Neighborhood Watch program initiated here by councilman Mark Stone and funded by the Barnesville Rotary Club. Even it requires citizens to report – not turn a blind eye to – crime. Many, sadly, are averse to that. There are others: foot patrols in crime ridden areas, random street sweeps targeting drug dealers, roadblocks and crackdowns on those selling alcohol to underage buyers. Perhaps the key cure is more arrests and more thugs sent to prison to serve the maximum sentences possible for their crimes. These strategies and others have worked elsewhere and they will work here. It is up to you to demand them. Where is the outrage? Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette and Pike County Journal Reporter.

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