Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

Richmond County officials offer ideas for reducing gang activity

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Big news in the Augusta area last week. Bass Pro Shops is coming to Columbia County; Cabela’s is coming to Richmond County. That’s great for everybody – hunters, fisherman, campers and the tax men.

Two interesting stories, albeit insignificant in the grand scheme of things, concerned the frog that got into the rain gauge at Augusta Regional Airport and the Aiken County man with a foot fetish who said during a TV interview: “I want to stop, but not completely stop, because that’s what I like. I mean, that’s all I have is feet.”

THE MORE FORCE USED TO BREAK UP GANGS, THE EASIER THE TASK WILL BE: Other big news in Augusta was police saying suspects in three recent shootings, one of which resulted in the death of a 19-year-old, were gang members. Sheriff Richard Roundtree is forming a gang task force. Mayor Deke Copenhaver and commissioners say they support the sheriff, and some have ideas for doing more.

Commissioner Bill Fennoy thinks it would help if the city could spend more on recreation and parks to engage young people.

“I don’t know why youths are attracted to gangs, but we need to find out what it is and try to fill that void,” he said. “I know all commissioners are involved and try to be role models, not only for the youth but all residents in the community.

“The sheriff has a task force, and I’m willing to do whatever I can do to support the sheriff.”

At the last commission meeting, Fennoy placed a large box of Skittles on the dais to show support for Trayvon Martin’s family.

“And I honestly believe Trayvon did not do anything wrong,” he said.

REALISTICALLY SPEAKING: Com­missioner Donnie Smith, who has a 28-year law enforcement background, said government can’t solve societal problems.

“Parents have to know where their kids are, what they’re doing and who they’re hanging out with,” he said. “Law enforcement can only do so much.

“When they break the law, arrest them and put them in jail. Law enforcement can’t raise the children.”

BILLETS AND BILLBOARDS: Com­mis­sioner Corey Johnson said, “We need to set an example ourselves, but we need to make an example out of those who continuously create these gangs to show that this type of behavior is very aggressive and serious and people are dying as a result.

“They need to make them go into the military. If they want to be part of a group, they should force them into the military to show them what a real organization is all about and show them how to make a positive difference, not only for themselves but the country. An organization that has a true meaning. A gang with a purpose.”

As far as actions commissioners could take, Johnson said that was “tough” because of tasks they already have before them.

“But if we can post signs and billboards and show how critical and devastating it can be if you decide to make that choice, it might help,” he said. “We need to put in preventative measures to make them think about it when they’re young. There’s not much you can do about it when they’re already into it.”

DISCIPLINE DOWN AND PANTS ON THE GROUND: The problem is the parents, Commissioner Marion Williams said.

“Babies are raising babies,” he said. “When a baby has a baby, and she wasn’t trained herself, she can’t train that baby. The gang problem is going to get worse until we as adults take responsibility to help this community. We’re letting children make these decisions. These children with pants hanging down. They say it’s the style. It’s not the style. It’s a disgrace. The sheriff’s got an uphill battle the way children are raising children with no discipline.”

EVERYBODY SHOULD PITCH IN: There needs to be a collective effort among the community, religious organizations and parents, Commissioner Bill Lockett said.

“I think without that, we’re going to continue down this road,” he said. “I think as elected officials we should, as often as possible, go out into the community and converse with young people. These kids are not dumb. They’re smart, and we need to channel that. I think we as adults can win this battle.”

NOT IN OUR JOB DESCRIP­TION: Commissioner Grady Smith said, “I think stuff like that should be left to the professional, namely the sheriff and the legal system here in the county. If a lot of these boys would spend their time studying and trying to get a job, they’d be better off.”

COMMUNICATION AND COOPERATION: The mayor stated in an e-mail that he’s in contact with Roundtree regularly and that they’ve developed a very strong working relationship.

“I am fully supportive of providing the sheriff with whatever means necessary to reduce gang activity in our community, and I fully support law enforcement in their efforts to proactively deal with the situation,” Copenhaver wrote.

WHAT I LEARNED ON MY SUMMER TRIP: Fennoy, one of five commissioners to attend the National Association of Counties’ annual conference in Fort Worth, Texas, last weekend, said he learned about a couple of projects other counties have initiated, and he plans to follow up on them.

“One of the moderators operates a veterans court,” he said. “Since we have Fort Gordon and two veterans hospitals, and a large portion of the homeless population are veterans, I’m going to try to get a program started here.”

Johnson and Williams said they saw firsthand in Fort Worth that an ordinary crosswalk works just fine for pedestrians crossing the street from a hotel and convention center. Johnson said he took photos to prove to the rest of the board that the city doesn’t need to build a million-dollar elevated crosswalk over Reynolds Street from the Augusta Convention Center to a parking deck.

CREATING T-SPLOST ENVY: Gov. Nathan Deal, De­partment of Transpor­tation board member Don Grantham, local elected officials and others gathered in Augusta two weeks ago to talk about the present and future of the area’s transportation sales tax program.

Deal said the area had set an example for the rest of the state, and that those who didn’t buy into the program will regret it.

“You are our example, and we want you to succeed because if you succeed it does show the merit of local citizens and local communities to buy into the idea of helping themselves, and being a part of a bigger plan,” Deal said. “So I have instructed all my folks and agencies to make sure they do everything they can to make sure you are successful. And I think you will find we are going to be very cooperative in what you want to do.”

He means it, too, because he repeated it later on.

“We want you to succeed because if you don’t succeed our message is diluted significantly,” he said.

Exactly what is that message, governor?

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Gage Creed
15659
Points
Gage Creed 07/27/13 - 08:15 pm
14
5
Well... Fennoy provided the

Well... Fennoy provided the Skittles, who's bringing the drank and the cough syrup? It would probably be at least a somewhat of an explanation for the commissioners erratic behavior to know they were geeking on Sizzurp and/or Lean. (Eyeroll)

ARC fan
187
Points
ARC fan 07/27/13 - 08:33 pm
18
5
How naive can one commissioner be!

This was no innocent child going to the store for candy - Skittles and the Watermelon tea are two of the three ingredients needed to make "Purple Lean" or "Purple Drank" (cough syrup being the third). The same Purple Lean the innocent child referred to on FB and twitter. Google this on Youtube if you think I'm making this up.
Maybe next meeting he can bring an aluminum baseball bat to honor the two almost beaten to death on Riverwalk.

ARC fan
187
Points
ARC fan 07/27/13 - 08:33 pm
10
4
How naive can one commissioner be!

This was no innocent child going to the store for candy - Skittles and the Watermelon tea are two of the three ingredients needed to make "Purple Lean" or "Purple Drank" (cough syrup being the third). The same Purple Lean the innocent child referred to on FB and twitter. Google this on Youtube if you think I'm making this up.
Maybe next meeting he can bring an aluminum baseball bat to honor the two almost beaten to death on Riverwalk.

Riverman1
79223
Points
Riverman1 07/27/13 - 09:01 pm
21
3
Fennoy Has Experience

Fennoy would approve of Martin beating Zimmerman on the sidewalk. After all he kicked pint sized Woody Merry on the floor.

nocnoc
38310
Points
nocnoc 07/27/13 - 09:17 pm
9
3
Hold a Gang Day at May Park

Then video tape everyone showing up.
Give the video to the Gang Task Force. You know that task force we did not need a few months ago, because Downtown does not have a crime or a gang problem.

Ref: Commissioner Fennoy - More parks just equal a turf war zone.

These duds aren't looking for a pickup game of combat basketball. They are motivated by team and $$$. Oh! and the Fennoy racist Skittles stunt, will just earn your opponent my campaign donation next time.

REF: Commissioner Grady Smith - I agree.
The less mettlesome politicians the better. This is RCSO issue.

Ref: Commissioner Donnie Smith, ."..government can’t solve societal problems." He hit the nail on the head. We need him in Washington.

Ref: Com­mis­sioner Corey Johnson - Still lost as usual. Dumb idea lets dump them in the military, provided they don't have a felony already. Train them in hand to hand combat, weapons and ambush tactics and when they come home back to the street.... Can you say Sr. Gang member leader or opponent to the head cheese? RCSO dead everywhere?

Ref: Commissioner Marion Williams - I agree with much of what he said. ....Babies raising babies.

Ref: Commissioner Bill Lockett sounds off with the old lets get everybody involved. It takes a Village to raise a child sound bite. IT DID NOT WORK for Hillary, and it won't work in real life either. FAMILIES raise children. Families consist of a Husband/Father (MAN) and a Wife/Mother.

But the culture most gang recruitment is successful in, is broken homes and communities without real day to day leadership and role model figures present. An I am not talking about some dude that flies in once and a while or the Sunday sermon either.

Want to break up gangs?
Ask Big cities like Hot-Atlanta where they failed and DON'T Go there. That will save 1000's of man-hours and taxpayer dollars.
Read the FBI Pysc reports.

There plenty of hard lessons already learned and documented all over the USA, use them.

But keep the Politics out of it.

oldredneckman96
4903
Points
oldredneckman96 07/27/13 - 09:11 pm
10
0
Gangs
Unpublished

Gangs are just groups of criminals, no more, no less. Put them in jail and leave them there. No more problems, any more. Oh! you say it cost too much? How much does it cost to bury the victoms of these criminals?

Little Lamb
43821
Points
Little Lamb 07/27/13 - 09:34 pm
7
2
Gang With A Purpose?

From Sylvia's story above:

Com­mis­sioner Corey Johnson said, “We need . . . to make them go into the military. If they want to be part of a group, they should force them into the military to show them what a real organization is all about and show them how to make a positive difference, not only for themselves but the country. An organization that has a true meaning. A gang with a purpose.”

Okay, bring back the military draft, according to Corey Johnson. That will be very popular when people see Johnson's name in the voting booth.

Little Lamb
43821
Points
Little Lamb 07/27/13 - 09:37 pm
8
2
@ RM1 @ 9:01

High five, thumbs up, and LOL!

:-)

TrulyWorried
12249
Points
TrulyWorried 07/27/13 - 09:41 pm
7
1
Gangs

once in jail - put them to work and make them earn their keep, I am certain that there are many things that these criminals could learn and later, God willing, can use to earn an honest living once they get out of jail.

JRC2024
7944
Points
JRC2024 07/27/13 - 09:45 pm
7
1
red, most would probably

red, most would probably agree to bury the gang members. No great loss except to the gangs.

Augustaisdying
528
Points
Augustaisdying 07/27/13 - 09:45 pm
0
0
Commissioners as role models?
Unpublished

Um, no thanks. Same idiocy and corruption, different type of gang. Oh, and Fennoy can take take those skittles and shove them up his purple drank.

JRC2024
7944
Points
JRC2024 07/27/13 - 09:47 pm
11
2
Fennoy, take your support of

Fennoy, take your support of that person to your home where it belongs. Not in the commission meetings.

JRC2024
7944
Points
JRC2024 07/27/13 - 09:49 pm
9
1
LL the military would not

LL the military would not want those kind of people. They want people that are smart to run the million dollar weapons of war. I guess they could use them as decoys.

JRC2024
7944
Points
JRC2024 07/27/13 - 09:49 pm
4
1
LL the military would not

LL the military would not want those kind of people. They want people that are smart to run the million dollar weapons of war. I guess they could use them as decoys.

Little Lamb
43821
Points
Little Lamb 07/27/13 - 09:56 pm
9
1
Decoys are fine with me.

Or they could use them as javelin catchers.

Riverman1
79223
Points
Riverman1 07/28/13 - 06:27 am
9
0
Sports and Mentors Are the Answer

Young people joining gangs is a search for approval. It’s a complex psychological, biological and primal coming of age time. Particularly susceptible are kids without male role models. Growing up I was much like these kids with a severely alcoholic father and my behavior bordering on criminal at times.

At about 14 years old I found high school football and dedicated myself to it. My group/gang was the team and they became the ones I wanted to be held in esteem by. The coaches were a big part of the process of feeling worthy. They were surrogate fathers for me. That got me through high school and then it was the Army that became my team. From there I soared.

So my solution is emphasize sports at the schools and in the community. Boxing clubs are excellent for a non-school activity. I believe so strongly in sports I wouldn’t require the kids to pass to play and I know that’s controversial.

Little Lamb
43821
Points
Little Lamb 07/27/13 - 10:33 pm
8
0
Laughin’ just to keep from cryin’

Yeah, Commissioner Grady Smith really has a good idea. According to Sylvia, he said:

“ If a lot of these boys [i.e., gang members — LL] would spend their time studying and trying to get a job, they’d be better off.”

That’s really helpful.

dichotomy
30450
Points
dichotomy 07/27/13 - 11:16 pm
8
3
More parks......yeh, that'll

More parks......yeh, that'll do it. As soon as you build them the gangs take them over for hangout places and ambush sites.

GnipGnop
11464
Points
GnipGnop 07/28/13 - 12:01 am
9
2
The only difference between gangs

and commissioners is one uses a gun to rob you the other uses taxes....

Young Fred
15724
Points
Young Fred 07/28/13 - 03:02 am
8
1
I seem to remember a time

Back When...

Certain “sting” operations were going down in the past, certain stings that nabbed several bangers.

One of them dealt with tattoo parlors, the other dealt with “pawners”.

If I remember correctly the high sheriff stated he would discontinue those because they “put too much focus on “certain segments” of society”.

understand1
13
Points
understand1 07/28/13 - 06:54 am
5
1
Gangs and jail

Why not go to jail? All they do is watch whatever tv shows they want , wake up when they want, sit around the lounge area doing recreational stuff. Get constructive in jail, make them not want to be there. Early morning rise, clean up, educational/documentaries on tv period. Have them busy all day doing something constructive !

Riverman1
79223
Points
Riverman1 07/28/13 - 07:32 am
4
1
Georgia Prisons Not Hotels

Just so kids will know what awaits them if they live the criminal life, Georgia prisons are NOT easy. I heard the Director of the Department of Corrections once on the radio explaining the conditions. There is no air conditioning. There is only TV in the common room that can only pick up over the air channels. Medical care is limited to basic services. The prisons are crowded. There are no weight rooms and so on for recreation. It's not what many of us believe.

jwilliams
750
Points
jwilliams 07/28/13 - 08:12 am
8
1
Again Corey “THE GREAT ONE”

Again Corey “THE GREAT ONE” (his words not mine) Johnson shows that he does not have a clue and is definitely lost in the wilderness. He stated in this article that the gang members should be “FORCED” into the military. This shows that he himself has never been a member of the United States military, if so he would know that many of the gang members, if any, would not even be eligible for enlistment. I agree with nocnoc, it’s a dumb idea, but that’s the normal course for “THE GREAT ONE”. Confusion 101, as taught by Corey Johnson, “THE GREAT ONE”. First you say “FORCE “the gang members into the military which will in turn convince them to make a positive difference and then in the same paragraph say,” There’s not much you can do about it when they’re already into it.” Is this the man you want to be your “NEXT ANYTHING?”

owensjef3
5635
Points
owensjef3 07/28/13 - 09:23 am
1
6
Oh boy
Unpublished

Oh boy

owensjef3
5635
Points
owensjef3 07/28/13 - 09:30 am
1
11
It is 2013 and look at thes
Unpublished

It is 2013 and look at thes comments. No respect for life and no class.

Gage Creed
15659
Points
Gage Creed 07/28/13 - 10:03 am
11
1
Let me clarify this for

Let me clarify this for you... No respect for low-life with no class...

Bizkit
29143
Points
Bizkit 07/28/13 - 11:16 am
7
0
Skittles a nice touch. He

Skittles a nice touch. He just forgot the pot pipe, screw driver, stolen items, and truancy problems. Broken family, drugs, stealing, school drop out. Looks like Martin was heading for a gang. So likely Zimmerman saved his own life and probably another for initiation into the gang. Gosh

Graymare
2596
Points
Graymare 07/28/13 - 11:29 am
6
0
I agree with Marion Williams! Is it snowing?

I never thought I would agree with something Marion Williams said! OmGosh! "Whoever spares the rod, hates their children. But the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them." Proverbs 13:24 NIV Not advocating beating (spares the rod) but rather using consistent discipline as a rod of correction! These young girls and guys are acting all grown and want to make a baby. Ridiculous! They don't even know how to take care of themselves and end up dumping the babies on a family member so they can continue to play in the streets. This is the result, a mess.

owensjef3
5635
Points
owensjef3 07/28/13 - 11:30 am
0
7
Wow when it happens to one of
Unpublished

Wow when it happens to one of yours .

owensjef3
5635
Points
owensjef3 07/28/13 - 11:35 am
0
8
The right doing a smear job
Unpublished

The right doing a smear job on a dead 17 year old, this is a tasteless new low. Whee are the decent conservatives.

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