A part of the solution

Outgoing lawman reminds Augustans of sheriff's role in improving society

Every generation that slides into the golden years seems to think the country is going to hell in a handbasket.

It’s just that this generation of seniors has legitimate reason to believe it.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength’s speech to the Augusta-Richmond County Committee for Good Government on Tuesday night, for instance, may have been his last to the group before his retirement – but it almost sounded like a goodbye to the country.

“We reap what we sow,” Strength lamented about the state of things in Augusta and America. “The old school is gone, but I was lucky enough to be part of it.”

So what is the new school?

Kids having kids, and not knowing (or perhaps caring) how to raise them, for one thing. All manner of deviance and sexual images in the entertainment media. Parents being marginalized by a society that provides kids abortion services. Drugs and selfishness. A lack of principles or discipline. Leaders who promote what the country can do for you, instead of vice versa.

Strength has seen the results of all this on the streets of Augusta. And while we’re sure the “fixer” in him – guys like to fix things – would’ve loved to have done more, he realizes the limits of law enforcement. Mindful of some of the holistic-approach promises of those seeking to succeed him, Strength cautioned, “The next sheriff is going to be elected to enforce the law, not to be a social worker.”

He’s right.

The sheriff, of course, can be part of the solution. But only a part.

Fixing what ails society requires a comprehensive approach involving parents, schools, churches, businesses, civic groups, political leaders, the media and more.

The first thing we need is an honest dialogue in this country about what is going wrong – which is, primarily, the family.

Strength says farewell with stories of his time as sheriff
Strength: Next sheriff's role is enforcement, not social work

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