Let's get our act together

Local activists show it's up to us to create the kind of community we want

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ESPN recently aired a wonderful documentary on the short life and tragic death of Chicago high school basketball star Benjamin Wilson Jr., who was shot down by a street thug in 1994. A scout who had spotted Michael Jordan’s talent before he was a star was quoted as saying Wilson was right up there with him.

After the outrage, a grieving city presented the mayor with a city-block-long petition to crack down on guns.

Since then, gun violence and deaths have only skyrocketed, particularly in Chicago. This year, the Windy City’s murder rate is said to be triple that of New York’s and double that of Los Angeles’.

We would welcome a crackdown on illegal guns anywhere, anytime. Augusta has been home to several of the nation’s most effective and watched gun stings in recent years. But even without such efforts, all the guns in the world won’t commit a single crime. They need thugs and feral youths for that.

And man, are America’s cities producing them.

Here in Augusta, we appreciate and support the grassroots efforts of Harrisburg residents to reduce crime. Several dozen citizens met recently to outline a strategy, which will include tracking and posting suspicious vehicles and license plates on the Internet; citizen patrols; self-defense classes and more.

They’re even planning to cut down a tree Monday that’s used as a waypost for ne’er-do-wells.

Absolutely! We need to work in conjunction with local law enforcement, certainly. But these folks, led by activists such as Woody Merry and Lori Davis, are showing us by example that creating the kind of communities we want in this country is up to us. Though government everywhere always requires prodding to do its part, there’s only so much officials in a free country can do.

The rest is up to us.

The Chronicle would simply echo the caution issued by resident Susan Rabon, who, herself, has been a crime victim: “The citizens need to empower themselves, but we need to go about it carefully.”

She could not be more right. We saw in Florida, in the Trayvon Martin shooting case, what can happen when a citizen with minimal training or law enforcement expertise is playing cop.

But that said, we encourage the rest of Augusta to not only support our friends in Harrisburg, but to export any of their successful strategies to other parts of town.

More importantly, we should all stand with the people of Harrisburg by coming together to formulate a comprehensive community solution to the kind of lawlessness that makes people afraid to walk their own neighborhoods.

That means trying to get at the source, which is the thugs – not just the guns they use. And it means the involvement of not just law enforcement, but churches, schools, businesses, civic clubs and more.

Once and for all, we need to have an open, honest and maybe even painful dialogue about how it is that we’re producing so many lawless creeps. While treating the symptoms, let’s also try to get at the disease.

Doesn’t a lot of it, if not all of it, come down to parenting and families?

And doesn’t society’s tolerance for, and even encouragement of, any kind of behavior just fan the flames of our own destruction? The no-rules, no-stigma promiscuity, the out-of-wedlock births, the dissolution of the two-parent family, the rabid pursuit of self-gratification, the mocking of traditional values, the abandonment of God, faith and church?

The type of humility, restraint and discipline we used to teach our young as a matter of routine – and which you still see today in the military and in highly successful families and other institutions – is cackled at in today’s news and entertainment media. Such values today are considered old-fashioned, stiff, oppressive, even kooky.

Instead, the media worship at the altar of anything goes, in the mega-church of If It Feels Good Do It. And then they wonder what’s wrong.

We recently met a couple who actually pledged not to even kiss until their wedding day. They recognize the ridicule they get. And, while maybe a bit extreme for many, their pathway is nonetheless a sound one. And you can bet they, and their children, won’t be prowling the streets of Harrisburg looking for trouble.

Nor, sadly, are they likely to live there unless we get our act together.

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Young Fred
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Young Fred 11/03/12 - 02:21 am
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A powerful letter that

A powerful letter that addresses many issues. Beware the scorn you're about to receive. They will zero in like lobotomites, nit-picking certain sections of your letter, while ignoring the bigger picture.

I'd be honored to have you as a neighbor.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/03/12 - 05:36 am
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Trayvon Martin

"We saw in Florida, in the Trayvon Martin shooting case, what can happen when a citizen with minimal training or law enforcement expertise is playing cop."

I thought George Zimmerman was doing a neighborhood watch, called police and then was attacked before he shot Martin. Maybe you know something else?

palmetto1008
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palmetto1008 11/03/12 - 05:52 am
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Riverman, I recently attended
Unpublished

Riverman, I recently attended a meeting with the special prosecutor in the Zimmerman case. She and her team broke down the sequence of events that night based on the available evidence. She indicated that the public is just going to have to wait for the details. But based on the second by second analysis, she did decide to file charges against Zimmerman.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/03/12 - 07:39 am
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Palmetto, Angela Corey?

Palmetto, you spent time with Angela Corey, the special prosecutor, and she told you about the case? I don’t know how you feel about her, but famed civil rights attorney, Harvard professor, Alan Dershowitz, feels the charges against Zimmerman are a sham.

Specifically, he believes that, if anyone should be tried in this case, it should be Special Prosecutor Angela Corey. He feels she is politically motivated.

He said “This affidavit submitted by the prosecutor in the Florida case is a crime. It’s a crime. If she in fact knew about ABC News’ pictures of the bloody head of Zimmerman and failed to include that in the affidavit, this affidavit is not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

palmetto1008
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palmetto1008 11/03/12 - 07:40 am
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Riverman, you read my post
Unpublished

Riverman, you read my post correctly. I am very aware aware of accusations of political motivations in the decision to charge. My point earlier was that you don't know any more than I do about the details and the entirity of the evidence that were used in the decision to charge. And, neither does Mr. Dershowitz.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/03/12 - 08:18 am
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I'll take Harvard law

I'll take Harvard law professor Dershowitz's opinion over mine, yours or the politically motivated special prosecutor. I read his book many years ago and learned of his role in the south fighting for civil rights issues for black people. He would often have to borrow a coat and tie to speak in Mississippi courts. He has brought cases before the US Supreme Court, also.

Here is exactly what he said about your acquaintenance Corey:

"She is a politically-elected person who was appointed to get Zimmerman. She was appointed to prevent riots. She wasn’t appointed to do justice; she was appointed to calm the situation down. That’s the problem when you elect prosecutors. We’re the only country in the western world that elects prosecutors. Prosecutors run for re-election based on how many people they put in jail. That doesn’t produce justice."

palmetto1008
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palmetto1008 11/03/12 - 08:17 am
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Riverman, you have every
Unpublished

Riverman, you have every right take anyone's OPINION over anyone else's. It's a wonderful thing!!!
For myself, I like empirical evidence. That's how I make a living.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/03/12 - 08:53 am
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Yup, opinions are a wonderful

Yup, opinions are a wonderful thing. Making a living is, too. My empirical evidence is Dershowitz is a well known legal authority. The special prosecutor filed a seriously flawed affidavit that the public can read and Dershowitz studied. I quoted his concerns about what she left out above.

She TOLD you she is going to establish a timeline to prove her case. Good luck with that empirical evidence.

palmetto1008
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palmetto1008 11/03/12 - 08:51 am
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I did not say that, Riverman.
Unpublished

I did not say that, Riverman. I said the timeline has already been established based on the available evidence and a second by second analysis was conducted on it. You will just have to wait. Ms. Corey is as tough as nails and I know what motivates her to do what she does. She is not going to mess up, especially in this high-profile of a case. That said, it does not mean that Zimmerman will be convicted. OJ Simpson was found not guilty, but I don't think that prosecutor made a mistake in charging him in 1994.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/03/12 - 08:55 am
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"OJ Simpson was found not

"OJ Simpson was found not guilty, but I don't think that prosecutor made a mistake in charging him in 1994."

It's an improper analogy to equate what Simpson did with what Zimmerman did.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/03/12 - 08:55 am
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..."I know what motivates her

..."I know what motivates her to do what she does"

What's that?

avidreader
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avidreader 11/03/12 - 08:58 am
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How we digress!

Young Fred, Whacky Woody and Lori Davis are thriving as voices against the "feral youth" who prey upon Harrisburg. And I can't leave out Butch Palmer. These people sincerely believe that Harrisburg has a chance to not only survive, but prosper. I agree with you, this editorial is a winner.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/03/12 - 09:04 am
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I want a picture of Butch

I want a picture of Butch Palmer holding his shotgun. Ha

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/03/12 - 09:09 am
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Angela Corey

You guys prompted me to google her. Wow, not too much to say that's good. Apparently, anyone who disparages her or her opinion gets threatened with lawsuits.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 11/03/12 - 09:14 am
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Our problems isn't guns-how

Our problems isn't guns-how inane. We've been around a few thousand years killing each other just fine without guns. I'm sure guns as they presently exist will eventually disappear (they will be archaelogical relics) but just be replaced with a better weapon. Our problem is we are more like chimps than bonobos-we are inherantly violent. Evolution has provided relgions as from of altruism to promote peace, love, and non-violence but despite these efforts every single religion has also displayed violence (yeah buddhist too). Religions try to "evolve" us as a stereotyped human rather than the animal that has evolved. Our problems are societal and cultural. The recent advents of "family" units in human evolution appears to be short-lived as we are going back to our promiscuous roots and idea of marriage and a family unit are becoming obsolete-likely because the pressures that drove us to form family units are no longer the same. There is a rainbow in our evolution as migration (gene flow) is making us all the same-(they call it the Brazilian look). The belief is all humans will interbreed into one ethnic population and although blue eyes will become a rare event it won't disappear. Perhaps the competition and violence we see is just a part of our DNA-the same argument for homosexuality. Without the societal bridals of the past our youth will just become more volatile and violent. I've always been against eugenics but perhaps we could breed our violent nature out of our population-I know we can study the bonobos and find their secret and then steal it. hee,hee,hee. My own personal experience is living with violent youths and fighting, then sports and more violence, then they want to draft you to go kill people you don't know anything about, and then suddenly you become an adult and no,no,no you can't be violent or fight (unless in times of war). KInda mixed signals no??????

Bizkit
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Bizkit 11/03/12 - 09:28 am
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Harrisburg and Old towne use

Harrisburg and Old towne use to be very different communities-likely they will both change again. Change is inevitable but we are wasting our resources trying to force a change in either community. It has to be a natural shift or it just won't take or work. Communities natural develop.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 11/03/12 - 09:56 am
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Bottom line-Children learn

Bottom line-Children learn what they live. If your parents have no morality, integrity, or honesty then odds are you won't either. OOOoops. Thanks for deleting my extra posts. Sean you da man.

rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 11/03/12 - 09:42 am
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I believe every
Unpublished

citizen of chicago should be issued a gun. I believe they should then place an inpenetrable fence around the city and let them have at it. Problem solved. Oops, did I forget to invite mr. obama to the show?

seenitB4
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seenitB4 11/03/12 - 09:57 am
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wow bizkit how interesting...

You said.....

The recent advents of "family" units in human evolution appears to be short-lived as we are going back to our promiscuous roots and idea of marriage and a family unit are becoming obsolete-likely because the pressures that drove us to form family units are no longer the same. There is a rainbow in our evolution as migration (gene flow) is making us all the same-(they call it the Brazilian look).

Well if that is anything like the brazilian wax job we are in for some real pain...:)

Lori Davis
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Lori Davis 11/03/12 - 10:14 am
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Thanks ACES for always

Thanks ACES for always supporting our efforts in Harrisburg. I think we are into a 5 year steady battle at this point. A million thanks to Woody Merry for firing us up again. We are weary, and so many have given up. Every effort helps and we encourage each other to keep working at it. To quote a writer in a weekly rag, speaking about citizen activists," What will our new obsession be? One thing for sure, it won't be Harrisburg. Poor people live in much more deplorable conditions with zero press coverage.".........Don't know where this writer came from but one only needs to direct him to the search bar of the AC website. Type in Harrisburg and see how much the AC has covered our efforts over the years. Thanks ACES for keeping us alive!

omnomnom
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omnomnom 11/03/12 - 10:29 am
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theres a church that is

theres a church that is working with homeowners and realtors to place hardworking families in affordable housing with the option to become rent-to-owners. that also bodes well for harrisburg. this latest effort is the culmination of years of hard work on harrisburg activists part. i wish them the best of luck and mondays symbolic act is just the beginning

KSL
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KSL 11/03/12 - 12:13 pm
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Sounds very good

Sounds very good

harley_52
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harley_52 11/03/12 - 12:31 pm
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An Excellent Editorial....

American society has been decaying since about the mid sixties. Much of it has to do with the rising influence of far left ideas, people, and organizations. The ultra left pretty much controls the democrat party in America and we can attribute most of our current problems (financial, economic, justice system, immorality, lack of reverence for human life, etc.) to that left-wing influence.

This phenomenon is not unique to American society. History is replete with other examples of societies that temporarily lost their way. Eventually, we'll find our way. The further we drift from the path, the more difficult will be the return.

corgimom
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corgimom 11/03/12 - 10:01 pm
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The divorce rate in America

The divorce rate in America was the highest during the WWII period.

And there were lots of children conceived out of wedlock- but back then, the couple either married or the woman put the child up for adoption.

There was a time when cocaine and heroin were legal in America.

Crime was very high in the 1930's, employers couldn't employ people under 18 and that's when public schools started pushing for educating everybody up to age 18 because so many kids were roaming the streets and getting into trouble.

But that doesn't make as interesting of an editorial, does it?

But what has changed is that parents no longer focus on the adults, instead they focus on their children. Any household dominated by children will be dysfunctional, because children have no clue as to how a healthy family is supposed to be. Today, nobody is ever supposed to correct a child, no one is ever supposed to discipline a child, they face lawsuits if they do. And that's when things all blew up.

It used to be that parents reigned supreme in every household. It was like that everywhere, kids accepted it as the norm. If another adult had to correct you, you got in trouble for it at home because you embarassed your parents. Parents understood that children lack self-control and maturity and do not make good decisions, and need adult supervision and authority. They knew that disciplined children were happy, well-adjusted, well-liked children who people enjoyed being around.

Now, all children are perfect. Everyone is supposed to excuse horrible, deliberately bad behavior as "mistakes" and no one should suffer bad consequences. Parents are more concerned about "self-esteem" and "disrespecting my child" and raise brats that no one can stand to deal with, and those are the ones who end up in the penal system. They make excuses for their children, think that every adult is "picking on" their child, and then blame everybody else for their child's problems.

And it is just plain sad.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 11/04/12 - 11:57 am
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What she said!

"Now, all children are perfect. Everyone is supposed to excuse horrible, deliberately bad behavior as "mistakes" and no one should suffer bad consequences. Parents are more concerned about "self-esteem" and "disrespecting my child" and raise brats that no one can stand to deal with, and those are the ones who end up in the penal system. They make excuses for their children, think that every adult is "picking on" their child, and then blame everybody else for their child's problems.

And it is just plain sad."

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