A running problem

When is attempting to elude law enforcement ever a good idea?

School’s back in session, and here’s one lesson we wish they’d teach kids:

Don’t run from your problems, or even from perceived problems. You’ll only make them worse.

That was evident enough on Friday’s front page of The Augusta Chronicle, which featured two stories about three people who attempted to elude deputies.

Two of them were a man and a woman who dove into bodies of water to try to escape law enforcement officers in separate incidents in Richmond and Columbia counties.

Kelsey Megan Beverlin, 20, was being served a warrant for probation violation at her home Thursday when she jumped into a nearby pond to escape. She did – for about 45 minutes. She swam around until she made deputies get into a boat to fish her out.

In an unrelated case, a man, identified as Nicholas Bradley Adams, 28, was reportedly stopped for running a red light at 13th and Broad about 12:30 a.m. He ran and then swam across the Augusta Canal, leaving behind a rather conspicuous assortment of an SUV, a passenger and some alleged contraband.

What were these two thinking? Did they think they’d never be found? That they could run – or swim – from their problems and any accountability attached to them?

How shortsighted is it to think you can evade responsibility by jumping in a pond or canal and leaving your home or car behind? Did they think deputies would throw up their hands and give up and leave? Now, on top of whatever other problems they had, they’ll also have to answer for attempting to elude authorities.

And every time some Einstein tries to get away from police, they’re lucky if nothing tragic occurs.

Things happen when people are being pursued, none of them being good. Property gets damaged, lives get put at risk.

And, oh by the way, it costs law-abiding citizens money, in the deployment of extra personnel and equipment to round up these myopic mavericks.

It’s deep in the American psyche today to believe we can avoid all pain, even that which is richly deserved. But in doing so, we sometimes double it.

Stand up, kids, and be responsible for your actions. And as Jim Carrey’s lawyer character bluntly tells a client in the movie Liar Liar, “Stop breaking the law!” But if you can’t, at least take your lumps with a modicum of dignity.

Grow up, for Pete’s sake.

The third fleeing suspect on Friday’s front page turned out not to be a suspect at all. Kyvan James and his mother say the 15-year-old and another youth were running from deputies investigating a burglary – but that they did so “out of fear. They panicked.”

His mother filed a complaint with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, after James sustained some facial injuries in the incident.

You can understand why the deputies would be suspicious of two people running from a burglary scene. Even Kyvan’s mother acknowledges they shouldn’t have run. You can also understand a young black man’s heightened state of nervousness, what with the hyperbole surrounding the Trayvon Martin case. Indeed, Kyvan recalls a feeling of not wanting to be another Trayvon.

It’s too bad that’s the case. It need not be. There’s a sad, dangerous mythology that’s built up around the Trayvon Martin case.

The truth is, George Zimmerman, whatever he thought he was, was not a policeman.

Nor was Trayvon Martin the innocent baby the media and race baiters have portrayed.

The result is a climate of fear – a perilous one at that.

It can’t help that one of the officers involved in the James case has been fired after allegations of excessive force against the young man. Making the case that it’s a bad idea to run from law enforcement will be all the more difficult now.

Still, it’s a case we hope Sheriff Richard Roundtree – the county’s first black sheriff – will make. We urge him to use this case as an opportunity for greater mutual understanding between his department and the community.

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