I’ve got four boys and all of them lived to be eight years old. I remember their joyful actions at that age and how the world seemed just made for them.
And I think that is why the death of a 7-year-old boy in my town has troubled me to my very core this week.
I’m not from Clarksdale, I don’t know the family and that young child did not live in my neighborhood.
But like I said, Sara and I raised boys. We are truly blessed that they are good men and have good lives ahead of them.
But if events in Clarksdale this past week cannot galvanize this community to make our town into something better . . .
A White man’s tears
A pastor stood up at the Clarksdale Rotary Club Tuesday and cried as he told of his relationship to that 7-year-old.
He told how he would be in the classroom of that second-grader on Wednesday after Monday's shooting, trying to explain to those children what had happened.
This preacher is former military, has been a pastor for years and seen his share of death and grief. Watching him deal with this senseless death made me realize how painful this murder is for Clarksdale.
So what do we do now? Do a White man’s tears and concerns mean nothing in this town?
He challenged Rotarians to get up and get involved. We are going to get up out of our chair and do something.
The time for talk is over.
I sat in a Clarksdale City Board of Mayor and Commissioner’s meeting Monday at the exact same time that child was dying just a short distance from this community’s most history landmark.
I heard city leaders talk and voice their concerns, but there was no formal vote or action taken.
And a child was dying from a gunshot wound in Clarksdale at that very moment.
I have said it before, this town needs leadership and not politicians who hold a press conference or publicity stunts to make it look like they are doing something.
The crime at Clarksdale’s feet is we did nothing prior to the death of that 7-year-old.
I am a newspaperman of more than 25 years and have chased cops and watched city government every one of those years.
It’s easy to rant and rave on Facebook and even this spot week after week. Yes, The problems of Clarksdale are many and must be fixed to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
So here are my solutions to what I feel are Clarksdale’s concerns:
• Let’s adequately fund police. The gross pay raise our mayor and commissioners gave themselves is being paid for with the blood of a seven-year-old. Sky-cop has been a $250,000 joke and it’s time we started putting men and women back on the street with a gun, badge and a pair of handcuffs.
• Let’s make our courts get tough on crime. I see Facebook posts were city judges are so proud to make a lawbreaker write a book report for speeding. How does that make a policeman feel who risks his life every time he steps out of his patrolcar to write a speeding ticket? Justice is served when the guilty pay. The rest tow the line.
• Let’s support law enforcement. Every cop I know is not bad, but their job sometimes calls on them to be “badder” than the bad guy.
Thugs who don’t want to respect authority, law and order and how the justice system works, need their butt whipped, placed in a jail cell and given their Constitutional right to a day in court. We need to support cops when they make that hard decision on the hard streets of Clarksdale.
• We need leadership. “Faith without works is dead.” I encourage you to look that one up. Our city leaders have taken our money for a fulltime job. Let’s get to work!
Prayer and hope are a good start, but without action they are a murmur and a memory. Let’s quit being hypocrites.
Floyd Ingram prays for boys, justice and Clarksdale just about every day, then goes to work as Editor of your Clarksdale Press Register.