It was Labor Day Weekend and Sara and I were on the patio enjoying the afternoon sunshine and watching the grill.
About that time five shots rang out in quick succession and they were close. It was followed by the sound of a car engine speeding away.
Sara was scrolling through Facebook and I had a spatula in my hand for the hamburgers.
“Are you going to call the police?” I asked as I flipped burgers.
“Nah,” said the bravest and strongest woman I know, who never looked up from her phone. “It’s no big deal.”
I hate crime
I hate covering crime.
But it wasn’t always that way. As a dashing cub reporter I loved the blue flashing lights and late night calls to come cover a shooting or worse.
I was often asked to take photos of the crime scene for police.
But after more than 25 years of watching people turn the living into dead piles of flesh, the excitement has worn off.
I’ve interviewed crying mothers after their son was killed. I seen wives, with children on their lap, stare and ask, “What are we going to do now?”
I’ve seen men and women in handcuffs in the backseat of police cars and covered their progress through the American justice system. And I have rarely seen them after that.
No, I hate covering crime.
I don’t know if you have noticed but your Clarksdale Press Register rarely puts a crime story on Page One, unless it is a murder or high profile event.
People always tell me “I know crime sells and that’s why you cover it.”
I look them straight in the eye and say crime doesn’t pay and has never sold an advertisement in any newspaper I’ve ever worked for.
Yes, people read crime news, but they rarely respond to it in a positive fashion.
I’ve lived in the suburbs of Dallas. I’ve lived 20-minutes from town and police help if I needed it. I’ve lived in apartment complexes where you never got to know the neighbors.
But I have never lived somewhere that people don’t seem to get excited when they hear gunfire in their neighborhood, until I moved to Clarksdale.
I no longer have young children, but I live in one of your neighborhoods that does. I also live in a neighborhood with widows and elderly couples
Clarksdale and Coahoma County need to get a firm grip on violent crime.
I’m not just calling out police to get tough or the sheriff to throw folks in jail.
We need neighborhoods to call when they hear shots fired. We need the community to work with police to get these shooters off the street.
I want to remind our commuity - specifically our African American community - police can only help if someone calls. Justice is only served when those in positions of authority are allowed to do their job.
Now back to that Labor Day weekend and those hamburgers. I called 911, reported the details and let Sara continue with her social media.
Floyd Ingram is the Editor of your Clarksdale Press Register. He has chased cops for more than 25-years and will gladly listen to your story about crime at 662-627-2201.