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Let’s have more picnics, fewer shootings

On Tuesday of this week, West Point City Council members took a break from a work session to recognize some fifth grade students who had taken part in an essay contest. It was a chance to spotlight some students from  West Point Elementary School and their thoughts about “If I was mayor…”

Council Member Sandra Thornton did a great job in organizing the event and Dr. Lacey Southerland of Point University was outstanding in her introduction of the winning students. She read excerpts from some of the essays. Everyone in the room couldn’t help but smile at ideas such as free ice cream every day, hover board transportation for everyone and every day picnics in River Park.

One essay couldn’t help but grab you. It was written by Aurryiona Spence, who deservedly won first place. If Aurryiona could be mayor for one day she would try to do something to curb the violence that threatens people’s lives even in small, seemingly wonderful little towns like West Point.

One line stood out: “It’s not easy to see people die.”

Aurryiona is someone who knows that all too well.

Her sister, I’ve been told, was killed by stray bullet fired in a completely unnecessary act of violence.

Aurryiona will spend the rest of her life not knowing what it would have been like being with her sister in that picnic in River Park or to have fun on free ice cream day.

When a fifth grader speaks from the heart about wanting to end violence, we adults must feel some sense of responsibility for giving them a world where too much of it is happening. It’s not the fault of today’s youngsters that they have been put into this, and it’s deplorable that we don’t have any answers for them.

We hail law enforcement and the court system for doing what they can to put dangerous people behind bars, but it’s unacceptable for children to be killed by gunfire and for places like the Waffle House to get shot up and for a crowd of people in a high school parking lot to be fired on.

When does all this stop? What can we do to bring it to an end?