Dialogue opened for change

Published 9:06 pm Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Monday’s meeting at City Hall was an example of what must happen to correct major problems in our city.

Elected officials, law enforcement and private citizens discussed ways to collaborate to reduce violence and drugs in Selma.

It is hard to believe a gang problem could exist in Selma, but perhaps that is the reason the problem has gotten on out of hand.

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When people dismiss gangs as “wannabes,” ignoring the possibility that a chance of small-town kids can create real havoc, then we approach the verge of an epidemic.

Allowing people to turn in guns without question is no way for criminals to get off easy, as Councilwoman Susan Keith pointed out. But perhaps close acquaintances of criminals — or potential criminals — would have more encouragement to help authorities.

The most important thing that came out of the meeting was the line of dialogue was opened for all sides.

That’s especially important for youth, who often feel their voices are lost in everything that is going on.

A roundtable discussion designed for them will let them air concerns or disagreements in one of the healthiest ways possible.

We all have to remind ourselves that the village, not the people in it, is what is most important.