Something has to be done

Published 12:13 am Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Selma isn’t Dodge City.

The shootings here have to stop no matter what side of the city they occur. People are hurt and families worried and heart-broken. Selma Police are doing all they can to catch the people suspected of these shootings — one killed and three wounded last week alone.

Selma City Councilman the Rev. Dr. Cecil Williamson called Tuesday night for martial law in Selma. If the police can’t get the job done, he said, call in the military.

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Frankly, Williamson’s call is alarmist and silly.

But the council could take this recent spate of shootings as indicative of a need for the Selma Police Department to become proactive instead of reactive. During the remainder of the month, Mayor George Evans will present his budget request to the council.

When the body begins to consider how to divvy up the small amount of revenue it has, council members should think about the police department — it’s needs for more well-trained bodies.

Resources to the police department won’t stop this violence alone. Other measures — strong ones — must come from the council.

For instance, make a move to take the rowdy clubs downtown and shut them down. Drive past those clubs on a weekend and there’s no way some of them remain in legal limits as far as the fire code goes. Check liquor licenses. Check business licenses. Check for underage drinkers. Walk past one of the doors and smell the marijuana burning.The city must have a get-tough attitude.

These measures combined with a curfew for those under 21 and getting rid of empty, dilapidated buildings will go a long way to preventing Selma from gaining the reputation of a wild west town.