Stop the problem now

Published 7:40 pm Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An innocent 3-year-old child is dead, the victim of a stray bullet from what appears to be a senseless killing.

A good many people are up in arms about the death of this toddler. His name is Rosay J. Butler Jr.

That’s about all we know about him.

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We know even less about the men who fired into the structure in the 1400 block of Church Street about 9 p.m. Tuesday. Police have detained one suspect, but no charges have been filed. In this case, capital murder charges are in order.

What we do know is these events of shooting into homes or automobiles occur far too often in Selma. Residents who sit out on their porches just about any night of the week can hear the rapid pop-pop-pop of a weapon.

Often nothing comes of the report of “shots fired.” Usually, police arrive and nobody is there or nobody will talk about the event.

We do know drugs are a serious problem in Selma. When senior citizens in Selma can drive down Church Street and identify illegal drug transactions, something is terribly, terribly wrong.

The problem needs to be stopped and stopped now.

When school is out and the temperatures begin to rise as daylight grows longer, we can expect more incidents of violence.

The Selma Police Department is already stretched. Its budget is not large. Thousands of dollars have been spent on security for special events, leaving a question about pay for overtime this summer when police are needed on the streets.

Some people have called for prayer services to stop the violence. Prayer is a good way to begin. But, as Benjamin Franklin said, “God helps those who help themselves.”

We seek a very public plan from the city about how it intends to deal with the drug trafficking, gang-related activity and shooting in Selma. The plan of action needs to be put into force with identified police leadership named very publicly to be held responsible for seeing this plan carried out.

Additionally, the Selma City Council should throw as many resources, both financial and other, to ensure this plan of action is financed; that police officers have the pay for the overtime and the equipment to carry out their duties.

And for the rest of the citizens, support your local police; form a Neighborhood Watch group and participate in it.

Rosay should have not died in vain.