Killings take life from community

Published 8:15 pm Monday, January 10, 2011

Murder is as common as humanity. Human beings have an urge to retaliate.

In early history, murder was personal. If the killer didn’t get away, the victim’s family caught him and killed him or the family accepted money or goods, which bought the killer peace and gave the victim’s family a measure of satisfaction.

All through history, societies have dealt with murders.

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The methods of dealing with them become as abstract as the statistics with which we look at murders today.

For instance, someone might shake their heads at the fact Selma logged 12 murders in 2010. And the phrase, “that’s high” might follow.

But those are numbers only.

Let’s put a face to those murders. Remember Rosjah Butler Jr., the 3-year-old who before going to bed when a bullet ripped through his bedroom wall, pierced him in the chest and killed him.

There are 11 other victims with faces, families and friends from murders committed in Selma during 2010. Most of those murders occurred because someone tried to sell a score with someone else.

We have moved far past the time of early history when blood money was paid for retribution. We have a justice system and prisons to hold those found guilty.

But all the justice, prisons, and assurances of prices paid still do not mend the damage a single killing of another human being does to our community.

Murders rob families and friends of loved ones.

Murders cost taxpayers in terms of justice rendered and prisons kept up.

Murders cost communities in terms of reputation, especially while trying to recruit businesses and industries.

Murders cost locally by taking preventive police measures and turning them into investigative roles.

Thus, the 12 murders of 2010 are much more than numbers.

They are tolls on our community, affecting the guilty and those, like the toddler, who bear no guile at all.