Our prayers are with the families of victims this week

Published 10:58 pm Monday, June 3, 2013

We don’t have all of the answers just yet. We aren’t sure why a Selma Police Officer would take the lives of others or why an unknown suspect would show up at a residence, ring the doorbell and shoot someone inside three times.

Our hearts are breaking as we review the death toll in Selma for just one week. In one week we lost three to murders and one to suicide. We lost several others in unrelated tragedies this week. A man from Orrville lost his life in a drunk driving accident.

As many of our readers have poured out their hearts and their sympathies on our Facebook page, one reader commented that, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, Psalm 34:18.”

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Our prayers are with the family members of these victims. Our prayers are that the Lord will comfort our city and help us find ways to halt the violence that seems to show up on our doorsteps the day thermostats tick upwards of 85 degrees.

Empty shell casings sit in front yards where children run through the sprinklers and pet their dogs. Guns and incriminating evidence are tossed away in the river where families fish and play. Violent criminals shop alongside us at Winn-Dixie and Calhoun’s. Selma is just a little too comfortable with gunpowder and lead.

Though to some neighborhoods the violence, and pain it brings with it, seem far away due to economic divides, it is all around us. The families of Keoshia Hill, Bill Jackson, Dwight Moorer and Antonio Boykin are in our prayers. Our prayers are also with our Selma Police Department — a man they trained with and went out on the streets with; a man they thought had their backs in times of trouble, took his own life and the lives of others violently.

We can only imagine the anguish the department and its leaders like Chief of Police William Riley are experiencing.

In times such as these we can only pray and look to the future for ways we can shake Selma to revive and put its guns down. We pray for God to heal the problems that appear long before the trigger is ever pulled. The government can bring in every educational program, volunteer organizations can do everything they can to make the quality of life better, and we can have bigger and better gun buy back programs — but nothing will stop the violence in our city until hearts are transformed.

We must pray for the healing of these victims’ families, so their children and their children will know love and prayer and not violence and destruction.