Community effort needed to mold minds

Published 7:18 pm Saturday, December 28, 2013

The brutal slaying of Alexis Hunter, a few days before Christmas, affected us all in some way. If nothing else, Selma is now without one of its bright young minds who could have changed the world.

Alexis wanted to be a beautician, a hair stylist, and own a business some day. A little more than one year from graduation, she was on her way to a wonderful career in a business she was passionate about.

“Big Lexis,” as she was affectionately called by family and friends, took part in many organizations and clubs within Selma. She reportedly stood up for herself just before her killer brutally shot her at point-blank range.

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Alexis’ death shook the entire Selma community. Many are still coping with how such a tragic event could have happened to such a strong, well-liked girl.

Though it may be impossible to fully comprehend her death, we should now turn our attention to solving the problem permanently.

Another tragedy in this case is the future of these young men. John Jones and Larry Hunter, those charged with her killing, could have undoubtedly made better life decisions, but are still young men whose life is forever changed.

Some of the blame could be placed on parents for not teaching their children better, but we should also consider the community that these young suspects lived in.Are we doing our best to ensure our young people are growing up to be productive citizens?

Jones and Hunter aren’t the first young men to be charged with murder, but by working together, we can make sure they are the last to fall victim to any type of negative behavior. Guns certainly aren’t the only danger plaguing our city.

Education is often the key to curbing negative behavior. There’s education in the literal sense, making sure our schools are teaching children that hiding a gun in your pants and robbing a classmate for her phone is a despicable act.

Math, science, English, history, art and geography are important subjects and help to create more educated, worldly individuals. Those subjects mean little when our young children are confronted with temptation. Our schools should teach common-sense, street knowledge.

Education in the figurative sense is also vital to preventing negative behavior — whether it’s shooting, obtaining a gun as a minor, or drinking as a minor. The community can help by helping to mentor neighborhood children. Forget if it’s your child. If you don’t act, it could be your child who falls victim to peer pressure and in turn negative behavior.

We live directly in the middle of the Bible Belt. Certainly churches can also play a role in education. Regardless of your religious beliefs, we can all agree churches play a vital role in educating our children about the basic moral principles that every American should subscribe to.

We are approaching a new year and with it should come a renewed effort to ensure our children are making the right decisions.