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Crime taking away young men’s futures

I’ve lived in Selma for a month and one thing has already baffled my mind.

Seeing the number of teenage boys in Dallas County being arrested for murder, theft, attempted murder and possession of drugs.

Part of my duties as news editor at the Selma Times-Journal is to do the daily police reports that come from the Selma Police Department and Dallas County Sherriff’s office. In a lot of those reports, I see kids between the ages of 16 and 19 being arrested.

It breaks my heart to see so many 16 and 17-year old kids in the area throw their futures away for a petty life of crime.

Once upon a time, teenage life wasn’t that way.

At least the way I remembered it.

During my teenage years, 80 miles away in Tuscaloosa, the only things I thought about were girls, football and finding a part-time job.

For some teenagers, those days appear to be long gone.

Guns and drugs have apparently replaced chasing girls and playing sports from sunrise to sunset, especially during the summer.

Sports used to be the one outlet where kids fantasized being either LeBron James or Julio Jones outrunning defenders.

I was torn between former Alabama linebacker Cornelius Bennett and Oakland A’s outfielder Rickey Henderson. Of course, I lacked the athletic skillset of both and eventually chose to become a journalist.

The coolest thing about sports is you never know the ending of a live event.

The saddest thing about crime is you always know the ending. The script rarely changes.

If the kids don’t have fathers or male role model in their lives, they need mentors. I believe mentoring is the best way to keep them off the streets and away from a life of crime. 

A criminal past will always follow them, no matter how hard they try to escape it.

James Jones is the news editor for the Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at james.jones@selmatimesjournal.com.