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WTVM Editorial 8/31/21: Stop Killing Dreams

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 9:55 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Two shootings in the past few weeks in Columbus still have city residents on edge.

Making the situation even scarier is the fact that both shootings killed unintended victims. This pair of tragedies should force us to take a hard look at this violent reality and fight back in every way we can.

In the first shooting, 12-year-old Cortez Richardson was shot dead in Columbus while riding in the back of his family’s car as they returned from dinner.

The bullet found Cortez, although he was never the target.

Cortez’s mother, Tiffany, is beyond devastated by the loss of her son, especially in such a senseless a way. She says she wants the shooter caught - and so does the FBI.

They’ve established a $20,000 reward for information about the murder of Cortez.

Was it gang gunfire? Authorities aren’t saying, but it’s highly likely.

Gang violence is also suspected in the shooting death of Andrea Ellis at Carver Park.

Andrea died last week while shielding her 3-year-old niece, Lola, from sudden and indiscriminate gunfire. By the grace of God, little Lola survived. Andrea’s distraught family deserves justice.

As violence surges again, especially deaths resulting from such careless gunfire, it’s more than reasonable to ask ourselves - again - what can we do to de-escalate disagreements that too often go from small-time threats to deadly gunfire?

Parents, pastors, and teachers need to teach teens that it’s worth it to settle disputes without violence, because those are the type of skills that will help them to someday get and keep a job and have more stable relationships.

Young people must be made to understand the end result of violent overreactions to social slights is often criminal charges that will ruin a young life, all because of thoughtless and selfish decisions.

We simply have to get through to teenagers that it is possible to experience strong emotions like anger, without acting out those emotions in a violent way.

The good news is that Columbus police and other authorities just apprehended 57 murder, rape, and assault suspects.

One in 5 of those suspects, police say, are gang members.

That tells us more than we need to know to decide that we should fight gangs with all our resources and energy.

We need to save the current generation from losing their dreams over trivial disputes that lead to deadly decisions.

The shooters need to understand their bad decisions will kill their dreams and kill innocent people they don’t even know.

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