Our View

Our View

Election season offers real chance to address WM gun violence

Isn’t it interesting that as the election of a new mayor in West Memphis draws near we finally hear from political hopefuls and long-time politicians calling for “community involvement”, “creating a safer community”, and stronger gun laws as ways of addressing this county’s largest municipality’s gun violence.

Despite the enormous effort being made by the West Memphis Police Department to deal with gang and drug related shootings that have occurred so far this year gun violence continues to be a serious problem.

Just within the last few days shots fired from a car gunned down a 22-year-old at the Steeple Chase Apartments, and a short time later shots rang out on the west side of the city where the victim was left in noncritical condition. Then there was a 17-year-old shot in the head and later died of his injuries.

Police have installed numerous surveillance cameras as well as instituted high profile initiatives in order to address the violence while at least one mayoral candidate and long-time city councilman Marco McClendon is calling for community involvement and stricter gun laws.

Let us ask, what has this council member, who has served on the city council for the last 16 years, done to get involved in addressing poverty, drug crimes and gun violence within the neighborhoods that have been infested with gang members, drug dealers and criminal activity?

Isn’t it interesting that McClendon, who has anything but a stellar performance as an elected official, now wants to finally lead the charge in ridding this city of undesirables?

Let us ask Mr. McClendon how he thinks asking state politicians to add “common sense restrictions including a gun registry to engage responsible gun ownership” would have prevented ANY of the previous shootings when we seriously doubt any guns involved were properly registered or even purchased LEGALLY by the shooters.

Come on McClendon, if you are just now concerned about the situation that exists mainly among your constituents in Ward 4 and suggesting such ridiculous solutions as asking these punks to register their probably stolen pistols may we suggest you come up with a better political platform.

In response to the recent shootings McClendon jumped on the opportunity to sponsor a resolution designating the month as Gun Violence and Safety Awareness month that he says will bring awareness to the situation, as if the law-abiding citizens have no idea as to what is going on.

It might be suggested, as we’ve previously pointed out, that McClendon and other city politicians actually call together their community pastors and local citizens and focus on identifying the “trouble makers”, drug dealers and gang members. Encourage them to get names, addresses and any information possible so that the West Memphis Police Department can pull these social misfits from out of our city.

McClendon and other city council members need to pass a strict curfew law and allowing police to come down hard on youth violators. Parents of these gun-toting teens need to be held accountable as well.

Until these social misfits realize that they are not welcome in West Memphis and that they will be either run out of town or thrown in prison calling for a “prayer vigil” will have little to no real impact on solving this citywide problem.