It’s time for some serious talk

Five young men shot – three of them dead.

Why?

During Coweta County’s history, there have been several wars. Cemetery markers tell the stories of sons, brothers, lovers who were cut off in their prime. Potential fathers, husbands, teachers, farmers, mechanics – their places were left for others to fill, or left unfilled.

There is a war that is taking place not on a battlefield in some far off land, but in a neighborhood in walking distance of downtown Newnan. Mothers bury their children. Young men, who ought to be in school or at work, are spending their days as pallbearers for their friends.

It’s time to talk – and not just to talk about the shootings and the issues that led to them. Pastors have been preaching peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. Community leaders have been encouraging a spirit of caring, cooperation and outreach.

More, however, is needed. There needs to be talk – real talk – with the young adults who are killing each other on Newnan’s streets. What is eating at them? What makes them resort to a gun? There are better ways to solve problems. The loss of life demands we pull all the resources of our community together and look for options, solutions, programs, opportunities.

Making this conversation occur will not be easy. It will require getting out of our comfort zones. It will require some people with credibility in more than one arena to straddle those worlds and bring together people who might never have known each other. It will require really listening, even when what is being said is anything but what we want to hear.

Lives are being lost. The biographies of Darian Person, Gregory Marquel “Quell” Anderson and Reginald Lamont Sinkfield should be in their opening chapters, but those books are now closed. Other lives are forever changed – shooters charged with felonies, parents who have buried their hopes and dreams, neighbors who wonder what will happen next just outside their doors.

It’s time for some talk, some serious talk, some serious listening. Young men bleeding to death – in the street, in Coweta County – it’s got to stop.



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