Talking about the issue of crime was not the issue for me but the way you talked about handling it is just ignant as heck. I work in Rocky Mount and I have family and friends whom live there. I am the voice for those whom have given me the go ahead to speak for them. However I speak to issues that I feel are worthy of addressing and I do not need permission from anyone to do so. Why? Because I am my brother’s keeper even those whom may have a problem with me speaking out for whatever reason. I do it simply because it is my moral obligation and also because of the mission of the NAACP where I am a Fully Life Paid Member.
I am not a mall person however I went to the mall about 2 weeks ago and my family spent about 2 hours there. I sat in the car time but did go in to use the bathroom. I didn’t see anything going on nor did I hear my family say they experienced anything while they were on the inside. I seen a car club drive through the parking lot and they didn’t stay. The club consisted of not only black but others from the best I could see. They were not doing anything out of the ordinary.
The most recent incident at the mall was not a random shooting and if I am correct the suspect/s and victim/s knew each other. I say the mall thingy would be a major issue if the crimes committed were at random and until then I say going to the mall is no more unsafe than going other places. But again I am not a mall person.
I was told that there were officers and/or security in the mall when the shooting occurred so obviously the shooter didn’t care who was around. I was told that is why they were able to catch them so quickly because they were in the mall.
I agree there is a problem when robbers break into folks home however the neighbors will be the only ones to help solve those crimes. The police department can not sit in front of everyone’s house trying to prevent crimes. So how is this the chief’s fault?
A 14 year old boy being shot is an issue however a 14 year old should not be out and about so how in the heck is that the chief’s fault?
So Mr. Betts what can the police department do differently? I have not seen any solutions but the bat thingy which you stated that may not be all legal as you stated. I feel strongly that most folks black and white took issue with the bat thingy and the not all a legal comments. So don’t try to twist it and make it appear that black and white folks do not want to put a handle on crime. To promote illegal activity within the police department is no damn different from the crime that is taking place.
For me and many folks that I know black and white, we have been concerned about crime long before the 14 year old was shot.
Betts you say, "By not speaking out sooner, I’ve got his blood on my hands, and it ain’t fair to him to just wash it off. While some may think my comments were “insensitive,” “impolite,” or “inappropriate,” I say, go tell that to the little boy’s mother." Well sir I don’t have any blood on my hands. You damn right your comments were insensitive, impolite and inappropriate to suggest that the police department begin to use baseball bats to combat crime. You damn right I will tell the 14 year old mom and anyone else.
As a community activist and have been actively engaged in politics since the early 90’s be it as a member of Common Ground lead by now Councilwoman Chris Miller, attending the Rocky Mount City Council meetings before the black majority, the Edgecombe County Democratic Party, Rocky Mount NAACP, other community organizations and I have worked in Rocky Mount for the past 23 years, I am much aware of what is going on in Rocky Mount. I am probably more abreast of the issues than over 50% of the people whom actually live there.
I find your comments comparing a coach to a police chief to be somewhat ignant. You say, "When the team has a losing record, the first thing you do is fire the coach and get another one. The next thing that you do is support the new coach."
Since you are so bent on firing the chief and that will be the answer, why haven’t you told us what justifies his firing? You know for yourself that you can’t just fire someone without just cause because of the risk of a possible lawsuit. I feel comfortable saying that if the city had just cause to get rid of the chief just for the sake of change, they probably would but I don’t think that is an option right now.
Mr. Betts I think everyone feel passionately about the crime however a bunch of ignant conversation is not the answer. Talking about the fact of certain crimes that have taken place is all well and fine however your ignant conversation about firing the chief when you have not stated why does not help the solving crime. Hell if it was not for the ignant conversations going on, the chief may would retire since I understand he is eligible to do so.
Note: The above is in response to Tom Betts’ letter to editor “Rocky Mount face tough issues.”