The city of Rocky Mount faces more than its share of challenges these days, but they are hardly unique compared to other cities of its size in North Carolina or in the country at large.
It’s important to keep that in mind as we look for ways to rebuild the area’s economy and increase the safety of our streets. Mayor David Combs reminded us of that several times this week in delivering his State of the City address.
Combs acknowledged that the city needs to do more, especially in the wake of the senseless shootings two weeks ago that left four young people wounded on a church basketball court. An arrest has been made, and community leaders have been quick to respond in the form of rallies and other awareness-raising events. But many of us remain bewildered by such a blatant act of violence, particularly aimed against kids.
As Combs said in his speech: “This is not just a Rocky Mount problem, but a problem across the state and the nation. With the most recent shootings of our young people, we realized whatever we are doing is not enough.”
It’s encouraging to see Rocky Mount’s faith community join forces in the campaign to stop violence in our city. Unfortunately, we worry that the rallies and marches that often take place in the aftermath of such incidents aren’t reaching the hearts of the right people.
Perhaps a stronger message to the community at large should be: Get involved with the safety of your town.
If you know something about criminal activity, report it to the Rocky Mount Police Department. Be specific. Name names. Help police make this city safer for yourself, your family and neighbors.
A State of the City address is really a report on ourselves. The efforts we undertake to make Rocky Mount a better place to live benefit all of us, but they require a commitment from all of us, too.
Covering up for a friend or looking the other way only allows crime to continue. It’s time to stop looking away and confront the challenge head-on – while we still can.