Little Rock Crime: It’s Time for All of Us to Give a Damn

Confession. My wife will tell you I’m not always the best listener. I have a tendency to hear what I want to hear and drown out everything else. Over the years, Laura has learned how to get my attention when she needs to: drop a 4-letter word.

This is one of those moments for Little Rock. It’s time to wake up. It’s time to give a damn.

Following Saturday’s mass shooting at a downtown club, I knew I wanted to write out my thoughts. Quite frankly, I didn’t know what the hell to say. As I tried to come up with the words, KARK anchor Bob Clausen stepped up and spoke for all of us. I invite you to listen.

While that video and message are powerful, there’s another clip I can’t stop thinking about. On Monday night, reporter Price McKeon was in the middle of an interview about recent crime with a 9-year-old girl when this happened…

If that doesn’t send chills through your spine and hurt through your heart, I don’t know what will. That beautiful smile shouldn’t transform into tears with a single sound. Our kids should feel safe. This is not the way you prepare the next generation for success.

We have a major crime problem in our city. We also have another problem: apathy.

Too many people look the other way. Too many people feel this doesn’t impact them. Too many people let “what happens over there, happen over there.”

Too many people don’t give a damn.

Following the recent headlines that Little Rock suffered 34 gunshot victims over 9 days, we should have 5,000 people at our next Victory Walk on July 15 at MacArthur Park. But you know what? We’ll be lucky to have 500. And it’ll likely be the same 500 people who’ve been working on this problem for the last 20 years.

I’ve had people ask me why a transplant from Texas is spending all this time trying to improve the crime problem in Central Arkansas. For the answer, watch the video of the little girl again. I refuse to let that become the norm.

So what about you?

It’s time to point the finger at yourself and decide whether you’re going to continue to look the other way or step up and do something. Are you going to hide behind your computer and complain? Are you going to tell city leaders and the government it’s their job alone to fix? Or will you get out of your comfort zone and try to make a difference?

It’s time for all of us to give a damn.

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