MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The violence we are seeing in our community has many people speaking out, fed up with the crime that surrounds us.
A shooter on the run, a young mother kidnapped and murdered while jogging, and a police officer shot while protecting the streets all played out in Memphis in a matter of days.
Memphis City Council Member Frank Colvett echos the outrage many in the city are feeling.
“To go to the events of last night? I am horrified and sick,” Colvett said.
But he says it’s time to do more than be angry.
“At this point, I am sick and tired of elected officials ringing their hands and saying, ‘Oh, No, there’s nothing we can do. Or oh, gosh! Isn’t this terrible’ and not offering a solution, because at what point is the tragedy going to hit home for them personally?” Colvett said.
Colvett says he is ready to go to city council and get the money to fix the problem.
“We are past time for excuses,” Colvett said. “We ask the question. We ask the professionals. What do you need? How much is it going to cost? Here’s the checkbook. Get it done.”
Memphis Pastor Keith Norman says what’s happening in Memphis goes beyond political and social-economic divide.
“We all live together here. Poplar was locked down from Collierville back to the city of Memphis on last night,” Norman said. “So one street connects us all, one hope connects us all. One hope connects us all. And then one future we’re all intertwined in together.”
He says it’s time everyone takes ownership.
“We think that this is someone else’s problem. We are fooling ourselves,” Norman said. “There is no measure of resource that insulates us from this.”
One thing many agree on: more needs to be done to reach kids in trouble so they don’t become adults who cause trouble, and rehabilitate those who do get in trouble.
“Show our children that there is a positive way that there are positive role models that the streets are not the answer,” Colvett said.
“The question we must ask ourselves is what access to rehabilitation did they have and what was available to them in order to have their lives turned around while they were incarcerated?” Norman said. “I don’t believe that incarceration means lack of rehabilitation. Those things can go together.”
Colvett says he is ready to put the pressure on to get more police on the streets, even if it means hiring officers from other police departments to work part-time here too.