By Hollis Wormsby, Jr.
One of my long-term friends came by the house the other day visibly upset. I asked him what was wrong, and he said someone had shot his dog. Now to my friend, like myself, a dog is not some animal, it is very much like your own child. I asked my friend if someone was mad at him, and he said no, teenagers in the neighborhood did it for amusement.
Now as I do with most of my friends, I have talked with this friend over the years about the ongoing crime problem in our community. After standing over his beloved dog and knowing the kids who did it, you could see he had had enough.
In the past year on our street in Bush Hills there have been two shootings within distance of my house. In one of the shootings two groups of young males in two different cars were driving side by side down 20th Street shooting into each other’s vehicles. Neighbors woke up that morning to find their cars had been damaged either by the bullets or by the two cars as they plowed recklessly through the neighborhood. As we gathered in the streets the sentiment on everyone’s mind was, “These kids need a d-mn butt whipping.”
As a black community we are tolerant and forgiving, but what I am seeing on social media, what people say to me in response to my columns, is that enough is enough. People are tired of the “he/she didn’t/doesn’t know any better.” People are tired of having people who contribute so little take so much back from society.
One of my younger former broadcast partners posted on his Facebook page last week that these kids are out of control. Even activists have been asking on their Facebook pages how we get control of wannabe gangsters in our community. I personally believe that this change in attitude is one of the needed steps to a real solution.
I am happy to hear voices scream, “Enough is enough. Raise your d-mn children and take some responsibility for what they do.” We might be a poor city. We might not be able to fix all of our potholes, and maybe we have challenges when it comes to generating the kind of economic development success that would provide more employment opportunities in our communities. But we do not have to sit idly by and let a minority of undisciplined youth dictate the quality of life in our community. Or at least that’s the way I see it.
(Hollis Wormsby has served as a featured columnist for the Birmingham Times for more than 29 years. He is the former host of Talkback on 98.7 KISS FM and of Real Talk on WAGG AM. If you would like to comment on this column you can email him at email@example.com)