It was six o’clock in the morning March 5. Do you know where your children were? The answer: Some were in the process of turning a quiet Lake Highlands neighborhood into the twilight zone.
Picture walking outside to pick up your morning newspaper to find your neighbors looking at their homes and vehicles parked in their driveways and on the street. On their faces are looks of shock, disgust and concern. Realization begins to set in as to why.
You find that in the early hours that morning, several vehicles, including your own, were painted, tires were slashed – and in one instance, windows were broken and acid poured into the car.
Also a residence received some paint damage, and one of our neighborhood churches was heavily damaged with graffiti and by fire.
All of these acts of violence were for no apparent reason except the vehicles, residences and church were there. Many lives were affected that day: the victims who were violated, the friends and families of the suspects, the suspects, and the Lake Highlands community as a whole.
I have been in law enforcement for more than 18 years, and I have to admit it really takes something unusual to surprise me. The fact that two of the suspects (who were later arrested) were walking among us that morning and innocently asked, “what happened last night while all of us were sleeping?” didn’t and doesn’t surprise me.
And reading newspaper accounts that one of the suspects is feeling remorseful about damaging the church (only after being caught) doesn’t surprise me.
However, what does surprise me – and shouldn’t – is after being caught and showing remorse for damage done to the church, there is no remorse being mentioned about all the damage done around the neighborhood. I find my surprise fading when I ask myself what has happened to our youth not just learning the three R’s in school, but also the basics in morals, ethics and responsibility.
I see this as a wake-up call to all of us, adults and youth, to remind each other “what’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong.”
Needless to say, I wasn’t a happy camper that eye-opening Thursday morning, and the thought of swifter justice for the suspects crossed my mind. But one good Sunday sermon and a prayer for all of those involved helped me to refocus and remember what I’m sure many of our mothers used to say to us growing up: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
So let’s move on to rebuilding and making tomorrow a better day where we as families, friends and neighbors may not always see eye to eye, but we can all agree to see heart to heart.