Community should learn to play together

Published 9:11 am Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not too long ago, City of Franklin Police Chief Phil Hardison made a public presentation to the Franklin City Council regarding our local gang problem. He requested that the city hire more officers in order to beef up local law enforcement with the goal of stopping the advance of gang activity within the community.

The mayor suggested to the council that they launch a task force to research this issue and make recommendations to the city on a course of action.

So far, from what I can see, the City Council has done absolutely nothing to address this problem. Maybe the City Council is in denial. It is clear to me that the chief of police and his officers are not in denial. They have given us our warning. Let us stop and look at what we already have. We have:

Youth placing gang symbols or graffiti on local buildings

Low academic performance within our schools

Fights and disturbances between youth on our streets

Clustering of youths in “sets”, “packs” or “cliques”, akin to what we see on Washington and South streets

Youth in possession of weapons, drugs, drug paraphe ing:

Keep our neighborhoods clean and remove immediately all graffiti.

Demand that the city repair all street. lights and install new ones where possible.

Hire more police.

Develop and maintain crime prevention programs, neighborhood watch, anti-robbery, anti-domestic violence and abuse program.

Develop local programs to increase employment and job skills.

As I listened to Hardison, I asked myself, what can I do to get in on this fight for law and order? I decided that I will plant my flag on the south side and fight for crime prevention. I’m willing to work on establishing a community marching band. You say what? Yes, let us come together and start a community marching band.

Everyone does not play ball, but everyone loves music. We can get kids off the street, and give them a group to identify with that is doing something positive and uplifting. Instead of shootouts, we can have drum line battles. Instead of kids teaching each other to wear droopy pants highlighting underwear, they’ll teach each other to pull their pants up, because you can’t march with your pants around your knees. It is just physically impossible.

Anyone interested in helping to do this should contact me. In order to get going the community needs to supply the following:

A building where we can meet to practice, and space to march

Volunteers willing to raise money

Parents and guardians willing to work

Let’s come together and make a difference.