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Time for the community to step up

By   /   February 15, 2013  /   Comments

Albany reached a new low yesterday when a Meals on Wheels truck was held up at gunpoint.  There are a few things I believe should be sacrosanct, even to criminals, and Meals on Wheels should be on of those things.  These drivers, all volunteers, aren’t collecting money for the food they’re delivering.  It’s all free.  No, they only stole money from the kindhearted people who are devoting their time and effort to help those who are less fortunate than they are.

To me, this really is a new low.

Many will turn to the police to catch the evildoers.  That’s their job, and I suspect they’ll do it just fine.  However, the police come into play after a crime has occurred.  It’s up to the community, every single one of us, to create an environment where this just does not happen.  It’s up to parents, teachers, and clergy, as well as the community members at large.

Teachers and clergy already know their place in all of this.  Most do it well.  To those, I ask you to kick those who aren’t doing their part in the rear ends.  They need to get their butts in gear because we’re going to need their help.  Unfortunately, there are far to many who fall into that category.

Before you get up in arms, even one is far to many and I know for a fact there is more than one teacher that falls under that category.  However, that’s a topic for another time.

Parents, I’m one of you.  I’ve got two kids myself, with my son in sixth grade.  He deals with wannabe gangbangers all the time.  He’s had people try to extort money from him (for the record, kicking an eighth grader in the butt while chasing him off seems to have ended that one), and a whole host of other things.  However, he hasn’t descended down that path.  Why?  Because of the values we have instilled in him here at home.

A large part of the problem is cultural.  Many parents have allowed their kids to hold up gangsters as their role models.  These are people that live violently and tend to die violently.  These are the kinds of people that would hold up a Meals on Wheels truck.  Parents need to make it clear that such behavior is horribly wrong.  They need to instill values into their children that crime is not the answer to life’s problems, even financial ones.  Doesn’t sound hard, does it?  However, it’s just not being done.  Doing so involves more than just lip service too.  You actually have to walk the walk.  Kids learn by example, so you need to set a good one.

To the rest of the community, you need to get rid of that “I don’t want to get involved” schtick.  Seriously, it’s old and bad for everyone.  If you see a kid doing something wrong, tell their parents.  If that doesn’t do any good, call the police.  If you don’t know who they are, or who their parents are, skip step one and call the cops.  Doing the wrong thing has consequences.  The sooner kids learn them, preferably over something relatively minor, the sooner they can be kicked back onto the right track.

Folks, we all have to step up.  Every single one of us.  Our differences don’t matter right now.  What matters is that no employer is going to come into a town that robs Meals on Wheels.  If someone here will do that, how will their employees be safe?

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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