How will we stop teen crimes?Published 12:00am Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Violence is too commonplace in Natchez these days.
In the latest incident, a 33-year-old man was shot multiple times in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
Natchez police charged a local 16-year-old in the shooting. Police believe another juvenile is also involved.
The accused are, by law, innocent until proven guilty.
If the teens are ultimately found to be guilty of the weekend shooting, then three crimes were committed.
Obviously, the shooting was the most serious crime, followed by possession of a firearm by a teenager. Did an adult give them the gun or was it stolen?
Finally, the least serious crime, but the one that allowed the shooting to occur was lack of curfew enforcement. Teenagers have no business being out on the streets at 4 a.m. Once upon a time, Natchez had a curfew for teenagers, which should be heavily enforced.
Unfortunately, laws are only as good as society’s ability to enforce them and a would-be criminal’s fear of the penalties for being caught.
Our area’s seemingly light hand of justice allows many serious crimes to go largely unpunished, offering little to no deterrent to anyone watching.
Could the alleged shooters haven known the two teens who pleaded guilty to pointing guns at a man to rob him in January?
If so, the weekend shooters might have realized their buddies received a grand total of one day in jail plus some probation.
They might have thought, “How much worse could it be if we actually pulled the trigger?”
Violent offenders need to be locked up. Period.
The public must demand accountability from our legal system, before it’s too late and more bullets find their mark.