Fighting cancer means fighting crime

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Some area juveniles obviously misunderstood the phrase “fight for a cure.”

Small squabbles near the levee at Relay for Life this weekend only escalated as the night wore on, and now police believe disagreements may have culminated in a shooting.

A law enforcement official broadcast through the police scanner early Saturday with frustration in his voice said it best — “This is a family event, and we will not tolerate this.”

But despite foot chases and warnings from officers, the troubles continued.

In fact, containing such a large crowd in such a wide-open arena was probably next to impossible.

The Miss-Lou Relay for Life is a wonderful community event. Organizers and participants should be proud of what the event has become.

But just like anything else, with steady growth comes growing pains.

Relay is a free event with no entrance or exit. Though a heavy law enforcement presence is provided, it’s not reasonable to expect officers to control a crowd of nearly 2,000 who come and go as they please into the wee hours of the morning.

The Relay for Life committee and area law enforcement need to work together prior to next year’s event to come up with a new plan.

Perhaps the event needs to be moved all together to an enclosed site, like the Natchez High track.

Or maybe the barricades could be installed around the riverfront site and guarded by police.

It’s sad that such a conversation is needed, but cancer isn’t the only thing eating at our society, and Relay is too special of a night to allow trouble to get in the way.