Is Gates crime rising?

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 25, 2005

Within the past few weeks, Gates County Sheriff Edward Webb and his deputies have been kept busy chasing down more than this county’s share of bad guys.

Of course, the worst of the local crimes was the murder of the 63-year old couple who were victims of gunshot wounds allegedly inflicted by their step grandson.

The next incident involved a father who allegedly shook his seven month old son so hard the infant nearly died.

Then, sheriff’s deputies performing a traffic stop hit on the largest stash of marijuana ever confiscated in the county. Thanks to the infallible and terrific nose of one deputy, K-9 Kal, more than $136,000 in &uot;pot&uot; was recovered along with cash and a brand new pickup.

Last, but certainly not least, the Family Foods store in Corapeake was the scene of an armed robbery, an incident that is not the norm for our formerly peaceful county.

What in the world is going on? Has the fast and furious world outside our beloved and serene county moved in to steal our peace and dignity? Gone are the days when we could leave windows and doors open to catch a whiff of sweetly scented honeysuckle wafting through our bedrooms as we slept the sleep of the innocent.

We are all now victims. No, we may not be involved in a crime, but we are truly the victims of life as a certain element wants us to live it.

Now, we must be afraid to leave doors unlock, windows open for fresh air. Now, it seems that we must even fear going to our jobs. I would expect a robbery of a bank, an ABC store, or a service station, but a Family Foods? Can we go anywhere that is not a potential crime scene anymore? Can we even be assured that we won’t have a gun stuck in our face while we try to earn a living?

The victim of the armed robbery left her job immediately and vows never to return. I don’t blame her one bit. She was shaking and is still shaken over having that handgun in her face.

Now, she is without a job and the money that would have been used to help pay for books and clothing to return to college. At this point, she said she wouldn’t even look for other employment. Can you blame her?

The couple who died was obviously victims, but consider the rest of the surviving family. A father is shamed and the daughter of the slain couple, his wife, is suffering not only from losing her parents, but also the fact that the alleged killer is her step-son. Now if that isn’t victimization, I don’t know what is.

Also, the shaken baby’s family has been torn apart. Of course, the father was ordered to stay away from the baby, and the baby’s mother has split from the father who allegedly inflicted the violent rage against the child. We must always say &uot;allegedly,&uot; because until they are convicted, all these suspects are presumed innocent.

Another way in which the people of Gates County are victimized is the sudden interest in our county by the WAVY-TV 10 news team. They seem to be camped out waiting for another crime to report. That’s fine. That’s what we in the media do, but I think it would certainly be the decent thing to do if they could show up for some of the wonderful things that also take place here. Things like the recent 4-H District Activities Day, like the shipment of 2,000 bikes to tsunami victims thanks to Bill and Jackie Phillips, and what about Swampfest and our Championship Rodeo? Where’s the rest of the media then? We don’t need the stigma of having only the &uot;bad news&uot; reported to the rest of the world.

One final note and I’ll get off this soapbox; in case you haven’t called or stopped by the office of Gates County Sheriff to offer thanks for all their fine skills in &uot;capturing&uot; the alleged perpetrators of these crimes and more. There are two still out there, the pair who used a gun to rob Family Foods, but I have no doubt that our fine law enforcement team will soon have them in custody. Until then; keep your windows and doors locked and pray.