Pubdate: Sun, 28 Dec 2003
Source: Ledger-Enquirer (GA)
Copyright: 2003 Ledger-Enquirer
Author: Ted Qualls


The tragic shooting of Kenneth Walker shows this community's ongoing 
problem with illegal drugs. Even though Mr. Walker and his companions had 
nothing to do with drugs, the string of events came about because of this 
community's continued complacency when it comes to drug addiction.

Victims of DUI-related accidents hold establishments or individuals 
responsible for supplying alcohol to the offender. Some cities and 
individuals are holding handgun manufacturers responsible for the 
ever-growing violence in their communities. So whom do we hold responsible 
- -- the Sheriff's Department for trying to do an increasingly dangerous job, 
with a force that may not be up to the task? Some say the victims, for not 
completely complying with the deputies' directives.

Blame may rest with both; no one knows but the people involved.

Without a doubt, blame should go to the portion of our community that keeps 
the drug trade in business -- the users!

Our communities must keep an open mind and not let outside influences 
distort this tragedy into some national political event. My fear is that 
when these people leave, they will leave a city more divided than ever. 
Sure, our local politicians will say all the right things, shake all the 
right hands and make all the right promises. But in the end it's going to 
be the individual person, each and every one of us, who will make this 
terrible event have some lasting constructive presence.

Until we answer the question of why our citizens continue to use and 
traffic in illegal drugs we will continue to suffer the loss of great 
people like Kenneth Walker.

TED QUALLS, Columbus
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