The recent shooting in the Martins at Cobblestone have shaken our community. We are horrified and confused as to how and why this would happen. Many of us have frequented this location and enjoyed it for it's location in the community. It is a tasteful addition to the Bacon Hill area. It isn't loud or garish. It's a nice store to visit in a nice area of town. That may be part of the reason this is so shocking. Although our society states that profiling isn't fair, we all know that there are certain neighborhoods where crime is already more prevalent. In most cases, low income related areas are a factor in crimes like this. A robbery gone bad.
Not so here.
I've had the pleasure of meeting Rob Bartels, the President and CEO of Martins Supermarkets. He probably wouldn't remember me, but I worked at a Ford dealership that he brought his vehicle to. He was always genuinely kind and courteous. When I saw his emotion associated with his statement, I knew it was from his heart. While big box stores might be more concerned with their bottom line, he is concerned with the families "on both sides of the register".
Now the next part begins. As investigators uncover truths, and media coverage grows, a lot of things will be said. It may become political fodder for politicians to use to push their own agendas. People will be angry and want answers. Sadly, for all the noise, sometimes there isn't an answer. Maybe this young man needed love. Maybe he had felt rejected and outcast for so long that he became the monster he felt he was. I in no way will seek to justify this person, we are all responsible for our choices no matter our circumstances. But when I look into the face of children, I wonder where thoughts like that begin. I don't believe that a child was ever born with the intent to kill. I am afraid that in all of this, the real issue will be missed. Who is helping our children?
I think that if our nation wants to stop the violence, they need to look at the children. We can try to take away weapons and setup new ways to screen people and watch every move we make to try to stop the next crime, but evil always finds a way. The motive is the problem. So many people that carry so much childhood pain and rejection. This is turned into a little ball of hate and rage that they foster deep inside. This little rock of pain than grows and festers inside is made manifest by the monster we see on the outside. Let's try reaching out to o
the children of our communties. The hurt, the rejected and the lost. School programs and community outreach programs should be embraced and given every tool possible to help reach these children before it's too late. Each of us should consider this when we look in the faces of the undesirable child. Who loves that child? The one that is dirty and uncomely. Do we reach our hand out to them or recoil in a quiet repulsion?
I don't have the answers, and violence will never go away completely. However, I feel that if we want to make a change to help stop things like this from happening, reaching out to our community children is a great way to start. It's been stated in the Bible and even in music. The children are the future. No matter what, united we stand!
Erik and Jennifer are the owner/operators of Mobile Service Pros. We enjoy working with our customers and community.