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Violence in Vicksburg will not, must not stand

We are left saddened, concerned and frustrated by the violence in Vicksburg over the weekend.

There are no words that can console the family of Dematric Lamar Clark, who was gunned down early Saturday on Locust Street. There are no actions that can bring him back. And, there are no policies and laws that can go back and time and prevent such a tragedy from happening.

There are no words that can help us comprehend the events that surrounded the shooting early Sunday morning that left two Vicksburg teenagers wounded and one in critical condition.

Today, all we can do — all we must do — is pray for those injured, the families mourning and a community struggling with an outburst of crime and violence that has left it rattled.

A number of weeks ago, the city of Vicksburg released data showing that crime rates in Vicksburg had moved lower, an announcement we all celebrated. That announcement today is worthless to the victims of these crimes — and the other so-called lesser crimes — our community deals with and our police respond to daily.

Violence and crime, of any measure and of any severity, has no place in our community and it must be dealt with it, not just by our public safety officials, but by the community itself.

In the case of Saturday’s shooting, and Sunday’s shooting, police are asking for the community’s help in identifying suspects. They are looking for information to explain what might have led to a murder on Saturday and a violent outbreak Sunday morning.

We are disappointed Tuesday’s planned town hall to discuss public safety in Vicksburg was postponed due to an illness and a scheduling conflict. It is a shame something could not have been done to make sure such a meeting was held, especially following the events of the weekend.

It would have been a lively and needed discussion. It is our hope the event is quickly rescheduled.

We have reported and commented plenty recently on the positive things happening in our community. We have talked about strong economic trends and improvements in our educational system.

But what can bring down our community faster than anything is violence and a community’s acceptance of such violence.

We must all stand up and demand such violence — any violence — has no place in Vicksburg and Warren County. Demand that those bent on criminal activity and violence are found, charged and convicted. They and the violence they breed have no place here.

Vicksburg is better than this, stronger than this and will not be brought down by those who are too weak to expect better of themselves.

Those who call Vicksburg home must expect better of our community and hold those who do not meet that standard accountable.