To the crowds that turned out for the National Night Out events across Cecil County on Tuesday night. National Night Out began in 1984 and has slowly evolved into a nationwide movement in which each community makes the event its own. The idea is that by being outside and meeting neighbors and community leaders connections are made and communities are safer. Cecil County had four different National Night Out events on Tuesday, one each in Elkton, North East, Charlestown and Perryville. The party in Elkton saw hundreds of people come out and interact with their local police and fire departments. The scene was largely the same in Perryville, where newcomers and longtime residents mingled amongst all there was to see and do. Law enforcement officers in our communities have a difficult task at hand in keeping us all safe, and the more we can do to be proactive and supportive of their efforts the easier we can make it for them. Developing positive relationships with police officers early in a child’s life will also likely reinforce the values of respect and support. That’s what makes the National Night Out so special each and every year.
To the unspeakable violence in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, last week. Heavily-armed gunmen killed 31 people and injured dozens more in terror attacks at a Walmart and a popular downtown bar district. To say we are despondent over the idea that we cannot go to the store for groceries or get a drink or bite to eat with friends without some fear for our lives is an understatement. We’ve filled far too many pages with despair over the state of our nation in the past decade as it seems we cannot shake the ever-present gun violence unique to America. These terrorists were fueled in part by racist ideologies that are becoming more mainstream every day, and their access to legal high-powered firearms only increases the likelihood of a growing body count. We implore our representatives to come together to open access to gun violence research, pass legislation that requires extensive background checks into gun purchasers and investigate how funds could be better allocated to address law enforcement needs and mental health assessments. It’s been 20 years since Columbine and 12 years since Virginia Tech, and yet we’ve done nothing and experienced only exponentially greater loss of life. What do they say about doing the same thing and expecting a different result?