Our View...Have crime and violence become old hat?Carlton County is known for its people, its politics and the accomplishments of its scholars and athletes. Lately, it’s been known for its crime.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Carlton County is known for its people, its politics and the accomplishments of its scholars and athletes. Lately, it’s been known for its crime.
In the last few weeks alone, there have been two hit and run accidents — one of them resulting in a fatality — as well as a third collision resulting in criminal vehicular homicide charges. There have been drug, arson, counterfeiting and gang-related arrests, the sentencing of two accomplices in one murder case and a second person charged in an attempted shooting.
These high-profile cases have made the state news, and from the outside looking in, one might surmise that Carlton County has suddenly become the proverbial “hotbed of crime.” And sometimes, that’s just how it feels.
The questions must be asked, “Why here? Why now? Why?”
Is there an increasing sense of desperation in those who can’t afford to support a drug habit in which they never should have gotten involved in the first place? Are there people who are so down on their luck in today’s ragged economy that they have to resort to illegal activities to help make ends meet?
Or is there an unspoken climate of acceptance, where crime has become so widespread that the court system settles for giving a slap on the hand and a second (or third, or fourth) chance, until finally a crime results in bodily harm and we can look away no longer?
Could it be the increasingly widespread exposure to violence on all levels — in our homes, in our schools, on our streets and in the media — to so great a degree that we have become desensitized to what violence is all about? It’s a little like the deer who once bolted in fear at the first whiff of a human scent, but who now parades through city yards in broad daylight and teeters on the berm of the Interstate, determined to cross despite the onslaught of speeding traffic.
Chances are, we can point to all of these things when it comes to the growing crime rate in our county.
There are many in the law enforcement and criminal justice systems who are working hard to turn things around, and their efforts should be applauded. But they can’t do it alone. It’s going to take the support of every one of us. We can’t settle for the status quo and think it’s good enough. If you see something suspicious, call the police. Crime and violence at all levels is unacceptable, from bullying and harassment to domestic assault, driving drunk or fleeing after striking a vehicle or pedestrian. It’s not what we’re about, Carlton County. Let’s show the world we’re better than that.