Soul of city is at stake

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

Who will raise the hue and cry? Rex Nel­son, in his col­umn “Cap­i­tal city cri­sis,” is one valiant voice.

It is tragic the rep­u­ta­tion of the great city of Lit­tle Rock con­tin­ues to be de­famed, jus­ti­fi­ably, be­cause of naked vi­o­lence, now com­mon­place. The prob­lem the city faces is not new, reach­ing na­tional pro­por­tions 23 years ago with an HBO spe­cial, Gang War: Ban­gin’ in Lit­tle Rock. So is that can­cer in re­mis­sion? No—it has metas­ta­sized.

What’s the so­lu­tion? There is an an­swer some­where, but who among us will have the re­solve to see it achieved? The city fa­thers ap­pear be­wil­dered and there­fore in­ept but, in their de­fense, I see no groundswell from our cit­i­zens—in­ex­pli­ca­bly, we seem just to ac­cept sta­tus quo.

Sixty years later, ves­tiges of neg­a­tive eco­nomic con­se­quences still per­sist from the school events of 1957. Now we are en­gaged in a new, some­what anal­o­gous re­al­ity with even more neg­a­tive po­ten­tial, and it’s called ram­pant crime. Driv­ing around this beau­ti­ful city, it is hard to come to terms with the re­al­iza­tion of the rot within when she presents such a beau­ti­ful face.

Wake up, city fa­thers, do some­thing mean­ing­ful; the cor­rec­tive steps are out there—some­where. Rudy Gi­u­liani turned New York City crime around. Can’t we also? Maybe an ad hoc com­mit­tee could be pro­duc­tive. It is be­yond im­per­a­tive that mea­sures be taken.

So, cit­i­zens—be heard. Do some­thing. De­mand. Raise the hue and cry. Find an an­swer soon—the soul of our city is in the bal­ance.

JAMES H. BARRÉ

Lit­tle Rock

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