A state of readiness is always important
by Jim Ruth Bradley County Sheriff
Dec 22, 2013 | 481 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jim Ruth
Jim Ruth
The school shooting in Colorado last week brought the news that the response by the local sheriff’s department was quick and sure.

One report said the shooting incident lasted less than two minutes, beginning to end. A deputy heard the shots and started toward the shooter. Other deputies were there within five minutes.

In times past, a SWAT team was called to set up a perimeter and contain the situation. The thinking now is the deputy must respond quickly and stop the shooting as other backup officers are called to the scene. The rapid response can save lives. This is very dangerous for the first officer arriving on the scene. But it is very necessary in order to save lives. He/she must stop the shooter.

I pray we will never have to face a problem like this in our schools. But we must remain ready for any eventuality.

The anti-gun and pro-gun people alike argue about the answer to these crimes. Of course, I am in agreement with the gun rights people. People kill people … The tool — whether gun, knife, machete, auto or bomb — has no will or conscience.

As we seek the answer to stop these lone wolf killings, we must start with a different premise.

It is encouraging that some of the national media are beginning to realize a lot of these killers like the attention heaped on these mass killings.

There are those who are studying the cause and effects of how these sickos are parented. All of our parents should realize that they need to stay emotionally plugged in to their kids through these tumultuous years on their way to adulthood.

Where the parent is negligent and totally selfish, maybe a grandparent, aunt or uncle can help fill the emotional needs of that developing young adult. It is your business and my business to reach out to kids being neglected.

Historically, we have had teachers here who are sensitive and caring enough to reach out to this next generation. There are a number of groups in Cleveland/Bradley County that are ready, willing and capable to teach, mentor and care.

Maybe your help will consist only of pointing a kid in the right direction so they can hook up with the group that will most help that particular kid.

Extended family members, neighbors and teachers pick up on the fact early on that some kids are headed down the wrong road. The challenge here is to find the best way to intervene with help without being confrontational with the intervention.

I would suggest that you seek the advice of a pastor who is experienced and trained in these areas or a social worker or teacher.

Cleveland also has a number of professional counselors who could give you some good advice. There are some law enforcement people who communicate very well in these hostile environments. All of these would be good resources that would help guide you as you help those who have not asked for your help.

There are some kids who live their lives with the thought that their own life matters not to another living soul. I know … I have personally read suicide notes. I have read young people’s diaries, I have interviewed them. Your kind word, your inquiry of a child’s well-being may be the only word of encouragement that teenager gets today to lead them to think, “Maybe I do matter to somebody.”

As common as folks like you and me reach out to the young world around us, we in law enforcement continually prepare for the worst.

Our deputies who serve as school resource officers have been trained to quickly respond to a social crisis. There are protocols in place for our command staff, patrol division and the SRO division as well. God forbid that any such thing will happen in our community.

I invite you to put your two cents worth forward as we create a better world.

Thanks for reading.