Brutalized, neglected victims deserve better
Sep 15, 2013 | 1733 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jim Ruth Bradley County
Sheriff
Jim Ruth Bradley County Sheriff
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The little girl was sprawled lifeless on the living room floor when I arrived on the scene. The people who were supposed to be taking care of her were nowhere around.

Little Melisha Gibson was brutalized by some very sick people. I was a Cleveland Police Department detective at the time and the first on the scene. I discovered the residence was in the county, so the Sheriff’s Office made the investigation. Former Sheriff Robert Lawson, a detective at the time, became the lead investigator in this horrendous crime.

I am sure all of the sordid details are still remembered by those living here at the time. Melisha’s death focused a lot of attention on child abuse locally and across the state. New laws were enacted. Then, watchdog groups organized across Tennessee. One here in Cleveland/Bradley County is still active today in memorializing and honoring this little, innocent girl.

During this troubling time, people were asking “Why?” and “How?” this terrible tragedy could happen in our town. How the precious little girl could be tortured and the rest of us not know about it. How could a human being become such a lowlife to treat another human in such a way.

Her pitiful life and horrendous death spoke volumes to our community and state. Her victimization still haunts us today. It is sad that it took the death of a child to get the laws and policies changed and corrected.

I think of the death of two little boys whose lives came to a torturous end on a hot, sunny, sultry day last summer as they were victimized by methamphetamine. They were two more victims of the easily obtained pseudoephedrine used to make the poor folks’ drug of choice.

These two little, precious boys are not the only victims of this very sad incident.

The grandparents, aunts, uncles, other close family members and friends have been victimized as their spirit has been wounded from the loss of these two little brothers. They will always carry this burden. T

he deaths of these boys, along with the actions or lack of actions tell the tale of the very huge problem created by pseudoephedrine being marketed freely throughout the state.

In other states where laws have been changed to require a prescription for pseudoephedrine, there has been a very significant downturn in meth production and use.

I cannot say that if the prescription law had been in effect these two boys would still be living today. I can say that if the law was in effect today, there would be a whole lot fewer “meth heads” running around breaking into houses, stealing and cooking meth in apartments, houses and motels in Bradley County.

There would also be a lot of innocent babies and children who would not be in foster care.

I can say for sure that meth is so easily obtained under the present law that the problem is continuing to worsen.

There are people in our community who are reaching out to people with meth problems and other addictions. I know of some individuals who have raised their voices to have the law changed to help correct this terrible blight on society. Apparently, the right people are not listening.

Lack of action has put a stain on Tennessee’s collective soul. As a citizen, you may ask, “Why has this not been taken care of sooner?”

Listen closely to those who are for the status quo and as you reason it out, it is all “a sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.”

There are some societal problems that are so large that they can be corrected only through long years of work. Correcting this problem can be a very large way to begin correction immediately, with one sweep of the state legislative pen.

My party, the Republican party, is sometimes called the “law and order” party. We now have a supermajority in the Tennessee General Assembly, therefore, we have an opportunity to rise and shine. We can once again let the people know who we really are.

As always, thanks for reading.