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Editorial: Violence leads to regrets, tragedies and lost dreams

Last Modified: Monday, December 10, 2012 6:36 PM

'Tis the season of peace on earth, goodwill to men.

It is celebrated throughout Christian doctrine and denominations and among a multitude of non-believers as well.

Yet there was no goodwill, no peace here in Lake Charles earlier this month when three victims lost their lives to violence.

Brittany Grosse-Pryor, 21, died as the result of a blunt force trauma to her head and from a cutting instrument, allegedly at the hands of co-worker Dustin Pleasant. Pleasant would ultimately take his own life, hanging himself in his cell at Angola State Prison.

Quentin Lorden was fatally stabbed during a domestic dispute. Police ruled that it was self-defense, hence no arrests.

Anthony Batiste, 26, was fatally shot during a domestic disturbance. Kennan Wade Cedars, 24, and Austin Benjamin Cedars, 17, have been charged with second-degree murder.

Four lives snuffed out, a host of family and friends to ponder for the rest of their lives the tragic losses and what might have been.

It’s left others who did not even know the victims searching for answers.

During Sunday’s interdenominational prayer vigil, sponsored by the Baptist Minister’s Union of Lake Charles and Vicinity, people of faith offered solutions.

“We need to bring our faith out of the church and into the community,” said the Rev. Sam Tolbert, pastor of Greater St. Mary Baptist Church. “We feel this is where the church really needs to be. The violence in the street needs to be matched with the presence of the church in the streets, and I think that will make a difference.”

Tolbert said he hoped the vigil was not the end, but the beginning.

E.J. Kemper III, youth pastor at First Community Baptist Church, said young people are hurting and when no one addresses that pain they lash out.

“We we give them time and show them we love them then they’ll express that hurt in another way,” he said.

The slayings that occurred in about a 48-hour period shocked our area. And though it was an anomaly for Lake Charles, it’s little different from what’s occurring across our nation.

During the same time frame, a linebacker for the NFL Kansas City Chiefs, Jovan Belcher, fatally shot his girlfriend during a domestic argument, then took his own life. His teammate, quarterback Brady Quinn, blamed popular social media for a disconnect between people.

“When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it?,” Quinn said. “When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth? We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us. Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”

Maybe Quinn has a point. Maybe, though, he’s just grasping to make sense of a loss that’s difficult to explain.

So many questions, so few ironclad answers.

This, though, we can say with certainty: Violence only leads to regrets, tragedies and lost dreams.

• • •

This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.

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