I surely applaud the stirring Kentucky New Era editorial against the cowards who acted with such malice and meanness against the family of Ronald McGee. I have a suggestion to make, however. I propose that we do a lot of talking about the matter and then try to go one step beyond talking by taking some kind of positive action. I intend to send some money to that family to let them know I care about them in a substantive manner. I suggest that others who have the means might consider a similar action, but I have even more grandiose suggestions.
If the local police are unable to find the criminal, the city should ask for help from the state, the FBI and other resource agencies. There are numerous agencies willing to help but be careful to avoid those with an agenda other than real moral outrage.
As the New Era suggests, we need to be mad and we need to direct that anger into a determination to solve this crime. As no one was hurt, the police may tend to put it in a less than imperative mood, but I believe that it should go to the very top of the police agenda. Allocation of police resources should depend on the seriousness of the crime and usually does, but it would be easy to underestimate this crime because nobody was hurt. This is a federal crime and we should insist that it be treated as such. If we propose to be one nation, we had better get a little more serious about it.
If this is not a hate crime, I do not know what could be. I believe that Hopkinsville should ask for help from the state of Kentucky and from the federal government.
The New Era is correct in thinking that we need to have a sense of outrage over this matter, but we need to get real with action. We have here an act of pure racial malice that is not a controversial issue with both sides partly to blame. It is not an issue tinged with political overtones or one in which decent people might tend to disagree.
This problem can be solved, and I expect that we might have a confessor come forth if we show that we have an implacable determination to solve this crime and vow to show no leniency if we are forced to go all the way to solve the crime.
In a similar situation I experienced as a school administrator, a rock was thrown through a teacher’s window. I announced to the student body that I had an agreement with the victimized teacher to drop all charges if the perpetrators would confess and pay for all the damages.
I had all the evidence that I needed after interviewing almost a hundred students and finding that this was a conspiracy of three students. (I strongly suspect that this Hopkinsville crime has more than one perpetrator and this should make it easier to solve.) Anyway, one of the three perps lost his nerve or had a moral awakening and came in to confess.
I hope that nothing in this essay suggests that the Hopkinsville police are anything but competent. They might, however, give it second tier importance because no one was physically injured. In the Army of World War II, we had a concept called TOT, and it meant choosing a single target and focusing every gun we had on that target
I hope that the New Era will stay on this case and perhaps do some investigative reporting of its own.
TOBY HIGHTOWER is a retired educator and former
Hopkinsville High School teacher. His email address is
firstname.lastname@example.org. Write to him at 222 S. 25th St.,
Apartment 434, Terre Haute, IN. 47803.