Kids deserve safe places to play

mcneir | 11/11/2011, 5:56 a.m.

In late July Liberty City residents were shocked and angered after hearing about a drive-by attack that took place at West Little River Park, sending children and coaches from the Optimist Club running for their lives after shooters unleashed a hail of bullets during football practice. Four children were shot but luckily none suffered life-threatening injuries. Now, three months later and only a few miles away in Miami Gardens, four more people, including an 11-year-old boy, have been wounded after a bunch of hoodlums took target practice at a bunch of kids who were having fun at Ralph Bunche Park. Enough is enough. Its time for adults to take off the gloves and move beyond lip service. When the cameras are rolling we seem quite adept at talking about how we arent going to take such outrageous behavior from young thugs that clearly care so little about our childrens lives. But what are we doing when the smoke has cleared? What actions are parents and community leaders taking as innocent children try to heal from the physical and emotional scars of being shot at by strangers? Have any of our county commissioners stepped up to the plate using their influence and voices to put an end to this rash of senseless violence? Must we wait for another situation like the murder of Sherdavia Jenkins to move us to action? Young gang members and criminals-in-training have obviously drawn the line in the sand and are mocking our police department and the rules of fair play and respect for others. Someone knows the identity of these trigger men whether they have the guts to turn them in is another question. If we care about the future of our children there is no other choice. Once upon a time children could play in the park, attend Sunday School with their friends and enjoy being kids. Todays youth deserve the chance to enjoy their childhood and to see the days when they become adults. We have to guarantee that they have that chance.