Last updated: August 27. 2013 2:08PM - 1370 Views

Police scour the field where two children were shot Saurday
Police scour the field where two children were shot Saurday
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The shooting of two girls, ages 2 and 5, Saturday outside Sherman Hills Apartments defies description, taxes any lexicon, and most of all demands a response.

Not just a rigorous response by police and the district attorney’s office, all of whom seemed to have moved quickly in the hours following the outrageous crime. Bringing those who did this unspeakable act to justice would be a critical part of the answer, but just a part.

Not just the stern and rightfully angry response of Mayor Tom Leighton. “Those who committed this heinous and despicable act will be brought to justice,” he vowed. “No parent should ever face a day such as this.”

Not just the new city “one strike” ordinance aimed at hitting back hard when rental properties become thieves dens or drug houses while landlords look the other way, or don’t look at all.

This atrocity requires a communal response. It demands the management of the property take action to end the mayhem. It demands the residents of the apartments speak up take back their turf, and that Leighton and police give them the time, methods and support needed to do that.

And this requires us all to do some serious soul searching and figure out what we can and must do to end the chronic headlines that increasingly make Wilkes-Barre look like a shooting gallery. Higher taxes? A change in priorities in the services we want? A stronger show of support for neighborhood watches? More cameras? More cops? More tip lines? More aggressive policing? More state money? More federal support?

Perhaps we need more connectivity, more concern for our neighbors and neighborhoods, more community.

Because when toddlers lie bleeding in our fields from bullet holes in our fields, it is a stain on us all to have ever reached such a point.

The words of Dante Coleman, who said she was visiting friends near the Sherman Hills Complex Sunday, strike with deep resonance.

“At the end of the day, they’re just babies,” Coleman said. “They should be able to watch TV and go out onto their patio without worrying about getting shot.”

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