My Take: Richland County gun violence

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:08 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:10 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Columbia is in a crisis! Gun violence is surging in our area.

What’s being done to stop it? The answer is: not enough.

In recent months, WIS has reported on the shooting deaths of several teenagers.

Gun violence is robbing our children of their future and leaving parents trying to cope.

In April, the FBI released murder rates in 65 major cities with more than 100,000 people in 2019, using the FBI’s 2019 Crime data in the United States.

The murder rate in Columbia was 21.68 per 100,000 people.

WIS reached out to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott for his thoughts on the rise in deadly shootings.

“I don’t think legislature can do anything. Laws are not going to stop this. It is going to have to be a change in attitude. It is going to have to start at the home of parents. Parents are going to have to teach their kids guns are not the answer to everything. We are going to have to teach our young people to respect human life.

Sheriff Lott says he believes the pandemic plays a small factor.

“I think what the pandemic did was cut court systems down. So, people were not being held accountable. Our detention centers were not holding people. So, we had people getting arrested and getting right back out.”

WIS asked for data on deadly shootings in Richland County. In 2018, the county saw 23. In 2019, 21 people died due to gun violence. 18 people died in 2020 and 19 have died as of July 14 of 2021.

The big questions are: what are the solutions? And how can the community help? The old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” comes to mind.

Sheriff Lott says institutions like churches, schools, and places of business all help reduce violence by keeping people off the streets and connected to their communities.

While gun violence is a national problem, local and individual action can make a difference.

We must invest in what works to prevent violence.

And That’s My Take What’s Yours?

To respond to this editorial, email, or send a letter to:

My Take, WIS News 10, 1111 Bull St., Columbia, SC 29201

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