Rupert Howell column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Different approach used to ‘connect’

What’s going on Friday night at Hosanna?

The idea! —Rap music being played in a church house! That’s rap music performed by former gang members and drug dealers, no doubt. And then there’s going to be inmates from Tate County’s jail giving testimonials. What’s this world coming to?

What’s happening at Hosanna Friday at 6 p.m. is a rally to introduce impressionable kids to a world of fun, through praise and worship, without the distraction of drugs, gangs and thugs.

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That message will come from young people who have already taken the wrong road—who now want to share their knowledge.

Whatever we have or haven’t been doing, apparently isn’t working so well and a group called Stop The Ongoing Problem (STOP) has formed to try a different approach following a week of violence earlier this month.

One STOP member said many of those arrested surrounding the violence were once in our churches and come from Christian surroundings. Bro. Willie Butler says we’re reaching the “sheep” but not the “lambs.”

Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby calls for strict enforcement for criminals while putting support behind  Boys and Girls Clubs and other youth organizations that reach kids or teenagers during the impressionable years.

Dr. Zannie Leland said, “They are just angry children looking for some love.”

Former sheriff Otis Griffin said, “People have, can and do change,” and he strongly believes in the rehabilitation process for those who have previously run afoul of the law.

The worst thing we could do is nothing… or to keep  going down the same path expecting the situation to change for the better.

Meanwhile, several members of the STOP organization have joined hands to address a situation that affects us all.

While at a state-wide newspaper meeting last weekend, a neighboring publisher asked if it was safe to come to Batesville.

That hurt.