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EDITORIAL: I weep for Lexington County as more shootings rock the area over the weekend

Lexington, SC 10/10/2022 (Paul Kirby) – Lexington County was rocked over the weekend when one was killed and two more were injured in separate shooting incidents in the Lexington area. On Saturday night, one man died of multiple gunshots, and another was wounded after someone shot the pair while they were driving on South Lake Drive near the Waffle House just off I-20 in the county. In a second incident, that appears to have no relation at all to the previous shooting, a man was shot Sunday around mid-day at an apartment complex off East Main Street in the Town of Lexington. In both cases, law enforcement arrived and quickly began their investigations. They ensured there were no further threats to the public and are now working hard to locate the suspects and the motives behind these incidents. When the bad guys are arrested and jailed, I wonder how long we as a community can feel safe before the next round of craziness begins with some other punks looking to start some type of problem?


It is very sad to see Coroner Margaret Fisher having to release the name of Timothy Harold Brock, 57, of Goose Creek, the man who died in the shooting Saturday night. Every day, she and her team are seeing more people die of shootings, stabbings, drug overdoses, or through some other form of sensless violence. All these lives are broken apart when they’re touched by violent crime. It’s hard to imagine that not that many years ago, the majority of the calls that the Coroner’s Office received were for people who died of heart disease, cancer, or just old age in Lexington County. Now we’ve somehow come to this.


Certainly, what’s happening is not the fault of Sheriff Koon or his staff. The violent things happening in Lexington have no bearing on Lexington Police Terrance Green and his great team either. Both departments are well led, well trained, well equipped, and ready to handle just about anything they’ve had thrown at them. They also help each other and can call on expert advice and help from the great working relationships they have built with SLED, the FBI, and the DEA. It’s just that more violence, violence that’s already plaguing the rest of the country, is slowly making its way here into our beautiful county.


It's not just in Lexington County or the Town of Lexington. Ask Chief Richbourg in Springdale, Chief Boyce in West Columbia, Chief Cowan in Cayce, they’re all seeing more and more violent people with what seems to be no limits to what they’ll do. These people have no fear of law enforcement. Go to Gaston and ask the police there. I believe Chief Watkins will tell you the same thing. He deals with the Highway 321 south corridor every day. That seems to be a favorite route of drug dealers, and people generally up to no good. It’s the same in Irmo, Chapin, and Batesburg-Leesville. Hey, ask any of our small-town chiefs how much they’re having to do with the resources they’ve been provided. You’d probably be shocked at what hey have to say.

I’m sure that the increase in all of the violence here has nothing to do with the good, God fearing, hardworking, majority pf the citizens of Lexington County. By in large, you’re the ones who pay your taxes, raise your families, go to PTA meeting, sit in the bleachers at the baseball, football, or soccer games, and teach your children to respect law enforcement officers and others in authority. In my youth, a person wearing a uniform meant something. It might have been the scout master of the local Boy Scout troop, the man at the gas station with the Texaco star on his chest, and certainly it was the local police among others. It really didn’t matter who they were. They were respected because I was young, and they were older. That’s how I was raised. For some reason, someone felt the employee, that person, needed and had earned a right to wear a uniform. No, I’m sure that those of you who are like me are doing your best to raise the next generation have nothing to do with the problems we are experiencing.


Somehow, it seems as if groups of people, many in their younger years, have come here into Lexington County and are now making our lives scary. They are running from our police in cars filled with drugs, illegal guns, and more cash than many of us have every seen in lots of cases. Some of them have shot at our law enforcement officers. Several officers have been hit over the past few years and dealing with those bad people have cost our officers and the departments they work for untold expenses tracking the punks down. Can you even imagine the stress this brings on our leaders like Sheriff Jay Koon? How can he go to sleep at night knowing that if that phone rings and wakes him up, it’s normally the beginning of a very tough day. Is one of his staff injured, dead? What bad thing has happened now when all the good folks are at home in bed asleep? No, the people responsible for what is happening aren’t the good folks from here and I bet the thugs sleep just fine at night. I’m not afraid to be politically incorrect when I call them thugs. If the name fits your behavior, don’t be mad, change.


I could go on but listing the obvious problems aren’t the answer. What is you the right path for me and mine and you and yours’s you might ask? I’m no expert and am not sure but I have a few ideas.


First, let’s all remember who our Father is and ask him for help through prayer. No matter what your faith is, if you’ve been taught to pray, now is the time to do that regularly. I believe in God but I respect your right to pray to whatever deity you’ve been brought up to worship or have learned to pray to. Let’s all join together to pray for Sheriff Koon and the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department that work with him every day dealing with these thugs. These thugs seem hell bent on tearing us apart. We can’t let the devil win and we won’t. Pray for all the Police Departments and their staffs. Pray for Coroner Fisher and her people as well. Pray for the firefighters, EMTS, and paramedics that are seeing this stuff daily. This new and younger generation of first responders sees more of this hardcore violence in a month than I saw in a year during my career as a firefighter and EMT.


Next, let’s all get involved in whatever way we can. If you’re capable, go to an area Crime Watch meeting. If there’s not one in your area, perhaps you can help the police organize one. If you can’t get out, you may be much more useful than you think. Be a good neighbor, keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary. If you see something that just doesn’t seem right, call law enforcement. They’d much rather drive through your neighborhood and stop a crime now than to have to come back later after the crime has been committed.


We should also do everything within our power to impress upon our children that good, healthy activities are the way to live. Take them to church. Support those Girl Scouts selling cookies, the little league teams’ bar-b-ques, extracurricular activities at their schools. These things surround your child with lots of other good children and families that are trying to do the same thing as you. Really, aren’t we all just trying to raise our families, children, grandchildren, whoever they might be, to be good people when they’re grown?


When I started writing this, I was angry. I was angry that there were people out there who dared to bring all this mess, stress, and sadness to a place I love so much. I am a Lexington County man and have been my whole life. By the time I got to the end of this editorial, I was weeping. I can’t explain what made me cry but I was openly wiping away tear as I tried to type. I just want the thugs gone and all our law enforcement friends safe. I want to see my neighbors and certainly my family safe. Maybe I am weeping from the fatigue of it all. My heart is breaking because of what is bullying its way into our little piece of paradise. I implore every one of you to cry with me if you think it will help. After that, lets pray and begin doing whatever we can to help push back against this savage influx with our law enforcement community and friends. Together, working as a team, we all can make a difference.


Editor’s note: Paul Kirby is the owner and editor of The Lexington Ledger. Except for a few short periods in his life, he’s always lived in Lexington County. He has been active in the community and worked for Lexington County for years as a firefighter, fire officer, and EMT. Later, he ran several small Lexington County based businesses that finally culminated in the founding of The Lexington Ledger in September of 2014. Now, he’s the writer, publisher, and does almost everything else with the help of his wife Susan Kirby and one part-time employee, Cathy Williams of Lexington. He does his best to keep the community informed in any way he can. Because he is not at all a trained journalist or writer, he allows himself to do and say things that others simply may not be able to say or write if they're working for a larger paper or news source. In this case, what is said and written in this editorial is 100% the thoughts and feelings of Paul Kirby. You can reach out to him at thelexingtonledger@gmail.com.


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