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Time to speak up
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Dear Editor: Like most decent citizens I often ruminate about what is happening to my beloved country, state and county. In the past I found a 100 reasons for staying uninvolved in most civic acts and responsibilities. I rationalized my actions by believing things that I’d sometimes been told like, "Nobody wants to hear anything from you," or, "If someone wanted your input, they’d ask for it." All that and more worked very well for me until June 29. Just prior of 11 a.m. I took a family member to a medical appointment at Newton Medical Center. As I parked, I noticed a rather large crowd of people congregated around the Emergency Room entrance, driveway and parking lot. As my family member went into the hospital, I stood on the parking lot sidewalk and observed there was also a very large number of law enforcement vehicles parked everywhere. Several people at the Emergency Room entrance were crying, holding onto each other; many looked as though they’d just witnessed the most horrible thing any human could and live. I then saw a couple of people come out of the Emergency Room entrance, and a group of about 30 or so people immediately surge forward and engulf them.

For a moment everything was deathly quiet, as though everyone quit breathing. I then heard a loud, bone-chilling shriek and, at the same time, a low moan that built to a deafening wail as 30 to 40 people began crying and hugging each other. Some in the crowd fainted and others began to convulse. The hospital staffers (two, possibly three) went back inside but were soon replaced by other hospital staff bringing out water and towels. The crying and eerie moaning continued for quite some time. Many removed themselves from the hub of the crowd and began making cell phone calls.

What was this event that caused so much commotion? A man had just died in the hospital, the result of one or more gunshot wounds. The people in the crowd were primarily friends and relatives. It’s alleged that a robbery was attempted at his home, and in the course of defending his property in the ensuing fray and having wounded at least one of the perpetrators, he was shot as was his teen-aged daughter. So what does this mean for the rest of us "unaffected" citizens? Just this, more and more each day, what happens to one of us affects us all. We would all have to be idiots not to realize that given our growing crime statistics, it is only a matter of time before we are hurt. It’s time to stop wondering why heinous crimes are happening and do something about them. What can we do. Here’s what I plan to do — more than before.

I will be more observant and willing to lend a hand where truly needed.

I will not be afraid to report all suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities immediately. If I file many reports, I hope the authorities will understand my desire is only to stop criminal acts and not to aggravate the authorities.

I will remember that as my brother’s keeper, I must do all that is humanly possibly to protect them from unreasonable harm.

Where ever feasible, I will participate in Christian activities that promote the welfare (not the destruction) of mankind.

I will recognize that all the terrorists among us are not in a far-away country, but that many are here, native-born Americans of all creeds and colors and that they must be morally and legally contained by all the means at our disposal, before they are allowed to destroy the constitutional fabric that this great nation was founded upon.

I will remember that tens of thousands upon thousands of Americans have died and are dying for the principles embedded in the foundations of this great nation, as I go forward to serve in any manner possible.

I will remind each person I meet daily that we are made in the image of God, not Satan, and it’s God’s will we must do, no matter the cost.

I will remember the cost; what is the cost? Well, it can be death (for me or others trying to do the right thing) or can be ostracism or being placed on a "to be watched" list (patriotism sometimes has a price).

I will remember that in my particular case, being a Christian American also exacts a high price, but the rewards are unfathomable.

So we must ask ourselves what’s in it for us as Americans and what am I (we) going to do? Same as usual? By the way, Happy independence Day?

Elie McCoy