Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

___

The Brunswick News on the crime rate in Atlanta:

How bad is crime and violence in Atlanta? Bad. It’s so bad, in fact, that Georgia House Speaker David Ralston is creating a special study committee to determine just how bad it is and, more importantly, what the state can do to reverse the trend.

The Blue Ridge Republican is concerned that the problem has gotten out of hand. “Atlanta has a crime problem, and it doesn’t seem to be able to bring it under control,” he recently told reporters. “Sadly, the facts paint a chilling reality. Not only is crime on the rise in every corner of this city, but we are losing the fight against crime.”

Crime stats indicate as much. In 2020, the Atlanta Police Department responded to 154 homicides. That’s quite a jump when considering the number recorded annually just a decade ago hovered around 90.

Aggravated assaults also rose, and the incidence of attacks on people, including incidents where someone was shot or stabbed and survived, continued to climb in the opening months of 2021. To Speaker Ralston, Georgia’s largest and fastest growing economic center is in distress and in need of some assistance.

Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee Chairman J. Collins, R-Villa Rica, will head up the special committee. Other members have yet to be publicly disclosed.

Speaker Ralston is unsure at this early stage what the state might be able to do or offer if the study determines additional help is required to bring the crime rate down. One possible solution might be to beef up the presence of Georgia State Patrol officers, assign them to specific city beats.

GSP personnel might very well find themselves augmenting Atlanta’s police force in the not-too-distant future.

If that’s the case, the General Assembly should be prepared to expand the state police force to ensure patrolling the interstates and major highways remain the primary responsibility of GSP. And while it’s at it, the legislature should ascertain whether an adjustment in training would be necessary to properly prepare GSP’s men and women for the different settings and crimes they would be exposed to if ordered to patrol Atlanta’s streets.

___

The Brunswick News on gun control:

It is difficult to digest the filth that spills from the lips of mealy-mouthed critics of the United States when so many men, women and families from practically every nation on the planet are willing to sacrifice anything and everything to get here. Thousands are even willing to gamble with the safety of their own children as this nation has witnessed time and again.

This is not to say America is a country without flaws. There’s always room for improvement – constructive improvement, that is, not change wrought by baseless political hype or raw bullying, the very tactics leaders of the nation tend to prefer these days.

Another kind of change politicians attempt to force upon the nation, which Americans have become increasingly wary of over the years, are modifications or additions to laws or policies yielded by rash, knee-jerk reactions to incidents.

When crimes distantly outside the imagination or thoughts of sane people occur, step aside, or else risk being crushed by the stampede of groundless interpretations and suggestions.

When this happens, forget about addressing the core issue. The real cause gets buried under tons of meaningless verbiage. The real problem goes unsolved. It’s difficult to see the truth when those with an agenda are doing everything they can and within their power to draw everyone’s attention to a particular point of view.

Learn to distinguish actual facts from guideposts sculpted solely to lead the unthinking to narrow minded visions or self-serving aspirations. Facts enable rational beings to form and support their own opinions and theories.

A case in point are all the unproven assumptions and recommendations being spun from the slayings of eight human beings at three different massage parlors in the Atlanta area. It is a tragic incident, for sure, but no more or less tragic than the killing of 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo. Yet there are those who insist there’s a difference, that the shootings in Atlanta were inspired by hate, even though there’s no concrete evidence to prove it other than the fact that six of the victims were Asian.

Focus on what is known, that unstable people are getting their hands on weapons and using them against humanity. Creating a statewide 911 computer system that can interpret different languages and requiring police officers to carry cards with certain key words someone might utter in an emergency in a long list of various languages is not going to stop that.

___

The Valdosta Daily News on charities:

They need help.

Usually, they help us. They still want to help us. They are helping us.

But they need help to keep helping us.

Like everything else this past year, charities have been strained to the max by COVID-19.

As we have covered in many news stories, some of the services the community has come to take for granted, that we point to as being a part of the best of us, have faced hard times and hard choices.

And not just the kind of trouble that if they don’t reach a certain goal, they will be able to help fewer people.

No. Some charitable organizations face the type of trouble that if they don’t get some help, more help, soon, they may close.

And if those organizations close, the people they help will face greater hardships in their day-to-day lives.

Valdosta has always been known for its generosity.

From donating more food than even Atlanta in past food drives to raising tens of thousands of dollars within weeks to send World War II veterans to visit their monument in Washington, D.C., to donating tens of thousands of dollars annually to ensure no child goes without a Christmas toy through the Empty Stocking Fund, the people of Valdosta have come through for others.

It is time to step up to the plate again.

We understand that not everyone can give, even in the best of times.

But for the people who can give, we urge you to give now to a favorite charity or to an organization facing a great need.

Some charities face shortages in funds, supplies and volunteers.

But no shortage in the number of people needing them.

Yet, due to shortfalls of funds, supplies and volunteers, some organizations can help fewer people than they would during a “normal” year, let alone the increased volume of people in need because of the pandemic.

So, give.

If you have a little or a lot, give what you can: a can of food or a palette of food; a dollar or a check for a thousand dollars; a helping hand or a day of volunteering.

Give what you can afford.

Give to help organizations that are helping strangers, neighbors, friends and perhaps family.

Give now if you are able. Because as this year has demonstrated, we never know what may happen. We never know when we may be in need.

Giving to a worthy cause today, when you can, may ensure it’s there tomorrow, if you or a loved one needs it.