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A recent spate of shootings in Anderson calls attention to the need for regular citizens to help police keep neighborhoods safe.

Crime rates typically rise in warmer months when more people are outside and attending functions where large crowds gather. However, Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said the 13 shootings in August is a high number even with those factors considered.

Cummings alluded to a culture of violence in which people feel justified in drawing guns when they feel disrespected. Witnesses then remain silent for fear of being labeled a “snitch.”

Having easy access to guns is enabling people with quick tempers to inflict damage before they have time to think about the consequences. One of the shootings was accidental, which may indicate a need for more safety training for those who wish to own firearms.

The Rev. Anthony Harris, pastor of Church Upon the Rock, said poverty and COVID-19 are running their course, leading to added stress and joblessness. Harris went on to say it is important to get young people involved, and this would be a good first step in changing culture.

It is likely that several factors intersect to produce the perfect storm that triggers violence.

Police, elected leaders and community residents ought to work together for solutions, which may include better community policing, calling for sensible gun policies, responsible gun ownership and mobilizing residents to take a stand against gun violence.

A high number of shootings throughout the city affects us all, and we should all work together to bring that number down.

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