09/28/12 — A tragic waste: News of teen's fate a sad day for family and community

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A tragic waste: News of teen's fate a sad day for family and community

They joined hands Saturday to put some faith back into their community -- the more than 1,000 people who gathered at the "God Belongs in My City" rally.

They shared. They prayed; and they united in their quest to stop the sad news of young lives lost and families shattered.

Their message was that the gathering Saturday was just a first step -- that what followed, and if those who attended the rally did more than just talk about change -- was much more important.

They could not have known that their gathering would fall on a day when another Goldsboro family would get the news that their son would not be coming home.

Police found Kennedy McLaurin's body just a few hours before those community members gathered at Goldsboro High School.

And now, another teenager's life is over, and those of the young men who are accused in his murder, will never be the same.

What a tragic loss. What a terrible waste.

Many of us talk  about the need to do something about the violence and crime that choke our cities. But we don't do anything more than that. We wait for someone else to take the first step.

We hear stories of families torn apart by drugs and fear and we thank God that it is not our family, our children, not realizing really, how easily it could be.

And that is why there are still stories like Kennedy McLaurin's -- and why we are still looking at the faces of young men accused of crimes that should not be in the lexicon of boys so young.

The rally will not bring Kennedy back -- and it will not change the fate of the young men who will now defend themselves against murder charges. That die is cast.

But if it starts a movement -- a real decision that something needs to be done, real issues need to be discussed and real action taken -- than perhaps, this time, it will not be just talk.

And if it works, and there is a real effort to make a change, across racial, ethnic and socio-economic lines, this city can dedicate the result to the memory of 16-year-old Kennedy McLaurin, his family and the hundreds of young men and innocent victims lost much, much too soon.

And that would be something to be proud of -- and a witness of faith and love that should be shared.

Published in Editorials on September 28, 2012 12:40 PM