Shooting highlights pattern of troubles

When we received a call to the office Tuesday morning that the Delaware State Police’s Homicide Unit was outside the Southern Delaware School of the Arts, our first thoughts were that there was either a training exercise going on, or police were giving a demonstration to the students.

Regardless, Point reporter Maria Counts started working the phones and we learned that there was indeed a shooting across the street from the school, and that a suspect was in custody. A brief while later we received an initial report from the Selbyville Police Department that the suspect was an 18-year-old young man, and the victim was a 25-year-old woman with a gunshot wound to the head.

And the collective heart of everyone in our office broke.

We have definitely seen an increase in violent crimes in our community, from the elderly woman killed in a Millsboro home invasion, to Nicole Bennett being murdered, to the Dagsboro-area man found killed last week, to this. There have also been numerous assaults and home invasions linked to drug abuse.

As much as we love to project the area as being a safe haven from what troubles the rest of the world, guess what? We have the same problems everybody else does. And these problems will continue on this path.

So, what can we do as a community to fix this?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Getting rid of the drugs is not an easy solution, obviously, because many of the problems stem from people abusing prescription medication, which is badly needed by many, and the “War on Drugs” targeting illegal narcotics has not exactly been a winning situation, either.

Better mental health care in this country? You bet that would help. But where would the funding come from, and when will we remove the stigma attached to mental illness that prevents so many people from seeking help in the first place?

Better parenting? Come on, people. There are absolutely cases in this nation where bad parenting led to problem children, but we think all of you know many wonderful and loving families who have troubles amongst their brood. Sometimes all the loving and caring and discipline in the world just can’t fix the problem.

This is a societal situation that is reaching every corner of our country, and now we are seeing it rear its ugly head closer to home. It seems that it will take a collective effort from our entire community to have any kind of impact, and even then, there are no guarantees in this world.

Let’s see how we react. Let’s see how we move forward.