The Delta may not be the Wild West, but it certainly has been giving that historically violent era of American history a run for its money lately.
Violent shootings are nothing new to the area, but it seems like the notion of solving every dispute with a gun has become more commonplace in the recent past.
Indianola, a city that had enjoyed a long stretch over the past couple of years without rampant violent crime, seems to be recording murders by gunfire more frequently.
Just this past weekend, there were multiple shootings in my hometown of Yazoo City, and I was heartbroken when I read one of the victim’s names.
For a brief nine-month stretch back in 2011, I ditched journalism and decided to teach school. My first and only teaching gig was at Yazoo City High School.
One of the kids in my rowdy seventh period World History class was Westavious Harris.
I’m not going to lie and say that Westavious was one of my better-behaved students, but he wasn’t the worst either.
He was smart and always seemed to be bored with school.
Like many of the kids at YCHS, he was cynical due to the administrative and teacher turnover.
I can’t say I really helped in that regard. I was gone the minute the last bell sounded in May 2012.
At some point over the last seven years, I became friends with Westavious on Facebook, and I periodically saw updates about his life.
The update I saw on Tuesday night was tragic.
Westavious, according to news reports, had come home to Yazoo from Texas to surprise his family with a visit on Homecoming weekend.
He was in a gathering near a bar in downtown Yazoo City when a fight broke out.
Guns were pulled and fired, and Westavious was caught in the crossfire, witnesses said. He wasn’t involved in the dispute at all.
Over a century ago, the Wild West underwent a major cultural change. Practices like dueling were outlawed.
Part of that was law enforcement, and part of it had to do with pushes from within the Church.
Somehow, civility prevailed without the shredding of the Second Amendment. Imagine that.
The same thing can happen in the Delta. It should happen in the Delta. It must happen in the Delta.
Too many young men and women are being shot down in what should be the prime of their lives.
I certainly don’t have the solutions to this growing problem, but if the community comes together on this issue, I am sure we can come up with something.
Westavious was just 24 years old.
Marrio Applewhite, who was gunned down in Indianola in late September was 31. The suspects in his shooting are 21 and 29.
Marcus Hutchinson, who was shot and killed in Indianola last Friday night was just 36 years old. The suspect in the crime is 23.
Think of the lives wasted on both sides of this issue.