Basically, most of us spend about one third of our day sleeping and ideally, the rest of  our day working and playing. Yes, working at an actual job and playing (leisure time spent enjoying life) expending our “natural energies.” This  represents a normal healthy and balanced lifestyle for most Americans. At least it used to be that way. 

Today, I’m not so sure. 

The options for expending these “natural energies” seem to become limited adding credence to that old adage and cliché “an idle mind is the devil’s playground.” This harsh reality sits here in Fayetteville where jobs, summertime activities and recreational facilities are extremely limited and local crime continues to escalate resulting in needless deaths from violence with random shootings spiraling out of control. A sad and almost common weekly occurrence. This is causing major concerns among residents, businesses, community/civic leaders and local elected officials. 

Despite the talent and diligent efforts of our hardworking police force and cognizant police chief. They alone are not the “end all” and “be all” to this serious community situation. Our elected officials must take quick, stern and serious action. No doubt they too, are dedicated and hardworking; however, they need to stop the rhetoric by putting “band aids” on these rising tragic situations and start taking serious action to curb this tragic trend plaguing our community. 

How? First, by implementing programs that could consume all that “natural energy” I mentioned. More jobs would work!  I come from a generation (Baby Boomers) where work ethic was a natural way of life. A job and hard work was viewed with a sense of pride and accomplishment. You worked hard  instinctively to raise and care for your families. We were too busy to get into trouble. Besides, staying on the right side of the law was a valued virtue.  

We worked hard and we played hard and in between we slept. This being the case, when looking at the problems we are experiencing today in our local community, i.e. rising crime rates, increasing shootings and murders and high unemployment, it becomes pretty obvious what we are lacking. 

What are we lacking? The two most obvious factors are general recreational facilities and job employment opportunities. Two issues that our community leadership spends a lot of time talking about; however, for the most part, fail to act on except superficially. Recent examples are Sanderson Farms and the allocation of public funds for the building of two neighborhood swimming pools. Sure, these pools will provide several hundred neighborhood residents temporary summertime enjoyment; however, tens of thousands of Fayetteville and Cumberland County residents would benefit more appropriately from investing taxpayers money in the expansion of citywide and county parks and recreation facilities and services. 

The same holds true with jobs and employment. We need to do more to encourage business and economic development in Fayetteville. The point is, except when we are sleeping, everyone has natural born energy. Traditionally, these natural-born energies were consumed in healthy and productive ways mostly by working and playing hard. It stands to reason that if we want to lower crime rates, build safe communities, enhance the image of our community and increase our quality of life, we must provide those services and activities that will keep these natural-born energies directed in the most positive of ways. Without adequate jobs, recreational facilities and programs that serve to enhance an individual’s pride and self-worth, there will continue to be no future prospects for our young people.  

Consequently, they will direct their natural-born energies in the most self-destructive manner. Dropout rates will rise, unemployment will escalate as will violence and crime at all levels. It will take real leadership in the future to reverse this trend.

As we enter this 2015 election period let’s graciously thank those who sacrifice their time and expertise to our community while encouraging them to address the “big issues” in our community by looking at the “big picture” and implementing long-term, permanent solutions for the good of our community. This is the only way Fayetteville will be able to survive and move forward. Agree? 

Thank you for reading the Up & Coming Weekly.!


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