Two words that haunted me at Jasmine Thompson’s funeral.
I wasn’t the only one.
Saturday’s service at Happy Gospel Church in Oneco was beautiful, a righteous home-going with scripture and song.
Yet, there was still a heartache palpable throughout the sanctuary that reflected a community suffering from a mindless cycle of violence.
It wasn’t long into the service when Rev. Clyde Thompson addressed what was on everyone’s mind this gloomy day.
We have trod this trail of tears too often, he said from the pulpit.
Now, lying in the casket before him and the rest of the grieving family, was his granddaughter.
A week ago Friday night, Jasmine had been cheerleading for Bayshore High School, a vibrant 17-year-old absorbed in the excitement of the season opener.
Hours later she was dead, shot in East Bradenton.
Daniel F. Williams was charged with second-degree murder.
The insanity must stop.
Our community has reached critical mass on this issue.
Jasmine’s death elicited much widespread public outrage, as it should, especially from several elected county officials.
But it’s time for action, a commitment.
A forum is set for 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Johnson Middle School.
Will there be a sufficient response?
People within the community have to stand up, albeit risky in neighborhoods where violence is a constant.
Where life is considered cheap.
It will take courage.
That goes for kids, too.
Know another teen packing a gun?
Call the police.
Unless they’re hunting with dad, or they’re a Marine, no teen-ager should have a weapon.
Get caught with one and it’s prison.
Law enforcement got results with its racketeering strategy against the county’s gangs.
Perhaps similar tactics can be utilized to attack this issue.
Jasmine Thompson’s funeral cried out for it.
Enough is enough.
Mannix About Manatee, by local columnist Vin Mannix,is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL. 34206 or e-mail him at email@example.com. Please include a phone number for verification.