On Monday, Nov. 5 at 10am, Mayor Jackson and members of City Council held a news conference to address recent violence involving teens in Savannah, specifically responding to the recent shooting at the fairgrounds. The Mayor issued the following statement:
We, as the elected leaders of Savannah, are gathered here today to express our outrage over Saturday night’s shooting at the Coastal Empire Fairgrounds as well as other recent acts of violence in our community.
The Coastal Empire Fair is a place for families and friends, young and old. It is a place of happy memories and traditions. It is not a place for guns and violence.
Crime anywhere in our community is an outrage, but it is particularly disgusting at an event like the Coastal Empire Fair with so many young people, and so many innocent bystanders.
Police are still investigating, and many of the details remain unclear at this hour. Those facts will be gathered, and arrests will be made – arrests are almost always made in these cases. And more young people will spend much of their lives behind bars.
Folks, we are sick and tired of this story. Six of the 7 victims in this latest shooting were teen-agers – one as young as 14 – and early indications are that the shooting suspects are teenagers as well. This must stop. Guns have no place in the hands of our youth. And they certainly have no place in a family setting like the Coastal Empire Fair.
To our teenagers, it is time to get real. Carrying a gun does not protect you, it does not get you respect, and it certainly does not make you tough. Carrying a gun only guarantees you a trip to one of three places: the hospital, prison, or the grave.
To our parents, it is time to wake up. Do you know who your children are hanging out with? Do you know where they are at night? You must be able to answer these questions.
Talk to your kids. If you see them headed toward trouble, you must inter vene.
This is not an easy job, but it’s the one you signed up for. You are not allowed to shrug your shoulders and look the other way. They are your responsibility.
The City of Savannah has a Parental Responsibility Ordinance. I have spoken with Chief Lovett, and have told him that we must start using this tool to hold parents – yes you -accountable.
It’s not every parent’s fault when their child commits a crime. But when the parent refuses to do anything despite a pattern of criminal behavior, corrective action must be taken against that parent.
This is a warning to all IRRESPONSIBLE going to hold you accountable. To our partners in local government, it is time to come together. We must have a real collaboration involving Police, the Court System, and elected leaders working together with churches, nonprofits, and the business community. Gun violence is too big a problem for anyone group to handle alone. Together we can lead the way. And to the citizens of our community, it is time for you to get involved. It really does take an entire village to raise a child. We must come together as one Savannah to address this major problem facing our community. Be a mentor. Ask what you can do to help.
PARENTS – search your children’s rooms. Kids with guns are tragedies waiting to happen. Mere inches are the only reason we aren’t planning seven funerals today.
To the ADULT criminals that are out there committing crimes – we are coming after you. Like white on rice.
We, as a United Savannah, will not stand by and wait for innocent bystanders to get injured or killed. Savannah is better than this. We will unite against these atrocities. Please join us.
Thank you for your time. And God bless Savannah.