Chance for better future would help in fight against drug crime - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Chance for better future would help in fight against drug crime

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  • Transition team must act with urgency

    Transition team must act with urgency

    Friday, December 16 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-16 11:00:16 GMT

    Governor-elect Jim Justice’s policy committees seem to be made up of some of the state’s best minds. Dr. Clay Marsh with West Virginia University Hospitals; Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District; Richard Adams of United Bank; Dave Arnold with Adventures on the Gorge; a host of other intelligent, qualified, inventive people who understand the challenges our state faces. 

    Governor-elect Jim Justice’s policy committees seem to be made up of some of the state’s best minds. Dr. Clay Marsh with West Virginia University Hospitals; Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District; Richard Adams of United Bank; Dave Arnold with Adventures on the Gorge; a host of other intelligent, qualified, inventive people who understand the challenges our state faces. 

  • Chief of staff brings needed experience to the Justice team

    Chief of staff brings needed experience to the Justice team

    Friday, December 9 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-09 11:00:15 GMT

    This week, Governor-elect Jim Justice announced that Nick Casey, a long-time lobbyist, former congressional candidate, former state Democratic Party chairman and a fixture in West Virginia’s political scene, will serve as the Justice administration’s chief of staff.

    This week, Governor-elect Jim Justice announced that Nick Casey, a long-time lobbyist, former congressional candidate, former state Democratic Party chairman and a fixture in West Virginia’s political scene, will serve as the Justice administration’s chief of staff.

  • Opportunity makes WV workers happy

    Opportunity makes WV workers happy

    Friday, December 2 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-02 11:00:19 GMT

    As you’ll read in “The Buzz” in this week’s edition, Sokanu, a company that bills itself as “a career discovery platform,” recently released a study that indicated the happiest workers live in Hawaii. Working on a tropical island that boasts breathtaking natural beauty, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring mountain vistas should not come as a surprise. 

    As you’ll read in “The Buzz” in this week’s edition, Sokanu, a company that bills itself as “a career discovery platform,” recently released a study that indicated the happiest workers live in Hawaii. Working on a tropical island that boasts breathtaking natural beauty, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring mountain vistas should not come as a surprise. 

Sidney Muller, a Marine Corps veteran from Harrison County, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting deaths of four men, including newspaper delivery men Freddy Swiger and his son Fred Swiger. 

Police say Muller went to a home on Locust Avenue in Clarksburg last week to settle a $10,000 drug debt. When the deal went south, authorities say he shot two men inside the residence. He went outside, encountered the Swigers and, police say, opened fire. Tragically, the Swigers were just delivering the Friday edition of the local paper when they were gunned down.

Muller is in custody, but an entire community is reeling from another episode of violence linked to drugs and drug trafficking. 

Parts of Clarksburg are wonderful, but, like all cities and towns, some neighborhoods are becoming increasingly dangerous.  Harrison County Prosecutor Joe Shaffer is not sugar-coating the situation. He described Locust Avenue as "a street that you don't want to walk down in the daytime, much less after dark." That's a troubling statement and one that deserves our full attention.  

How did it get so bad? Better yet, how do we fix it? How do we solve this problem that, if left unattended, will only fester and grow worse?  

There is no magic bullet, and a criminal element can never be totally eradicated from any society, but when decent people only doing their job get caught in the crossfire, we need to stand up and say enough is enough. Locust Avenue, and all of West Virginia, deserve better than execution-style murders and a house identified as a "known drug location." Go to any city — Beckley, Charleston, Huntington, Wheeling, Bluefield, Martinsburg - and you can find the same street with the same problems and the same thugs.

We believe, as do many social scientists and medical experts, that problems like this are exacerbated by hopelessness and few prospects. Law enforcement and rehabilitation programs are a vital part of the process, but they treat the symptoms and do very little to truly find a cure. The most effective way to combat this scourge is to show those who might turn to drugs, and the unavoidable pain and heartbreak that always follows in their wake, that they have options. That not only are a a job and a paycheck within their grasps, but a true chance at a better life is there and worth pursuing.

The Swiger family, and all those affected by drug violence, have suffered enough. We can either work hard to unleash prosperity in our state or we kept attending funerals of lives cut short and continue to watch as our communities continue to disintegrate.

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