ICYMI: A Letter From The Editor To Our City Officials
In an article originally published on Feb. 25, our editor directly addressed our city officials on the implications of the Columbus Police Department’s severe lack of leadership. Today, our editor wishes to reiterate their words to those same city officials. Explore the full story to hear what our editor believes needs to be said again, whether city officials like it or not.
An artistic expression of an officer of the Columbus Police Department donning an ‘anonymous’ mask, superimposed on a colorized map of the city. The department’s officers continue to suffer dangerously-low staffing levels under the well-documented leadership failures of police chief Freddie Blackmon as our city continues to experience unprecedented levels of violent crime and homicide.
Image Credit:
Muscogee Muckraker

The following article was originally published on Feb. 25, 2023, as the final part of our six-part series on  ‘The CPD Files.’ Residents concerned by our city’s extreme rates of violent crime and homicide may voice their opinions by contacting their city council members.

COLUMBUS, Ga. — “The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands: for it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it over to others.” — John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, published anonymously in 1689.

In this final part of our six-part series on the documentation we have recently published containing the years-long devolutionary history of our city’s police force, I have found it fitting to properly address the government of our great city on the matters-at-hand, namely: our mayor, Skip Henderson; and councilors Barnes, Davis, Huff, Tucker, Crabb, Allen, Cogle, Garrett, Thomas, and House. 

It is my intention to address you all with a polite yet firm sense of tone that communicates my extreme concern for the severity of our city’s current state; a state which our city looks to its leadership to rectify; a state that you as our elected officials have the sole responsibility to maintain.

As one might expect, by-and-large, people do not often risk their reputations by publicly engaging with local topics of political controversy, even if they do in fact truly agree with the sentiments being expressed — especially when they are expressed in the most truthful, relentless, and necessary manners this publication endeavors to uphold. 

Nonetheless, our readership metrics continue to show a substantial amount of public support for our recent publications. It is because of this tremendous support that I have elected to pen this letter in hopes of providing a voice for — from what we have measured to be — a considerable number of your constituents who appear to strongly support the methods through which we have chosen to provide that voice.

It is undeniable that you have continued to willfully ignore the issue-at-hand over the course of several years, leaving it to metastasize into the malignant state we are all now violently experiencing together.

To this very day, there are members of council who have chosen to remain publicly silent on this issue, afraid to speak in one direction or the other in fear of upsetting someone somewhere at some point in time. Make no mistake: that is not a luxury that you have as a leader of this city and is absolutely unacceptable. As an elected official, you have a duty to govern on behalf of your constituents, in whatever direction you may so choose — but you must choose a direction and diligently accept the consequences thereof. It is quite literally what the people of our city have elected you to do. No one forced you to run for office.

Should you not wish to uphold that duty and instead choose to cower behind a shield of abstention in hopes of preserving your own public image, then you should immediately resign and make way for someone else who may then execute the duties of your office.

How many more of our residents shall be permitted to slaughter each other in the streets before you decide to take the actions necessary to secure our city’s public safety?

How many more independent groups of private citizens need to fund $190,000 world-class studies before you stop maliciously jumping at every opportunity to somehow see “racism” in places it simply does not exist?

How many more neighborhoods have to take matters into their own hands against drive-by shooters in front of their homes because there are not enough police officers to protect them?

Our city looks to you to carefully consider the realities of how the answers to these very simple questions are causally linked to the actions that you as our elected officials choose to take. Whatever those answers may ultimately prove to be, they will result from the decisions that you and you alone must make on our behalf.

Our city requires that you perform your duties. It is, however, entirely your choice to do so diligently in a manner that preserves your individual abilities to look at yourselves in the mirror each and every day for the rest of your lives.

If you wish to perpetuate the dangerous lack of leadership in the departments of our city, you should continue to do precisely what you have collectively done for the past several years.

If you instead would like to find outstanding leadership in the departments of our city, you ought to first practice it yourself and lead by your own example.

No one can do it for you. Not everyone will like you. You must do it anyway and accept the consequences of your decisive actions.

That is the burden of leadership. 

Heavy lies the crown.

Facts are stubborn things — and we’ll keep publishing them, whether city officials like them or not.


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