Darts and laurels

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 3, 2011

Dart to ěthe code,î the credo of the streets that leads gang members and their victims to stymie police investigations while pursuing of their own brand of retribution and revenge.
Refusing to cooperate with investigators is one of the ways gang members and wannabes build their ěcredî and create a climate of fear, local law-enforcement officers said following a string of shootings this week. It makes the already difficult job of policing that much harder, and it helps perpetuate an eye-for-an-eye cycle of escalating violence. If you want to see the ultimate result of vigilante justice and gang warfare run rampant, look across the border at the bloodshed perpetrated by drug cartels in Mexico.
Obviously, weíre nowhere near that level of violence here. But it illustrates what can happen when ěthe codeî overwhelms civil institutions of law and order. Police canít crack ěthe codeî alone. They need the support and cooperation of citizens who are willing to talk, even if only through an anonymous tip line or behind closed doors. That isnít snitching. Itís protecting your neighborhood against forces of lawlessness.

Laurels to another edition of Pops at the Post, which will strike up this evening around 8 p.m. (The Salisbury Swing Band will kick things off at 5 p.m., on the porch of First Bank.) Since its debut in 2005, the pops concert by the Salisbury Symphony has become a much-anticipated feature of early summer, like gardenia blossoms and lightning bugs, thanks to generous local sponsors. So come early, stay late and enjoy the stirring performances of Maestro David Hagy and company.

Dart to landlord Tim D. Smith for collecting rent from residents at his two mobile home parks but falling $50,000 in arrears on his city water bill. To their credit, city and county officials appear close to working out a plan that will keep the water flowing to worried residents, many of whom are living on fixed incomes and would be hard-pressed to move. But itís deplorable that Smith allowed this problem to deteriorate to this point, while also being severely delinquent on some of his property taxes. Smith, who lives in a home valued at $646,000, according to tax records, says he considers his tenants to be family. After this experience, most of them would probably settle for a straight-forward business relationship in which the bills are paid on time and theyíre kept apprised of any financial difficulties that might affect their living conditions.