Elissa Yount: Not just prayer

My great-grandmother always said that yes, the Lord provides the food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, but He does not magically put it in their mouths.

I thought about this when I read Councilwoman Brenda Peace-Jenkins’ statement: “Everyone wants to know what can we do. The only thing I know that changes things is prayer.”

Yes, prayer can change many things. Yes, prayer can provide consolation and give you strength to endure. Yes, prayer is powerful and can give you answers and direction. But prayer alone is not going to change things around here. We need action, and we need it now.

The Weed & Seed program has not lived up to expectations and has not made the impact it could have in our city. The city council has not pushed to see that this program be successful or viable. The city council has barely adequately overseen the expenditures of this program. So instead of just praying, why can’t we provide a little action?

The city needs a buyback program for guns. That’s right. You pay for people to turn in guns. You buy the guns back and then you destroy them. This is one program that Weed & Seed could manage and operate. This is one program that has been shown to work. Instead of just praying, get the guns off the streets.

The city council could toughen gun laws in the city. I have personally seen young teenagers openly carrying guns. The city can put ordinances in place that would make it illegal for people under 21 to possess a gun in the city and they could charge parents when they find guns in the hands of youths. Instead of just praying, we could get the power of the law in our corner.

Weed & Seed and the city can provide the resources for a police Party Task Force. When large groups of people are congregating into the early morning hours, whether it is in a neighborhood, a convenience store, or a motel, the police have a pretty good idea that trouble can brew. There are noise ordinances, parking ordinances, underage drinking laws, concealed weapons laws, a curfew and any number of other ordinances that can be enforced when large groups of people begin to disturb the peace. With a Police Party Task Force, a lot could be done to deter trouble before it begins. If there are children at these gatherings in the early morning hours, then the Department of Social Services could also investigate to see if children are being endangered. Instead of just praying, give the police the resources to prevent problems.

Weed & Seed and the city can provide code enforcement officers with policing powers. When properties are substandard and blighted, then the city, the police, and neighbors give up on a neighborhood. These areas become places where crime is the expectation instead of the exception. This has happened a great deal in Henderson. Instead of just praying, get problem properties investigated and removed. Get flop houses, drug houses, and places where people loiter cleared.

Weed & Seed can begin a Court Watch program. When convicted felons, sexual predators, and habitual thieves are released time and time again, then the public needs to be informed. A Court Watch program can inform the public about this. There must be a great deal of profit for the court-appointed attorneys who seem to have a merry-go-round of returning clients. There are all kinds of ways to play the court game, and it is time for the games to end. Instead of just praying, put the resources in place to identify and publish what are courts are doing.

Yes, I know the power of prayer, but I also know the value of ideas and hard work. If all we do is to pray over a problem, little will be accomplished. We need to take the answers to prayer and put those answers to work.

Remember the woman on the roof in the flood who prayed to be rescued and then refused to get in the boat that was sent or the helicopter that came later because she said the Lord was going to save her? Well, she drowned. When she got to heaven, she asked the Lord why he did not save her.

“Well, I sent a boat and a helicopter!” the Lord replied.

Both Weed & Seed and the city council have the job of correcting problems.
What we need is to take action — not just wring our hands and pray. Yes, we need to pray for solutions, but then we need to get on the boat or the helicopter when it comes.