Wednesday, June 29, 2016

And Here We Go Again, On Our Own

Whitesnake played Artpark last night, and then today Lockport finds itself on its own, again. How many times does this have to happen before someone in charge of something decides to make a stand? I'm not sure what we can make a stand against, but somebody has to say something before the city becomes a ghost town.

What am I talking about? This morning, before 10:00 a.m. EST, someone attempted suicide by jumping off the Pine Street bridge, and then there was a shooting on John Street. I don't know if everyone involved in both of these were local, and I don't have definitive information on the fate of either victim. But here we go again, and we, as usual, will be on our own.

The rest of Western New York loves to slap us around. They have been doing so for decades, and it never really mattered until recently. We used to be the best kept secret in the area. We were the kind of place it was cool to make fun of, but then our population consisted of a lot of people who moved here to get away from whatever problems they had where they lived. We aren't a refuge anymore. We are a mess. And it is only going to get worse.

We can try and brush all of this away by telling ourselves that Niagara Falls has it much worse or that these types of things happen in every town and city in the country, but we are just fooling ourselves. I grew up in a Lockport that was a haven from all of this madness. I never understood why, and I still don't understand why, but we have always had people trying to commit suicide in the canal. I remember that from my youth, but the guns were never a factor.

Were there guns and drugs in Lockport when I was growing up? Of course there was. I remember being a young lad on Oliver Street just sitting on my porch when a complete stranger, dressed in what could only be called a significantly disheveled manner, walked up to me and asked me if I wanted to start selling pot in my neighborhood. I said no, but I thought that it just ended there. It would not surprise me if that disheveled jackwagon found his dealer and was able to expand his market. I guess I just never put two and two together back then.

When I was a kid, you could walk the streets of Lockport at night and not worry about much of anything. I did it regularly. Now there are some streets in Lockport I would not walk in the daylight, even if a police cruiser was following right behind me. I never felt that way about any part of Lockport when I was a kid, but I feel that way now.

Yeah, yeah - times change old man. Get with it.

Is this what progress looks like? Is this what the future holds for Lockport? Lockport is being strangled by the growing notion that people simply do not care about the consequences of their actions. I will grant you that the idea that people are losing respect for authority and others is something most definitely not unique to Lockport. But it is a sentiment that is growing in our city, and it is growing at gunpoint.

Give everyone a trophy and no one feels the need to accomplish anything. Give everyone a trophy and you take away the pride that comes with results from hard work and discipline. Force teachers to give little Johnny an A on his test because poor little Johnny won't stop crying about the D he actually earned and little Johnny grows up with no respect for authority.

Maybe we did do this to ourselves. Perhaps the notion that Lockport will always be isolated from the rest of the world was a pipe dream that could never last. Maybe we are just like every other community in the country.

We never used to be that way. And now I hate being part of what everyone else has to deal with. Our haven from crime and destruction is gone. Now we, the city of Lockport, are just like everyone else. And it is killing our city.

George N Root III is a Lockport resident for now. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him an email at Please Lockport, we need to come together and take our city back. If we don't do it now, we will be too late by the time we hand our city to our children.