Seven score and eight years ago (1863), President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation. This public statement set aside the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving. In 1863, our country was in the midst of a civil war and the outcome was still in doubt. Yet, the proclamation declared that, outside of the military conflict, “order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed and harmony has prevailed everywhere.” That doesn’t mean that there was no criminal activity. It does mean that law enforcement agencies and law-abiding citizens overcame the criminal element.
Today, our country is again at war. It could be said it started on Sept. 11, 2001. Since that day, there have been numerous terrorist plots against our country. These plans have not succeeded. Many of the conspirators have been arrested and convicted. What makes this all possible is law-abiding citizens reporting terrorist criminal activity and law enforcement taking action.
The Declaration of Independence states that as citizens, we have certain inalienable rights. Among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In order to maintain these rights, it is necessary that citizens be law-abiding, vigilant and have fortitude. All three of these rights are taken away by killers, kidnappers, sexual abusers, robbers and burglars. These are all high-profile crimes. Criminal records disclose that most perpetrators of these crimes didn’t start with the most serious crimes. The killer could have begun by harming small animals. Robbers and burglars could have been young shoplifters.
The mission of the Waupaca Crime Stoppers is to discourage, impede and interrupt criminal activity. To succeed, citizen cooperation is necessary. The criminal justice system is set up not only to incarcerate criminals. It also provides opportunities for offenders to have a chance to become productive members of society. The following is an example of what has happened too often.
An underage drinking party was supposed to be about a good time. That is until someone introduced drugs or a gun to enhance the enjoyment. It ends with a drug overdose or the gun being fired. The result was injury or death and terrible memories that last a lifetime. The party was not about taking away the right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness, but it did. This could have been avoided by someone that knew about the party calling Crime Stoppers at 1-888-258-9955.
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and count blessings. In this country, we can gather, offer thanks and feel secure. These blessings are possible because citizens see it as their duty to report criminal activity.
Website information can be found at waupacacountycrimestoppers.org.