Editorial: Everyday people


It was Bobby Rydell who sang: "...every day's a holiday and every night is a Saturday night," and while he may have been talking about those Wildwood Days at the shore in New Jersey in his 1963 recording, the sentiment can be applied to many situations.

For a teen spending the summer at the beach (Wildwood, N.J., in Bobby Rydell's case), every day is a holiday and every night is Saturday night because that's what they're apt to make of the situation.

From a wider perspective, those who ponder the meanings of literature and lyrics can easily draw the broader conclusion that any situation is what you make of it.

Such could be the case with events like last week's Harford County observances of the anti-crime National Night Out. This event, and others like it with themes like Take Back the Night, provide healthy and wholesome activities for children in neighborhoods where the temptation to engage in a criminal and antisocial activities, is great.

Make no mistake: last week's National Night Out was definitely a show stopper, with high profile visits from public safety personnel and appearances by elected officials in Abingdon and Havre de Grace. It's hard to imagine any criminal activity happening when the chief of police is out playing a picnic game on the street or a state police helicopter is on display in a nearby parking lot.

Problem is, every day isn't crime prevention day and every night isn't National Night Out. This, of course, clears the way for a resumption of temptation as usual in areas where criminal behavior is a persistent problem.

It is a bit much to ask for a helicopter and police dog show to be available in every neighborhood every night of the week, but that's also not necessarily what is needed. A more rational approach would be for concerned members of the community to politely ask their neighbors to participate in informal evening outdoor gatherings under door lights to chat about the Ravens or the Orioles, all the while keeping an eye on what the kids are getting into. A little support from a known patrol deputy or state trooper also would be helpful.

It may not be a cure-all, but a little community camaraderie could go a long way to making every night a mini-national night out, hopefully resulting in fewer opportunities for young people to become involved in anti-social activities. The thing is, it's just like the kids at the beach whose focus on fun turns every day into a holiday and every night into Saturday night. If the people affected don't focus on watching out for each other, no amount of outside help will make it work.

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