General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon said Wednesday that continued gang violence in Chattanooga along with incidents with guns at schools may eventually lead to a deadly shooting at a local school.
Judge Moon also noted that he had warned in March of 2005 and again in 2007 that gang violence was significantly escalating and must be addressed "aggressively now."
A case involving two youths charged in the shooting of five people at Coolidge Park was postponed until April 28. That case is before General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck, but he was out on Wednesday.
In homicide cases before Judge Moon in 2005, he warned, "Gang members are quickly outnumbering members of our local police departments. Coolidge Park and other public places will become a mecca of crime as gang activity continues to proliferate there and throughout Chattanooga. Many of the assaults, thefts, and vandalism occurring in Chattanooga are not reported to law enforcement and therefore many incidences do not appear in crime statistics or the media."
The Coolidge Park shootings happened after several hundred young people had gathered at the popular venue in North Chattanooga.
According to police and witnesses, many of the young people were dressed in associated gang colors of red and blue and some were armed. It was reported that one of the victims was shot four feet away from a Chattanooga police officer.
Judge Moon said, "We all know that the benchmark of all good communities begins in the home. Good parents usually make good kids and good parents usually make good students. Therefore, the front line of defense in deterring crime and gang associations begins with a sincere parental commitment to raise kids with respect, discipline and an appreciation for education. Without committed parenting, money, speeches, summits and programs are all pipe dreams. Traditional American values never go out of style no matter what time period parents and their kids exist.
"The first order of any good government is to protect its citizens. Without the safety of its citizens, children and businesses, nothing else really matters. Rome fell primarily because of too many politically correct cowards in public office who were more focused upon personal agendas, profits and greed instead of the safety of the people. The ancient Roman leadership and its citizens fell into a coma of false security."
Asked if he had any other predictions relating to crime in the city, he said, "Unfortunately, I do. I am not an alarmist, and I do believe that a majority of our public schools are relatively safe. However, I have seen too many cases associated with knives, drugs, ammunition and guns in and around some of our public schools to cause immediate concern. The likelihood of a shooting or homicide involving a student or teacher in one of our schools is very foreseeable. In fact, I believe that such an incident is a work in progress and a Chattanooga headline waiting to happen. School officials must implement broader safety policies and take immediate preventative action. Security in all schools should be re-visited now."