Community group aims to end local violence

Community group aims to end local violence
By: Carly O'Keefe

CARBONDALE, Ill. - Shootings, stabbings, muggings, rapes, these things happen more than we know.  One community group hopes to put a stop to the violence in Carbondale.
"I think that the people in southern Illinois don't realize the level of violence in this region. It's much more violent than people realize. Just because it doesn't affect them today, we have people who come in here who are going about their normal every day lives and something tragic has happened to them.  Just because they were in the wrong place at the right time for the right person to do harm to them," said Dr. Donna Carney, M.D. who works in the Memorial Hospital of Carbondale Emergency Room.
Dr. Carney said she has noticed an increase in patients suffering from violent injuries.
"One of the last shifts I worked, I had two stabbings, one in the chest and one in the neck and a gunshot wound.  All in one night, that wasn't even on a weekend," said Dr. Carney.
According to Dr. Carney, the violence she sees on an average shift is on par with larger cities, and from her perspective, it has increased in the six years she's worked in the Carbondale E.R.
"It's escalated, there doesn't seem to be that reverence for human life," Dr. Carney said.
Among the lives senselessly taken by violence is that of 21-year-old Falon Taylor.  She was shot in the head while sleeping at a Carbondale home back in December.  Her murder is still unsolved.
"It's been six months today," said Falon's mother Angela Hopkins. "I miss her every day. Somebody executed my daughter and a piece of me died that day."
Hopkins joined with some local of folks who call themselves "Prayer Warriors" and say they're working to stop the violence.
"After the shooting in December and down the street and the shooting that happened to a relative of mine, and all over the community, I just felt the lord was saying do something," said Prayer Warrior Etta White.
The prayer warriors gather to pray in Carbondale's problem areas--in streets, neighborhoods and parks in hopes of taking the town back.
"I believe for far too long the good have sat silent and I think the time has long since passed to stop peeping from behind our blinds and actively do something.  We got to let this element know we're not going to sit silent, and be afraid to come out of our homes," said Reverend Sidney Logwood, a member of the Prayer Warrior group.
Whether it's through prayer or simply keeping a watchful eye on your neighborhood and calling police, when you see something suspicious--the doctor agrees, the problem won't improve if it's ignored.
"There is an undercurrent beneath this nice community, and it is very violent," said Dr. Carney.
If you have information on the murder of Falon Taylor or any unsolved crime, you're asked to call Carbondale Crime Stoppers at 549-COPS.