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Violence in Lawton on MLK Day

LAWTON Okla_ Dr. Martin Luther King's daughter, Bernice King, asked that gun shots not be fired on Monday, the day the nation honors her father.

With the news of two people being shot and killed, leaders of the Lawton group "Stop the Violence" said Monday's acts show there is more work to be done in the community, in spite of all the progress that has been made. They say they don't want to minimize a killing, especially when three people have died, but they don't want people to forget this day and the impact Dr. King has made.

Pastor Sam Moyd of Stop the Violence said most see Monday as a holiday and a day off, but it needs to be seen as a day on, a day to continue Dr. King's goals.

"As we work together through harmony and unity, I think the community can be transformed and change so that we will come together and work together as one," Moyd said.

He said there is no better or worse when it comes to a murder, but a 13-year-old victim is awful, and things need to be done to prevent it from happening again.

"Well he didn't really have a chance to live at all, and it's tragic when children are killed," Moyd said. "We certainly want to do something to stop the violence in that area."

He adds crime across the nation happens everyday even on holidays, but a double homicide on Martin Luther King Day almost defeats the purpose.

"It fights against that peace," Moyd said. "We believe that if we increase awareness of this and the communities come together… a threefold chord is not easily broken."

He's talking about civic, community, and religious leaders coming together to transform the community. William White of Stop the Violence agrees all three need to come together and even has a goal for when they do.

"We have to find a way to help those get out that want to get out, change those that want to change," Moyd said. "We also have to do intervention early and continually."

White's biggest goal is prevention. He talks about being in by 6, meaning preventing as early as the age of 6, whether it means getting kids in boy and girls scouts, church, anything the community can do to help youth from going down the wrong path.

Stop the Violence has been known for their prayer walks, but Pastor Moyd said their goal this year is more community mobilization and increasing neighborhood watches.

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