Viewpoint: September 29, 2010

What kind of city is Baton Rouge? What kind of city do we want to be? Questions a lot of people are asking since the horrific murder of a loving mother and the shooting of her 9-year-old daughter in the quiet Beauregard Town neighborhood last Friday.

Today, the community, family and friends, say goodbye to Alexandra Engler as she is laid to rest. A mother who won't get to see her child grow up, a woman who by all accounts saw the best in people. Alexandra's murder has touched so many of us, those who knew her well and those who didn't know her at all.

The randomness of it, reminds us that crime knows no boundaries. People are angry, people are scared, and people are coming together demanding answers. The police chief, whose own brother-in-law was murdered, says everyone is tired of it. The mayor says this community will not be intimidated by a few.

We want to see those words turned into action. If it means tougher sentences from judges, fewer deals cut by prosecutors, more police patrolling our neighborhoods, a more involved public and witnesses willing to come forward, now is the time to act.

Alexandra's mother said it best when she told those attending a memorial service for her daughter that Alexandra would have wanted nothing more than for the community to grow and thrive from her death.

We need to draw on the emotion and sense of unity the people are feeling in the wake of this horrible tragedy, to work together to make baton rouge the kind of city we all want it to be. The kind of city where a mother and daughter can go to sleep at night without fear.