The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

November 11, 2012

Our opinion: Time for reflection

— It’s hard to look for a silver lining in a rain cloud as sinister and heartbreaking as a teenager’s murder. But when the news broke that 16-year-old Alicia Moore had been killed, her body found in a box in Van Zandt County, it’s only human nature to want to look for some sense in the senseless.

We’re struggling to find it.

As a community, Greenville and Hunt County have to wonder what could have been done — if anything — to prevent this tragedy. It’s tempting to second-guess what might have occurred if someone had a more watchful eye, if word had gotten out faster, or if law enforcement would have taken more aggressive steps in the immediate hours after Alicia’s disappearance.

Things might have been different. Then again, maybe not. It’s impossible to know for sure.

We don’t blame Alicia’s friends and relatives for raising questions about what could have been done differently that might have saved her life and prevented the unthinkable — the pure evil — that appears to have happened. Most of us would probably do the same thing if placed directly in the path of an emotional freight train like they’ve experienced.

For others, though, we want to be perfectly clear. The Greenville Police Department does not deserve some of the criticism it’s received.

It’s far too easy for Monday-morning quarterbacks to sit back, far removed from the situation and not privy to any details whatsoever, to wonder if Greenville’s police force reacted fast enough under the circumstances. That kind of criticism doesn’t do any good and, frankly, doesn’t reflect the professionalism, dedication and character that is evident from top to bottom in the GPD.

Could they have done something better? Perhaps. We all could, no matter what our jobs. But we think the police force as a whole cares deeply about the safety of our community, literally putting their lives on the line to prove it. They should be congratulated for their willingness to do a job most of us couldn’t handle, not second-guessed by outsiders in the heat of an emotional, gut-wrenching investigation.

All of us, though, should do our best to learn from Alicia’s death. Some lessons we’re just beginning to come to grips with:

— Life is precious. Seeing it stolen from an innocent girl reminds us of just how lucky we are to wake up every day and spend time with family and friends.

— You can’t be too careful. Parents should teach their children to always be alert for predators and how to react when confronting strangers.

— We’re fortunate to live in a community that comes together in times like these.

From the tips that have poured in to the Greenville Police Department, to the large turnout for memorial events in Alicia’s honor, to the anonymous donor who paid for her funeral services so the family wouldn’t have to bear that financial burden, few communities come together as well as Greenville in times of need.

This community sticks together. We’ll help Alicia’s family get through an experience that no human being should have to endure. That’s just what neighbors do. Most of all, we won’t let Alicia be forgotten.

And, to the person or people who committed this awful crime, this community has a simple message for you:

We’ll find out who you are, and we’ll give you the justice you deserve — no matter what it takes.