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Think 2013 was bad? It could have been verse

Some events didn't make sense, but at least they rhymed

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - 8:14 am

With 2013 nearly gone

we asked our readers to vote on

a list of tales from far and near

that made big headlines through the year.

In business news, Costco led.

In obit news, Mandela's dead.

But common sense was badly missed:

A choo-choo topped the features list.

Sanity prevailed at last

with Boston's tragic, deadly blast.

In sports they chose a fitting end

in Te'o's phony online friend.

But the year's big story had, of course,

nothing to do with a statue or horse.

The general's staying, though Cindy's is moving.

Some are objecting; most are approving.

But the list could never be complete

without the blood on Fort Wayne streets

that tied a mark best left unbroken –

but still could be, as these words are spoken.

With so many dead, the people were told,

“Have no fear. The killers are bold

but you will be safe and you will be fine

if you're not in a gang or committing a crime.”

But the rising body count caused great alarm,

so officials decided it could do them no harm

to acknowledge the problem they had been denying

and announce a bold plan to keep more people from dying.

A news conference was held to announce the promotion

of people who hadn't stopped all the commotion.

Hope was expressed in the plan of attack.

And did we mention the new chief is black?

So are most of our victims, I figured,

along with most thugs who've been pulling the trigger.

If lives can be saved by just changing faces,

that will be good for folks all of races.

But cops and role models can't overcome

the damage to children done in the homes

where parents are absent or simply don't care

how they breed misery, year after year.

So as a new page replaces the one that has passed,

my hope for Fort Wayne is for change that will last.

No more excuses, no more absolution.

Just stop all the talking – and find a solution.

Give your kids love, take them to church.

Get them to school, teach them to work.

Be an example of how they should live,

not constantly moaning how much others should give.

The rest of us, too, should help them prevail.

The more we do that, the less we'll need jail.

Raising kids doesn't “take a village,” it's true,

But there's still a big need for me and for you.

Take care of your own and then look out for others,

and some of our problems will be less of a bother.

If we all will chip in and just do our part,

there's no reason 2014 can't be great from the start.

Then we can mock all the forecasts of gloom,

the polls showing how we expect our own doom.

What's past is past, but the future is ours,

And making it better is within our power.

Just as Cubs fans view September with dread,

the dream of a pennant long ago dead,

they spend all winter yearning for spring,

and the perfect record new seasons bring.

A calendar works in much the same way:

Bad things do happen, day after day,

but on the last day the slate is wiped clean;

we need no longer dwell on what we have been.

The record is over, our murders are zero,

and Father Time is the New Year's first hero.

The past and its stories recede in the distance,

leaving room only to say: Good riddance!

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Kevin Leininger at kleininger@news-sentinel.com or call him at 461-8355.