Cart path safety is our concern, but not ONLY our concern

Tue, 06/17/2008 - 3:42pm
By: Letters to the ...

I received a phone call from my friend Gary within the last week. Gary is my friend from Gainesville, Fla. He is a triathlete in his mid 50s, a husband and a father. He’s the kind of guy that can literally run laps around me as I walk and tell a full story without losing his breath.

Kinda makes me crazy sometimes ... oh well. I joke with him that his home town should be re-named Title Town, USA. The Florida Gators have had their fair share of national championships in football and basketball as of late. Gary used to coach at the university and I’m a Dawg so there is obvious fun involved here relative to sports topics that we usually discuss when we talk. He truly is one of those people you don’t meet every day. He’s a true joy in my life.

I asked him how he was doing as our conversation progressed. Before I proceed here, Gary has never been one to talk or harbor on anything other than good things. No time for it. He’d rather discuss how to be better at something than to re-count what could have been, He’s the duck. On top of the surface, smooth and effortless, while under the surface, swimming vigorously underneath. That’s what makes him the incredible guy he is today. You know the kind.

With that, he began to tell me about an incident which happened in his town two weeks ago. This is where the story hits very close to home for me and all residents of our community here in Peachtree City and surrounding areas.

Early on the morning of May 21, a resident of the Haile Plantation community in Gainesville, Fla., went for her morning run utilizing the trails incorporated in her community. Sound familiar?

Haile Plantation is a quaint community that has a similarity to our lifestyles here in Peachtree City. It is a live, work, play development that has thrived through the years. Simply put , a really nice place to call home. Could be considered very similar to what we get to enjoy every day here in Peachtree City and surrounding areas.

In an article from the Gainesville Sun written by Megan Rolland, the story line reads:

“The victim, a 36-year-old woman, left her house at 6:26 that morning. The Sheriff’s Office received its first report of the attack at 6:39 a.m.” said Lt. Maynard, a spokesman from the Alachua County Sheriffs office

“She didn’t get very far” said Lt. Maynard

Maynard said the victim told her husband before she left home of the route she was taking. The attack happened in a heavily populated, visible location while it was light outside, he said.

“She did everything right,” he said.

What happened? She was forcibly raped and beaten to the point that the following statement from the Sheriffs office was issued: “It involved a level of violence that should have killed the victim,” Lt. Steve Maynard said.

Wow. I’m not sure how you might feel right now as you are reading this. You don’t know me and of course you don’t know my friend Gary. I know Gary, but not the victim. I was shocked, sad, angry, protective. Then I began to ask myself the following: What if that happened here in Peachtree City. What if I knew them? What if it was ... (you know how this question is completed)?

Gary then said to me, “I have cried for this woman multiple times. This has rocked our community”

I sat back and immediately began to think about my family, our community here in Peachtree City, our way of life. Are we vulnerable? Absolutely.

What can we do on the cart paths to be safer? Be more vigilant. Become more aware of our surroundings. If you use headphones, leave one in your ear, the other one out so that you can hear what might be going on around you. Golf carts are coming around the corner all the time, sometimes at speeds that put us in danger. Having an open ear can surely help us out. Summer is here and the paths are joyfully full. Hopefully we can be more aware of who is around us so that we might not “bump” into them in our carts or might not find ourselves in a compromising situation.

What’s the last thing we might do to ensure some cart path safety? If you feel inclined, send a $10 donation to efforts to catch this criminal in Gainesville, Fla. Send more or less if you would like. I’m sure this cart path community will be very appreciative of any offering we may provide to help them capture this criminal. You will get your money back if they don’t get him in the next 24 months.

If you are able to help, please make you donation to: The Alachua county Sheriff. At the bottom of your check include “Sexual Battery Reward Fund.” If the assailant is not arrested within 24 months, the donation will be returned in full.

Please send your donation to: The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, 2621 S.E. Hawthorne Road, Gainesville, Fl.

J. Logan

Peachtree City, Ga.

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