The power of the pen and the ability of this column to influence change cannot be denied. I have heard from a lawmaker that two pieces of legislation are in the process of becoming laws because of something I wrote. When they actually go into effect, I will write about it.

One additional action I will take credit for is when I wrote with passion and anger about the left-turn signal at Laramie and Lexington that had southbound motorists (the majority of traffic) sitting and waiting for a signal when it had never been like that before and was totally unnecessary. It was especially dangerous for anyone sitting at night waiting for a left-turn signal while the light was green and nary a car in sight traveling either north or south. Thankfully, that signal has been covered and now people who want to get on the Eisenhower can make that left turn anytime.

Now I want to make another suggestion: As a kid of the 1960s, the censors would never allow Hollywood to portray criminals getting away with crime. It was a subtle but strong message sent to the populace that “crime doesn’t pay.” And for most folks, that message was received. One who commits a crime will get caught and go to jail.

So why is it that in this most dangerous and crime-infested of times in which we are living, do we have radio and television announcers who proudly proclaim about shooting or other crimes in which “the police don’t have any suspects”?

Shouldn’t the news media’s ability be so effecient that if the police don’t have a suspect, it is suspect in itself? How do they really know when they say it — information that can be communicated in the blink of an eye — what the police do or don’t have as information? Because they constantly end terrible news story with the line, “the police don’t have any suspects” or similar verbiage, it seems as if the news media is telling the criminals to continue their carnage because the police don’t know who they are. Thus individuals who are committing the crimes are being, in my opinion, encouraged to keep up the mess because the media is subtly telling them that they are getting away with it.

Real or not, any crime committed should be reported so the criminals hear that “police are investigating leads” or “police have a suspect and is closing in on capturing them.” Why should criminals be given assurances at 5, 6 and 10 that what they have done is gotten away with “scot free”? If one is the shooter and has committed a drive-by, for example, and hears that the police don’t have any leads, isn’t that person emboldened or encouraged to do a second or third shooting?

Not surprisingly, criminals still fear the law. After committing their carnage, the first thing they do is run and leave the crime scene. We don’t have shooters killing people and then standing around with their chests poked out proudly daring the police to arrest them. After committing their crime, they scatter like the rats and lowlifes they are to hide out until they think the coast is clear. The television and radio media which they depend on to broadcast their carnage shouldn’t also be the ones giving out any signals to them that the coast is clear. If nothing else, the media should make criminals paranoid with the belief that any second they can be found and arrested. Plus if the general public thinks others are calling in leads, they too might want to join in and give a lead.

Just as one cannot arbitrarily holler “fire” in a crowded auditorium, one should not be able to holler any kind of “coast is clear” signal to criminals. It would be nice to think that all we would need to do is ask the media to be more mindful, but in this era of trying to be the first to break any news, it won’t be something they will voluntarily undertake without being mandated to do so.