Thank you for the very fine presentation of the truth in the latest coverage of the railroad thug case in Columbia County. I am grateful The News-Times shared with the reading public the fact these thugs (the railroad transients arrested in Grovetown) were violating the law. They were criminals committing crimes.
Be it major heinous crime or crime felt of lesser importance, the operative word here is crime. Coming on to someone else’s property without their permission, and interfering with or damaging their property is a crime in Georgia and every other state in our nation. Whether the victim is a major corporation (like the railroad) or a homeowner in Harlem, we all have equal protection under the law and those who violate the laws of our land deserve prosecution.
Face value of the present case to some is that these were poor young travelers hurting no one. Hogwash! We have arrested thousands of these malcontents, and they all have several things in common: they do not work, have never worked and do not ever intend to work, they do not care about themselves (as evidenced by their personal hygiene), they care nothing about law abiding society, and they care nothing about you or me.
As they have no visible means of support, you can accurately conclude they steal or commit other crimes to obtain money. The difficult part about dealing with these criminals is their transient nature. The obvious and most effective means of dealing with transient criminals is to file charges against them every time you can to keep them behind bars long enough to determine who they really are and where (or if) they are wanted. Most traveling criminals we dealt with were wanted somewhere and 100 percent of them had criminal histories, quite often for violent offenses.
You might find it interesting to know we have identified 185 railroad special agents killed in the line of duty (source: www.officerdown.com). Of these, 128 were killed by gunfire, and the one thing common in every case is that violent criminals were committing violent crimes on railroad property. Many of the perpetrators of these murders were in fact railroad transients. They were trespassers before they were murderers or robbers.
And don’t think for one minute they only committed their crimes on the railroads. These same kind of derelicts are committing crimes in the communities surrounding the railroads as well.
Don’t even think about labeling these Grovetown thugs as “not bothering anyone” or “harmless young people.” We have encountered their ilk many hundreds of times before. They travel from place to place causing trouble, be it petty crime trouble, theft or robbery trouble, or violent civil disturbance trouble. Operative words: “crime” and “trouble.” They do their crime, hit the road and do the same crimes somewhere else before law enforcement has time to bring them to justice.
Those who think train riding is harmless, free-spirited fun – think again! The truth is, as The News-Times well stated, the railroad transients charged and convicted in Columbia County were nothing more than common criminals. They have moved on from our county, but you can bet they will be back in jail again sometime, somewhere.
Steven T. Purvis
(Steven T. Purvis is a retired railroad special agent.)