There is a sense in Thomson that public officials are perhaps a little sheepish about their slow-as-molasses effort to shut down a community cesspool: the notorious T&W Caf Lounge.
Aunsharia Moss, a 14-year-old A student at Thomson High School, died from a gunshot to the head during an early morning shootout at the club on New Years Day. Her aunt pointedly told McDuffie County officials what a shame it is that it took the death of Aunsharia to even spark a conversation on the clubs closure - and shes right.
I lost something dear to me, Debra Moss told members of the McDuffie County Commission last week. That club is not the future. We want to stop the violence.
Its never been a mystery that T&W is a magnet to lowlifes and hoodlums. In recent years its gotten worse, as teens also have begun to congregate at the business - though if there is a bright side, it is that underage drinking may be the key to snatching away T&Ws lucrative alcohol license.
The sheepishness of public officials is easy to explain, too. Theyve seen the reams of police reports on everything from underage patrons to violent confrontations. Aunsharia was just the latest to die; she was an innocent bystander waiting with a friend who was picking her mother up from work.
It is clear that McDuffie County officials are embarrassed at having - almost literally - Aunsharias bloody clothing waved in front of them. For too long theyve ignored T&W, mostly because the club is tucked in the depressed Cherokee neighborhood where few of the communitys leaders ever venture.
There are homes there, Tara Johnson told commissioners. It doesnt belong in a residential area. Johnson is just one of those nearby residents worried about the clubs impact on her community.
Thursday at the McDuffie County Courthouse, county officials will have a chance to ease their discomfort by finally taking action. Theyre holding a public hearing to evaluate the future of T&Ws alcohol license.
The best way for commissioners to atone for their guilt at having turned a blind eye and deaf ear to this community menace is to see to it that, after Thursdays hearing, T&W no longer has an alcohol license to evaluate. Shut it down.
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