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Police block the street at the site of a shooting late Wednesday night on N. 44th Street near O'Dell Street.

Panic and overreaction was the talk of the day on Wednesday. Folks were saying it seemed a lot of people and groups were overreacting to a bad situation. There was little real talk about how to stem the horrible problem that was staring us right in the face here.

Over the years when something big blows up, government officials talk about temporary feel-good measures that do very little to solve the problem. It gives those officials the appearance of attacking a difficult situation.

No matter where I went on Wednesday there was talk about how this desperate situation could get worse. This thing was spreading and there seems little that could be done about it. It was like a giant wrecking ball rolling through communities with little care about where it went.

That phenomenon was on my mind, too, because it was so large, so serious. But there was something else.

They said the president of the United States was going to be on television Wednesday night to address the situation. He was going to give a blueprint for a full-fledged battle against what was attacking us. Maybe he could deal with that thing, but I didn’t see how he could do anything about other thing that was bothering me just as much. Maybe I was confused.

Instead of the president, I wanted to know what local leaders, churches, community organizations, and the like were going to do about this onerous thing. What were all those community organizations with the sweet acronyms going to do to deal with the problem?

I heard about social events in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas being canceled or postponed. Folks were giving up trips to all sorts of destinations. Those things are not drastic. They have to be done for our protection. It’s a good reaction, not overreaction as some have claimed.

But I didn’t hear a peep about what had happened on Wednesday here. Maybe I was on another page. I wanted something. None of the things I was hearing could get to the root of what was causing me heartburn. I just wanted some kind of plan, some itty-bitty response. Some kind of concrete steps to take.

But I didn’t hear anything about my concern about people dying from something I can’t quit understand. And, this sickness has been around for a long time.

In just a few hours on Wednesday, three people were shot to death in Baton Rouge. One of those killed was a 15-year-old. Another killing happened near a church.

My friend didn’t know anything about it.

What the hell is going on? They have become so commonplace that these killings barely took up ink in the newspaper or much of the news blocks on Baton Rouge television on Wednesday. That these murders and the victims are given the similar effort of covering a grass fire says a lot.

I’m panicked because I don’t hear or see folks upset about this. There is little public concern about the dead or the perpetrators.

Don’t get this message “twisted” as the young folks say. The coronavirus is a worldwide problem of great significance. You cannot overreact to what is happening. There is agreement in this corner that all action deemed necessary is necessary.

But three separate shooting deaths in your community in one day is pretty significant, too. Let’s spread some of the panic. Let’s spread some of the concern.

Email Edward Pratt a former newspaperman who writes a weekly Advocate column at

Our Views: Higher profile, but just as senseless