Intolerable public danger

Intolerable public danger

December 29th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

It appears sadly necessary for the city of Chattanooga to take action to deal with a downtown church that also has a club as part of its youth ministry.

Numerous violent incidents have been linked to Club Fathom in the past few years. But things came to a head with the gang-related shootings outside the club late on Christmas Eve. Nearly a dozen people were injured -- thankfully none fatally.

So city officials are seeking to have the Mosaic church closed.

"This has continued to be a problem in the downtown area and a danger to those who are using it for whatever purpose," Mayor Ron Littlefield said. "It's a danger to the patrons, and it's a danger to the community at large."

Though security officers, including some Chattanooga police, were on hand for the large Christmas Eve gathering at Club Fathom, that apparently was not enough to prevent the outbreak of violence.

"We were lucky we didn't have nine or 10 victims killed," Police Chief Bobby Dodd said.

The pastor of the church said the youths attending the gathering were the victims of gang members who ambushed them outside the club.

Perhaps that's so, but the years-long history of violent incidents at or near the club is nevertheless great cause for alarm.

And it seemingly necessitates action of some type by the city to protect public safety.

We don't fault the city for taking that action. We would note, however, that whatever steps may be appropriate regarding the Mosaic church and Club Fathom, the larger problem of gang violence in Chattanooga will tragically continue.