After reading a couple of Portland Press Herald articles on local crime, I couldn’t help but notice a common theme between some stories. It seems as though drugs and/or alcohol were somehow involved in these crimes.

A man who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for drunk driving and killing a father had four previous drunk-driving convictions.

Another man – who was described as “cold and hard, very opinionated, odd, a loner …” and who likes showing off his guns while drunk – was charged with shooting his wife.

More recently, two teens were accused of attempted murder over what police called “a relatively small quantity of marijuana.”

The question I ask myself is: How could this have ended differently? I like to believe that if someone showed genuine concern and care for these criminals before they committed these crimes, then the outcome might have been different.

What if the man in the drunk-driving accident had one person (or more) who wanted the best for him, and who encouraged him to confront his alcohol use?

What if someone noticed that the man who shot his wife seemed “cold and hard,” and they sought help from a counselor?

What if the teens had someone who could help them live life without the need for marijuana, knives or guns?

Maybe I’m making it too simple and not realistic, but I believe it can be simple. I just think genuine caring goes a long way, and can make a positive impact for someone who needs it most.

Nick Jensen