Last week in downtown Charleston, two law-abiding citizens were out for a Sunday drive when police say a convicted drug dealer on the run from the law ran a stop sign, killing them as he and his buddies ran from the scene of the crime.

A few days later a 15-year-old boy was found shot to death, execution-style, beneath an interstate overpass and left for passers-by to find.

Even in nearby Colleton County, a quiet rural community, there have been seven homicides in six months.

Then there's this serial killer in the Upstate allegedly responsible for at least five deaths. A suspect shot and killed by police Monday was, of course, a wanted man.

Each time stories like this hit the news, they are followed by wailing family members saying they don't understand the reason for the violence and asking members of the community to speak out against those who commit crimes.

This is usually followed by members of the clergy walking through drug-infested neighborhoods and declaring to television cameras that they're going to take back the streets and put an end to such senseless killing.

We've seen it all before.

Concierge courts

Truth is, the vast majority of these crimes are committed by career criminals with rap sheets as long as your arm and a skeleton key to the jail cells they frequently inhabit.

The cops know this.

So do the robbers.

That's why local mayors, police chiefs and prosecutors lobbied our state Legislature hard this past session for sweeping changes in the way our concierge court system treats these frequent flier felons and puts them back on the streets to do even more damage to society.

All police really wanted was the right to search people on probation and parole; allow courts to deny bail to repeat offenders; stop criminals from legally possessing handguns; and require criminals to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences.

Our politicians paid lip service to these urgent pleas and led us to believe something would be done. But in the end, lawmakers failed to pass a single reform the group requested.

Political impotence

So, where's the outrage?

John and Betty Vice were upstanding citizens allegedly killed by someone who should have been in jail instead of running from police.

Jermel Brown was a middle school student whose aunt tearfully begged residents to tell police what they know about his senseless slaying.

People in the Upstate town of Gaffney have been terrorized by this serial killer as they mourn the deaths of five friends and neighbors. And folks in Colleton County still live in fear as young, ruthless killers retaliate and seek revenge with guns.

Meanwhile, the rest of us huddle quietly in our houses, hoping the next gruesome headline isn't about someone we know and love.

But that's not the answer. The answer is to rage against this cycle of political impotence and let our lawmakers know we'd rather they pay more attention to this problem than who the governor slept with and when.

Leave that to us.