How to remove the rust

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, September 24, 2013

By CHRIS GEORGE / Guest Columnist

I’m a car guy. More specifically, I’m an old car guy. I recall spending countless hours detailing my first 1966 Impala with wax to protect the paint and Armor All, or sometimes Vaseline, for the tires and black leather interior.

One thing that car was infamous for was rust around the back window and the quarter panels. I did all I could to keep it from spreading. As a teenager, I’d fill up the hole with body filler, sand it, and paint it with some match paint.

What I learned is that it always came back. Once rust is in the metal, it doesn’t go away.

My most recent project was a 1972 Super Cheyenne. It had rust, but I knew the rust had to be removed by replacing that part of the truck. As I replaced the rust, I invested in much better paint and sealant in order to prevent the rust from occurring in the first place. That method is much more costly, but it worked by making it new.

When I see crime infest a community, I think of rust. Once it’s there, it’s there and you can’t get it out without a major overhaul, and that’s very costly. There are cities that have five times the number of police officers we have in Shelby County because they have to, not because they want to. There are public schools not far from here that are covered by six officers. This is not for prevention or education, but for protection.

Similar to rust, crime embeds itself by starting small, such as we have seen with vehicle break-ins and misdemeanor theft. Without the resources to prevent this from happening with proactive patrol, educating the citizens how to safeguard themselves, or the ability to investigate the crime properly, the criminals learn that we are an environment worth exploring.

We are so very fortunate to live in a county with the highest median income, the lowest unemployment rate, and the lowest crime rate of all the other counties in the state. Why invest in public safety? What we have is worth protecting. We can’t remove the rust — we must keep it from forming.

Capt. Chris George is a commander with the Criminal Investigations Division of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. He can be reached at