This week’s troubles point

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 4, 1999

to a deeper problem in society

By Brian Blackley

It was one of those pages that excites the imagination and leads to a sincere feeling of sadness about what is happening in the world at the same time.

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The front page of The Messenger on Wednesday could have been the same page that was printed in New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta or any urban area where crimes of violence are committed on a regular basis.

But that page didn’t come from Atlanta or New York. It came from Pike County – Ebenezer, Brundidge and Troy. To me the biggest difference, besides the rural atmosphere, is that my wife and I chose to raise our daughter here.

People were hurt. One man was shot while picking pecans and another man died under mysterious circumstances. A third man was held at gunpoint outside his apartment.

Besides being big stories, these three events are tragedies. Things like these should never occur anywhere, much less in a small community in the rural South.

Violence has become a part of life everywhere. And while it is isolated more in rural areas, we still have our share of it. And the simple truth of the matter is that it’s not likely to subside anytime soon.

I wish I knew why people seem so determined to harm one another. I wish I understood the psychology behind people who enjoy violence for the sake of violence. The attitude, once evident only in psychopaths and sociopaths, seems more and more prevalent in our children as time goes by.

Some people advocate handgun control. Others support weapons bans. Others support the death penalty, stronger courts, a less lenient justice system and more cops on the streets.

While some, if not most, of the ideas above seem to make good sense to me, I know that all of them combined will not rid us of the problems we face today.

It’s not about guns, or about policemen or about courts. It’s about people. Old and young, rich and poor, smart and ignorant, healthy and sick are labels that don’t affect it. It’s not isolated among one group of people or in one area of the community.

It’s all over. It’s wherever people are.

What can we do to see to it that more senseless violence doesn’t occur? I don’t have the answers. Still, I plan on starting to try to do my part at home. That may not be enough.

Maybe all of my coaching and encouragement won’t stop my daughter from being violent. But I can control my behavior and I can influence hers.

It may not be the right answer, but it’s the best one I have.

Brian Blackley is the managing editor of The Messenger. He may be reached via at or by calling 670-6314.