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What if Your Town is the Next Ground Zero?

December 11, 2014

20140828_110958I often have posts about community, home and ‘issues’ that aren’t strictly food or farm, but are an influence for many of us. We all see the major headlines, and we’re all just a few actions away from being the next one. Yesterday a young lady, who I will not name here for reasons of safety, made a post on Facebook yesterday:

It’s really sad how your terrified to be at school because people bring guns to your school and threatens to shoot everyone but they won’t let you leave school and go home where you can be safe with your family. This is the second lock down we have had today and I’m just ready to get home to be with my mom and dad where I know I’m safe.

Would it have been carried out without intervention? The incident could have had a much different outcome. Hopefully it’s dealt with and won’t go further.

The example we set to youth is huge, and while many think it’s positive, it’s always good to check regularly. If you tell kids to be honest and they see you cheat your employer it’s a lesson beyond words. We all are part of a community – of neighbors, of those we pass daily, of the stores we frequent and, yes, those people we just don’t like very much but they’re in the community too. Some, perhaps, we don’t like at all – how is that dealt with?
You can tell a lot about someone how they handle life issues – tangled Christmas lights, ornery critters, travel delays. I can watch someone work with their horse and get more than a 3 hour conversation in some cases. Some folks take time to salvage as much as they can, while others toss it completely. Most folks are in between those points.
The possibility of being a news headline is no longer just for cities. With the Marysville school shooting in a county I spent a decade in, it is not just about somewhere else. With a lockdown six miles from home, it’s possible anywhere. When it involves a neighbor, a family member or a friend it can be anyone.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen it happens, and you’re ground zero of the next big headline, that community and those people you have built around you now are what you can count on. That’s what community is. Those who are divisive, who thrive on discord can then hope for compassion and that they don’t get what they deserve. Of course that can be seen as weakness, but sometimes it’s not for them, but for us, that we act.
As the Christmas season is in motion, may we truly keep the spirit year round. It’s not just at Christmas, it’s every day that we should build community. Say a kind word, do a small action, do something that can’t be repaid, make a difference for someone. It doesn’t take huge gestures.
Sometimes it takes standing up and saying “I saw something that needs action”. Law enforcement can’t be everywhere…cleaning up communities means everyone taking part. Don’t wait until you’re Ground Zero. If you build community it can keep that headline from happening, or prepare for when it is.
Community matters. Our homes, farms, businesses matter. Our schools, emergency responders and support teams matter. Like a garden they need tended to, watered, nourished, weeded and maintained. That takes all of us.
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2014 9:10 AM

    Thanks for the incite into the post. It amazes me how things have changed, even in my lifetime. And to emphasize, I remember setting in hunting camp with my great uncles some years ago (most have passed on now) And they used to talk about carrying the shotgun to school with them. When they arrived, they broke it down and gave it to the teacher. Then on the way home they would hunt rabbits and squirrels (This would have been depression era). Could you imagine what would happen now a days. Not to mention that very few folks hunt small game anymore. Their only reason for carrying a gun to school has nefarious interests.

    • December 15, 2014 5:09 PM

      So true Matt, thanks for the comments. When I was in high school (graduated 1979) it was not uncommon for guns to be in the trucks in the parking lot – as you said, for hunting after school. There were bullies then but we didn’t shoot each other. There were weapons there but teachers didn’t seem to worry about it. Of course we knew teachers carried severe penalties too and it’d be doubled at home. I cannot fathom more than a sarcastic wisecrack at a teacher, and that had consequences.

  2. December 16, 2014 9:25 AM

    Hello from Central Alabama. I found your blog on a Farm Blog website. I love it. I will be following you. My husband and I live on a small farm in Shelby County where we raise sheep, pigs, zebu cattle, chickens, and the keeper of our farm Ben – the border collie. I work fulltime outside the home in education and as said in your post times have changes so much. I know a lot has changed for our schools. I believe that it is people like us that have to help make the change in the world. We know how to hunt, fish, garden, preserve our food, make our own bread and so on. In our area our farmer’s market is not well established and I would love to see it grow, but until there is a new manager this will not happen. I will look forward to reading your blog.

    • December 16, 2014 4:50 PM

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. We’re almost neighbors, in the big wide world scheme of things. The little town in the article is on I22 aka Corridor X – blink and you miss it. Definitely a challenge here. Hoping for better 2015.

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