I am occasionally asked by some of our readers if we only put in news stories about "good" things, and avoid the "bad." I believe I'm asked this question because we are fortunate enough to live in a community where the majority of the news is good.
But, the bad does happen.
We have a front page story this week about a young man who was murdered in Llano County, and whose body was dumped along Ranch Road 1222 and the Voca road. The commission of the crime may not have occurred here; but, the completion of the crime did.
We tend to think of ourselves as isolated from the bad that occurs in the world; but, it is always there. We do have thefts, we do have vandalism, we do have assaults. Many of those crimes are alcohol or drug related, part of another type of crime from which we are not immune.
The facts of the Llano crime are not all in yet, and there will likely be more suspects arrested in the killing. The full connection to Mason County has not yet been released, so we may find that we have more of a role than just as a final burial spot for the victim.
It's more difficult to commit crime in Mason. It is hard to steal from someone that you'll be seeing every day. It's harder to vandalize the property of someone that lives near you. It's more difficult to commit these crimes, and even more difficult to hide them. But, Mason County still has unsolved murder cases of its own, so it is quite possible for the crimes to occur and for no justice to be done.
I worry about the increase in drug use in our county, for that can change the dynamics of small town crime. People who would not normally steal from their neighbors are less inhibited when using drugs, and more likely to commit acts that are out of the norm. Violence is more likely to occur when judgement is impaired and reality altered. People make downright stupid decisions when they're stoned, and then have to live with the consequences.
Alcohol can be just as destructive and disruptive; and, because its use is more acceptable, it can be more of a problem for Mason County. A little bit of alcohol quickly can turn into too much, and friends become rivals. Alcohol is more likely to be involved in domestic disputes and family arguments, and can cause them to escalate into situations that require law enforcement intervention.
We don't hide the bad news from our readers. We publish the names of people indicted by the Grand Jury for crimes, and many of those acts involve drugs or alcohol. We have accounts of accidents that occur when drivers disregard the hazards of mixing alcohol or drugs with the operation of a motor vehicle. Often, we publish the obituaries of people who lose their lives due to those situations.
We are a great community, and we are blessed to have a low crime rate. We are not a utopia, free of crime and violence, so it's going to occur. We have to start reaching out to the people who are needing help and assistance with the problems and addictions they have so that the crime rate doesn't increase. We have to be vigilant for suspicious activity and be willing to report it when it occurs. And, we have to be willing to accept that it can and does occur in our home town.
We can't stop all of it; but, we can sure work together to keep it as limited as possible.
It’s all just my opinion.