Even after ongoing examples of criminally irresponsible behavior and loss of lives to drunk drivers and mean-spirited vandalism and the actions of sexual predators, many of us – most of us, it is possible, if not likely – get over the revulsion and the horror and life returns to normal.
That’s because, for the most part, we have a very good, peaceful life here in Marshall County.
We really can still see parallels between our lives and the fictional folks who populated “The Andy Griffith Show” back in the day.
So, a Mayberry attitude remains our default attitude.
And then we are jolted, once again, by a wanton crime spree such as the one last week.
The truth is that Mayberry always was an illusion.
No community has ever been as peaceful and innocent as the one Sheriff Andy Taylor watched over on television.
There have always been bad people, such as the ones who assaulted neighborhoods around Benton in the early morning hours of Feb. 10.
There have always been much worse examples of depravity than that one, even in Mayberry-like small towns across the nation and around the world.
As our population grows, the percentage of those we cannot trust grows, arithmetically if not exponentially.
That’s not to say that we should lose our Mayberry mentality completely. That would be an overreaction.
It is pointless to fear the criminal element. Percentage-wise, we are not at inordinate risk of becoming one of their victims.
But we should practice just a little bit better personal security than most of us do as a matter of course.
We should engage more energetically in upholding the small-town and country stereotype of neighborly relations – being aware of how things ordinarily are, and being observant – not nosy or intrusive, just observant – when things stray from ordinary.
Many of us in small towns and in the country still practice the habit of leaving our doors unlocked, of leaving our car keys in the ignition.
We really shouldn’t do things like that. It always has left people susceptible to wrongdoers, and it still does today.
We don’t need to go to a bunker mentality. Rather, we just need to slightly modify some of our habits, just to keep ourselves a little bit more on the safe side – a little bit less of an easy target for thugs.
Authorities described last week’s crime spree as one of opportunity. “If vehicles were unlocked,” Benton P.D. Chief Tracy Watwood said, “they had easy access. If not, they broke in.”
Let’s be just a little more conscious of the existence of that unsavory element, and not make things any easier for them.
Editor’s Note: For the full story related to last week’s events visit the Tribune-Courier’s website at www.tribunecourier.com.