To the editor:
OK Richmond County, sit down, all of ya, we need to talk.
Tragedy is nothing new, and Richmond County has never been immune to it. Bad things have always happened. Lately though, it seems like things have escalated.
Years ago, when I would leave town and people would ask me where I was from, I would tell them, “You’ve probably never heard of it. It’s a small town. We used to have a race, but that’s it. It’s essentially the closest you can get to Mayberry in the world today. Everyone knows everyone. The community comes together to support each other no matter what the cause. It’s little, but it feels like home to whoever goes there.”
I’ve been away from Rockingham for almost two years now, and I still view it the same way I did then, but things have changed. Every week I read the newspaper and I’m floored by the articles and the commentary. Lifelong friends struggling with addiction, while people say that they deserve what’s coming to them. Neighbors being hurt and killed, while people ask what they did to provoke it or wishing awful things on the people responsible. This is not who we are.
We are Mayberry. We are the small town with big love. We are the people who come together for our neighbors no matter the cause. We are cookouts and house parties and benefits and fundraisers. We are not whatever this is.
We as a community are so blessed. We have more love than we know what to do with. Don’t hide it away out of fear. Spread it everywhere. Give it to everyone. Love and forgive, whether you think they deserve it or not. Let’s rebuild what we were. Don’t let these tragedies become our identity.
Share this. Read it to people. Start the conversation. Start the change. Be the change.
Taryn Alyssa Masterson
Binghamton, New York