Letter to the Editor

Thoughtless actions threaten peace of mind

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Dear Editor:

I have been considering of late just how much a small group of people - or even one person - can affect or even dictate our lives.

I have always enjoyed living in a small town. I like the feeling of safety, the lack of smog, the friendly people. I enjoy being able to look out a window in the darkness of the night when I can't sleep and see the different phases of the moon and the brilliance of the Milky Way. I like the feeling of peace and being out of the rat race.

Now when I look outside at night, I see nothing but artificial daylight. One early evening my feeling of safety was taken away when a person or persons unknown lifted the heavy bowl from my birdbath and smashed it in the street. Then those same individuals (unknown to me) went to the house across the street, lifted a large urn filled with dirt and also smashed it in the street. A local policeman found the wreckage, rang my doorbell, and very sympathetically told me of my loss and also of my neighbor's loss. I will never forget how very nice he was. Neighbors two doors down walked over and stood for a long time, letting me understand how bad they felt about the incident. Their advice to me was to get more light around my house.

So, as soon as Barry Electric opened the following Monday, I was on the phone describing my needs to them. They immediately installed a security light in my backyard. Three days later they installed another security light in my front yard. Now I am surrounded at all times by light. And oh, how I miss seeing those stars at night!

My beloved mother passed away in September of this year. We buried her in the Neosho cemetery where my parents had years ago purchased plots for them both. Now my 90-year-old daddy hesitates about the kind of memorial stone to place at her grave because vandals have destroyed or desecrated so many of the headstones there.

I have been struggling to try to understand the kind of mentoring those individuals have received in their lives from parents, teachers and peers that would explain their lack of comprehension of the results of their behavior. How awful to visit a loved one's grave only to find a missing headstone or other acts of violence!

Now, instead of feeling safe within the walls of my own home, I find myself trying to identify the source of each sound I hear. Is there any place safe left on earth?


Alta Harmon

Cassville, Missouri