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Time to take a stand on violence

By Staff | Oct 25, 2015

You know, there is a whole lot of ‘crap’ going on in our country right now. (Pardon my ‘french,’ as one of my aunts used to say when she used a word like ‘crap.’)

But, there is no other way to say it.

Every day, it seems, there is another batch of news of a cop being shot, shootings and violence in schools, road rage that turns into a shooting of a four-year-old girl, or some form of domestic violence in a home.

It has become crazy. And, it has become, unfortunately, the norm.

You can blame it on the media, you can blame it on violent video games, movies and television.

You can blame it on the lack of morals and loss of the sense of right and wrong.

Blame it on whatever you want. But, it is time to try and find a way to fix it.

We used to think Minnesota was exempt from this type of thing, but we aren’t. We used to think it was limited to the Twin Cities, but it isn’t. We used to think this type of ‘crap’ would never happen in our nice, rural small towns, but it does.

October is a month dedicated to becoming aware of some of these issues and working to fix them.

It is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, for instance. In the column by reporter Katie Mullaly in this issue of the Register are some startling facts. Domestic violence victim’s advocate Deb Wiederhoft has already helped 174 adults and 150 kids this year alone.

In Faribault County.

It is not the only startling statistic we have heard this week.

During a report on the results of the MCA state testing scores at Blue Earth Area Schools, it was noted that around 50 percent of students at BEA qualify for free and reduced lunch. That means that half of the students at BEA come from homes with family incomes low enough to qualify for this federal food subsidy program.

There is an even more startling number. About 20 percent of the students at Blue Earth Area Schools come from families that are at or below the extreme poverty level. That is one out of every five students.

Faribault County is the fifth poorest county in the state of Minnesota, according to reports.

While we have some rather wealthy people here, and lots of middle class working folks, we also have a lot of people who are struggling financially.

One reason the county has such a large number of people living at the poverty level is probably the large number of inexpensive houses available here. Another reason is the large number of senior citizens we have in Faribault County, many of whom are on fixed incomes. A third reason is the fact that while we have lots of jobs available here, not all are high paying ones.

I’ll let the folks who are smarter than I am figure out why these numbers are so high.

There is a case to be made that these two sets of figures for violence and poverty are tied together, both here and across the country.

The high rate of domestic abuse and violence could be tied to the high poverty level, at least in some cases. But violence is not just found in areas of poverty; it can be anywhere, and everywhere.

There is, of course, no easy fix to any of this.

But, the point is, it cannot be ignored either.

There is definitely way too much violence across the country right now. It has become epidemic. And whether it is in the big city or in small town USA, it’s time to do what we can to stop all this ‘crap.’

What can we do?

Well, we can support our law enforcement personnel and people who have the job of helping others who are victims of violence.

We can help and support our neighbors, friends and family members who have had incidences of violence or abuse in their lives.

If you see or suspect there is some form of abuse somewhere, report it to the authorities.

As a nation, we need to institute programs that can start to limit this excessive violent behavior. We need to really take a stand on this and not accept violence in any form, enforce laws, get people help when they need it.

We can also join or support groups that have projects that help others. The local food shelves, for instance. There is the Blue Earth Area Mentors, the Bucs Bag program, Kiwanis, Lions and Sertoma. Local churches have programs for those in need.

You get the idea.

And, as a newspaper, we can write about these issues and shine a light on just what is happening in even nice little communities like ours.