By Angela Shepherd The Times-Gazette
November 26, 2013
I have plenty to be thankful for, but it is this time of year when we get the extra reminders to count our blessings.
One thing I am thankful for is to live in a community that is, while not without its problems, quite a safe little place to call home.
Since the shooting incident in Greenfield on Monday, I have heard and seen, particularly on Facebook, some truly negative comments about the village of Greenfield stemming from this incident.
And to be truthful, this happens every time something bad happens.
Where are all the comments when there is something joyous going on I ask you?
While it is terrible, just absolutely awful, that this shooting happened at all, our community could be a lot worse off. That is a certainty.
And sometimes, I have to wonder at these commenters, some saying that they are glad they got out of here because the town has been going downhill for so long, drugs and whatnot being the reason, these folks say.
They leave me wondering of the Utopia that they must have found if the place where they now live has not a single problem to gripe about, so now they have to turn to the place they once called home.
Greenfield is not the problem. But some people are.
I am sure we have all heard the old saying about if someone is not a part of the solution, than they are a part of the problem.
And I dare say it is a well-known saying for a reason.
And it is my theory that the people that have all of the bad things to say aren’t even trying to be a part of all that is good, let alone see it.
I am ashamed to admit that I was once a part of the naysaying ranks.
When I began working at the paper last year, I remember that I was surprised by all of the things going on in our county: fundraisers, community events, the number of organizations doing all of these things that I just didn’t know they did.
Well, I have certainly become a lot more aware of it all, and not just because it’s a part of my job.
I have also become a lot more involved.
It’s these things that have helped me to see the good in my town that before, I, like so many others, really didn’t think was there but something that belonged to bygone days.
You know and I know that there are drugs in Greenfield as well as all the crimes associated with drugs.
The same goes for Hillsboro, Leesburg, Wilmington, Chillicothe, and that list travels right on to infinity because every single place has those problems.
In fact, I challenge you to find a community, a county, that does not. And, if you decide to take this challenge, be reasonable in your selections. Obscure counties in Montana with three residents do not count.
The point is, if you are too stubborn to see the good that is right under your nose and have nothing good to say, than please, don’t say anything at all.
I know my little village is not what it once was. But so few small towns are really, since the corporation has become the hulking mass that it is, but that is for another opinion piece.
There are residents that work hard to not only keep up community appearance, but community pride.
There are local organizations that work tirelessly to promote all that is good in Greenfield.
What about the people that bring you the Greene Countrie Towne Festival every year? That would be the Greenfield Rotary Club who also supplies third and fifth graders every year with dictionaries and thesauruses. These are the folks that raise the money to buy all the Christmas gifts for families in need every year, spending thousands of dollars locally to do so.
What about the people that recently put on the third Oktoberfest? Greening Greater Greenfield also brought a scavenger hunt to the town awhile ago and through their activities are attempting to bring the community together.
What about the people that keep on coming out and cleaning up the messes that other people leave behind? A few clean-up days have happened this year alone and two community-wide yard sales were put together this summer.
Several groups come together, along with community volunteers, on a regular basis to make sure the bike trail is cleaned, Mitchell Park is taken care of, and the town itself is beautified.
What about the people that bring the Christmas parade every year?
What about the people that are bringing lights and festive song to the courthouse again this year?
The list goes on and on. It really does.
The thing is, there are many, many more lovely, community-minded, law-abiding citizens around that actually care than there are people that don’t.
Unfortunately, the negative attitudes and comments cast quite a pall on all the good being done and certainly aids in keeping ignorant people okay with being ignorant and sticking to the negativity.
But, there is so much good.
I don’t know why people don’t see that.
If we lived in a larger city, a shooting such as the one on Monday in Greenfield would have been nothing more than another shooting. It would not have been on the front page of any of the local papers because they are so common, it is hardly news.
But here in Greenfield, in Highland County, it is news because it just doesn’t happen very often.
And the fact that this doesn’t happen on a regular basis is a good thing.
So, if you don’t like something change it. And if changing it is not possible, then changing how you think about it certainly is. We each have the power to do this, instead of making sideways quotes under anonymous monikers on the web.
Get off the computer and get out there. Each and every one of us are part of making a positive difference.
So please, stop and think about all the people that are doing good things in the community and stop bashing a town that you have no interest in supporting.
So much is good. And not just in Greenfield, but everywhere.
I just want folks to see that.
Angela Shepherd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.