Jack Simpson - 10/23/2009

Unexpected things are happening around here. Some events that I never believed I would see in my lifetime.

For one thing, just last Saturday the resident cat, Mr. Gray, made a brief appearance seeking his expected handout. He was his usual mean self, hissing and showing his teeth, until I set a plate of dry cat food and cut up chicken strips in front of him.

He was eating away and enjoying it until the neighbor's cat showed up. Talk about change and the unexpected. Mr. Gray, meanest cat in town, turned tail and ran off to the nearby woods. I could not believe what I witnessed. He abandoned his territory where he has been master of the domain for many, many years. And, he gave up without a fight! Yes sir, the meanest cat around yielded to a new threat.

Speaking of giving up territory in the face of a new challenger, I never thought I would see the day when old time residents of Rockdale County would be afraid to walk the streets their tax dollars built. New threats have caused some residents to seek safety in new communities. Here at home, we read about bullets flying and people running for cover in Conyers Crossing. Two cars racing through the shopping center and thugs firing at one another!

Daily newspapers tell us of bank robbers, burglars, shoplifters, child molesters, car jackers, thieves and all manner of criminals preying upon innocent, hardworking local citizens. I never thought I would see the day when people were no longer safe on streets and in their homes, or places of business. Yes, in this really nice county.

Local children cannot even go to schools nearby without facing armed robbers or thieves bent on stealing cell phones and cash. Citizens are having their automobiles broken into while shopping and identity crooks, con men and women, are busy as beavers looking for victims. Vandals roam our neighborhood streets breaking into homes and stealing whatever they can while homeowners are at work making a living for their families.

There is a great deal of meanness going on, a lot of unexpected changes. Most of it suddenly is not good for any community.

Some people have given up and run like Mr. Gray. Others want to stand, fight, take back their streets, arrest and punish those responsible for destroying a once peaceful way of life.

It is true. As much as we regret it, we are faced with a potpourri of antisocial behaviors. Much of the conduct of some among us has transgressed legal norms. What we once had here is gone. Do we run and give up the fight, or do we stand together and meet the new challenges? Disillusioned as we may be, together we can keep the peace and protect our home community. We must support and fully fund our public safety agencies.

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Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.