I watched the national news the other night. I knew there was a reason why I stopped watching it a while ago and opted for The Weather Channel, leisurely internet time or mindless shows from my DVR or DVD collection instead.

I know it’s not the fault of the news to cover things that bring us down because news is news, and the media can’t dictate what natural disasters, viruses or faults of human nature may surface at any given time on any given day.

At the same time, though, the national news has been guilty of sensationalizing or swaying an issue its way in order to push its producers’/owner’s/board of director’s personal agendas. I don’t care what channel you watch or what ideals you have, you can agree with that.

Liberal or conservative, the people on those news stations agreed on the same thing the other night – what happened last week with a man in Minneapolis being killed by a police officer was horrible and inexcusable. Rioters’ and looters’ reaction to the incident across the nation is just as horrible and inexcusable.

It’s not the first time when people truly victimized and at a loss have made pleas for peace and for such madness to stop, but once a crowd mentality ensues, it’s hard to stop. As individuals, we’re more free thinkers. As members of crowds, we’re more a flock of followers.

I think as a flock, we here can all agree every time we see violence and injustice play out on YouTube or on the news, it should be a reminder some members of the human race still don’t get it. As an individual, every time I see a senseless killing and the violent reaction in its response, I wonder if there will ever be one singular event to make the human race truly get it.

We’ve all been in this pandemic together for weeks, but now we’ve got another bad seed giving some people a negative viewpoint of police, a father of two dead after reportedly resisting arrest for allegedly trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill and several nights of destruction and unrest throughout the country in response.

It’s like the human race is destined to be pulled apart. In these small towns, yes, we squabble and argue at times. In these small towns, though, we try being there for one another when it’s really needed.

We’re tight-knit enough around here to the point I hope we never have to deal with such a tragedy as what has happened in Minneapolis with the killing of George Floyd, back in ‘91 with the beating of Rodney King and the riots that followed the following year and every other incident that mirrors these incidents.

I fully realize it doesn’t take a tragedy to drive us to the point of being furious. I fully realize, too, we know better than to react as the rioters and looters we’ve seen on TV burning down parts of metropolitan cities and destroying people’s livelihoods.

The difference between living in a metropolitan and a small southern town is we know one another on more of a personal level. We may not always like each other or have the same ideals but we know when to lift one another up in times of personal tragedy.

The coronavirus hit, and even more people started shopping and eating local. A family loses a loved one unexpectedly, and now there are dozens of people praying for them every night. This is what we choose to do as individuals and as a flock, we’re making a positive impact.

As an individual, I’m perfectly fine with being a little out of touch with what’s happening across the nation and the world. You don’t have to lean on a TV station to make you know which way to think. You do need to lean on people to help bring you up sometimes when something gets you down.

Keep building and maintaining healthy relationships locally because a good conversation with a neighbor or a chance to help them out can be a great distraction from some of the bad news making the headlines on TV.

Ray Van Dusen is the managing editor of the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.

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