National discord not the norm as unity prevails in W.Va.

by Samantha Perry

Where does it start? How does it stop?

The madcap rash of violence that seems to be hopscotching across our nation brings one of the scariest of times for my generation and, I am sure, those raised in the years before and after.

My grandfather used to speak of the fear during World War II. But those shellings — those deaths and injuries — occurred on shores far from our own.

We were safe here in America.

Safe on our city streets and country roads.

Safe with a cheap lock on the backdoor and the front one open.

Safe with community spirit forged in the bonds of friendship and family.

I write this column at my office Friday evening. The TV on the wall is providing details and newly released video of Tyre Nichols’ death.

It is horrible. Tragic. Appalling.

There was no need for this life to be lost, but it was taken in a moment of madness and apparent adrenaline-fueled lunacy.

Sadly, this headline — or those similar — made their way to the front page years ago and have continued to remain rooted in prime-placement spot.

But it’s not just a one-way story.

Regrettably, citizens are killed by law enforcement officers.

But officers are also the victims of violence by residents. A badge does not protect them from bullets, death or random rage.

I recall another high-profile officer-involved shooting from six years ago. It was live-streamed on social media and caused an immediate sensation.

Folks weighed in with harsh judgement and condemnation. And why not? It’s easy to be a back-seat driver when one comments by keyboard from the safety of home.

I attempted not to judge from the initial social media feed. I prefer to wait until all the facts come in. That said, the video is disturbing. Tensions are immediately raised from East Coast to West.

My heart goes out to the family of the victim, but I also think of our law enforcement officers. Any time such a video goes viral, emotions escalate.

The next day, more devastating news with reports of a mass shooting in Dallas.

Twelve police officers have been shot; five are dead.

How did this happen? And why?

My stomach churns as I hear of the methodical attack.

The discord between law enforcement and citizenry in some large, metropolitan regions is disturbing. It is hard to imagine the level of distrust and anger that emanates from sound bites on national news feeds.

Residents yelling.

Officers in riot gear.

Clashes. Conflicts. Gunfire.

This should not be our


Nestled in the shadows of our mammoth mountains, we are shielded, to a degree, from the hostility and hatred that can polarize our United States. Here, the anger emanating from divisive groups is paused by the sound of brooks rippling off mountaintops and the unity of communities in the uphill battle against job losses and the ravages of drug abuse.

There is no time to stand as opposing forces. We must be united in the fight against the many ills that threaten our communities.

I hope — I pray — we have no need for violence against each other as we navigate our own struggles within these hills and hollows. Our problems of poverty, overdose deaths and unemployment are great enough.

We need no further complications in our culture.

As we watch with sadness while anger and violence continue to bruise the very fabric of our nation’s one-time Normal Rockwell culture, let us aspire to remain united for the greater good of our region.

Samantha Perry is editor of the Daily Telegraph in Bluefield, W.Va. Contact her at sperry@bdtonline.com. Follow her @BDTPerry.