Crisis and opportunity

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In Chinese, the sign representing "crisis" is also the same sign symbolizing "opportunity."

The editorial board thinks that anytime any of its citizens are charged with violent crimes, such as the six Craig residents arrested last week in Wyoming on charges ranging from attempted murder to robbery, it can certainly be viewed as a crisis, though what the crisis did is open for interpretation.

Don't take this wrong. We believe that the six charged are innocent until proven guilty, but it doesn't stop us from looking at this singular event and the crisis in the bigger picture.

Is it a crisis when six people are charged with a violent crime and there isn't more of a reaction? As one board member stated, if the same thing happened 25 years ago, it would have devastated a community. Today, hearing about violent crimes seems to raise little more than a collective yawn.

Are we programming our youths and ourselves to be desensitized to violence through movies, video games or the first six minutes of any television newscast? Does the word "life" mean something less than what it used to?

We can't help but feel that, in some ways, it is part of the problem, though the debate between art impersonating reality or vice versa is a slippery slope.

Regardless, we live in a different society now than we did 25 years ago. Some good changes have happened. Other changes have not been as desirable, and we have to look and see what is and is not acceptable. Then re-evaluate and act upon it.

Is it a crisis if we feel we have failed our youths when they're charged with violent crimes? Or have our youths failed themselves and us?

The fact of the matter is four of the Craig residents arrested should have been in high school that day. Did they have the proper role models to ensure that they were there? Is that our job? Yes.

Everybody should be a role model in our society. We cannot tell our youths not to act a certain way and then act differently. And it does take a village to raise a child; however one problem we see is a loss of faith in our village.

In the proverbial old days, if someone told a parent his or her child was acting up, the parent would take care of it and thank the person for bringing it to his or her attention. Today, more often than not, if the same scenario were to happen, the parent would say something like, "Don't tell me how to raise my kid," or take it as a personal attack on his or her parenting style.

We need to gain that faith back in each other, though that can admittedly be tough when the fear of sexual predators -- or any other fear facing parents -- is on the mind.

Is the crisis that there is a lack of accountability in our society?

Certainly. Too often parents are blamed for children's actions, and although parents certainly need to step up and be parents, that is another editorial all together. The point is everyone can interpret his or her childhood as rough and make excuses for his or her actions when trouble arises. At the same time, there are just as many people who had the same or rougher experiences but still have positive impacts on their community.

What a world it would be if people started to look in the mirror when the blame game started. Remember, anytime you point your finger to blame someone else, three of your own fingers are pointed back at you.

And through all of this crisis is opportunity, whether it's an opportunity to do some of the board's suggestions or an opportunity to further the discussion.

It's an opportunity to remember that kids make mistakes, and how we handle them is important. Not one of us on the editorial board has a perfect past. But the one thing we agreed upon is we learned from our mistakes. That is a lesson our youths need to learn.

And it's also an opportunity to remember that we have a lot of good kids, and that, unfortunately, the squeaky wheel often gets more attention than the smooth running machine.

Let's not forget that we have a lot of great role models, whether they be people at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, teachers at the school, volunteers, parents, and so on.

And it is an opportunity to realize this may be a wake up call for adults, parents and teenagers. Six of our own are facing criminal charges, and we need to re-examine our cultural and personal standards and decision-making processes. It could become a worse crisis if we don't.

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