I live in a small town in Northeast Arkansas. I have lived her for 26 years. I truly believe that my little town is a great place to live - but lately the media has been focusing on the bad things that occur in our community. Now don't get me wrong - we do have crime, I am not trying to cover up what has happened in our community. Every town / community in America has crime, but crime should not define a community -the people of the community define the community.
My favorite way to describe Blytheville is: "Blytheville may not have a lot of commercial things to offer, but Blytheville has a big heart." I could list example after example of how the community has rallied to help out another member of the community. From simple bake sales to auctions to building a free clinic.
It is not just the local residents that care for each other, the local businesses and industry are active parts of our community. Like Nucor-Yamoto Steel, Nurcor Steel Tenaris and Lowes, who give both of time and resources. They are a huge part of our community.
The community members know that Blytheville has has a period of decline, but they also know that Blytheville can over come anything. Community member's big and small are working to revitalize Main Street Blytheville. The Blytheville Ministerial Alliance works diligently to solve social issues and help build a stronger community.
So why is their crime in Blytheville? Like other communities in America, big or small, there is a segment of our community that feels hopeless and helpless. These members of our community lack the imagination to see a better life or the solid foundation to recognize that life is precious. They often act out of anger, greed, or mental health issues (mental health is a whole other blog and then some - out mental health system is broken).
How do you change the image of Blytheville? How do you focus the media on the good and not the bad? How long will it take to see a change?
Adding more police officers might keep residents safer, but the addition of police officers will have little impact on fixing the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. Lately our local elected officials seem to think that prayer is the answer. I do believe that prayer can fix anything, but like the joke about God sending multiple rescuers to get a man off the roof - God has given us the intelligence, resources and tools to start fixing the issue, to rescue those need hope and help. We need to be active - this activity has start in homes and schools.
How long will it take to fix the social issues that lead to crime, a lifetime. Until then, pray that our elected officials use their knowledge and tools to help
save those in our community that feel helpless and hopeless. Me, I plan to continue to focus on my community as having a "Big Heart" by continuing my work with the free health clinic and the local humane society and urging others quit talking about the issues and put your "Big Heart" to work, making Blytheville a better place to live and letting the world know - Blytheville is a good place to live.
~ Connie ~