Reporting the bad, and telling the good

Within just a few hours in Clinton Saturday, police responded to two incidents in which three people were shot and another stabbed — four more people that had to be treated following senseless violence in this community. Arrests are forthcoming, Clinton police said.

Earlier in the week, two arrests were made in connection with murders last month in Clinton and the Faison area. And the drug arrests come in droves, with the Sampson County Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division quite literally working overtime every week.

Meth arrests have become commonplace, as lab after lab is discovered and arrests made by SID agents, with labs dismantled and areas cleaned up by SBI crews. There were five more of them made last week alone, in excess of a dozen in the last month and a half. The number of labs has already ballooned well past the total number seen in Sampson in all of 2014.

There is barely an ebb to the constant flow of drug and violent crime adversely impacting this community. One story is barely written and read before the cycle starts again. Each story circulates on social media and is shared en masse. The stories are always negative. There are no silver linings. Someone is lost, families are torn apart, children lose parents to jail or a bullet, or vice-versa. And always amid the views, likes and shares are those who implore the newspaper to report the good news and not focus on the bad.

It is our job to report on those crimes as bad as they are but we are more than willing to tell the good stories, too, we might respond. That is most definitely true. It’s also disingenuous. What we should say is that we already do that. We should refer them to any number of stories that are published every single day in the Independent. For every shooting or meth arrest, we can give you a dozen stories about something positive going on in your community. From an art project that has reinvigorated a small town by paying tribute to its history and pioneers, to other local towns that have erected new signs, hung homemade banners and built water tanks complete with a colorful new logo, local greatness is growing, blooming and milling around you right now. We have written stories on those projects and the pride residents across Sampson have in their hometowns.

There are profiles on people of all ages who have a positive impact on others every day — be it in the community, church, classroom or on the field or court. Their stories are in print, at and shared on the Independent’s Facebook and Twitter. There are businesses across the county who have invested in themselves and their community with costly projects, constantly striving to provide the best possible product to keep Sampson residents in this county. Still other businesses and industry are in the process of locating here. They all believe in this place, just as we do.

The stories about the latest meth lab or shooting arrest should be shared. Local law enforcement works around the clock to make those busts and bring those responsible for disregarding life and poisoning their community to justice. But we still like to believe those incidents do not reflect what Sampson County has to offer. In fact, we know better.

We’ve talked to enough teachers, pastors, student-athletes, coaches, business owners, government officials, artists and everyday residents to solidify that fact. And we will continue to do that. And we’ll publish their stories for you to read. They will be there. You just have to take the time to click, read and share.

Managing Editor Chris Berendt penned this editorial for The Independent. He can be reached at 910-249-4616.

Managing Editor Chris Berendt penned this editorial for The Independent. He can be reached at 910-249-4616.