Perhaps, as a reflection of society in general, an anger exists in Floyd County and surrounding Southwestern Virginia nowadays, an attitude of “I’m fed up and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
We see anger is violence against each other. We see torment, both mental and physical, of others with different ancestries, different religions or different sexual orientations.
We see it in court, which takes up at least three days of every five each week — domestic violence between ones who supposedly love each other, disputes between neighbors and attacks that sometimes involve those who don’t know each other.
Recently, a Floyd man shot his wife, who was 35 weeks pregnant, in the head. She lived because he used a cheap .22 cal pistol with bad ammo and the slug went between her skull and the skin of her head. She did suffer a stroke from the wound but her husband is home with her now because she told the sheriff’s deputies and Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Branscom that she wanted him home because “I love him.”
Anger too from residents over what they see as abuse of power by School Superintendent Kevin Harris, whose tirades against a coach reportedly reduced her to tears and led to her resignation. Harris is also under fire to using the Sheriff’s Department to serve a letter that threatened parent and former substitute teacher Rob Neukirch with banishment from school property and events after he questioned the superintendent’s actions.
Such incidents generate anger but others see far more anger each day from those who plaster Social Media residents with insults to each other, call fellow residents names and hurl four-letter words around with abandon.
Racism and homophobia appears throughout the postings of social media. So does hatred of the current President of the United States and anyone who dares suggest that, once in a while, he might actually do something right faces insults and targeting as a “commie” or a “left-wing idiot.”
If someone suggests toning down the hateful rhetoric, the angry response is screaming that such suggestions are a violation of free speech or individual liberty. It is ironic and hypocritical that those who wrap themselves in claims of free speech often speak out against those of other races or sexual orientations who are also practicing free speech and liberty with their actions.
So much of the anger appears misdirected, at least from our point of view. We see better reasons for anger and concern in our midst.
We have sexual predators in our midst. The former head of Floyd’s Farm Credit office went to prison, with his son, for engaging in child pornography. An Indian Valley man is in prison with multiple life sentences because, he claimed, he was in love with a 12-year-old girl and thought that gave him the right to rape her over and over.
The grandfather of one young man who sexual molested his young sister told the judge that his grandson was “just being a teenager.” Another man claimed he molested his granddaughter because “I loved my granddaughter. I guess I just loved her too much.”
The former assistant treasurer of Floyd County faces sentencing in October after admitting embezzling taxpayer funds for her own use.
Embezzlement is a common crime in the county now. Two business owners were caught diverting money from taxes and benefits for other purposes along with an assistant manager at a discount store and at food locations.
Yet we don’t see as much anger over thefts, rampant drug productions and use or sexual molestation of children as we do over someone’s race, their love of someone of the same sex or other “social” issues.