The Tragedy of the loss of Community

Over the weekend two people lost their lives senselessly at the Dollar General Store. One of the victims was a relatively young man (22) and the other victim was an elderly gentleman (79). At the present time, nobody knows exactly what happened to cause both of these innocent people to lose their lives. The alleged shooter is a 19-year-old young man who is currently in custody. Unfortunately, situations like this occur in communities all over the country. What happened to “community”?

What happened to “community”?

When I was growing up, we were taught to have respect for our elders. This included not talking back; saying yes sir and no sir; yes ma’am and no ma’am. This applied to all elders, whether we knew them or not. The elders respected us as well. They were responsible for instructing us and correcting us when we were wrong; advising us and setting the example.

Somewhere along the way our sense of “community” has vanished. Maybe I should say the “sense of community” that I remember does not exist any longer. It is shameful because many people are missing out on powerful relationships; those priceless interactions between adults and young people that help to shape lives.

My wife and I had a discussion about this horrible needless tragedy. I asked her what has happened to “community”? She pointed out that the “The Tragedy of the loss of Community” has been happening subtly over the last 30-40 years. One thing hasn’t caused this shift; it has been a combination of many things. She believes that the example being set for young people has gotten worse over time and that has contributed to the loss of “community”. It is difficult to respect someone when they are not providing a good example for others. She also believes that people raise their children differently than they did 40 years ago.


It truly hurts my heart when I hear about another murder happening in our city. Almost five years ago, our 19-year-old son, Robert was killed in a drive-by shooting by a gang member because of a perceived “dirty” look (see my book “From Misery To Motivation”). Since Robert’s death there have been many other homicides. This is not okay. It is not okay to turn on the news and hear of another victim of a homicide. This is not to point blame at the police department or anybody else. I just want to point out that everybody has a responsibility in this community. Whether it happens in your neighborhood, your family or on the other side of town, we all have a responsibility. That responsibility involves teaching our children to do the right thing by being respectful and responsible, by setting expectations for our children and holding them accountable, and by passing on the lessons learned in life to a younger generation.

Some would argue that “community” still exists. Maybe it does, but not like it used to. To quote an overused African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”. That is what “community” is all about, cooperation and togetherness for the greater good of society. It is my hope and prayer that this city will be a safe place; a place where compassion for every human being is shown on a regular basis. A place where “community” is more than just a word……...IT IS A WAY OF LIFE.

The Tragedy of the loss of Community

By R. Harris


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here