Emotional draining week

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Often times I find myself emotionally attached. I have been accused of taking things personally and getting to involved. It is because I really do care about the people of this community. I care about the community as a whole and as importantly, I care about our combined prosperity. So as many would expect, in this column, I will write my feelings regarding the recent situation in Hearne. Take it or leave it, this is my opinion and this week in Hearne has been some of the most difficult reporting I have ever done.

First and foremost, our hearts go out to the Golden family. It is our deepest sympathy that this tragedy befell a life-long resident of 93-years. To the family she leaves behind, know that God has a plan and his path is the righteous path and his plan is for all of us. I love history and never had the chance to meet Miss Golden. The stories I bet she could tell about this city, county and the people of the past I can only imagine.

After all the interviews, all the evidence and all the meetings, marches and discussions these past days, I have come to the singular conclusion that this killing could have and should have been prevented. The simple truth to this story is that the officer had secured the nephew who had made the call and then made the decision to engage Miss Golden. Why not take the nephew back to the patrol car and radio for help? She was alone at that point, alone with her husband’s police issue .38 revolver and no longer a danger to anyone. Miss Golden was the widow of a former Hearne Police Officer.

Why not make a call from Hearne dispatch to Miss Golden, asking her to leave the gun in the house and step outside? Why confront her at all, when she was reportedly upset and just needed a chance to calm down. Why not talk first? I just don’t understand why the officer involved felt the need to shoot a 93-year Hearne woman.

I get it though, on the flip side. If she pointed a gun at the officer, he did what he was trained to do, shoot to kill. My point is why be in that situation in the first place? Had the officer taken a minute to think through his options I believe there was a better solution that would have not ended so tragically.

I do not bode well with extremism. For example, I have never listened to Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern or the likes of a Laura Schlessinger. I just do not agree with one-sided views. There are always two sides to a story and nothing is ever black and white. When Dr. William Foster said to me in an interview Saturday that he believed the arrival of the New Black Panther party in Hearne was in the best interest of Hearne, I disagree. I do not, nor have ever felt that extremism is the answer to a problem.

In the military, we are trained to think before acting. This does not apply to reacting to a situation. The military wants you to react quickly when faced with adversity; it is what will keep you alive in a firefight. It seems to me that officer Stem acted in this situation and was not reacting to a situation that was beyond his control. For that reason I feel there was another course of action.

Of course, after the incident the truth becomes reality. So many wanted to be heard, a journalistic filter is used to find the truth. That filter is known as confident informants; sources we cannot betray, but are reliable and trusted. I want to thank all my trusted sources for coming through to help explain a situation that needed a lot of explaining. Dear reader you may never know all the officials that helped with this story, but trust in me when I tell you, they all have the best interest of Hearne at heart.

After the council meeting of Saturday, when officer Stem was terminated, the polls were still open and the voting would reveal a complete turnover for the three council member positions. With the vote, Hearne residents signified their desire for a real change and I do believe that it is not just with the Police Department, but also as a City in whole. Perhaps this is what Hearne needs.

I wish to offer my advice to these new council members. Look around you before you make any rash decisions. There are a lot of good people involved with the City. I can say this from experience. “Give people a chance and they can amaze you, if you do not then you will never know what they are capable of.” Keep this in mind; becoming a City Council Member is a lot like starting a new school, mid-term, it takes a little time to catch-up. Though a bit overwhelming at first, the voters have place their faith in you, so do a good job for them.

With that said I look forward to working with these newest members of the Hearne City Council and I hope together we can strive to make Hearne a better place to live and raise children, grow business and worship. See you at the Hearne City Council Meeting May 20 at 6:15 p.m.

Dennis Phillips | Publisher
Robertson County News

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