Can we prevent future tragedy?

Published 1:00 am Saturday, August 10, 2013

Earlier this week, we told the heartbreaking story of a 7-year-old who drowned in the Yellow River.

The child was tied with a rope to a tree in an apparent effort to protect him from the swift current. Details are still being sorted out by law enforcement officers, but indications are that this tragic story could become sadder still.

The thoughts of many in our community have been with this sweet boy’s family, as have ours.

But another story we reported could lead to equally tragic losses. Opportunity House, the domestic violence shelter in Opp, is closing.

The shelter has offered area victims safe shelter, a 24-hour crisis telephone line, individual and group counseling and transportation for nearly two decades, while the organization’s court advocates prepared victims for legal proceedings and accompanied them to court appearances.

One need only to peruse arrest reports in The Star-News to know that domestic violence continues to be a problem in our county. As a community, we need to think about this problem, and collectively address the need for a safe place for women, children – and sometimes, men – who are victims.

God forbid that we should have to report the death of another child, or of his mother, because they had no safe place to go.

This coming problem deserves our attention at a time when we can prevent a tragedy, not as a reaction to the next one.