While this is typically an opportunity that I take to report on measures working their way through our political process, the recent events of late last week are on the forefront of my (and our community’s) mind.

At the outset I would like to say “Thank You” to our Coroner, Law Enforcement, and Emergency Services personnel for the work that they do on a daily basis, in a continual effort to keep us safe.

On the heels of just having received news about our Auditor Tom Schweich the previous day, I awoke early Friday morning to phone calls checking on my family’s well-being and details of this horrific situation. Although we know more now than was initially reported, a better understanding does not replace what has been taken from our communities.

While these events occurred in/around Tyrone, they also directly affect Eunice, Yukon, Cabool, Licking, Summersville, Houston, Mountain View, Willow Springs; and our entire state. To make this situation more personal, these individuals were either family, friends, or neighbors that many of us have known our entire lives. We should continue praying for those affected, and be willing to assist/lend a hand in any way that we’re able.

In a time of crisis, there are always those that will attempt to use tragic events to advance their agenda, which is a despicable but unfortunate reality. In similar fashion to the phony businesses that descended upon Joplin following the tornado, or some of the ridiculous stories that have been printed purporting to explain Tom Schweich’s death, or the parallel statements made nationally concerning the recent murders here in Texas County; we should all be aware that this is coming and that evil/unscrupulous people can be found anywhere, waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of good people for their own corrupted motives.

We will never be able to change the events that recently occurred, and how the media at-large will associate this tragedy with our area. While this may receive the bulk of the media coverage, these individuals represent a tiny fraction of the actual populace, and a deeper look would reveal the truth of neighbor helping neighbor, caring for each other in a time of need, of which there are many examples as a direct result of these tragic events. If we choose to succumb to the fear precipitated by senseless acts such as this, evil wins.

Regardless of the headlines drafted to sell newspapers, or the phrases used to drive web traffic; make no mistake that this is a defining moment in our community. I’ve said before that this is the best place in the world to live, and I would continue to argue the point. The caring, helpful, and giving virtues are what truly DEFINE us in this area; and we cannot, will not let that change. It’s up to each of us to continue that legacy.

The following was submitted by the office of Rep. Robert Ross as a “Capitol Report.”

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