OFF THE CUFF

There have now been four murders in Texas County in 2016 – so far.

That’s obviously four too many, and it can’t help but spur all kinds of thought processes about the state of, well, everything. And unfortunately, in many, many ways, that state ain’t exactly great.

It’s hard for lots of people to accept that crime (particularly of the violent variety) continues to increase in all parts of the U.S., but no matter how rosy a picture somebody might want to paint, statistics bear out only one trend.

It’s a rough situation.

As officials in the law enforcement and court system will point out, prisons and jails in Missouri and around the country are bursting at the seams with all manner of inmates. That explains the increased frequency of paroles and probations doled out by a judicial system burdened with dealing with an ever-increasingly heavy load.

I typically like to view things from a Biblical standpoint – which is pretty much the only way to see things from a truthful angle and makes the acceptance of anything and everything easier. And while what God’s word says isn’t the rosy version of reality, it does explain the current overcrowding of prisons and jails.

You see, according to the Bible, society isn’t headed for a “come together” love-fest, there’s not going to be a great revival and all the factions of mankind aren’t suddenly going to coexist and get along. On the contrary, wickedness is increasing, hearts will grow harder and colder and deceit will be rampant (Matthew 24, Ephesians 4). And don’t look for some sort of vast “enlightenment,” but rather expect people to listen only to what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4).

None of that is prediction or prognostication – it’s all very real right now. Yep, God’s plan doesn’t always involve ice cream socials and strolls in the park, but it is what it is: His plan.

Anyway, the incident that happened close to home last week shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s just another example of the way things are, and to say Houston and Texas County “don’t have a crime problem” is not only naïve and irresponsible, it’s simply incorrect.

Everywhere has a crime problem and that’s just the way it is. Even here in the “buckle of the Bible belt” (as one local law enforcement official once called this area).

And that’s also just the way it will be – only ratcheted up a little more every day, week, month and year. Keep in mind, that’s not just me flapping my gums – it’s in God’s word.

In a conversation we had last week, Texas County coroner Tom Whittaker (who – as the Farmers Insurance commercial slogan says – knows some things because he’s seen some things) summed up the situation well.

“I remember when confrontations might result in blows,” Whittaker said, “but then guys would calm down and say, ‘let’s go have a beer,’ and go back to being friends. Now someone pulls out a gun or knife and the next thing you know someone’s lying on the ground.”

If you’re not ready, get ready.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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