By Bishop Michael Goings
As I grappled with the idea of writing this article and especially what the name of it should be, I finally settled for the heading atop. In truth, I am of the opinion that Newtown is somewhat of a microcosm of the times and culture that we are presently living in. Newtown, like our culture and times, is not all good, all bad, or all ugly.
There are things about Newtown that contains characteristics of what is good about man, what is bad about man, and what is absolutely ugly. I will present and briefly comment on each. Ironically, I received two distressed calls for help that were about six weeks apart. Each call involved an incident of somebody shooting into their house. Perhaps they called me thinking that I could aid them in some way through my column in discovering who committed these crazy crimes that endangered the lives of a few children and elderly people in the process. If you are reading this piece today and were either the victims or perpetrator(s) of this madness, know that I am praying that the Lord will in His time and way bring those who did this evil deed to justice.
Using Newtown as a representation of both our culture and times, there are certainly some good things about Newtown that are good and positive. Regardless of the bad reputation that many have ascribed and given to Newtown, due to the many negatives and evils that are undeniable, there are some very good and positive attributes that Newtown possesses that is worth defending and citing. First, in my (bias) opinion, Newtown is the home of many good people and citizens of Dillon County.
It is the place where I was born, nurtured, and stayed at until the age of thirty-four. Secondly, I have five brothers who still live in Newtown with their families. Thirdly, my best friend of nearly sixty years, who happens to be a close relative (who sticks closer than a brother), lives in Newtown. One of the last of my coaches and mentors, who came to Gordon High School in 1969 and coached under Willie Fred Daniels fresh out of college, lives in Newton, along with his wife. My beloved alma mater that I attended school from first through the twelfth grade now serves as the elementary school of the Dillon District Four school system. Then how can I ever forget two grand old ladies named Mrs. Vergie Peppers and Mrs. Christine Barr who just happen to be sisters-in-law as well as the last of the community mothers who helped to rear me and quite a few others in the neighborhood when we were growing up. They both still live in Newtown. However, perhaps what is still an enduring good and positive thing about Newtown are the houses of worship that are still there. If my recollection is right, there are at least seven churches that are still in existence and viable in Newtown.
What are the bad attributes of Newtown that are reflective as a microcosm of our culture and times as a whole? Like most impoverished communities of America, as well as much of our neglected infrastructure of roads, bridges, dams, and etc., Newtown (for the most part) is a community that is in a serious state of dilapidation without the means or resources to recover. Though there have been some commendable attempts by private landowners, as well as governmental assistance and grants over the years to reverse the tumble-down condition of Newtown. It regrettably may be a case of too little too late. Even if some funds can be procured by both personal property owners, as well as some governmental assistance and grants, it perhaps would not be nearly enough to renovate and reverse the damage that has already occurred due to decades of deterioration and negligence. Like Newtown’s, half the infrastructure of many parts of our nation, especially the urban areas, become so dilapidated that it would take too much money (that we do not have) to remedy or repair the problem. There are many bad things about Newtown that are reflective of the things that have been inflicted upon our culture. Social ills like poverty, illiteracy, unwed mothers, and a vicious and generation cycle of children being reared (to the tune of over seventy percent) without their fathers in the house, has become a plight of pandemic proportions. Much of the problems that we are contending with in regard to children in school, juvenile delinquency, gangs, high school dropouts, and worst, can be attributed to the generational cycle of women having to rear their children without the help of their fathers living in the house. There are many evils and negatives that have beset Newtown that truly make it a microcosm of all that is wicked and wretched about our culture and era.
I want to consider and conclude with the worst of the worst about Newtown that, in my opinion, certify it as a perfect microcosm of our culture and times. My estimation or comparison of my beloved Newtown as a microcosm of the evils that exist in our nation does not in no wise diminish my affection and affinity for the community that I was born and reared. Newtown, regardless of all of its negative, will forever be a true treasure house of fond memories for me. Nevertheless, my commitment to the facts and true journalism will not allow me to pull punches or whitewash the ugliness of Newtown, in spite of who disagrees or criticizes me. As I considered some of the things that are commendable and good about Newtown from the onset of this article, I will conclude with the evils and negatives that exist on the other end of the equation. There is regrettably a problem with drug trafficking and usage that has become somewhat of an epidemic in certain parts of Newtown that I have witnessed with my own eyes. Crime, violence, and murder are committed more in Newtown than in any other community in Dillon County. Something happened recently in Newtown that was so ugly and base that it is difficult for me to include it in this edition. Were it not for the fact that I talked with the man who committed the inhumane act myself, there is just no way that I would mention it here. When I asked him in anger why he had allowed some goons to bait him (with the promise of giving him some crack) if he would dehumanize himself and molest a female dog by committing an act of bestiality, his response was, “I don’t know.” Need I say more about the atrocities and ugliness that goes on in Newtown that makes it a true microcosm of the depravity that exist in our culture and era?
Finally, if this article generates some opposing views or perhaps even some negative feelings, please understand that my objective is not to add to the denigration of Newtown. In all sincerity, it is to provoke some thought and discussion about the problems in hopes that some practical projects and ideas might be initiated that will transform Newtown from a state of dilapidation to a state of renovation. I still believe that the pen is more powerful than the sword!