Our View: In the wake of a tragedy, Artesia's strength is shown




The triple murder that shook the small town of Artesia will leave an indelible mark on the community for years to come. While there is nothing that will mitigate the senseless killing of Artesia resident Demario Snell, Mauricio Nance of Columbus and Tyshun Fields on Tuesday afternoon, there is some comfort in knowing that the people of this town of about 500 people responded in a way that helped law enforcement in finding the person they believe responsible for these deaths. 


Within an hour-and-a-half after a neighbor made the 911 call that began the investigation, a "person of interest" had been detained. 


That person, Clark Allen Jr. of the Sessums community, was formally charged with capital murder Wednesday. 


While few details of the crime have been made public, law enforcement officers commended Artesia residents for their cooperation, which was likely a major factor in the swift progress of the investigation. 


We are reminded, sadly, that all too often these kinds of investigations do not receive this type of cooperation. Often people are reluctant to share information, perhaps out of fear or reprisal, a distrust of law enforcement, a misguided sense of loyalty to a suspect or even a frustrating attitude of "it's not my business." 


That so many Artesia residents helped law enforcement by sharing information says something very positive about the town. Part of the explanation for that is the nature of a small town. In a small town, everybody knows each other. They look out for one another, help one another. Residents are viewed almost as extended family. 


The tragedy also serves to affirm the grim fact that none of us, no matter where we live, are immune from the scourge of violence. What the people of Artesia have shown, what they have modeled for the rest of us, is the proper response when tragedy strikes. This kind of crime can rip a community apart. But, as the people of Artesia so honorably displayed, it can also bring a community together. 


In choosing the latter response, Artesia may be a safer community today than it was just a few days ago. People will long remember the tragedy, but they will also remember how the community responded to it. The folks there look after each other, which can be a powerful deterrent. 


Today, and for some time to come, the people of Artesia will share a common sorrow. But if good can come from tragedy, the bonds of brotherly love displayed by the people of Artesia this week have been made stronger.



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