The violent deaths of three men in Sumter County over less than 24 hours affects so many people.
On Wednesday, as many were busy preparing the special dishes for their Thanksgiving feast the following day, two men were shot to death in separate incidents. That’s two dead and an unknown number of sorrowing relatives and friends.
On Thanksgiving Day, during the very hour that most people were sitting down to enjoy their holiday meal with family and friends, two men were involved in an assault that left one dead. That’s now three dead and an unknown number of friends and family mourning the death of their loved one.
Then you have to count the suspects, too. Three are in jail and their families and friends are affected as well.
Then you have the law enforcement agencies — Americus Police Department, Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and Sumter County Sheriff’s Office — many of whom were called back to duty to be away from their families during what should be a restful time of Thanksgiving.
The first responders and the coroner were also involved, immediately responding to three tragedies. Count their families as well.
One might say these people are accustomed to being on call, and they probably are, but why does violence flare up to such a level around holidays?
Psychologists submit that holidays and family gatherings often bring up various emotions. During the current pandemic, many families are not traveling to celebrate the holiday in person but others are, even in small groups. Lots of people are under extra stress during holidays. Maybe they are unemployed or lack necessary finances or are just depressed about the holidays. There is help available, however, for anyone who feels they need it. Non-judgmental help.
Another holiday trigger might be the empty chairs at the dining room table. The deaths of loved ones are often felt again and again on holidays.
It’s best to try to plan ahead, reduce expectations, and realize that no family is perfect. Leave your differences at home and try to embrace the day.
We have no idea what led to the three events that have taken such a toll over the past days. All that will come out eventually.
We just pray that the rest of the holiday weekend can pass without more violence because violence accomplishes nothing at all.