Moving Forward, Mingo County

forwardRegardless of the recent negative news coverage about Mingo County, I am still proud of the efforts of our law enforcement recently to clean up drugs in our county.  Progress is progress!  I am still proud of the good things accomplished when people have come together to help one another.  Think of how our citizens rally around one another in times of hardship, disaster, or tragedy. Let’s not lose faith in our ability to make a difference, or in the goodness that lies in the heart of these mountains.

And let’s pray for our leaders, past and present! There have been many good things accomplished by our county officials, so let’s not allow negative news reports to eclipse the good things that they may have accomplished during their tenures.

I’m proud to live here, and I plan on treating even our former public servants with the same measure of respect as I did before—human being to human being. Mingo County is still their home, too…they are neighbors, friends, and in some cases, perhaps family to some of you. Their children attend our schools and some of these men/women and their families attend our churches. Please don’t mistreat them, embarrass them, or shun them…they’re very much a vital part of our communities and they still have a place among us. We have no idea what very private agony some may be going through.  I have no doubt in my mind that all of them love Mingo County and the people who live here.

Yesterday is gone. What can we do to make tomorrow better? The extent to which Mingo County heals, I believe, will be in part proportional to the extent that we help these individuals and families heal and recover.  You can love and be good to people without condoning bad decisions they may or may not have made!  Sometimes even good people make regrettable choices.  Often what we hear isn’t true.  And hardly ever do we know the whole story.  Who of us doesn’t wish we could hit the rewind button on some of our own decisions? Love to you all…let’s keep working together so that Mingo County stays blessed of God. I’m not shaken by what I see on TV. This is a good place, and we have good people.


4 thoughts on “Moving Forward, Mingo County

  1. The investigation is not ending. It is starting. Treating these people the same way as they were treated before sadly demonstrates why this corrupt conduct has become entrenched in the tapestry of our county. We have learned nothing. These were not victimless crimes and many of the crimes they committed have not yet come to light. Many of their victims are still suffering. I am saddened that your post fails to address the victims and the only healing you reference is to our reputation and embarrassment that we’ve suffered at their hands. Perhaps if those responsible were vilified rather than instantly forgiven and forgotten and instead, a sincere effort was made to reverse this epidemic of corruption in our politics and justice system, our county would be on the map and not on TV. It is not the time to heal. It is the time to get the rest of the corrupt money changers out of the courthouse, the polls, the local bar (lawyers) and law enforcement. We need to make this a better county for our children and grandchildren and while I laud your positive thoughts, they are premature and your altruism at the moment to some of the most evil men in the history of our county is premature and misplaced. I acknowledge that there are differing degrees and levels of culpability among them but the discussion we really need to be having is whether we have to have outsiders continue to clean up our messes because we fail to learn from the past. I will not be silent in this regard and I have no interest in politics now or in the future but I am not going to sit back and watch politics as usual in our county. I would hope that many of you would seek change rather than putting it all in the rear view mirror.

    1. Hi Tim…just to clarify my position on this, I am totally in favor of accountability and a justice system that does not wink at indiscretions of even those in authority. Collectively, we the voting body have operated on autopilot in the past, and this is a wakeup call. We have a huge job in this next election of carefully choosing people to fill these vacancies. However, what I don’t want to see is this to backfire, causing truly good people to be afraid of running for office. That’s a very real possibility. Potential candidates who are honorable people could decide that it’s not worth the potential risk for them to try to make a difference in our county, and that would be a shame. May we all vote responsibly and may there be some truly good people choosing to throw their hats in the ring. I do want positive change. How I do that is to carefully make my choices on a private ballot, a privilege which we are still blessed to exercise. I’ve never been someone who has bumper stickers or yard signs, and I’ve never voted a cookie-cutter ballot. In fact, whenever I’ve perceived that an uncontested incumbent has been “crooked,” I’ve skipped over that name entirely on the ballet rather than cast a vote for someone I didn’t believe to be honest. Sometimes it’s left my ballot pretty sparse…but it’s never deterred me from keeping my duty as a voting citizen.

      And yes, my heart hurts for anyone who has been wronged in any way by any of the people in question. Truly, victims deserve justice and I agree with you there. My reason for writing this blog post wasn’t to coddle wrongdoers or condone crimes. Honestly, I haven’t been hanging on every newscast because the negative light it shines on Mingo County sickens me. Many of the details of this whole investigation and expose’ are things I chose not to follow, so I apologize if my choice to remain ignorant to the worst of the details is offensive to you or to anyone victimized by wrongdoing. For things that have truly been evil (and yes, some of the things brought to light were shocking and despicable), I hope justice is served. It’s part of the cleansing process of our county. However, my heart goes out to EVERYONE who is affected by these recent allegations and confessions of wrongdoing. There are children in these families who may be bullied in school for things over which they have no control, and other similar situations. If someone were in despair to the point of suicide, it would be heartbreaking and tragic. There are families dealing with humiliations that I can’t fathom right now. I hope that all the accused, if guilty, do a 180 and live the remainder of their lives without reproach–truly sorry for the wrong and not just for having gotten caught. It’s possible that even good people in that courthouse will (or have already chosen to) leave their posts because it’s not worth the agony to their families to be under potential scrutiny. Tim, I condone absolutely none of the wrongdoing. I just want Mingo County to heal and move forward. As you said, perhaps it’s just the beginning…but rather than just wallowing in the negativity of the situation, I mean to remind the world that Mingo County is a good place, and there are good people in this place. The sword of justice is moving sharp and swift; but in its wake, we need to find ways to heal the wounds left by so much hurt. To see us constantly on the news, being made a laughing stock to other counties in West Virginia, is hard to bear. I am proud of Mingo County, and I will defend whatever things are honorable about our home. We have our flaws, yes, but we are a blessed people. The good in Mingo County still outweighs the bad.

      I had no particular person or person(s) in mind as I wrote this post. Some I may have voted for, some I may not have. Each person has a choice on how he or she chooses to treat those involved; as for me, I choose not to make these folks feel as if they have to avoid me on the street after this. Disappointed? You bet. But God and the justice system can do the job of ironing out what needs to be rectified. I choose to pray for them, and for anyone wronged by their actions…and I choose to treat those who show remorse for their wrong choices with dignity. I’m not patting anyone on the back and saying that it was ok for illegal things to be done in our public offices…I’m just willing to treat fellow human beings with respect and kindness. If that is a character flaw of mine, then that is the cross I have to bear. I will err on the side of kindness to all. It has nothing to do with whether I like them, agree with them, or would vote for them. I wish you peace…

  2. Thank you Lisa for that rejoinder. I did not know if you would post my reply and I admire the fact that you did so and clarified your comments. I agree. The work is just starting in this investigation. Those of us in the trenches and the front lines who witnessed much of this evil first hand are highly motivated to change our county’s political culture to ensure that we really do move forwar. we cannot spin our wheels until the next Thornsbury crew comes along. Many of those who aided and abetted him are still in positions of authority. They still move among us as if they never did anything wrong. Many of them are trying to create false impressions that they are the victims of opposite factions who seek to wrest control of the county. Those are fairy tales and we still have a lot of house cleaning to do. I applaud that you pray for them. My choice is to pick up the sword, finish the job through the justice system and then pray for them later, after they are excised from our county. You are a prayer warrior and I am a trial warrior. We both seek to improve our county through different paths. Both are appropriate and necessary. We won’t be successful with just one and not the other. Thank you for efforts but you might want to hold off on some of your forgiveness until you see the full extent of their evil and the horrible effects it had on their victims. And there were many victims and families that will never heal from what these evil men did to them. And some of those victims paid the ultimate price…

  3. The job to make Mingo County a better place belongs to all of us, and we need everyone’s part to make it work. That’s not politics, that’s just good ethics! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m not at all hesitant to listen to, or openly show, someone’s point of view who disagrees with me. It’s healthy to talk about these things…and we can sure learn a lot from one another. I think we can all agree wholeheartedly that there is hope for Mingo County, and that hard work and right motives can restore faith in the goodness of this place. As the investigations continue, I’m just keeping an open mind on what I hear until the gavel comes down for the last time. Frankly, I’ve lost track of who’s still in office and who isn’t! Knowing at least some of the workings of the political machine, I am aware that often people in public service positions will look the other way or go silently along with what they totally believe is wrong, just because others higher up on the totem pole have the power to strongarm them with fear and intimidation. Some may just fear for their jobs, but sometimes it can come right down to fearing for the safety of their families. Some may have been naive to hidden motives of others, and went along with things they didn’t perceive to be wrong at the time; and some may have followed blindly along in good faith that those over them could be trusted. I don’t know their individual situations, honestly; nor do I presume to have a remedy. Time will tell if these are factors, and again, I can wait until then to make up my mind about it all. While there are people who have just enough grit in their craw to stand up against political pressure tactics–boom or bust, I also realize that some people (especially the mild-mannered) are more vulnerable to just live and let live. It doesn’t make everything alright, but I’m guessing that very often, some basically good people will put up with the ugly side of being in politics with hopes that, if they can endure for the long haul, they can bring some good to the table. I don’t know what the answer is for that, but I think this happens from the tiniest towns to the top of the federal food chain. It’s sad when as a society we are often reduced to voting for the lesser of two evils…it leaves us much to ponder going forward. May some good truly come out of all of this.

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