Be a caring neighbor
Most of us have no idea whatsoever what goes on behind closed doors except our own, and generally tend to mind our own business. It’s not a bad philosophy. Running our own lives is usually complicated enough without offering our two cents’ worth about what the family across the street, on the other side of town, or somewhere else in the state is doing.
However, we’re all becoming increasingly aware that there are times when it’s our responsibility to speak up when things don’t look right. The tragic death of a 10-year-old girl in Stockton Springs sends a wake-up call to all of us, or should, that silence isn’t always golden; and we need to be heard. If we see something going on that appears suspicious, we need to make a call to authorities, and follow it up by making sure some action was taken.
Right now, it’s too early to say what did, or did not, happen in the case of an innocent child who appears to have been mistreated for a long time. Some reports indicate that calls were, indeed, made to the Department of Health and Human Services indicating an investigation was needed, and we don’t know what action was taken. We do know a young girl is dead.
It’s not always easy to tell what may be going on in our own back yard but the news is filled these days with horror stories of goings-on that have gone unnoticed and/or unreported for weeks, months, years. We are all saddened when we learn of mistreatment of an individual, especially a young child. We just read a story this week of a family of five found living in a 4-foot x 10-foot makeshift plywood structure in California that has served as their home for four years. Either nobody noticed or didn’t want to report it to the police or others who could have perhaps corrected the situation.
Here in Maine, while we probably don’ want to admit it, there are a number of families and children living under dangerous or unhealthy conditions. What we all need to do is speak up by reporting the situation. Every community is different, and on the Boothbay peninsula, we’re fortunate – very fortunate - to have groups and individuals ready to help in whatever way they can. They, too, need to know when someone is in need of their help. Be a good neighbor: Look out for others in your community.