By Mark Carpenter – People’s Defender
Most of the time reporting on news and sports in our rural area is a rewarding and gratifying experience. Sometimes it’s not. Last Friday was one of those “nots”. A day that began as normal for most people certainly didn’t stay that way for very long as the horrific news from near the Pike County-Adams County line began to trickle in. Eight members of the same family, killed in cold blood, murdered execution style. It quickly became obvious to many of us that our Friday was going to be far from anything considered normal.
We’ve had our share of tragic news to report and I think back to last December when the county tragically lost two teenagers far too soon or the tragic flooding deaths in Ripley last summer. But no recent event, with its horrible nature and unanswered questions, put a grip of fear on the area like what happened in the early hours of Friday morning. The reports were like nothing we had ever heard, once the accurate news finally began to be released.
It certainly was a challenge all day for the media gathered at Union Hill Road, a lot of waiting, wondering, and guessing. As it is in the news media, there’s always that race to be the”first” to break a story, a race which in this case began the day with reports that turned out to be inaccurate. That means very little, though, as no matter what the news reports, the true facts were that the surviving members of a family were left to deal with an unimaginable tragedy and many first responders who arrived on the crime scene were left with memories they will have a difficult time erasing.
Even if you did not personally know the Rhoden family, you cannot help but be affected by the events of last Friday. You cannot help but think of the long road of healing that the family faces, or of the three young children who were spared and their uncertain future. You cannot help but wonder why and like the rest of us, search your mind for any kind of explanation.
What you can be assured of is that as small communities always do, Piketon will pull together and provide the necessary strength for all to begin to cope. All of our thoughts and prayers will be with the family and the entire community.
On the back of the bulletin at the Ripley Church of Christ on Sunday morning appeared a poem titled “We”ll Get Through This” by Joanna Fuchs. It seemed appropriate after the events of last Friday.
“Lord, our troubles are so great, we don’t know what to do,
The price for our iniquity is finally coming due.
The world is crumbling all about, no safe place can be found,
Right is wrong, wrong is right, the change is quite profound.
Lord, we need your guiding light to lead us out of here,
We’ll focus on your Word and prayer to take away our fear.
Temptations of this dying world we’ll rule out and let go,
Give our burdens all to you, shed all our worldly woe.
That’s how we’ll get through this Lord, fixed on heaven above,
Assured of your protection, help, and everlasting love.”