As I’m sure most are well aware, people have been “putting Chenango County on the map” for decades now. From the Norwich Pharmacal Company in the late 19th century (Norwich Aspirin, Unguentine and Pepto-Bismol) to Agro-Farma (makers of Chobani yogurt); the ill-fated Chenango Canal (also late 19th century) to the state champion Norwich High School basketball teams of the early 1990s; even the decades-long success stories that are the Chenango Blues Festival, Colorscape Chenango and Gus Macker, to name just a few.
And yet it always seems the good – of which there is plenty – is almost always balanced by the bad, for which we’ve also (unfortunately) gained national notoriety. From the Wlasiuk, Pastore and Billy Lee murders (the Wlasiuk mess, if you hadn’t heard, is headed to court for a third time in June) to the recent horse shootings in New Berlin; the continued (and some might say rampant) drug abuse that can be found countywide; the influx of said drugs by way of big-city dealers convinced they can make a profit at the expense of our youth, our community and those addicted; not to mention the absolutely disgusting number of sexual predators we have living, breathing and committing their atrocious crimes among us, many of whom have yet to be caught, in all likelihood.
Maybe I’m being naive, but this is not the Chenango County I grew up in.
Case in point ... do you feel safe letting your children race their bicycles from one end of the city to the other?
Because that’s what we used to do ... and our parents knew we’d be safe.
Is it safe for them to be out on the street after dark, maybe for an impromptu round of Ditch or Hide-and-Seek?
We lived for that 25 years ago.
Should parents be worried that – sooner or later – someone will bring a gun to school?
The thought never crossed our minds – or our parents’ minds – back then.
Does Chenango County have a drug problem?
I think that’s a question that’s on a lot of minds these days.
Regardless ... and just for the record ... I’m not saying this is a bad place to live or raise a family, although it may sound that way. All I’m saying – and I’m sure there are many out there who will agree – is that it’s simply not the same.
Is anything, nowadays?
Then again, maybe I’m just paranoid. Or maybe I’m simply baffled by our current state of affairs.
You see, we didn’t have cell phones or laptops in our day; we didn’t spend hours uploading our latest batch of self-portraits (you know, point cell phone and/or camera at yourself and take a dozen pictures ... why?) or video-chat through the night. And we certainly – most of the time – had the wisdom to avoid that air of entitlement that’s so prevalent nowadays, particularly to our elders, else we’d get smacked, more likely than not.
And my parents didn’t have to worry about prescription medications on the streets ... or heroin ... or crack ... or crystal meth. Pot? Sure, maybe when we hit middle or high school, but hasn’t that been the case for, oh, say half a century now?
In essence, I wasn’t beaten as a child, but I knew for damn sure where the line was drawn and what the consequences would be if I were to cross it.
Kids today ... not so much.
No, this decade has been defined by entitlement. And in many cases, people want what they can’t have and they want it now. If only because they think they deserve it ... not that they’ve earned it.
Which is exactly why we’re “on the map” for all the wrong reasons these days.
Criminal activity of all kind and drug abuse are on the rise.
And why is that? Entitlement, in this case used in the most disparaging way I can think of, which brings to mind some other terms: Selfish, greedy, egotistical, grasping, rapacious, privileged, addicted, hurtful, aloof, uncaring, ignorant.
At times, this doesn’t seem like the Chenango County I grew up in.
Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian.