In times of heartache, loss

Published 7:18 pm Friday, August 13, 2010

It hasn’t been a good week in our fair city.

It began on Monday with the shocking death of Nancy Barineau, a teacher at West Bainbridge Elementary School.

It was one of those bright and shiny mornings, full of hope and excitement as the new school year began.

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Traveling to her school, her car veered off the road and crashed into a metal culvert. Results were tragic. When we hear of these senseless accidents, whether we know the victim or not, of course we are naturally upset due to the unexpected loss of life many years before a person’s time.

Then we ask, was she wearing a seat belt, did her car have air bags, and did they properly function?

The reported answers were “yes” to all the questions.

Then we have to ask, with those two safety devices in place and in supposedly working order, what exactly contributed to her death?

We may never know.

It was also a week when we were reminded of another tragic death, the result of a neighborhood shooting, with an innocent victim standing in the wrong place in the wrong time.

It was a week in which we had Ebony’s March, an event in memory of Ebony Clarke who was shot to death by a stray bullet outside her Broughton Street apartment in 2008. The bullet was the result of a gunfight between two men outside her apartment.

Her mother organized the march on Wednesday to go from the Bainbridge Housing Authority to Willis Park in an effort to promote awareness of violence in our fair city. Law enforcement personnel participated.

Yes, the two events are unrelated and far apart, but they are reminders that life in small towns can be upsetting here as anywhere else.

Yet in small towns we take these events to heart.

At Mrs. Barineau’s school, the reaction was swift

In recognition of the character that was displayed in her life and classroom, the school established the Nancy Barineau Wildcat Character Memorial as a tribute. If you wish to make a donation to the fund, you can do so through West Bainbridge Elementary School.

The school also witnessed what we do best in Bainbridge—respond to other’s misfortune with sympathy and support from family, friends and total strangers.

Ebony’s march was organized by her mother to make a public awareness statement of a senseless killing and a call for all of us to recognize the violence, drug culture and gang activity that exists in our community.

The city has responded to this and other crime-related events with the establishment of a special police station in that neighborhood, with manned response team and special marked police cars.

Life goes on in our town, but not without its tragedies and heartaches.