Apr 21, 2010

Dear Small Town USA

(Because I am a concerned citizen living in one)

Dear Small Town USA,

When did you become the exception to the rule? Why is it that within your town limits things like drinking laws, smoking laws, seat belt laws, and driving laws become obsolete or ignored? When are your citizens going to stop saying, "things like that don't happen in our town" and wake up and realize that there is just as much crap going on on their block as there is in a big city? When are you going to start penalizing kids caught smoking and drinking underage with more than just a slap on the wrist? And when are you going to start penalizing those who are supplying the cigarettes and alcohol to these minors? Ever heard of crime and punishment small town USA? Doesn't seem like it from what I have been hearing. Why do you have 13 and 14 year olds driving vehicles, golf carts and ATV's down your main streets? Has the concept of a drivers license been totally lost in small towns? When are things like sex parties and binge drinking parties that everyone knows about going to become of major concern to parents and law enforcement? For how long do your residents have to worry about having drug dealers living on your blocks next door to children?

Do things like speed limits not apply on your streets? They must not and I sure know that seat belts laws don't apply. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but isn't there a law stating that an infant must be placed in a rear-facing car seat when in a vehicle? Then why is it that on your streets, small town USA, there are many an infant riding on the lap of his or her parent or other children sitting or standing in or on the back of moving vehicles with no seat belts of any kind? Why would those laws apply in your limits? Things like loitering, littering, jay-walking and defacing of public property don't seem to be enforced. I guess just add it to the list right? Are you doing your youth and children any favors by not enforcing rules and laws? Is that teaching them anything? You may say, "Oh it's just kids having a little small town fun. No one cares anyway." I would beg to differ small town USA.

And lastly a word on education. Just because people live in rural or remote areas of the United States does that mean that they have to settle for less than the best in education for their children? Then why do you keep teachers who give coloring pages as homework for High School US History or who spend more time acting like students than teaching students, on staff? You can do much better than that in helping prepare young minds to go on to college and universities.

Small town USA you need to make some changes. You are not immune and you should not be exempt. You can't keep sweeping problems under the carpet. Maybe not all of these things happen in every small town but I would bet I am safe in saying that most small town folks have seen or heard of at least some of these things. Enough is enough. There is a generation of children being raised on your streets small town USA. Are those streets going to get better or worse before these children become teenagers?

A concerned mom
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  1. totally agree. I went to high school in a small town and you painted the picture of it! Moved to a smaller city, but still a city 2 years ago and am loving it! I still hope Small Town, USA can pull itself together and be what it once likely was!

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  3. I'm a Mom living in your small town USA, and I totally agree. We didn't always live here, and you are right. The problems aren't any different anywhere else, but at least the rules are being enforced elsewhere. My husband and I have conversations about this subject often. If things don't change, I'm sad to say that I don't think we'll be living here forever, for the sake of our children's education, etc. I'm also tired of hearing, It's just how things are here--well, it doesn't have to be!

  4. I'm a Mom who was raised and is still living in a small town. I would LOVE to see a change in our town!! I think we need this letter and many others by concerned parents brought to the attention of those with authority! I think we need to do something to make a change:) Im GLAD to hear others have the concerns I do. Lets DO SOMETHING!!
    p.s. You know where to find me:)

  5. Well put Heather! I agree with the things that were stated and I agree with the comments that were posted I agree with Taffee that we need to do something. I have been feeling recently that it seems like things that need to be changed never seem get changed. So what can we do? Where do we start?

  6. Amen Girl!! We live in a town of seriously 400 people. It has been an experience. Seat Belt law for sure drives me nutso, kids running all over the town so late at night too is crazy, especially during the summer Well put can I say!!

  7. Please send this letter to the mayor, newspaper and even the Sherriff's office...it is time to speak up because things are only going to get worse. Thanks for your thoughts!!!!

  8. Just found out this letter will be in Tuesday's local paper. I sent it to the "letter to the Editor" column.

  9. YEA! I loved this post- I laughed, and laughed and laughed. On the serious side you hit the nail on the head! Keep up the amazing posts!

  10. Awesome post since I too live in a small town but things are a bit better here than in your small town as we have about 3500 citizens and there is some pretty decent enforcement of things like seat belt laws, speeding, underage drinking and the likes. We have a small amount of crime here but nothing like the big cities and our law enforcement seem to handle things before they do get out of hand. Of course in a town like ours, the biggest problem for most is that they are related to everybody else including the mayor, so you don't want to get caught doing something your grandmother would be ashamed of your for. There are a few of us who have moved to the town but for the most part, there are some pretty solid "families" in this town (you know the ones who are all related by either marriage, birth or money). I like the small town living most of the time because it is quiet and you don't hear or see the big crimes like you do in the cities but I know it's out there and I can only hope my kids don't participate in anything that would give them a bad rep.

    Thanks for posting this and thanks, John, for sending me over here. E ;)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series
    STATE OF WILDERNESS, now available
    STATE OF QUARRIES, now available
    STATE OF RESERVATIONS, coming April/May 2010
    STATE OF ALTITUDE, coming May/June 2010




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