Community Counts

Claire - 02467, Massachusetts
Entered on February 24, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: community

This I Believe

I believe that people need to force themselves to be more active and involved participants in their communities.

People don’t like to get involved in other’s lives even if they think others are having problems or exhibiting suspicious behavior. Although they might feel uncomfortable, it is crucial to report any suspicious or problematic behavior to an authority for the safety of the community.

When I was very little, I went to a daycare center located in the apartment building of an Indian woman named Uma, her husband Lashman and their daughter. They were a very happy family. I remember the aroma of curry from their dinner, which I was always welcome to have some of. Uma ran the daycare center, but Lashman often assisted by reading to my sister or taking us to the park to play. He was a very warm and caring person. He was a doctor in India, and he had to go to another state to experience an American medical residency. It was a sacrifice, but it would help his family. During his residency, Lashman stopped attending classes but apparently still walked around the town with scrubs on. He didn’t tell his family; perhaps he was ashamed of a failure. No teacher or community member called his family or informed the police of his suspicious behavior.

One morning, my mom got a call from a newspaper asking what she knew about Lashman and his family. Of course, my mother had not heard the news; Lashman had returned home from his residency with a gun and killed his family in the middle of the night. Later when Lashman was driving, a policeman stopped him and Lashman threatened him with a gun. The police was forced to kill Lashman in self-defense.

The other day, I was running by the Charles River when I came across a rose garden that I spent much of my time in during daycare. In the center there is a bench dedicated to Uma and her daughter. It is not only a memorial to their deaths, but also to a community mistake. If Lashman had perhaps been watched or reported, someone could have stopped him from killing his family and in turn, himself. It is crucial that mistakes like these are prevented in the future.

This shun of involvement needs to cease. I believe that if communities start to act, violence can be decreased. Taking action is vital. To protect the future, we have to start today by reporting and becoming more involved in their communities.