Once again Krusty hit the nail on the head with his post today about Coach Thomas. Most of us didn’t know the man, only knew of him. We heard the stories about the four NFL players coming out of that small town. We also heard the stories about how he helped lead Parkersburg out of the destruction of last year’s tornado. There is no question; Coach Thomas was a great man.
My first thought when hearing about his murder was, of course sadness, but quickly followed by anger. We have hundreds of small towns in Iowa where this could happen to anybody. We also know the bad apples in these small towns who really shouldn’t spend a day out of jail in their adult lives.
I’ve lived in a small town and one of the greatest benefits is the safety and security of a neighborhood. When living in a small community, you watch over each other like one big family. We know the thieves, liars, and dead beats. Generations before us would run them out of town before they could harm good people. Now we wait for the authorities to catch them, the county attorney to plea bargain their charges down, and the low life scum to walk the streets again to harm more good people.
Some say vicious acts like this can’t be avoided but I completely disagree. They almost always can be avoided! According to reports, Mark Becker, the man who murdered Coach Thomas, was arrested days before the murder for second-degree criminal mischief and eluding. He then was checked in to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and released to his parents. Some unconfirmed reports also point to serious drug and alcohol use by Becker…Yep, we know his kind and instead of the authorities or the community taking this murdering scumbag out before he could do more harm, we waited and did nothing. Now one of Iowa’s best is no longer teaching and guiding our next generation of young men and women.
I know hindsight is always 20/20 but this scenario can be repeated in every town in Iowa – although hopefully at a much lesser degree. This isn’t so much a gripe with law enforcement as it is with our society. As compared to our parents and grandparents, we don’t hold people accountable for their actions. We let the low life scum do as they wish no matter the consequences. We let our children fail while at the same time giving them a ribbon for their efforts, no matter how small their efforts are. We live our lives waiting for someone to bail us out if we get in trouble, even if we knew we were doing wrong the entire time.
I realize I’ve taken this horrid story down an odd path. The only reason I do so is because most stories I’ve read about this have focused on Thomas’s life and how much of a great man he was. I didn’t think I could do him justice since I didn’t know the man. I just hate it so much when something this bad can be prevented.
My heart goes out to his family, the community, and his team. I hope Coach Thomas can continue to teach us all about life, faith, and community.
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