Our opinion: We seek grace …
As our community struggles to recover from the tragedies of this week, we must remember that we are, after all is said and done, a community. That has been evidenced repeatedly as we’ve struggled and survived floods and tornadoes. It has been especially evident this week beginning on Wednesday morning when two local police officers — one Americus Police and the other Georgia Southwestern State University Police — were shot. Both, APD Officer Nicholas Smarr and his best friend, GSW Officer Jody Smith have died of their injuries.
As news of the crime developed and a massive manhunt was launched for the suspect, a command center was set up at the Griffin Bell Golf & Conference Center on the GSW Campus. Beginning Wednesday afternoon, food and water donations began pouring into the center for law enforcement who, from local agencies across the central and southern parts of the state, the GBI, Georgia State Patrol air and SWAT divisions, worked around the clock. South Georgia Technical College cancelled its annual Christmas buffet and gave the food to the law enforcement community and the officers’ families.
Law enforcement leaders also thanked the community for prayers as numerous prayer chains popped up on social media, and blue ribbons and wreaths appeared around town in support.
Authorities stated again and again their appreciation for the cooperation of the local community — for their prayers for the families involved, and for information that ultimately led to the location of the suspect, who took his own life.
As we continue to mourn Nick Smarr and Jody Smith, let’s also remember to pray for their families. In a manner of seconds, needless gunfire forever altered the lives of two young officers attempting to do their jobs. They are heroes.
It is also tragic that these shootings occurred on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Japan has since become a strong ally of the United States. The two countries have established reconciliation in the decades since World War II.
There is a Japanese word — gaman — which means enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity, or to accept what it too unbearable to accept. Our hope is that we, as a community, can somehow achieve gaman — grace — in the wake of this tragedy.