We’re wiser – and no less neighborly – after 2001 | TheUnion.com

We’re wiser – and no less neighborly – after 2001

In the year since the horrific Jan. 10, 2001, shootings at Nevada County’s HEW Building and the Lyon’s Restaurant in Grass Valley, the community has taken some important steps forward.

Mental-health care, once a dusty backwater of the county government, was thrust into the spotlight as a mental patient stood accused of the shootings. We learned that those of us who own the county government – that’s each of us – hadn’t devoted sufficient attention or resources to mental health care. The system had large problems.

The county’s Board of Supervisors and its management team have devoted substantial amounts of energy to reorganizing the mental health department. On paper at least, the reorganization appears promising.

Those of us who own the county government now must play our part. We need to continue paying attention. We must continue to insist on quality mental-health services for our neighbors who need them.

We’ve also taken some steps forward in keeping workers secure. County government offices are more secure. Many private firms followed the county’s lead and stepped up their own security. It’s much more difficult these days to simply stroll into an office anywhere in Nevada County and plop down for a chat.

Before Jan. 10, 2001, we lived in a fool’s paradise – a place where we believed we were divinely protected from random violence. We no longer live there. We know that violence can come to Nevada County, and we know that no security systems are infallible. Recognition of that sad truth may be more important than all the security procedures and all the bulletproof glass we’ve installed in the last year.

At the same time, we haven’t allowed the violence of one lunch hour to destroy us. We may be more careful, but we still seek to be good neighbors. We sometimes work behind safety glass, but we still seek opportunities to sit down face-to-face.

We haven’t retreated from our lives. We have acted prudently, tried to acknowledge our shortcomings and deal with them, but we refused to let fear of violence dominate our lives.

That’s the greatest victory of this very painful year.

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