Year filled with both highs, lows

Published 12:01 am Sunday, December 30, 2012

If you wanted to get something done in 2012, your time is running out.

Only two days remain in this year, so you’d better get hopping.

In some ways, 2012 seems to have flown by, but time passes at the same speed as it always does.

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Age and wisdom give us awareness that time is fleeting, however, so as we grow older, time often seems more precious and more limited.

So what will be your memories of 2012?

From a news perspective, it’s been an interesting, albeit sad at times, year.

Top headlines in the community included the worst news we could imagine along with quite a bit of happy news, too.

Somehow, it is human nature that we always remember the worst things though.

Among the worst, most frightening events to occur in our community was May’s deadly prison riot at the Adams County Correctional Center.

In the approximately nine-hour riot and standoff a number of guards were injured; one guard was killed.

Sadly, the incident has been burned in our memory, not necessarily because of what happened to the guards, but because of what we all feared might happen to us.

It’s human nature.

In nearly every situation, we’re programmed to instantly and selfishly think about how the situation will affect us.

The prison riot was no different. The riot was also a prime example of how rumors and untruths can run wild.

Social media and other instant communication methods only made matters worse.

Within an hour or so of the riot’s beginning, rumors of escapees abounded.

That’s when the community’s fear kicked into high gear.

Having a prison riot is bad.

Having a riot in which guards — particularly ones we might know personally — is worse.

But having a prison riot in which killer inmates were running loose on our streets was exponentially worse.

It was absolutely a nightmare in our collective minds.

In the void of knowledge from within the prison walls, the community turned to those willing to talk from outside the gates.

Fortunately, Sheriff Chuck Mayfield was on the scene and willing to lead what I’ll refer to as the containment.

Mayfield’s deputies and other local law enforcement agencies — from across the Miss-Lou — stood armed and ready to shoot any inmate escaping from the prison’s fence.

As strange as it sounds, hearing that that was not only the plan, but the reality of the situation is both frightening and reassuring.

It’s frightening because security inside the prison walls had dissolved to the point at which the next line of defense was a law enforcement officer and his weapon.

It’s reassuring to know that local law enforcement was able to organize and react quickly enough to be there for us when we needed them.

The prison riot forever will leave a mark on 2012, particularly for the families of those directly affected.

Let us end 2012 with some prayers for all of those local families and for our community. Hopefully, we may never again need to have a line of guns protect us from a mob of felons, but if we do, we’re thankful they’re ready, willing and able to step up for us.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or