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Don’t let bad news overshadow good news

Mardi Gras is coming up next Tuesday and downtown Natchez will be hopping on Friday night with the Krewe of Phoenix parade.

Last weekend was hopping as Vidalia had a couple of Mardi Gras parades.

Spring is in the air, even if the temperatures are a bit brisk, with azaleas, Japanese magnolias and other plants blooming.

Spring Pilgrimage is knocking on the door and the Bishop Gunn Crawfish Boil will be coming up not long behind those events.

’Tis the season in the Miss-Lou.

As if the entertainment options weren’t enough, we also got good news recently that Vidalia Mills is finally in production of denim and the first pair of blue jeans made with the locally produced denim rolled off the Imogene + Willie blue jeans production line and was delivered to the Vidalia Mills to mark the milestone.

Some 75 people are now employed at the company and more are expected to be hired in coming months.

The Miss-Lou certainly has plenty of good news to tout but some bad news threatens to put a damper on all of that progress.

News of shootings are again becoming a regular event and that interspersed with other crimes can give the impression that the Miss-Lou is a crime zone.

News flash: It ain’t just the Miss-Lou!

Woodville, Brookhaven, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Jackson, Tupelo and points in between, all have crime problems as well.

At the risk of being repetitive, I’ll get on my soapbox, I believe the crime problem in our state is the result of a perfect storm created by an underfunded crime lab that takes years to return ballistics tests, autopsies and other crime evidence and an underfunded mismanaged prison system that creates a revolving door of criminals in communities throughout our state.

One of the main findings of a recent study created by VisionFirst Advisors — an economic development consulting company — created for Natchez Inc., is that the community is not effective in communicating the positive message of the area and the work the economic development organization is doing.

I think Natchez Inc. and its staff do a great job of communicating the organization’s success, but I think that message sometimes gets overpowered by other negative news in the community such as crime and that coupled with the tough economic times and loss of population the community has experienced over the past decades is tough to overcome.

Negativity is an addictive habit that spreads like a virus as people share it. Don’t believe me? Just check out any number of social media accounts.

If all you do is dwell on the bad news, all you will notice is the bad news and spreading the bad news disease overpowers any positive news.

It is a vicious cycle.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe we should not cover up or ignore bad news. The only way to resolve problems such as crime is to confront them head on.

But, don’t let a little bit of bad news block out the rays of sunshine and hope in the good news such as the upcoming the Krewe of Phoenix parade, Spring Pilgrimage, Bishop Gunn Crawfish Boil and hundreds of jobs being created at Vidalia Mills.

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or at scott.hawkins@natchezdemocrat.com.