Princeton – take a lesson from Penticton’s tragedy

What is there to say?

Anyone following the headlines over the past few days could be forgiven for imagining they live in Princeton, Alabama, not peaceful Princeton B.C.

A man was shot and killed in church, in Salmon Arm Sunday.

Monday four people – two men and two women – were slain by a lone gunman in Penticton. It marks the sixth deadliest shooting in the province’s modern history.

Reports suggest the gunman – a 68-year-old turned himself into RCMP following the rampage – was motivated by a neighbour dispute.

Think on that. A neighbour dispute.

Related: Four dead, one in custody following Penticton shooting spree

This is not an editorial about gun control.

Rather, it’s an opinion on control in general.

It is impossible to consider these events and not reflect on some of the goings on in our own community.

There sometimes is anger, misunderstanding and division.

Some of this is expressed, with little to no restraint, on local Facebook groups.

It might start online, and end up with a confrontation at the grocery store. Or it could be as simple as a disagreement, over the back fence, about a barking dog or an open fire that pops up as a matter of so-called public interest on social media.

That’s not to suggest that our Facebook pages are inciting people to violence – some of the volunteer administrators are good at shutting down the nastiest stuff.

Shout out to Heather King, chief babysitter of the largest group, Princeton and Area Issues.

Yet social media has played a role around the world, it seems, in creating a culture where everything goes, anything can be said, and not everybody is responsible.

It leads to hurt. And a person can never tell where hurt is going to go, or how far it will spread, or when it is going to turn around on itself.

What happened in Penticton could happen here.

Alleged Penticton gunman seen ‘angrily yelling’ before opening fire, witness says

In as much as the residents of Penticton are our neighbours, it did happen here.

Be kind. Show compassion. Walk away from a fight that doesn’t need fighting. Agree to disagree. Don’t let politics become personal. Work things out.

It is the least, and most, we can do.

Related: South Okanagan city unites for candlelight vigil honouring shooting victims

– Similkameen Spotlight

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