It’s coincidence that today’s editorial cartoon, seen immediately to your right, was on the menu for publication, but that we selected it was not coincidental at all. It is a fitting complement to the point we will humbly try to underline with the words that follow.
The cartoon, crafted with the tragedy in Colorado still fresh, is a reminder of who are the true heroes in today’s society — those who run toward danger, and not from it.
In Lumberton and more broadly Robeson County, we don’t need a reminder of the heroism of police officers. Their daily dalliance with danger guarantees that some will die while protecting the rest of us — and Jeremiah Goodson, buried yesterday as thousands from here and far paid tribute, just joined an ever-growing line.
Goodson was off-duty eight days ago when his path crossed that of Marcus Brown, a 27-year-old with a criminal history, a fondness for guns, a disregard for life, and warrants for his arrest. Goodson could have called the Police Department, continued with his off-duty day, and left it to others to sweep the street of Brown. But cops are cops around the clock, and Goodson, not wanting to take a chance that Brown would slip away to cause more carnage, walked steadily toward the danger — and into a coward’s line of fire.
The justice system will deal harshly with Brown, we are convinced of that, showing him no more mercy than he did one of Lumberton’s finest. But what of Goodson’s wife, his young daughter, and the second child who is on the way? He and wife Lemetria will not grow old together, his children will never truly know Dad, and the shared life that could have been will never be.
All because of a few senseless seconds.
From the depths of that Terrible Tuesday, a community has risen. Never has Lumberton and Robeson County been better and brighter, with people of all color, varied backgrounds, and different interests coming together in support of a grieving family, doing good deeds, small and large, to make clear to Goodson’s brothers in arms that their work is appreciated, that we have their backs now, just as they always have ours.
Solace is slippery when good people capable of great things die too soon — and Goodson was that, the testimony provided by more than a few whose lives he made better. But we hope his wife, their children, relatives, friends and the extended community can cling hard to this: Goodson, just 32 years of age, did not die in vain. While giving his life, he took a dangerous criminal off the street — and brought together a too-often fractured community, one with a common interest, beating back the mounting violence that threatens to consume us all.
Jeremiah Goodson gave us his all in that noble quest. That must not be forgotten.