I was privy to a conversation the other day about "How bad Lawton is getting these days." I'll be the first to tell you, it's not. It's just like any other city in America. We have out local problems just like every other city this size and larger have for the most part. I mean, I haven't read where OKC bought Crossroads Mall with new road monies, but that's a different topic I promise we'll keep talking about until something gives later down the road. Allow me to explain.

Violence in Lawton:
Is there more violence in Lawton than there used to be? Probably not. I know Lawton had a horrible reputation as far back as the sixties up though the nineties when this town saw a swing towards declining crime. In fact, crime is overall on the decline today, but social media and engineered outrage is on the upswing. Murder is down, robbery is down, burglary and property crimes are all down... The only categories of crime on the current upswing are two categories nobody is talking about. Rape and motor vehicle theft. You can understand why nobody talks about rape, it's bad enough a person suffers such a heinous violation, there's no reason they should relive it online. I see posts from time to time about vehicle thefts too, but not like we see other less-common social issues.

If you look at the murder rates for Lawton, it's almost half of what it was nearly ten years ago, and probably much lower than it was thirty years ago. Does that mean murder isn't a problem in Lawton? No. Every murder is a problem in any town... what I'm saying is our town doesn't have it any worse than any other. I'd almost bet that the statistics I'm too lazy to google scale on a percentage to every other bigger or same size city out there. Look at Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Denver, Honolulu, etc... Drugs, murder, violence, homelessness and every other crime there is happens on a similar scale of population... it's just that nobody brings those cities up because those cities are more famous for the glitz and glamour rather than the crime. It's all a matter of perspective, and honestly there's no simple answer to any of the problems.

I hear people talking all the time about "If we had stuff to do, there would be less crime." and I think that kind of thinking trivializes the core problem. Look at Dallas and Vegas, literally two major cities that offers entertainment 24/7 yet scale similar and often worse crime statistics. It's that special kind of short-sightedness that has people convinced life would be better with a bigger tv, nicer car, or even a different town to call home but it's not that simple. Life never is. I hear this kind of talk and think "These people have never seen Joe Dirt and it shows." Life is what you make it. It's a garden, you have to dig it. Nobody ever elevated themselves to an envious life by sitting on the sidelines waiting for a coach to hand it to them. Nobody can drag you up the mountain, you have to climb, and it's not that hard of a journey. Any cliche can fit here, honestly.

All the same, if you're truly unhappy in Lawton and hate it, leave... but it won't make you happy. If you're unhappy then you're just an unhappy person. If you're bored, you're a boring person. If you're happy, you're a happy person... Is that sinking in? If you can't be the happiness in your own life, nobody and nowhere can do that for you. You want to live in a better town, lets make Lawton a better town. Start smiling at strangers, say hello to everyone, stop closing yourself off only showing people what you want them to see online. Meet your neighbors, get to know them, have a cookout. Only you can make you happy, and spreading that happiness is the only way to get there.

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