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Kiowa County Signal - Kiowa County, KS
  • Violent crimes can shake “bubble” of small communities

  • An incident like last month’s shocking death of a dog, allegedly at the hands of a county resident, can have wide ranging effects on members of small, tight-nit communities like Greensburg, Haviland and Mullinville.


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  • An incident like last month’s shocking death of a dog, allegedly at the hands of a county resident, can have wide ranging effects on members of small, tight-nit communities like Greensburg, Haviland and Mullinville.
    In towns where many people still don’t lock their doors, violent crimes can shatter perceptions of safety and challenge traditional community values.
    “I think when anyone is confronted with any kind of trauma, the assumptions about the world and assumptions about self get shaken,” said Dorinda Lambert, director of Counseling Services at Kansas State University, a licensed psychologist. “There can be a shock about ‘how could this happen here?’ Because we all feel protected in our little bubble. When something happens that shakes or pops that bubble, it can be stressful for people.
    “It can make individuals and communities ask themselves questions they’ve never had to ask before. They ask questions about each other and questions about trust. They ask ‘who do you trust?’ These are normal questions that occur, but they can really escalate sometimes if there isn’t some focus or some support. It can escalate into more conflict than necessary and more distrust. It can have a negative impact on a community.”
    Deservedly or not, the Iroquois Center has become associated with the case in which Jordan Batsell is charged in connection with the deaths of two animals. The facility provides inpatient and outpatient services to many county residents and was the reporting party on two of the incidents. Dr. Lambert cautioned residents not to let their frustrations make scapegoats of such facilities.
    “There are probably some mixed feelings about having this type of facility in the community,” continued Dr. Lambert. “I would imagine that when anything goes wrong it could stir up all kinds of feelings as well as misinformation. It is a natural thing.
    “When people are under stress or highly concerned, a lot of feelings can come out. Some of them are related to the situation but a lot of those feelings could be related to other things. What is important is that people try to stay focused on what the real issues are.”
    Residents may not feel comfortable seeking traditional therapy options and Dr. Lambert recommends finding a way to seek help from trusted people already inside of the community.
    “There can be civil networks, but also the churches can be a great source of support,” she said. “There is a lot of information available on the internet also. People in the community that offer the support can become more knowledgeable. Schools, civil groups can learn and be prepared to disseminate it out to people in the community who need that information. I’d like to say that the K-State counseling website has lots of information that is always helpful. We offer a lot of information that deals with trauma and we have information on stress management.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Remember that it’s much easier for people to get information from people they know, than get it from someone they don’t know. So, I think a big part is utilizing the networks that are already there.”

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