“Great minds discuss ideas. Lesser minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

These sentences were painted on a classroom wall in Nepal. I thought about this as I read these articles on page B4 of the May 3 newspaper: “Man pleads guilty to sexually assaulting 9-year-old,” “Domestic violence sentence deferred for local attorney,” “Police charge Unity men with drug trafficking.” Each article had a photo of the men involved in these crimes, obviously appealing to the “small minds.”

We live in a country where we have clean water, clean air, enough to eat, education. We have electricity 24/7, unlike Nepal. Here, even the poorest people have a working refrigerator and a chance to learn to read and write.

We do not need to gather twigs and buffalo dung to cook our morning meal. We do not wait in line for 6-8 hours for a few gallons of gasoline. We are an affluent nation. So why do things like the crimes in these headlines happen on such a regular basis?

Perhaps the quote from the Nepali classroom holds a clue. Where is the discussion about why a man would sexually assault a child, why an attorney would threaten to blow his wife’s brains, why someone would deal drugs?

People are a product of their society. Hurt people hurt people. Let’s grow beyond the gossip mentality and start looking at why these things happen. That is the only way to prevent other 9-year-olds from being molested, other wives seeking a divorce from receiving death threats.

We live in a country of amazing privilege and opportunity. Let’s not squander it by being small-minded. It’s time we grow up and start discussing solutions to our problems, not discussing people who have problems. We could achieve greatness we’ve never even dared dream of.

Terry Lee CooksonAugusta