My wife, Betty, and I have lived in Duncan for more than 45 years. We came here as a result of economic opportunity. We have stayed because of much more than that — a quality of life that has afforded us the opportunity to achieve our dearest and fondest dreams.
All the values that we've aspired to have been here for us: The raising of our two daughters; association with the best and most loyal of friends; the finest examples of the Oklahoma spirit of goodness and self-reliance. It hasn't always been easy and there have been trials, but we have always felt safe and secure in this special place.
Now, the recent, heartless murder in our town has stunned and shaken me and many others. This evil act by three teenage boys has caused us to seek answers to questions that we never thought we'd have to answer. What do we do now? What are the right and essential actions for us to take?
Of immediate urgency has been the welfare and needs of the two families who were so devastated beyond comprehension, the family of Chris Lane in Australia and the Harper family in Duncan. To assist, caring individuals here and across Oklahoma have responded. More will be done as time helps us grasp the grievous consequences of the senseless atrocity.
When societal problems arise, I often go back to the most basic premise of our country, the preamble to our Constitution. “We the people” is the place to look for our solutions. We have to look to ourselves as individuals and as members of our community to examine what we can and cannot do for the common good of our citizens.
The coming days will be difficult for Duncan. However, I firmly believe we will renew our resolve to be the best place we can be. We must examine the actions of those whom we entrust with our well-being and to support them in their duties. We must not be complacent and ignorant of the needs of the suffering and the less fortunate. Now is the time for us to live up to our expectations. But most importantly, may God bless and console the Lane and Harper families.
Apple is a former member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.