The State of Man in Nature

Someone named David Scott Banghart has started a new blog called Seminole Heights in which he plans to blog about things relevant to his neighborhood in Tampa Florida, a place that sounds as if it's a transitional neighborhood. Here's how Mr. Banghart describes his community,

This is an interesting urban neighborhood, full of life and character. Many homes are bungalows that date from the 1920's, but all styles and can be found including the mini New Tampa style of the New Millenium homes. There is a strong diversity in race, culture, sexual orientation and political opinion. The three subneighborhoods (Old Seminole Heights, South Seminole Heights, and Southeast Seminole Heights) have very strong civic associations and the residents are known city wide for civic activism. Southeast Seminole Heights was named as 2003 National Neighborhood of the Year. This neighborhood is home to to community radio station WMNF 88.5, well known for its dedication to activism and progressive causes. City council member Kevin White resides here and council member Rose Ferlita works here. Several strong neighborhood watch groups exist, working closely with police in reducing crime.

At first glance, Seminole Heights looks like an exemplary neighborhood blog.

One post in particular caught my eye. In Stolen Bike Mr. Banghart tells a story about one of his neighbors that reminds you how much goodness and decency there is out there:

Recently my one of my neighbors came home after a day trip to find their children’s scooters and a bicycle missing from their porch. With the help of some neighbor children, 4 days later they were able to find the stolen items. Apparently two young children were with an older cousin. The cousin just walked on the porch took the bike and then gave the scooters to these two children. My neighbor found out where the two children lived and spoke to them and their mother. The children’s mother indicated she would take care of it. The items were supposedly all at the cousin’s house. The items were returned with most of the stickers, decals, and handler bar streamers removed, obviously done in an attempt to disguise to whom the items belonged to. My neighbors are good people who chose to deal with the issue in a positive manner, inviting the children to come and play at their house where the children could use the bike and scooters. Their hope is that they can develop a positive relationship with these children and be a good role model for them.

These neighbors are doing a good thing. They have a safe supervised child friendly house that has drawn out many of the neighboring children from the isolation of their houses to play with their own children, helping building a sense of community for those children and their families. My neighbors try to establish relationship with the parents just as their children establish relationships with the other children. They hold events such as Easter Egg hunts, Halloween parties and Christmas Parties open to these children and their parents. In a small but significant way they are also helping rebuild and revitalize this neighborhood.

I really have to wonder if I have that sort of goodness and fortitude to forgive someone who stole from my children, and then invite them into my house. I suppose a lot depends on just how young the kids are—if they kindergardeners it's one thing, but even fourth graders should know better…

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