OPINION

Readers' Mailbag: The Salem Witch Trials of Camden County

Greg Hasty, Camden County Presiding Commissioner
Submitted
Readers' Mailbag.

"The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft between February 1692 and May 1693. Many ordinary people were accused. Thirty were found guilty, nineteen of whom were executed. The people of the community fed on gossip and rumors, creating an atmosphere of hate and unfounded accusations. Gossip and false witness resulted in chaos, and ultimately death.

There is a reason why "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" is one of the top ten on God’s list. It is grouped right in with murder.

Fast-forward 328 years. In Camden County now, the exact same situation is occurring. A group of individuals is fueling mass hysteria in our community. Continuous attacks have been occurring for a period of the last two years, denigrating and maligning dozens of individuals. This is mainly being done to further their own personal agenda, or attack their personal enemies. I am sickened by what I have seen over the last two years. I am not sure what, if anything can be done about it. When people in our county are publicly humiliating decorated military veterans, and Native Americans, it needs to be addressed.

I am the Presiding Commissioner of Camden County. It is a part of my job to lead this county in a safe direction for the welfare of all citizens. This past year, under incredibly difficult circumstances, our county has not only survived, but also thrived. None of these social media accusers had any part of the decision-making process that lead to that result. As Presiding Commissioner, it falls on me to make a stand, founded on the principles of freedom and justice. However, I am just one man.

There is a group of people on a couple of social media sites that are “bearing false witness against their neighbor” on a daily basis. If the people of our community do not make a stand against false accusations, humiliation, and denigration of folks just trying to do their job, the result will be sad for our community. This is a poison on our community.

Recently, a situation occurred on Camden County Grounds regarding employees. An investigation is underway. As Presiding Commissioner, I am asking our community to be patient, and let the rule of law guide us. Employees have rights, under State and Federal Law, and in accordance with the Camden County Employee Handbook. Neither myself, nor Commissioner Williams, will be making any comments regarding this until the investigation is complete."

-Greg Hasty, Camden County Presiding Commissioner