A tragic headline of 1933 caught my eye in an old paper. A boy, 8, was found hanging near Sallisaw. The community was already concerned over a missing boy of 11 who was presumed to have drowned. Officers who first rushed to the wooded area declared without doubt it was murder. Who would murder a boy no one could identify at first and appeared to be a stranger?
What seemed to be even stranger was the ultimate ruling of the coroner and sheriff's as to the cause of death for young Buck Brannon. Apparently, the small boy had committed suicide. The other missing boy was Raymond Dickerson who, it was finally decided, had tried to wade the Lee Creek on an errand but left his clothes in a drift of the creek.
Through the decade od the 1930's Sallisaw was a wild and woolly place with murders, jail escapes, and enough going on to suggest there were two communities co-existing in Sequoyah County and northeast Oklahoma.
In the 1920's young men in places like Chicago and San Franciso had hung themselves in desperation of having their forged report card discovered and for other reasons only a 13,14,15 year old could have explained.
Sometimes, however, it was all too sadly a moment of play gone horribly wrong as a 'swinging' rope gained a new description as a hanging rope.
As 2033 approaches, one hundred years from that death, will we be able to say we have helped children to feel safe, secure, wanted, and valued more than our counterparts in the 1930's? Or, have we merely traded swinging ropes for cyber bullies, abusive people, drugs, and devalued life? If a 13 year old, or an 8 year old, can feel life has lost all meaning, hope and is worthless, we are all at fault and all equally guilty.