A very thoughtful reader, William Moore, sent me this message:

I have lived in the Hedgesville-Martinsburg area all of my life and so it
comes as a shock when something is written that seems to be detrimental to
those who live here; however, much of which you write in this article is
probably true.

I believe the Wal Mart in Martinsburg is dirty and that management does not
seem to care about how it serves the public. There have been stories about
how it treats its employees that circulates from time to time that are not
positive.

We are a community experiencing a sociological transformation. As one of
the fastest growing counties in the east, there are vastly more numbers of
people that are attracted to the area. We have not seen the rise of the
"gated community" in any numbers yet but perhaps that is coming. There is a
huge divide between those who work in better paying areas and only reside
here than those who make their living locally and have always lived here.

The poor are having trouble finding affordable housing while it seems that
farmlands are passing into McMansions built almost on top of each other and
the gap between those who have and those who do not are more apparent.

What you saw at Wal-Mart was the collection of the "underclass" as you refer
to it in one spot at one time. The children see images of a consumer
society on TV and they want what they see. Wal Mart has the symbols of that
identity if not the actual thing. The children set up a howl for all of
that and parents who are having trouble providing food, clothing, and
shelter react in ways they have been taught to shut the kids up. I think
that the way the kids dress is reflected upon the fact that parents buy
those things for them and the TV and mass media push those images as being
acceptable. The tattoos are a product of rock stars and media images and in
the rush of being daring as a status thing, people get these things and then
realize that they are on there for life.

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