A week later, the offended continue to proclaim indignation about the graphic description of Patricia Hitch Ball's in-custody ordeal recently documented in The Sun News. Yes, graphic, ugly, stark, gut-wrenching - and the lead story on the Sunday front page, no less!
Now, perhaps, a counter-balancing thought might be desirable.
Applause to The Sun News and writer Chloe Johnson for the insight, compassion, community spirit and courage to highlight this perfect example of reality in our communities. Surely they expected disdain, retaliation and fallout for willfully being "politically incorrect", as well as stonewalling hostility from officials. Despite the downsides, they've commendably excelled in their role as community info provider, both the sweet/warm/joyful and the grubby/harsh/distressing.
No, our habitat isn't only clusters of gingerbread houses with white picket fences, bluebirds singing in the apple blossom trees, bunnies romping in the grass, children gleefully jump-roping, and the affable postman and beat cop greeting us. Wish it were. It never was.
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No, our communities also are troubled tangles of awful human travesty that we and our forebears have created and condoned, producing Patricia Ball’s situation in J. Reuben Long and the inept human-help outreach.
Reality, folks: We're all in this together, you, me, Patricia, our agencies, and everyone else. We can feel self-righteously offended by factual reporting, but it's still reality.
Our reality - and our responsibility!
Thanks goes to Johnson and The Sun News for the powerful, needed reminder.
Gary Newman, Murrells Inlet