It takes all kinds, but for me? Small towns have always given me hives. I’m happy to drive through them and stop at the local antique store or whatever, but to live in one? Not for me. I need a decent library, a movie theater where I can see something first-run, a bookstore or two and — very important — a surprise around the corner once in a while.
So it’s always bugged me how small towns always have the benefit of this chin-chucking, patronizing and completely false presumption of innocence. Looks like Michael Schaeffer agrees with me:
Last Sunday, a New York Times reporter visited Maryville, Missouri to report on the existence of a grave threat to the town’s bucolic, Real-America essence: “Ever since The Kansas City Star ran a long article last Sunday raising new questions about the Nodaway County prosecutor’s decision to drop charges against a 17-year-old football player accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, the simplicity of small-town life here has been complicated by a storm of negative attention.”
Leaving aside the dubious victimology—poor Maryville, battered so cruelly by the dark-hearted Kansas City media and their relentless “negative attention”—the paragraph also represents a great big logical problem for anyone who read the Star story, or even the 20-odd inches of stellar Times copy that followed the clunky lede: The whole point of a story of rape allegations dismissed by a political-prosecutorial complex intimately connected to an accused assaulter’s state-legislative relative is that… Maryville never featured any of that simplicity in the first place!
It’d be easy to beat up on a reporter who was tasked with following a competitor’s story and slipped into cliché. In fact, the reductio ad Rockwell is a common tic of journalistic visits to small towns, especially those put on the map by infamy. And it’s one that really ought to stop. Decades of culture wars have left us with a set of social rules where it is largely OK for rural types to slander their citified co-citizens (cf. Sarah Palin, small-town mayor and “Real America” stalwart) but where urbanites can’t dis the country folks without being deemed elitist (cf. Barack Obama, Chicagoite and “cling” apologizer).
Oh, yeahhh. Small towns, we are frequently told, are wonderful places to raise children — as though no one in a large city ever successfully launched their offspring into the world. They’re close, loving and supportive — something no urban neighborhood is possibly capable of. Everyone knows your business? That’s love, child, love and concern. Spare me. Srsly.
So, was it necessary to kick off the blog with such rancor? Yes, so I could properly contrast it with this OID story, about as OID as they come, really — a carjacking, a “good Samaritan” in pursuit, a shootout and a second carjacking, all in the neighborhood of one of my bike routes this summer:
A good Samaritan who chased down a carjacking suspect on the city’s east side Thursday morning ended up being seriously wounded in a gunfight with the suspect after the stolen vehicle was ditched into a canal of the Detroit River.
Sharlonda Buckman, a 2013 Michiganian of the Year and chief executive officer of Detroit Parent Network, stopped about 8 a.m. Thursday at a BP gas station on the 10700 block of East Jefferson Avenue to buy some aspirin when she said an armed man forced her from her 2011 Chevrolet Traverse.
…Three men nearby witnessed the carjacking and came to Buckman’s aid, with two giving chase to the suspect. Police say one unnamed man, who was driving a 2009 blue Ford Focus, shot at the suspect with his licensed firearm after the suspect let the SUV sink into a Detroit River embankment near the Edison Boat Club.
I put good Samaritan in quotes because it’s pretty obvious this situation, bad as it was, only worsened when the guys in the Focus came to her aid. And after the good guy and the bad guy exchanged gunfire? The bad guy stole the good guy’s car, too.
The Freep’s story had the better headline: Detroit police: Man carjacks woman, sinks SUV, shoots witness
Granted: Not an often small-town occurrence. But it makes the big-city papers more interesting.
Well, here we are at the end of the week. It’s looking up, now that I’ve met a new eye doctor who is going to carve that cataract out of my eye and — he says — improve my vision significantly. What joy. I tell you, if you’d told me on New Year’s Day that my 2013 would contain a chilly spring, a lovely summer and two eye surgeries, I’m not sure what I’d have said. But I guess I’ll get through it. Not much of 2013 left.
Just two bits of bloggage left, then:
Ezra Klein on Obamacare chutzpah.
And Coozledad posted this in yesterday’s comments, but it bears repeating, as a North Carolina party hack explains just what the voter ID law there is all about.