Steve's Soapbox

Saturday, July 17, 2004

"A Reverse Brownwood Mafia " ? Steve Nash

A person can never get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgements about what is going on. "
-Harry S Truman, Mr. Citizen, 1960

“ Nothing is so damaging to a government's legitimacy as the misuse of government power against innocent people.”

Dallas Morning News Editorial
Saturday October 23, 2004

Letter to the Editor,

" Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness, but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a came l !
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence....
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. "

Matthew 23: 23-25,27-28

Regarding Steve Nash’s Column “Gotta go” (Brownwood Bulletin - 02.26.04),
I ask “ Does every town have a reporter that tows the “ neighborly ” line ?
I agree with Mr Nash that the majority of law enforcement officials are professional, courteous and dedicated who are also brave, unheralded and often under-appreciated. We know them personally and have worked to help them in many ways. Cameras are now mounted in patrol cars which came about from recent racial profiling legislation. Bullet proof vests are now in compliance. Both of which, by the way, are safety and liability issues for this community.

I‘m also a realist and believe that when “injustice” is delivered by any member of the law enforcement community (local or otherwise), the damage to the community is tremendous because the “ faith and trust ” is broken with those members of the community (US Attorney General John Ashcroft refers to this as a “compound fracture”). Mr Nash describes these cases of headline grabbing injustice’s such as Tulia and many other communities across our state and country as “ sickening of course ”. Mr Nash obviously does not understand that “ local ” reporters often play a huge role in simply reporting what they are
“ fed ” and fail to be the “ check and balances ” of the community agencies charged with treating everyone equally, fairly and justly. I believe, based on my numerous experiences with Mr Nash, that Greg Palast said it best in his writing :

Things Like That Do Happen Here
The New York Times Sunday, June 7, 1998

“ Live here long enough and you discover that at the heart of small-town life there is special form of communal cowardice. It's called "being neighborly," a coded phrase for enforced silence about our sins, failures and nasty secrets. This small-town omerta enshrouds all acts, from child abuse to abuse of our countryside.”

I believe Mr Nash is often “being neighborly” via his reporting in the Brownwood Bulletin. Mr Palast’s writing, I believe, applies to “local reporters & publishers” as well as the community at large.

Do I trust Mr Nash’s reporting to give me the whole story ? Absolutely not ! I depend on the Abilene Reporter News, The Star Telegram, The Dallas Morning News and “ outside ” reporters (see Bill Crists Bulletin 2/22/04 column “ Balance of news makes for a tough call ” ) to report on the “obvious” local issues that Mr Nash does not accept as even a possibility !

“And by the way” Mr Nash, if working daily on “ justice for all ” issues in Brownwood & Brown County makes me a member of “ a subculture out there - a reverse Brownwood Mafia ” (your words to be exact !) then I’m perfectly ok with you defining me in such a manner: (Subculture-A group of people with shared value systems based on common life experiences and situations.). Maybe, just maybe, the work many of us are doing will prevent you, or one of your loved ones, from being targeted because of differences (real or perceived !).

Regarding Mr Nash’s “cute, compassionate and conservative” comments on hate crimes , I’ll reserve my comments for a later date and a different publication !

Steve Harris