Sunday, June 01, 2003

Murphy stands up:
I'm pretty proud of my (future) adopted town and was thrilled to see the police chief and mayor interviewed yesterday along with 21-yr-old Officer Postell. I've been hearing for years about the support of white supremacists and religious fanatics in the mountains. But I know, from having lived in another small town in the NC mountains, and from my many visits to Murphy and the surrounding area, that the stories are exaggerated. Individuals, yes. Rural, yes. Uninterested in pop culture, big cites, traffic, and high-stress occupations? Caring for others, even wrongdoers? Yes. These folks showed their upstanding and tolerant natures. My kind of place. The time I've spent in the Appalachian mountain areas has been the most relaxing, joyous, and soul-satisfying in my life. I'm ready to get back, especially now that we've chosen a place to live in Murphy.
The local paper, The Cherokee Scout, has put out an early edition to cover the unusual big local news. This is a paper that last fall FOIAed 911 tapes to uncover the story of a death in the county jail, a story that was later heavily investigated by the Asheville Citizen. There is good journalism going on in these small towns. I'm pleased.
Coverage in The Citizen-Times is full and detailed, including a quote from a 1998 story:
"The FBI is keeping it pretty hush," said Chris West, the assistant police chief of Andrews. "We could have given them help with the terrain, shown them spots they need to check out - caves, caverns, old mountain homes. But they haven't asked us."
West says it won't be federal agents and their big-city credentials who flush out Rudolph, who many believe is hiding in the area's abundant forest, perhaps with help from others.
"It's going to be us that finds him," he said. "We know what to look for. When the feds start pulling out of here, we're going to get him."

Take that, Ashcroft.


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