Editors, beware

I do this a lot with my columns — I start off telling a story that only obliquely has anything to do with my point. In this case, the connections are tenuous. In the end, with my column much too long to fit in the paper, I just lopped this off and went straight into my point. But the nice thing about having a blog is that you can go ahead and tell the story you didn’t have room for. So here it is:

Donnie Myers is an expert on the subject of shooting editors of The State and getting away with it.

On two occasions, I’ve had the pleasure of hearing and seeing his animated, well-researched, multimedia presentation on the murder of State co-founder N.G. Gonzales and the subsequent unsuccessful prosecution of his killer, Lt. Gov. James Tillman. It’s highly entertaining as well as informative.

When he put on his show for employees of The State as part of our commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of that political assassination (Mr. Tillman had not liked the things Mr. Gonzales had written about him during his unsuccessful bid for governor), he seemed to particularly relish telling us how the "rednecks" over in Lexington County — where he is the state prosecutor — saw nothing wrong with doing away with stuck-up, elitist editors from over across the river.

At the end, as he ominously warned us to watch out, he pulled out a huge knife and what appeared to be a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. I, who had introduced him before his talk, was standing a few feet away, grinning. But Publisher Ann Caulkins, who had recently moved to the community and didn’t really know the solicitor from Adam, said she had an awful moment when she actually half-thought this was it — he was going to shoot me. History was repeating itself. (After all, my editorial page had recently been quite critical of Mr. Myers.)

Well, I don’t share my boss’ rather visceral aversion to firearms, and besides, I had caught this act before. So I was not alarmed that day.

But now I am. Not for my personal safety, but for what Mr. Myers has done to the cause of public service in our society.

From there on, the column was as published in the paper.

So there it is. At the end of the day (as the governor would say), I decided the column was better without this. I still think so, don’t you?

One thought on “Editors, beware

  1. Hugh Campbell

    Brad Warthen is irresponsible in writing “People such as Solicitor Myers help the folks (read libertarians) who despise government and all who serve in it.
    Libertarians very simply understand how incentives work. In the private sector, for example, there is a built in incentive to eliminate the deadwood to improve efficiency and remain competitive. Quite the contrary in government where the deadwood and inefficiency help justify the inevitable request for a larger budget next year. Understanding this reality is a far cry from despising government and all who work in it. An apology is in order.

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