Monday Morning Water Cooler Talk for October 31, 2011

Why The Real Story will never publish Random Mug Shots or,
from a Temple of the Dog lyric, “I Don’t Mind Stealing Bread from the Mouths of Decadence”

It is common practice among our local media to parade the less fortunate in front of the public eye, in handcuffs, shamed and humiliated. It must be a sure-fire way to sell a paper or increase the numbers watching a newscast. But, have you ever stopped to think, “at what cost?” What does it do to a community, especially one trying to move ahead, to have every petty crime exposed, photographed and detailed?

Since the beginning of time, humanity has been fascinated by the suffering of others and the public humiliation of those who defy social norms. A law-breaker shunned in the public spotlight of shame suffers the punishment of being out of line with society.

The unfair part of this is that this spotlight usually shines on the less fortunate, the suffering, and the disenfranchised. The poor and the powerless are the ones most exposed. The people who have no control over their fate or status and the people whose impact on the community is slight usually come in for the closest scrutiny.

In fairness, when Mayor Robert Smith and Councilmen Kabir Kareem got into a “Brawl at City Hall”, it was front page news–as it should have been.  But, what has been forgotten and buried now is that after all the expense and humiliation they caused the City and the County, the only real punishment they got was having to say they were sorry, and giving each other a public hug.

I am sure that all the city employees who have been given 20 or 30 day suspensions would have loved to have had the same punishment. Yet, everyday these two brawlers sit on “the golden seat of judgment” and deliver punishment to employees and tell the community what makes a good police department.

News flash to all involved: just because someone has been arrested doesn’t make them the best person to speak about law enforcement matters. Rather, it is quite the opposite. For the citizens of our community who actually care, it simply makes the process more frightening.

Unfortunately, that’s not all. While the media are parading the street criminals across their pages, the powerful just grow more complacent. They sit at city council meetings, participate in hearings to sanction owners of an overgrown lot, while at the same time they benefit from owning slum property themselves. Everyone on the council, everyone in the media and a good number of the community know it. And what do the council and the media say about it? Nothing!  It’s just business as usual.

Meanwhile the community they are expected to serve suffers. It is time that those who are called to serve their community face the facts. If you’re scared to stand up for what is right, say you’re scared. And, if you’re scared, quit, because you are of no help to the community. Any elected official or member of the Fourth Estate who will not tackle the real issues of the community is not in the right job. A free society needs people who will take a stand on justice and fair dealings.

The media does a great job flushing out the petty criminal while the powerful and the well-connected can sleep peacefully at night, secure in the knowledge that the press is never going to look in their direction unless they give them a really big story and, even then, it is soon forgotten. If you wait long enough, you may even read in the paper that the most powerful media person in northeast Mississippi has great respect for you. Why would anyone in power worry?

As The Real Story moves forward in transition to becoming a print publication, the community can expect coverage of the hard stories. We will write about things others will not. So, if you are an elected official and own slum property, it would be respectful to fix it up now for the sake of your tenants and for the benefit of the community. You might also want to resist the temptation to kill draft ordinances that would make it harder for slum lords to prevail. These are the sort of stories that will be covered.

During the CLOPAC meeting on October 25, 2011, District 5 candidate, Roger Larson, stated that the County needed to understand that for the County to prosper, the City of Columbus had to prosper. This is so true. However, before the City can prosper, the citizens have to come first and be dealt with fairly and honestly.

This starts with the Mayor and the Council. Every department head in Columbus understands that if they cross the mayor, they will be pulled into to his office and berated. This will happen even if what they said was true. Because everybody needs their job, they just remain silent after they are mentally beaten down. So, the truth is often never told.

The saddest part of this scenario is that every councilman knows this but says nothing. Why would they? Out of fear; they are simply scared. Many have been cowed to the point that they have dropped their own moral convictions and their responsibilities to their Wards. It is sad but true.

The Real Story will speak out as the real voice of the people. As time progresses, we will identify and report on every slum property owned by an elected official. We will report every racist rant on the radio from an elected official, and what is more, we will do it in the spirit of real journalism. Never will we ‘get into bed’ with the very government officials that we have sworn to watch. We take pride in being your watchdogs.

Our commitment may trouble the status quo. Those with a vested interest in ‘business as usual’ will try to discredit us, of course. When it comes to the Status Quo, we will gladly be the “Bad Guys”. We will stand our ground and we will oppose those who profit from neglect and decay. We will “steal the bread from the mouths of decadence.”

Joseph B. St. John

“The Bad Guy”


The Real Story is growing. We have added sports, music, letters to the editor, lifestyles, the Consumer Corner and more. We welcome our new writers. We ask readers to check back daily to see what we have added!!

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The Real Story for the Golden Triangle and North Mississippi. Always the truth... No Compromise. Changing the community one story at a time! You make the news... We keep it Real.

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8 Comments on “Monday Morning Water Cooler Talk for October 31, 2011”

  1. tat2grl Says:

    Go get em! I’m glad to see someone finally step up and speak the truth. I love the mugshot idea. Even though I’m nosey, that’s very respectful of you. My daughter was arrested a couple of years ago for a school prank. Her and her friends’ mugshots were plastered all over every paper. My daughter lost her job because of this and was very hurt. She got her job back after she was cleared but the damage was done.


  2. Sadaboutcolumbus Says:

    In regards to what St. John wrote about the “Brawl at City Hall,” where two city leaders duked it out and got only the equivalent of a reprimand…..let me tell you how other communities deal with anger — or even what is perceived as anger — on the job.
    I have a good friend who lives in another state and who worked in a medical clinic setting. There were 20 office workers, eight doctors, and one X-ray technician/imager (my friend). No one liked the office manager who was sour, bitter, who talked badly about people behind their backs, and was just a negative person in general. Seven of the eight doctrors had expressed interest in letting her go, but the one doctor who voted to keep her around had more monetary control in the clinic. (Is this beginning to sound familiar?)
    Well, one day a new tech arrived at the clinic to work. But first she had to be officially clocked in and trained. My friend was using a vacation day that day, and when the new worker approached her to ask what she should do, (afterall, she was the office manager, right?), she told the new person, “Well….let’s see….your person is not here to do all of this, so just go over and sit until he decides to show up for work…)
    Someone called my friend and asked him if he could come in to help process the new worker so that she could have the credit for being there. No one wanted to cross Miranda (That’s not her real name.) so they left things alone.
    When my friend, Dan, arrived at the clinic, the new worker was sitting there, confused and on the verge of leaving. Dan questioned Miranda and asked her why she had not started processing the new worker. She replied with a smart-ass answer and Dan went and got Human Resources to start the process, something that Miranda could have and should have done. Miranda had simply chosen to not do her job.
    When Dan and Miranda left her office, he made a comment that cost him his job, and this is my point for the Mayor and the city councilman who got into a physical fight.
    All he said was, “Someone needs to knock Miranda’s head into the next county.” That’s it. Who hasn’t said something similar about a co-worker or a boss we didn’t like or respect?
    Well, someone reported to Human Resources what he said, and he was called in, told to vacate the premises, and that he would have to attend anager management classes, and he would have to apologize to Miranda in front of the staff. He chose to leave the clinic on a permanent basis.
    I can tell you other such examples of real people losing thier jobs or being punished for saying such statements as “I’m gonna punch your lights out!”
    But in Columbus, that wouldn’t happen unless the person is, as St. John pointed out, disenfranchised or otherwise unable to defend himself/herself. It’s The Way.

    John Dorroh


  3. Christian Says:

    As a Christian, “The Way” is through Christ. He’s also “The Light” and “The Truth”. The way, as expressed here, is “business as usual”.


  4. Ashen Says:

    I hate that Columbus had to loose you as Police Chief. :( But, I think this may have been a good thing for the fact that you are willing to step up, fight for those who are oblivious to the crap going on. You are helping raise awareness of how the City is trying to puppet everyone. You are not putting up with the obvious bull. It is already showing that you are making an impact with how many page views you have received.

    Keep it up St. John!

    “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.” ― Albert Einstein


  5. BrendaK Says:

    I am glad you are willing to step up and tell the truth. I am sick of the “good o boy” stuff. We need to know what is going on. Keep up the good work. Maybe the citizens of Columbus can make a better decision when it comes to voting and maybe some of the people that are running for office will think twice before they do something that will end up written here for all to see.
    Thank you!!!!


  6. LovesGod Says:

    Intellligence should lead “The Way”, not “business as usual”. Let the intelligent man follow God, and when the righteous are in power, the people rejoice. Let me get an Hallelujah!


  7. dj jewell Says:

    please preach on it justice doesnt seem to apply to all it needs changed


  8. newcomer Says:

    I will have to disagree with the plea to feel sorry for people who break the law. The idea that we should throw personal responsibility out the window because someone has it tough is exactly why the whole country is in the mess we are in. I do have to say it should go the same for any one who breaks the law they should suffer the same consequences or hall of shame as any other criminal. Enough of this protection for the priviledged. Our government &the press should stick to the laws and facts. Until we hold them ALL accountable then we can expect it to continue.


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