Some shrill, strident voices are slamming the city of Walterboro, South Carolina as it prepares for a massive influx of people/ publicity tied to the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga – a Southern Gothic drama which has drawn international headlines and generated a cottage industry of podcasts, documentaries and other true crime productions.
Apparently, certain people who have made fistfuls of cash off of this still-unfolding drama don’t want this small town – where per capita income clocked in at a meager $23,000 per year in 2020 – to make a buck from the circus rapidly careening its way.
Sound familiar? We saw similar pearl-clutching regarding a recent event in Hampton, South Carolina – the hometown of accused killer Alex Murdaugh, whose double homicide trial begins in Walterboro on January 23, 2023.
I’m not going to single out any of the critics except to say this: When you are indignant about everything, your indignation means nothing.
Seriously … the town is auditioning food trucks to operate near the Colleton County courthouse next month (due to the lack of restaurant options downtown). And that has people’s panties in a wad?
Props to reporter Drew Tripp of WCIV TV-4 (ABC – Charleston, S.C.) – a native of Walterboro – for calling out the histrionic hypocrisy.
“I’m seeing lots of ‘circus’ and ‘how embarrassing’ discourse over my hometown’s decision to recruit food trucks for the Alex Murdaugh trial,” Tripp tweeted. “The circus was already coming regardless, and we (‘the media’) are the clowns and carnies drooling over the chance to exploit this place.”
Good for him … and more importantly, good for Walterboro.
Let me be clear: Not only do I have no problem with the city (and its citizens/ businesses) maximizing the profit potential of the Murdaugh circus, my news outlet is looking forward to telling their stories. In fact, our recently hired trial producer Ashleigh Messervy (you’ll be hearing a lot more about her in the coming weeks) has already filmed several segments for an upcoming report on Walterboro as the town prepares for the Murdaugh trial.
Be on the lookout for that report very soon …
The “Front Porch of the Lowcountry” – known heretofore for its antiquing and vintage antebellum homes – has plenty of stories to tell beyond the headlines generated within its historic county courthouse, which incidentally was designed by the famed South Carolina architect Robert Mills (the guy who designed the Washington monument).
Why not use this opportunity to share those stories? To highlight local businesses? And yes … to help people who could use a boost during these difficult economic times?
There is a lot to be pissed off about if you live in the Palmetto State. The tax climate here is punitively non-competitive. Government is corrupt, duplicative and dysfunctional. Crony capitalism runs rampant. The state-run schools are absolute crap. Public safety is eroding. Our roads resemble Afghan airstrips.
And yes … our system of justice has been anything but blind.
But none of that is the fault of the good people of Walterboro. Or their local small business owners. Or the town, county and court officials doing their level best to prepare for what is clearly a once-in-a-lifetime situation.
As we head into the new year, all of us should resolve to show each other a bit more grace. Unfortunately, there will always be those among us who cannot help being graceless …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has an incredible hat collection including that Tampa Bay Rays sunburst batting practice lid.
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