Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A sigh of relief...

Across the country this past week was news of a serial killer on the loose in Upstate South Carolina, around the sleepy (former) mill community of Gaffney. Today it's more known for it's outlet mall on I-85 as well as the "The Peachoid" water tower, aka "the big orange butt in the sky"...

It was an interesting live press conference last night, that stalled starting until close to 9pm...interesting from all kinds of angles. The sole purpose of the event was to say without a doubt the killer had been killed in a shootout just north of Gastonia NC, in the predawn hours Monday. Outside of his name, 41 year old Patrick Burris, little other details we'd all like to know are being kept private while the investigation continues...but the news had everyone resting much more soundly last night, no doubt.

The boy had a rap sheet 25 pages long, supposedly...and I commend the SLED director who spoke. One of the first things he talked about was his anger over seeing such a career criminal repeatedly arrested and then repeatedly let back out on the streets. I think we all know there is a seriously flawed situation with most of our criminal justice systems...lack of jail space, lack of prosecutors, lack of money overall...and we can continue to expect this type of unfortunate lapse as we have not tended to the judicial/criminal fires as well as we should have. Citizens and municipalities have been begging for years for funding and government help to at least dim the blaze some, but you could argue it's a runaway problem - unfortunately continuing to head downhill for many.

Burris was with two other people who were not killed when the shootout took place...the vehicle and personal description matched up well, though there are cementing details that have not been divulged. The ballistics tests were positive that the weapon used Monday morning was the weapon that killed the Gaffney residents in the past week...but much of the investigative work now has to be done without Burris being able to talk about it. Where had he been the past year? Who did he travel with? What was the connection, if any, with his victims? That info won't come out completely any time soon, I'm sure. At least for the victim's families, there is a sense of semi-closure, for now. Amen.


Of interesting note: Gaffney is in Cherokee County, SC, which falls into the Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville DMA (media market). In that market is CBS (7) in Spartanburg, NBC (4) in Greenville (along with Fox), and ABC (13) in Asheville. Not only was this a serious local issue, but it was clearly a nationwide story, as well. When the press conference was on-going, all stations took it 'live'...except WLOS TV13 in Asheville (unless they showed only the very first part of it, incompletely...I was tuned in to another channel when it began). The powers-that-be deemed "The Bachelorette" to be of greater community/viewer importance while the other channels were live through the 5 law enforcement speakers. Boo-hiss, former employer of mine.


Never would have thought this would be a 'pick' show of mine, since I'm not a big TV watcher...I have to back up to an interview/story I heard on NPR radio a few months ago about a Puerto Rican 'repo' man and his family that was followed for a story on unique jobs, or something like that a good while ago. I'm fuzzy on the details I heard, but basically the owner-operator thought they could pitch the idea for a cable show that would catch everyone's interest...and so, currently on the "TRU" cable channel, you can watch "OPERACION REPO". With that said...

I have grown weary and even disgusted with 'reality' shows that seem to be quietly staged in setting and participants, with filming/editing purposefully manipulated that takes 'reality' out of the equation. It tends to be fake. Staged. Smoke and mirrors for entertainment and shock value to hook viewers. However, I have to say "OPERACION REPO" is refreshingly raw and not any of the aforementioned schlock. Even the "TRU" network uses a slogan something like "Not Reality. Actuality." The "Repo" family itself is 'unique', which you'll just have to see for yourself, or Google the show and watch any number of trailers. But it is oh-so real, not at all staged or faked. Their trucks have myriad inboard cameras that run all the time, and the 'chase' vehicle has a team of photographers that take great risks to record the almost-inevitable confrontations that occur.

I find it fascinating, intriguing, and totally captivating. Your blood pressure can't help but go up while you watch it...after each episode (and they seem to run several back to back), you shake your head over the 'owners' getting their cars taken...very few take it well or 'lying down'...some pull weapons, many show their @sses, and danger potentially lurks around every corner.

Highly unlike me, Mr. At-Times-Anti-Media-And-Not-A-Couch-Potato to give two thumbs up for something other than a nature or learning program...this one is in itself a 'learning' program that will open your eyes...wide open.

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