Wow. That is my first thought. I'm still kind of processing the reading. Probably the most valuable "tool" that I can take away from Buford is his doggedness in reporting. He really doesn't take no for an answer. He keeps talking to people, he keeps asking questions, he keeps following everyone around. That said, he knows when to back off when a specific person is ready to punch him in the face, but he doesn't let that stop him from going on to the next "hooligan." I loved the story. Let me put that out there. I would love nothing more than to write something like this someday. I admire Buford for his persistence, and mostly his guts. Let me say, though, that the story really did raise a troubling ethical dilemma in my mind, though. The fact the Buford was witnessing this kid getting beat, maybe to death, and doing nothing. I realize that he was a reporter, that he was trying to win these guys over, that he was smashed, even. As he says on page 191, "I was transfixed. I suppose, thinking about this incident now, I was close enough to have stopped the kicking... But I didn't. I don't think the thought occurred to me." I can understand that disconnectedness. But none of that excuses just watching something like that happen. I'm not saying I don't sympathize. I'm not sure what I would have done in the same situation. But our role as journalists should never come before our role as human beings. I found the scene pretty disturbing, and in the end, I don't think even the best of stories is worth the price of becoming, or even silently aiding, the villain yourself.
Among the thugs... or one of them?
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