From tragedy, a sense of community

Published: Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 10:56 AM.

Not that the South – just three generations removed from school integration in Gulf County – and Jim Crow has any kind of monopoly on the racial insensitivity and bile on display last week.

As a teenager I watched and listened as large swaths of nearby Detroit and my hometown of Toledo, Ohio went up in the flames of race riots during a hot summer not all that long ago.

I attended a high school that drew from a large demographic in Toledo, a school that itself was embroiled, with words and fisticuffs, in the war for civil rights that was raging around the country.

Reports this week out of Wisconsin, the Dairy State for heaven’s sake, reveal an ethnic and racial divide that can lead, in too many of us, unfortunately, to homicidal rage.

Men and women shot for their differences, for their choice of clothes and headware, the color of their skin.

But as last week progressed in Gulf County there was an outpouring, a gathering of like minds and hearts to speak out, in a fashion, against the kind of narrow-minded thinking that left 32-year-old Everett Gant bleeding on the stoop of Walton Butler’s apartment.

One of the hopes here is that Everett Gant one day fully recovers to understand the extent to which he touched so many people’s lives in Gulf County, in Port St. Joe.

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