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Monday, September 23, 2013

Small Town Communities Stick Together

Julie Sherlock
September 23, 2013
Blog #3

Small town folk stick together and specifically watch each other’s back when dealing with the law. This feel for a small town’s sense community is expressed in Stephen King’s “The Reach”.  In the story, Stella Flanders is telling a story about some small town justice, illustrating their sense of unity.  Stella recalls how “three little girls had been molested coming home from school”(390).  Two of the girls said the man had some fingers missing.  Stella remembers seeing her son and husband along with one of the girls’ fathers and some other men meeting up that night outside the Flanders’ house. The next day, a man was found dead at the foot of a cliff.  His neck was broken, his head was bashed in, and he had two fingers missing on his right hand.  Stella never asked her son or husband what they were doing the night before Daniels went missing, saying “we always watched out for our own… we felt small… So it was natural for us to join hands, one with the other” (391).  The reader, along with Stella, assumes that the men killed Daniels for molesting the three girls.

This sense of close-knit caring among townspeople rings true in small towns today.  In Culpeper Virginia on February 9th 2012, Patricia A. Cook was shot and killed by an officer in her own vehicle. The officer claimed to have “reached into the Jeep window to retrieve the woman’s identification…at that point, Cook rolled the vehicle’s window up, trapping the officer’s arm and started driving”. The police officer says to have repeatedly asked her to stop the car, and when she refused to do so, he proceeded to shoot her.  An eyewitness told investigators a different story.  The witness said that the officer’s arm was not caught in the window, but instead he had one hand on the door handle as Cook rolled up the window. The witness said the officer threatened to shoot if she didn’t stop rolling up the window and when she did not stop, he fired.  Regardless of what really happened that day, the witness report won priority over the officer’s claims and the officer was sentenced to three years in prison for charges of unlawful shooting and manslaughter.

King, Stephen. "The Reach.” American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce Carol Oates. New York: The Penguin  Group. 378-397. Print.

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