From a column in The Arkansas Times dated April 4:
“It was a bad week for Joe Thompson. The state surgeon general was arrested at his Little Rock home Saturday, and was later charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, use of force and attempting to influence a public official following what police say was a drunken altercation with a security guard and Little Rock police officers.”
“It was a bad week for Bobby Petrino. The University of Arkansas head football coach was injured in a motorcycle accident Sunday in Newton County. He’s expected to make a full recovery.”
Arkansans hearing the Joe Thompson story rolled their collective eyes at a public official showing his bad side. To the Bobby Petrino story the response was, “Bless his heart.”
Now, less than a month later, more details of both stories are available (thanks to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act) and our perspective has changed.
Bobby Petrino, bless his heart, had a female passenger on his cycle. Can open — worms come out, and now he’s out of a job.
And Joe Thompson may have grounds for false arrest. I won’t try to detail that story but if you want to hear the tape of the encounter, search YouTube for “Arkansas Surgeon General.”
Just last week, two young girls were assaulted as they walked through a quiet neighborhood in Beebe, my Dream Home Town. Four days later, the story ran on the local Fox channel’s 9:00 pm newscast. Almost immediately, questions appeared on Facebook. Residents of Beebe were concerned. By 10:00, most were searching the other three Little Rock channels for more information. Nothing. The CBS, NBC and ABC affiliates in this area picked up the story two days later.
You see, it’s all a matter of perspective. An assault on teen girls in a small, quiet town — probably the safest town in Arkansas — just isn’t very newsworthy when compared to … say … the University of Arkansas hiring a new football coach.