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I am SO sick of hearing the whinings of the citizens of MY county! Do any of you know the laws of our county, state, or nation? Let's review the events surrounding the Sheriff's office. Fact 1: Eric Bryan won the primary by a very small margin. In fact, the margin was not big enough to prevent a run-off (we have a law that allows that). Fact 2: Prentis Benston pulled off the win in the run-off (probably because of citizens like myself that discovered some of the wackos that were supporting Mr. Bryan and decided to change their vote--and I'm white--oh, the horror!). However, we all know the story wasn't over. Fact 3: Steve Bunn decided for whatever reason to get the hell out of Dodge and retire before his term was over (good move, Steve...you can finally have some peace). Meanwhile, fact 4 came out of left field--Billy Ward pulled off the miraculous feat of getting himself on the ballot for the November election as an Independent. By the way, this is also allowable by our laws; even "Johnny Come Latelys" get a shot if the people support him. This made for a very interesting perfect storm of political events. Prentis would probably be sitting behind the desk in the Sheriff's office as we speak if Billy hadn't pulled it out. He probably would have done the same thing that Earl has, but through a twist of events, it wasn't possible for him to sit behind that desk quite yet. Then along comes Earl (read the Bladen Journal--he was appointed by a 7-2 vote of the County Commissioners, and Billy Ray Pait was one of the seven. Now that his constituents are pissed, he's back-peddling to save his own political clout--very spineless). Then Earl does what anyone sitting behind a Sheriff's desk is legally allowed to do in North Carolina; he chose not to keep some of the currently employed deputies and Phillip Little. Sure, he shouldn't have made up any stories as to why they were not kept around; my answer would have been, "Read the law. I did it because I WANTED TO and it's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS." Hey, Steve did it himself to former opponents for the sheriff's offic in past elections and there was no public outcry then...hmmmmm. Enough said.

At the end of the day, I think this all comes down to race. Although the rest of the nation has made it to the 21st century, I think Bladen County is still in the early 1950s (pre-civil rights). Yeah, it seems like a white-on-white thing right now, but people are so pissed because Earl is a supporter of Prentis, who is a black man. I'm sure Earl has been called a sellout by many local closet white hood wearers. Sure, I don't know about all the backroom deals and maneuvering that had to happen to make all this happen, and I'm sure some of it would probably make me want to vomit. But PLEASE stop whining and gossiping. No laws have been violated. Get over it. Move on.

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