Recent reports have surfaced accusing an Oklahoma sheriff and commissioner of discussing the murder of a reporter and bringing back the use of black hangings. These accusations have caused outrage and concern among members of the community and have drawn attention to the issue of free speech and the role of the press in society.
The allegations against LeFlore County Sheriff Rob Seale and Commissioner Derwin Gist first came to light during a recorded phone conversation between the two men and a third party. In the recording, Seale and Gist can be heard discussing their disdain for a local reporter who had written critical articles about them in the past. At one point, Seale suggests that he and Gist could “take care of” the reporter by killing him.
In addition to this disturbing conversation, the men also discussed their desire to bring back the use of black hangings. This refers to a practice in the South during the late 19th and early 20th centuries where African Americans were publicly hanged by mobs without trial. The implication of this discussion is that Seale and Gist believe that African Americans who break the law should not be entitled to a fair trial and that they should be subjected to extrajudicial punishment.
It is important to note that these are just allegations at this point and that no charges have been filed against Seale or Gist. However, the mere fact that these conversations allegedly took place is cause for concern. It raises questions about the values and beliefs of those who hold positions of power in our society and the lengths they are willing to go to silence critics and enforce their own version of justice.
Furthermore, these allegations highlight the importance of a free and independent press in our society. Reporters have a vital role to play in holding those in power accountable and ensuring that the public is informed about the decisions being made on their behalf. When officials like Seale and Gist are caught discussing the murder of a reporter, it serves as a chilling reminder of the risks that journalists face when they speak truth to power.
In response to these allegations, many people have called for Seale and Gist to resign from their positions. In a statement, the Oklahoma State Conference of the NAACP condemned the men’s remarks, saying that they “demonstrate a willingness to use extralegal means to silence the voice of the press and perpetuate practices of the past that are rooted in racial hatred and bigotry.” Other community leaders have echoed these sentiments, saying that Seale and Gist should not be allowed to continue in their roles.
It remains to be seen what will happen next in this case. There will undoubtedly be an investigation into the allegations, and if there is evidence to support them, Seale and Gist could face serious consequences. In the meantime, the community must continue to stand up for the values of free speech and justice for all and to hold those in power accountable for their words and actions.
Ultimately, the allegations against Seale and Gist are a stark reminder that the struggle for civil rights and equality is far from over. While we have made significant progress in recent decades, there are still those who would seek to roll back the progress we have made and to return to a time of fear and oppression. It is up to all of us to stand up against these forces and to work together to build a better, more just society for all.