Jim Echols, the city editor at The Roanoke Times when I joined the paper in 1965, used to say “there are three sides to every story: Your side, my side and the facts.”
Sometimes I forget that piece of advice when passions overtake reason. I’m guilty of it more often than not and, when you write an opinion column along with covering news, I have a bad habit of getting on roll.
The escalating situation over the Confederate flag issue here in Floyd County and elsewhere in the nation is a prime example. How have a strong bias in this cause because of the time I spent in Prince Edward County as a student when the school board close the public schools and funded an all-white private school that educated white kids and left black kids with no place to go.
When one has a bias, objectivity is the first casualty. I lost my objectivity on the flag issue. I agree with the state’s right to limit where it can or cannot be displayed on government property but I do not support banning the flag. I do not believe statues and monuments to the Confederacy should be removed.
Some of my articles did not reflect such beliefs. I went overboard. That was a mistake and I was wrong.
Tim Boone have worked hard on a poker run that will feature what they see as positive aspects of the Confederate flag. Sandy has since withdrawn from the event. There are those who consider the flag racist. I think the flag is used by some for racist reasons but others have other uses.
My apologies to Tim for any pain my writings may have brought to them on this issue.
My apologist too to Tom Bell. I mentioned the use of his company parking lot for a display of Confederate flags. Tom, of course, is free to allow anyone he wants to use his parking lot for any legal purpose and the display of flags is not against the law.
I also understand that Mara Robbins was blamed by some for some of my articles. She did not provide any information used in any of them and I apologize if she was suspected of being part of some “grand conspiracy.” She was not.
I lost my perspective. My fault. I’m sorry.
(Updated on August 8).