The Slice

The time I was saved by religion

One day, when I was a general assignments reporter at the morning paper in Tucson, one of the assistant city editors asked me to check something out.

It seems someone was targeting a home with a very specific sort of vandalism, if you could call it that.

The unknown culprit was partially filling paper grocery bags with dog droppings and setting the bags ablaze on someone's porch. I can't remember if it had happened more than once.

Was this retribution for dog-walking crimes committed by the targeted homeowner?

Some dumb kids being dumb kids?

Some sort of neighborhood feud?

Or worse, did it have something to do with racial or ethnic resentments?

The editor didn't really know. And I seem to recall he was aware that this might not be much of a story.

Anyway, I was about to leave the newsroom and drive over to the scene of the incident. But by this time, the editor had started a conversation about having a photographer meet me there.

And our new Photo/Visuals editor, a guy named Chuck Freestone who had come to us from the Seattle P-I, was putting his foot down.

This was a Thursday, and he didn't think a Metro-front report about bags of flaming dog waste was something we wanted to greet our readers with on Good Friday morning.

So the upshot was that we wouldn't be doing the story. I think Chuck and the assistant city editor got into it a bit, but only one thing mattered to me.

I was off the hook.

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The online home for Paul Turner's musings and interactions with disciples of The Slice.




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