I keep hearing South Dakotans brag about the low crime rate in their state. This boasting is done despite the constant oozing of news of shady and nefarious activity that comes from state and local governments.
The latest involves the murder of four children, their mother, the alleged suicide of their father in Platte, and the arson of their million-dollar home. The father and mother were the business manager and assistant business manager, respectively, for an educational cooperative that had a contract to manage federal funds for a program to prepare native American young people for college. The murder, alleged suicide and arson happened within hours of the cooperative being informed that it would no longer administer the multi-million dollar contract.
Reporter Bob Mercer and blogger Cory Heidelberger have covered the incident in detail, with Heidelberger's Dakota Free Press posting documents showing how many people received hefty fees and salaries from the federal grant, but no evidence of how the money developed college talent and helped young people to succeed in college. Cory's reporting produced the kind of inane, insane South Dakota-nice attitude that permits and encourages financial crime in the state. A post on the Dakota Free Press site demonstrates the thinking and level of literacy:
I knew Scott and his family. They were good people. I worked for Gear Up, the people were great. Gear Up helped a lot of college students with jobs for the summer and kids from the reservation somewhere fun and safe. What you write seems to be only about money and negativity. Scott came from a good background. Stacy was an awesome boss. I think the fact that all you people can do is put out negative news is a joke. You haven’t seen how Gear Up is during the summer. Know all your facts before assuming. This has to be a caspericy.
A guy is said by law enforcement that he blew away his four children, his wife, himself, and torched his house amid evidence of massive financial fraud and is deemed "good people" whose actions should not be reported? And the author claims to have worked in educating children? A "caspericy?"
Then when someone reposts one of Cory's reports on Facebook, it receives this response:
Not a cool article to share at this time. This is not a time to spread negativity. His family has not even been laid to rest yet and there are people including myself and my family grieving a tremendous loss.This is the culture that permits and encourages the corruption that has come to define South Dakota. People are so busy being nice and ignorant and morally bereft that they cannot face up to what they have created. South Dakota has received a reputation for corruption reported by a number of organizations, and, by god, it got it the old-fashioned way. It earned it.