Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Over the years, I've spent a lot of time in this East Tennessee county, particularly the Cosby area, where dear friends live.
So I was a bit surprised to see reference on the blog of UT journalism prof. Bob Stepno to a fairly prominent story in the Los Angeles Times: A county of bad ol' boys. USA Today's On Deadline blog linked to the story, too. The blog also links to a huge chronology of corruption in Cocke County that ran in the Knoxville News a year ago: Cocke County Confidential. Wow.
I certainly heard the stories about Cocke, mostly related to its history of moonshining (but what county around here doesn't have those?) and cockfighting; of course in the 70s and 80s there were stories of drug cartels operating there. But the news stories talk about much, much more: the LA Times story mentions "dirty cops, brothel owners and incorrigible outlaws" and the Knox Times story certainly corroborates that history. Fascinating stuff.
(The photo: overlooking Cosby towards the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, from Foothills Parkway, taken October 2003.)