I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Dr. Arnold Smith, Historic Preservationist (more from the Greenwood murder-for-hire case)

Dr. Arnold Smith, already known for dabbling in Delta politics, a personal approach to oncology, exceedingly peculiar insurance claims, collecting used bricks, and for being charged in an outlandish scheme to hire a hit on Greenwood attorney Lee Abraham, has written a letter to the editor of the Greenwood Commonwealth.  In what the paper calls his first public statement since he was arrested, he addresses the issue of neglect of historic preservation in Greenwood:

[T]he Greenwood oncologist, in a handwritten eight-page letter to the Commonwealth, is preoccupied with what he sees as the loss of historic architecture in Greenwood in recent years — including the Leflore County livestock barns, Perry’s Pawn Shop and the Railway Inn.

“Now I have been asking myself why I feel the loss of these structures was a ‘sacrilege,’ a loss of identity and an insult to tradition that struck at the core of the shrinking Greenwood. The town has been so complacent about this sacrilege, it appears my sense of offense is not shared,” he wrote. “‘Loss of old building with no strong economic use.’ Trash the past. Viva Walmart.”

An odd topic for sure, but as Smith admits in the letter, he’s got an abundance of free time right now to explore ideas.

He holds up  Tupelo, Oxford, Memphis, Nashville and Denver, Colorado as exemplars of historic preservation.  A lot of counterexamples come to mind, but holding up Memphis (the tear-down of the Stax studio alone…) as a good example seems pretty peculiar.  Although far from the most peculiar idea I’ve heard him express.

Dr. Smith also notes in his letter that he is reading The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt.

Perhaps we’ll be getting regular updates.

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