V.S. Naipaul:

He is interviewed in Literary Review, hat tip to Arts & Letters Daily. I have a (very) slight connection to the great Indian, in that he once wrote about my home. Indeed, he wrote about the Sheriff of Forsyth County, who ruled over the place the whole time I was a boy.

...not the [jail] of 1912, but still as flat and basic-looking as a sheriff's office in a Western film; assertively labeled (as in a film) FORSYTH COUNTY JAIL... [S]oon I was called into his office, where, on an old-fashioned hat-rack, at the very top, was a black cowboy hat with a sheriff badge....

He was impressive, Sheriff Walraven. He was an elected official, and he saw himself representing the will of the American people -- who had turned their face against violence. And though he wasn't willing to play up this side of things, he was also doing his Christian duty, Christianity being a religion that taught love and peace.... There was to be no violence; it was his duty to see that there was none.

Did he see a situation where that might change?

He thought for a while and said, "If the system falls down." But then almost immediately he added, "The system can't fall down. Individuals might fall down."
He's retired now, Sheriff Walraven. Now and then you'll see him out tending his garden as you drive down the country road. He is still an impressive man, or was the last time I encountered him.

The system can't fall down. It was his duty, and is now ours.

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