Sunday, March 15, 2020

Article: The Silent Spring of Walker Railey (D Magazine, October 1987) by Mike Shropshire

It seems like a good time for long articles to read while at home. One article I highly recommend is Mike Shropshire's article in the October 1987 D Magazine titled "The Silent Spring of Walker Railey" regarding the attack on Peggy Railey, wife of high-profile Methodist minister Walker Railey. I lived in Dallas at the time, working in an office that had a view of the SMU campus (a beautiful view across North Central Freeway). The attempted murder of Peggy Railey was a huge story at the time, but I'm not sure how widespread the story went outside of north Texas.
Unfortunately, the transition from the print article to online has many typos, but they're easy to decipher.

I can't imagine sitting across the table from Railey and interviewing him. What's most worrisome for me is not that Railey is a monster, although that would be part of the concern. It's more that he is an "everyman," a successful everyman, and we see part of ourselves when we look at him. How much of that monster is inside each of us? And what does it take for that part of us to surface?

As I said the event and story sent seismic waves through Dallas at the time. I don't see many thorough online articles regarding the story from the year of the attack, but that is probably due to few print publications from that period available online to us now. Another article that covers much of the same ground but adds an additional interview with Railey after the events is "The Sins of Walker Railey" by Lawrence Wright in the January 1988 edition of Texas Monthly. I admire Shropshire and Wright for the work they did given the disturbing nature of the story.

Railey's story takes many twisted turns regarding the minister and the Methodist church. I remember a friend working on his PhD in religion at SMU during this period who would stay overnight at our house during his visits. We would stay up late while he filled me in on issues that wouldn't become public for several months negatively impacting the church, its image, and more importantly its principles.

I link to these posts since they were published within a year of the story. Many good articles were published years later when Peggy Railey died almost 25 years after her attack, a timing that coincided with more news sources publishing online and when more information was available.

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