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Duncan Residents Respond to Vanity Fair Article

DUNCAN Okla_ Five months after the murder of Chris Lane, Duncan has once again grabbed the attention of a national magazine.

Vanity Fair contributor Buzz Bissinger's investigative feature called "Darkness in August" paints a picture of Duncan that many residents say is untrue. In the article, Bissinger suggests that the murder occurred as a result of racial and social differences within the city.

The article was an in-depth look at how Chris Lane was murdered, including the events that led up that fateful day as well as letters and social media messages from the murder suspects. The author also wrote about Duncan itself and how the city's privileged and underprivileged parts are divided by a railroad track with no solution for teenage boredom. It now has people talking: is the article right? Is Duncan a teenage wasteland? We decided to ask residents what they thought about the story.

"He didn't give our community a fair portrayal," Resident Mikayla Riddles said. "He didn't show everything about us."

Riddles is a successful college student coming from a supportive family who has always called Duncan home. Although she is living on the west side of the tracks, she's said that railroad doesn't mean anything to her or her family.

"I have family on that side of the tracks who are middle class," Riddles said. "It's a very diverse area."

It's a diverse area that she feels is being misrepresented to the entire country.

"Also, the interview he did afterwards when they talked to him about his shopaholic issues and things like that," Riddles said. "He called our town soulless, and that part was what affected me the most."

She's not alone. Several people have voiced their outrage on social media. Even those we spoke to around town said Duncan isn't that black and white.

"You never know, you could be just riding down the street and get shot," Riddles said. "I'm not saying just this side or just that side but it could happen anywhere."

Despite the harsh criticism that Duncan received, several readers felt as though Vanity Fair called it straight. Regardless of how people feel about the article and the national perception of Duncan, several agree that the city will continue to evolve.

"No town is perfect," Riddles said. "Every community has issues that need to be worked on. We try really hard make this town someplace safe."

We weren't able to find a copy of this month's Vanity Fair anywhere in Duncan, but obviously, we've just barely scratched the surface of what many people take issue with in the article.  If you'd like to read it for yourself, click here.



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