The Crime of Being
Upper Hand Press Llc
On a Good Friday in a picturesque village in Upstate New York, the spring weather is unusually warm and school is closed. It's an ideal day for tanning and partying in the park until Shawnee Padrushky, age 17, drives up in his dad's new pick-up and comes out shooting with one victim in mind--Gunther Smith--the only black student in Shawnee's class, the adopted son of white parents.
The Crime of Being explores the effects of a racial incident—how it divides a seemingly homogenous community over the course of a summer and exposes its dark secrets. Tarred by the media as “the most racist town in America”, the people of Liberty face tangled questions of whether racism or insanity were at the root of a white teenager's violent assault of his black classmate, and whether the community as a whole can be implicated?
Until the incident, the Smiths and the Padrushkys lives rarely intersected, but in its aftermath, their trajectories run strangely parallel as they are forced to look at how they have managed (and mismanaged) their parental responsibilities. Ironically, Shawnee and Gunther, perpetrator and victim, find themselves sharing the territory of otherness as their definitions of self are changed forever.