best quote of 2016

One of my self-professed rules of journalism stands as follows: If a source cusses, put it in a quote.

While not every journalist has an editor with enough guts to stand behind such a bold mantra, the idea is simple.

If you are interviewing someone for a story and their statements become stern enough to include cursing, the best way to capture the source’s emotion is to quote exactly what they said.

To that end, we have compiled some of the most compelling quotes published on NonDoc in 2016. Thankfully, only a couple offer mild four-letter words, which must mean our writers are finding a source’s emotions even without the help of Urban Dictionary.


sheriff debate
Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel hugs and bumps bellies with his 2016 opponent, Rep. Mike Christian (R-OKC) before their Tuesday, Sept. 15, debate. (William W. Savage III)

“They have to deal with these turds out here on the highway, but they feel unsafe when they walk in the county jail! And who’s responsible? My opponent!”

— Oklahoma County Sheriff candidate Mike Christian during a debate against incumbent and eventual winner John Whetsel.

“I’ve been harassed by police, even when I’m in uniform. This is the first time I’ve been back to Norman in three years. I’m ashamed to come back. They judge me on site.”

— An Iraq war veteran named Tyrell who spoke about racial profiling at an OU public forum in the aftermath of the SAE scandal.

Oklahoma Innocence Project
Malcolm Scott listens to a question about his time incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. (Trace Thomas)

“That has really been a process for me. Sometimes I feel like a caveman.”

— Malcolm Scott explaining how he feels trying to use modern technology after 22 years of wrongful incarceration.

solar panels
Solar panels along I-35 in Norman were smashed by a car in early December. (Ashiq Zaman)

“I saw the damage myself in pictures and drove by and thought, ‘holy cow.'”

— Preston O’Brien, chief financial officers for Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, after a car crashed into the company’s solar garden.

northeast Oklahoma City
The New Black Wall Street Marketplace sits along Northeast 23rd Street in Oklahoma City. Mike Hall, left, and Sam Hill, right, founded the economic empowerment endeavor. (George Lang)

“If we don’t have black businesses, then we can’t hire black workers, and if we can’t pay black workers, we can’t support black families,” he said. “Everything is connected and is in tandem. When we take our dollars out of the community and spend them with people who are never going to come back to our community and repatriate those dollars, we are contributing to the destruction of our community.”

— Elijah Malachi, Documentary filmmaker Elijah Malachi explaining the New Black Wall Street Marketplace in northeast OKC.

Hosty Duo
Mike Hosty (right) and Mike Byars (left) play as the Hosty Duo at Willie’s Saloon in Stillwater. (Dennis Whiteman)

“My worst day playing music is better than any day working at Long John Silver’s.”

— Norman musician Mike Hosty explaining the benefits of gigging for a living.

What the Legislature and others don’t realize is: These patients are not going away. If we don’t expand Medicaid — if we don’t expand coverage under Insure Oklahoma — these same patients are showing up in your emergency department.

— Oklahoma Hospital Association president Craig Jones explaining his organization’s request for Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma.

There are too few resources in the public system to keep up with demand. But, what surprises many, is that even Oklahomans who have health insurance experience difficulty finding appropriate care.

— Terri White, commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, discussing barriers to mental health care access.

Now, if I was to sell you tomato seeds, and sell whoever you got right next door to you the same tomato seeds, and I come back and I said, ‘Hey, I tell you what, I got $1 million worth of Miracle-Gro here that, if you don’t put it on your tomatoes they won’t grow.’ But your neighbor puts his in the same dirt you put yours in and they receive the same rain, and I guarantee you, you can put $1 million worth of Miracle-Gro on yours, and his is going to grow just as good with chicken crap on it.

— Rep. Mike Brown (D-Tahlequah) offering an extended analogy to critique Oklahoma’s tax-credit system for businesses and industries.

I have no choice now. There’s no way that I have the money to build a new surgery department, and I can’t borrow it because, without surgery, we’re in the red. We need the community to help us because no one else will. Without surgery, we’re wounded. We’re crippled.

— Grady Memorial Hospital CEO Warren K. Spellman in preparation for a public sales tax vote to support the hospital. The proposal passed.