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Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Angry hopes go too far

Posted Monday, February 8, 2010, at 9:11 AM

The anger expressed by some of the people who comment (or commented...) on stories and blogs at t-g.com and elsewhere stuns me.

Although public story comments have been cut off for now on our web site, readers can still comment privately through the "respond to editor" links. Several of us review those comments.

One reader over the weekend was upset about a young woman not receiving jail time for a fatal accident.

"The judge that accepted this plea and the prosecutor should be removed from office," she wrote.

Fair enough. Keep in mind, though, that judges are limited by sentencing guidelines to some extent. Those guidelines were set by the state legislature. If you want them changed, lobby Jim Tracy and Pat Marsh -- don't blame the judge or prosecutor. (Neither Tracy nor Marsh were in office yet when the guidelines were made.)

But the reader went too far:

"I hope the next victim is a member of the judge's family."

No. Hopefully there won't be another victim. It's understandable when the family and friends of a lost loved one feel the person responsible for their death wasn't punished enough. But wanting someone else killed is going entirely too far.

In general, and in far more minor matters that didn't involve death or injury, we had entirely too many story commenters wishing physical or emotional harm on others and wanting to destroy reputations. I've written before of people wanting to use the media as a weapon.

And quite a few other newspapers are looking closely at the story comment issue for the same reason we are.

Those who lament the temporary, for now, loss of public comments should consider that free speech doesn't mean you have the right to destroy others.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Since I was a child I've often heard - "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Some of the worst hurts I've ever experienced were WORDS spoken in anger. It's impossible to take back the words once they are spoken.

-- Posted by reilly on Mon, Feb 8, 2010, at 9:58 AM

I agree, Reilly. Words have hurt me more than any physical harm.

We as a society need to take a step back, calm down, and look at things from the other person's point of view. We don't know the whole story, but we are so fast to come to conclusions, and to judge. Sometimes we think we know everything! =)

I still stick with, "Do unto others, as you have them do unto you."

-- Posted by Mary on Mon, Feb 8, 2010, at 10:19 AM

Mary,

I'm afraid that our modern society no longer values the meaning of the golden rule, but instead embraces the idea of "Do unto others as they WOULD do unto you.....but do it to them first". A pat on the back in our society may not always be a nice thing, but rather an attempt to find a soft spot in which to put a knife. If this sounds a little harsh, then so be it, life is what it is, and I don't try to sugarcoat it. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck....

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Mon, Feb 8, 2010, at 11:33 AM

Reilly I agree i have had some horrid things said on blogs by very uncaring people.

-- Posted by 4fabfelines on Wed, Feb 10, 2010, at 7:42 PM

Abraham Lincoln once said..."Man is a master over the thoughts within his head and a slave to the ones that leave his mouth."

Words can break a heart or mend one. Use them carefully.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Sat, Feb 13, 2010, at 11:00 AM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.