UPDATE 3/27: My comment has printed! I found some different contact information for the media outlet and sent another email. The bottom line is my comment has printed. Thank you, Telegram.com. Of course, it is now two days after the fact, so the impact and any hope of productive discussion is severely diminished. But it has printed.
By Sandy . . . Yesterday my attention was drawn, by an on-line associate, to a letter to the editor in an online media outlet in Massachusetts. The letter was in protest of a middle-aged man who had impregnated a 15-year-old teen getting out on bail.
Certainly her opinion and her right to express it. However, it is not her right to make up facts and information, and I exercised my right to place a comment in protest of her rhetoric:
That letter should win a prize — for the most excessive use of hyperbole and misinformation seen recently. First, bail is not a punishment. Secondly, most men do not treat women as sexual objects. And thirdly, stating that someone WILL reoffend is preposterous. In most places, levels are meaningless as they are not based on any evaluation of the individual but tied strictly to the offense. The reoffense rate across the board is in the low single digits. This individual’s odds of not reoffending are much higher than they are of doing so. Is what he did wrong, even disgusting? Of course. He should most definitely be held accountable. But accountability does not include using untruths to make the case against him.
I hoped to encourage at least a little bit of conversation about the facts; I could see my comment, but no one was asking me about what I had written. Then my on-line associate told me he couldn’t see my comment. Turned out no one else could either. It was hidden from all but me.
I found the email address for the outlet and wrote a polite email asking why my comment could not be seen and asking if it were waiting for approval. I received no answer, and this morning it was gone even from my view.
This is one way of silencing oppositional opinions. It is a cowardly method, but in this instance, it worked.
We will not be quiet. We have facts and evidence and truth on our side. We have compassion and human decency – when it is being decent – on our side.
If they will not hear our words, we will say them louder.
If they will still not hear, we will SHOUT.
If they will still not hear, we will SCREAM.
We will not be quiet.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.