All my life I’ve been a communicator, the daughter of a communicator who learned early in life that it’s healthy to let people know how you feel, how you stand on issues, how you are concerned about things, and how so many things can be misunderstood if there is no honesty or communications.
I was raised as a journalist by a journalist from a very young age and know that words can hurt. But they can also heal. They can make people think, can make them angry enough to fight for change, can share love and happiness, or calm anger and assuage grief. I learned you have to stand behind your words and when they are in print, it’s impossible to retract them.
But some people don’t have that maturity in life. Some people get angry without knowing why they’re angry, get frustrated because they cannot think things through, get insulted and even unreasonable if an opinion is different from their own.
That happens a lot. And some of these people simply can’t control themselves. Which is why on VeniVidiScripto I always invite people to write me responses. I love dialogue. I love to know what people are thinking, what ideas they have, what suggestions they have. It’s healthy, it’s smart, and it’s encouraging.
The problem is while I encourage letters, they will not be posted until they’re approved for posting. Just like I did when I was the editor of both a local newspaper and a Forbes newspaper. It’s not the opinion letters express that need approval, it’s simply to be certain the opinions are expressed in a courteous manner. I work hard to hold myself to a certain standard, and I will not have my blog be besmirched with foul language, obscenity, pornography, lurid photos or comments.
Laura C is an example of why I am fastidious about the comments that are included on my page. I don’t know Ms C, nor do I know where she lives. To the best of my knowledge, I have never met her, nor do I know for sure which of the Jims I know that she is talking about. But for some reason tonight, just after I posted a story about a great Highlands resident that I had written about 45 years ago, she apparently read my blog, did not like something or other in it, or perhaps was relaxing with a cooling drink at home alone and felt the need to vent. Whatever her reason, Ms C wrote:
“You disgust me because you try to squelch speech at every arm one could. You (Jim, Muriel, whoever) get me kicked off a page for verifying our police are solid and you are nuts - then I sign up for your blog, and after I post, no one can comment. Go on in peace brother into your weird life… AND - know that after you outed my address publicly on Facebook, I don’t only have cameras, I have private security. You don’t know my life and you did that to me. Now I’m out money because some nut decided to intrude.
I want you to have a moment of clarity that you cause more harm than anything else because of whatever vendetta you have from years ago - otherwise, offer me the $500/month I pay to have security now because of you.
Peace out you miserable peace of life…. “
MS C, I am including your letter briefly on my page, not because I think it’s terribly important, but because, if you read another story on my blog, you know I have thousands of readers, some in every state in the union, as well as in more than 50 countries on five continents. I think it’s important, in view of your letter, to let all my readers understand a bit better why I scrutinize messages before I publish them.
I welcome comments, I just like them expressed in a mature and healthy manner. I have been of the opinion, because of past comments, that you live in Highlands, so I do feel badly for you that you feel the need for extra security around your home.
Believe me, for the 40 years I lived there, there was only one occasion when I did not feel secure with one member of the police department there. But that was a long time ago and it was resolved in a mature manner. I think today’s department under Chief Burton, is pretty terrific and doing a great job of keeping Highlands the peaceful, safe community it is.
I do have another suggestion for you, MS C. I encourage you to continue to read my blog, but only the stories that talk about all the things that make me happy, the ones that talk about how modern medicine has saved me, both from breast cancer and total blindness, the ones that talk about the really nice people I know and the wonderful things they’ve done. I encourage you to read the travel stories to get a new appreciation of our great country, and the history stories to learn why I am so happy and appreciative to have lived in Highlands so long.
Maybe simply by restricting your reading to those stories, you won’t get so upset, so angry, so frustrated.
Maybe you will even get a happier outlook on life.
Reach out to me again if I can do anything to make you feel more positive about life.