September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
Enough with the hate already
I have made much of my income in my adult life with the written word. It's fascinating when you think about the fact that every single thing ever written is simply 26 little letters rearranged over and over again.
Words have power, and the meanings we assign to individual words are as personal as our views on the world. For example, if I write the sentence, "She was kicked so hard by the cow that it knocked her breath way," it will have completely different meanings for someone who is still sporting bruises from being kicked by a cow than someone who has never seen a cow.
So where I am going with this? I will get there in just a minute.
There are many great things about the Internet, just about as many great things as there are about the written word.
But, one thing that I cannot stand about the Internet is the hate. Everyone thinks they need to express their opinion - which would be fine if so many of them weren't so dang mean spirited about it.
A few years ago when a small town here in northeast Iowa had many illegal immigrants deported and a business owner was charged with numerous counts of treating people unfairly and illegally, a comment I read on the news page of a local television station was "They should take that head (insert religious reference here) to the town square and hang him."
Wow. I despised how many people were treated unfairly in that community and by the employer, but that horrid comment made my stomach churn.
Not too long after, I decided I would never read the comments under news stories. They only made me feel horrible, I know there are some very unpleasant people out there who are intent upon making those around them miserable as well, but I don't want to be anywhere near them.
A while after that I read a heart-wrenching story on another television news website about four children in the same family dying. Tears were in my eyes thinking of the anguish of their loved ones, and my eye unintentionally caught one of the comments, "They were probably cooking meth."
This was not true; it was a comment based on not even a shred of fact. I can not even begin to comprehend why someone would write such a thing. And, I must add, even if it was a situation where drugs were present - that was definitely not the fault of little children.
People who write things like this... they are the ones hiding behind their computer. They think their anonymity is an iron curtain that they can spew forth hatred from behind. I cannot begin to understand what goes on in their minds. I cannot imagine living a life like that. Hurt people may feel the need to hurt other people, but deep down inside they must know that misery really doesn't love company.
People also seem to need a strong lesson that they can hate a person's opinion or even what a person does, but that does not mean they have to hate the person or be cruel to them. If you do read and post comments online there is no need to attack another person if you don't agree with them. People need to learn to "disagree agreeably," as Extension Agent Vance Haugen likes to say.
One of our television websites now has a bunch of "be nice" rules, and it also states the following, "Commenting will be disabled on stories dealing with the following subject matter: crime, sexual abuse, property fires, automobile accidents, Amber Alerts, Operation Quickfinds and suicides."
Guess I'm not the only person who gets sick of it.
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