Thursday, July 9, 2009

Judge Not

I need to resolve not to read the public comments about articles in the online version of our local paper. They make me insane every single time.

Two months ago, a pair of sisters, ages four and six, were run down by a speeding driver while crossing the street. The four-year-old died immediately and the driver, who had something like FIVE previous convictions for reckless driving, tried to leave the scene. It was one of those articles that makes your heart seize and you can hardly breath. In the comments section of the article, many posters chided the mother for letting her kids cross the street. Today, there was another article stating that the six-year-old passed away last night. Again, there are people from the community who are commenting that this wouldn't have happened if the mother had crossed with her kids.

Paul and I take a lot of measures to keep our kids safe. I'd love to believe that this guarantees that nothing bad will ever happen to them. Articles like this tempt me to bubble wrap my kids and raise them in a padded cell while piping in only organic food that's been pureed so they can't choke. The truth is though, that life isn't safe and accidents happen. Most parents are fortunate enough to escape true disaster, but a lot of it really does come down to luck. Personally, I tend to believe that the danger of overprotecting one's children can outweigh the danger of letting them explore the world.

This is hardly the first time the comments about news articles have riled me up. Anytime there is violence within the city, the comment section quickly devolves into nasty remarks about race. Posters from the suburbs regularly declare that the city is a forsaken ghetto where no one is safe and advise others to get out while they can. What?! Whatever happened to investing yourself in the community to bring about change? Don't even get me started on what commenters say about the local school system where I teach. I'd be the first to say that there's plenty of room for improvement, but most comments seem to suggest that all the problems the schools face are the direct fault of the schools and teachers. Kid brought a gun to school? Why didn't the schools prevent that? Middle schooler threw a rock at a teacher? Why isn't there better discipline in the schools? Why did she have her back turned? I would love to see an online discussion about what we need to do as a community to improve our schools and the general behavior of our youths, but casting stones and sniping aren't going to accomplish anything productive.

I'm thinking of ordering a paper copy of the newspaper so I can avoid this agitation in the future.


Christina said...

lol...are you thinking the letters to the editor are marginally better? I guess at least there's some sort of threshold requirement :)

Life in the Bend said...

Well, I'm hoping the editors wouldn't publish a letter that said straight out that the mom was at fault because she lives "in the projects". Some of the letters they publish appear to be written by zealot lunatics, but at least I've never seen any that are quite as bigoted as the smut on the comment board. I guess I'm still feeling pretty crabby about this.:)

John and Jenna Gensic said...

I think there is a direct connection between the nasty comments and troubled youth. People not thinking of actual solutions to problems, moving out (adults) or acting out (kids).