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News & Issues > Democracy? Perhaps Not
 

Democracy? Perhaps Not

My contact at the News-Press, Martha H., the woman who placed my contributions as Op-Eds or in the Letters column, has left her position to go back to school. She is middle-aged, but is after something different. Her resume that she included in a farewell column she wrote for the Sunday paper is impressive. I wish her well.

She gave me the names of two other editors I could submit my material to. I emailed them, introduced myself, and said I hoped we’d have a productive relationship.

I did not hear back from them. A couple of days later, I looked at the Mailbag (the letters page) of the News-Press and there were five letters. Three of them were devoted to ripping me to shreds because of my view that the Ferguson, MO officer, Darren Wilson, who shot the unarmed black man, had skated. I said that police academies everywhere should vet for people with sociopathic tendencies, and offer better training for the rest who will face tricky situations.

I wrote the new editors with a reasoned response, nothing polemic. I said, “I hope I get equal time.” They may or not print it. Sometimes it takes a while.

Meanwhile, I wondered why they would triple-team me. There have been letters that disagree with me, that characterize me as less than human, but never more than one in any edition. I wondered if these editors have not liked my material and are now in a position to skewer me.

I e mailed Martha, who had given me her personal e mail, and asked her the same and have not heard back.

I took the tearsheet of the paper with these letters in it to show my friend, Nadine, (my go-to-friend). They support my views and very rarely does Nadine disagree with anything I have written. Her husband said of one of my pieces that it sounded as if he could have written it himself. They are a solid pair of friends. They did say that the police and firemen in this area, if they know it is me, might just decide not to put out the fire in my house, or to help me if I am robbed, in retaliation for my views. That is scary. It has me thinking that, perhaps, my late-found efforts to speak out should no longer see print.

I am disappointed and worried. So much for free speech, so much for “democracy.” Surrounded by assassins.

posted on Dec 13, 2014 9:17 AM ()

Comments:

Polls show that a majority, though a slight one, support the marchers and want better police training. You are on the correct side of history. Keep fighting. We may have lost our democracy, but we will get it back some day.
comment by hobbie on Dec 14, 2014 8:14 AM ()
I think this is terrible to have to fear reprisal from the police and
fire department for your honest views. I feel that it is necessary to
stand up and be counted for what one believes. You would be less a
person if you did not.
comment by elderjane on Dec 14, 2014 6:56 AM ()
You do live in FL, one of the hot zones for issues of racial-shootings/police-militarization. And the Ferguson case was not unambiguous. Me, I've retreated to chickenhood after having endured my own troubles, and can only applaud anyone of good conscience writing to newspapers and demanding more discussion of these terrible issues. But it of course is risky to speak up.
comment by drmaus on Dec 13, 2014 10:47 AM ()
It's outrageous that the citizens of the United States should have to consider even the possibility of backlash from the police and fire departments just for expressing their views.
comment by troutbend on Dec 13, 2014 10:37 AM ()
Yes, it is. But looking at the headline stories of just the last 2 days, we live in an unthinkable time.
reply by drmaus on Dec 13, 2014 10:51 AM ()

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