Thursday, July 07, 2022 |
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Vigilantes among is
How many people in the U.S. are aware of the price often paid by those who exercise our rights to free speech and a free press? Unfortunately, the reality is that always present among us is an underclass of persons who are ready to take vigilante action to threaten, harass, and bully those with whom they disagree.
Although we all like to see our nation as a bastion of freedom that encourages all of us to speak out and share our opinions with the public, the actual experience is much uglier than has been assumed. Even writing a letter to the editor of this publication is enough to trigger letters and phone calls with threats of violence to families and colleagues.
Of course, if any of these threats is carried through, one can get the police or, if appropriate, the FBI to take action. But living under the weight of possible violence, arson, or worse takes its toll.
Anonymous phone calls, letters, and emails as well as attacks on social media are now the primary tools of these disgruntled citizens. They feel free and justified to name call, attack, and intimidate those they dislike.
There is apparently no way to prevent this despicable conduct. This is the reality of America today. The darkness is spreading.
A time to learn
Hopefully, we may learn a great deal from Putin’s actions. First, if we allow a country (like Iran, for example) to acquire nuclear weapons, they will threaten to use them based upon their tortured logic, and not our reasoned pleadings. Second, humans have an infinite capacity to rationalize any behavior. That is, they can make themselves the “good guy” being “forced” to act against the “bad guys” in any scenario. Putin – and most Russians – see themselves as the “good guys” liberating Ukraine. The most important lesson we need to learn is that righteousness is defined in the eyes of the beholder. Putin thinks he’s right … and people die. When we feel “righteous,” we should keep Putin’s rationalizations in mind. In short, how do we treat our “enemies?”
Tell us about it
Do you have a story idea or news tip? Is there a community problem that has not been addressed? Do you know someone unique, whose story should be shared and enjoyed with the rest of the community? We want to know. Call the West Hawaii Today newsroom at (808) 930-8600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and share the information with our readers.
Letters to the editor should be 300 words or less and will be edited for style and grammar. Longer viewpoint guest columns may not exceed 800 words. Submit online at https://www.westhawaiitoday.com/letter-to-the-editor/ or address letters to:
Editor | West Hawaii Today
PO Box 789
Kailua-Kona, HI 96745