To the editor:
I write to you out of shock and utter disappointment over the things that are chosen and deemed "publishable" in the "Open Line." My main focus is the recent homophobic publishings, but my point will stand for any and all kinds of hatred and bullying that goes on in this part of the newspaper.
I've never held The Sentinel in a high regard, but the things I've read recently in this newspaper have left me astonished, and embarrassed for my community, my town, my country, and humanity in general. I understand freedom of the press and I understand freedom of speech. However, when you choose to hide behind those freedoms in order to spread hate speech and hurt the feelings of others, it makes you no better than the Westboro Baptist Church and their funeral protests.
The anonymity of The Open Line does not make this acceptable. Whether you put a name on it or not, the things being said are still hurtful and affect others negatively. You are allowing this to happen by choosing to publish these hateful rants. You are giving bigots an open forum to say disrespectful things about others in the community; and worst of all, you publish and display it county-wide.
This is how you choose to represent our community? Why? I have recently seen an article of brave men and women on the front page of The Sentinel. An article about a group of people rallying against bullying that happens in schools. Have you ever thought that bullying exists in schools because you allow people to bully others in your paper? You approve and publish people saying mean and hurtful things to one another? These are not "opinions."
After the incident regarding racial slurs being spray-painted all over the walls of the soon-to-be "Fountain Square Park" you posted an editorial saying how shocked and offended you were regarding the crime. Really? Are you really that shocked? You allow that type of hate speech to appear in The Sentinel. And you validate it all by publishing it and giving the hate-monger a sense of accomplishment.
Let me quote that very editorial regarding the graffiti for you: "Not only did community members of these ethnic backgrounds have to suffer the indignity of this very public offense, but so did everyone else who walked, rode or drove through the Five Points on Monday." I suggest you read, and re-read that sentence until you decide whether you approve or disapprove of bigotry. You cannot "walk the fence" on this topic. People are being hurt. There are several places on the Internet where these people can go and wrap themselves in a hatred-filled snowball until their inevitable oblivion. There is Blogger, Wordpress, Facebook, Twitter, etc. These are all places where they can go and post their hateful ideals and the only people who have to see and experience it, are people that seek it out and want to read it. To give them a voice in a local newspaper should not be an option. I should not have to pay for a newspaper, only to skip over sections because the people in charge do not know how to edit out hate-speech.
I hope after you read this, you reconsider how things are selected to appear in your paper; if not, The Open Line needs immediate closure. If folks want to voice their thoughts in the newspaper, let them put a name on it, and back up their statements with rational thoughts and educated statements. When you put these hateful ramblings on display, we all lose.
Editor's note: The Sentinel acknowledges that Mr. Condron is entitled to his own opinion on this matter. Our position is that there is an ongoing debate in our country regarding the issue of gay rights, and in recent weeks The Sentinel has published numerous Open Line comments from callers weighing in on both sides of the issue. This clearly is an issue on which various members of our community strongly disagree, and we do not feel that the simple expression of that disagreement - from either side - constitutes "hate speech" or "bullying."