I don't usually get involved in menial little arguments. I tend to keep myself coiled in my little bubble and keep my opinion to myself because it seems that anyone who voices how they really feel receives a lot of backlash.
When did it become okay to attack people because they have an opinion that may differ from ours? Social media (and the internet in general) has given us an outlet of basic anonymity and people are taking advantage of it to be fools and downright rude at times.
A long time ago I made it a practice to not get involved in these stupid arguments that turn to name-calling and utter disrespect for the topic at hand. In fact, I had to stop reading most comments on articles because it made all my emotions roil at one time to the point that I felt like I might explode.
Pro-choicers battle pro-lifers all the time. The debate has been going on for decades. Each side having an opinion. No one is right. No one is wrong. But each hold strong in their convictions. I respect that.
But this blog post isn't about real debatable issues. It's about the ignorance and arrogance of people saying hateful and disrespectful things because they can and no one can really do anything about it.
The recent one that's really got my panties in a knot regards the recent drowning of a man at Sikome Lake in Calgary. Comments on this piece on The Calgary Herald's Facebook page are blaming the family for being so stupid as to not wear life preservers if they couldn't swim, for taking an infant on the boat. Or they're blaming Sikome Lake for not making the people get off the boat for a) being too full and b) not wearing life preservers or they're blaming Walmart for not making sure the people had adequate water protection when they bought the boat in the first place. One particular comment focuses on "the rules" for water safety and that it's required by law to have life preservers etc and that these people were essentially asking for it for not being protected.
The fact is, yes, the accident was preventable. Yes, there are many things they should have done differently. Yes, the family will now have to forever face the fact that they made a poor judgement call. Yes, a young man is dead. A father. A husband. A brother. A son. Gone because of an accident.
And it was just that. An accident. Accidents happen every day. There are laws surrounding driving a vehicle. Don't drink and drive. Don't text while driving. Obey the speed limit. Don't run red lights. But who can honestly say they have never broken one of the rules of the road? Laws as they are. Who has made a bad judgement call and gotten away with it? Who has lost a family member because of an accident that was completely preventable if only they had followed the rules?
When did it become the general public's right to attack these people who made a poor decision? What if it was your family member? Would you want to hear and see all these comments reiterating just how STUPID your family member was? From all these self-righteous people who have apparently never made a mistake in their lives.
This, in my opinion, is akin to bullying. Something that has become even MORE rampant with the introduction of social media. You want to make it stop, then stop doing it.
And then, of course, there is the sadness surrounding the death of Robin Williams and the increased awareness of mental illness and addiction. And, suicide. It seems to me that no one wants to admit the truth. That living just became too much for this great man that he saw no other way out but to end it himself.
I have chosen to focus on his life and his greatness. I have chosen to believe that mental illness drove him to do such a thing. But as soon as someone asks us to face the truth, that is was suicide, he is attacked and criticized for being uncaring and misunderstanding. While I don't agree with most of what Matt Walsh has said in his article Robin Williams didn’t die from a disease, he died from his choice, one line from this whole piece sums up my original reaction to hearing the news.
"... have we stopped to think how it looks and sounds to those who may be contemplating this heinous deed themselves? Can we tell our friend to step away from the ledge after we just spoke so glowingly of Robin Williams’ newfound “peace” and “freedom”? This is too important a subject to be careless about. We want to say nice things, I realize, but it isn’t nice to lie about suicide."
Matt Walsh has a right to his opinion. Just as we have a right to ours. Some vocalize it. Some don't. But what we don't have the right to do is call Matt Walsh names because he has chosen to state his opinion and we might not agree with it.
Continue the debate. But debate based on facts that support your argument.
Like this: Matt Walsh, Robin Williams and how ignorance can lead to unkindness (I also don't totally agree with this article. Having dealt with suicide in my own family, I found nothing offensive about what Matt Walsh said.)
Stop the name calling. Stop being ignorant bullying brutes who get their kicks from saying horrible things about people who they don't even know.
And even though I don't want to, I will continue to be drawn to the comments section like a housewife drawn to trashy novels.