Have you ever been angry at someone and written a message to them? I don't mean just a little mad; I mean Angry! Like, almost fightin' mad?
Nowadays, people can pound out an e-mail or a text message, or even a message on Facebook, and hit the Send key. Once it's gone, it's gone.... delivered... There's no calling it back. It doesn't do any good to holler, "Ooops, I didn't mean it." (Sure, they are some programs that allow you to recall a message that hasn't been read yet. AOL offers that but, if the recipient has opened it, then the Sender cannot recall it.)
So people rant and rave, vent, blow off steam, and fire a missile down range without thinking of the ramifications of their actions. They really don't know where that message might end up.
Provocative language might just barely slide under the wire, and First Amendment rights give people a lot of leeway. If they cross the line, though, and threaten, then they need to begin worrying about the Illinois felony of Cyberstalking. Unless, that is, they think a family member or a pal, who has Esq. behind his name, might represent them in court...
In the past, people sometimes wrote angry notes and remembered the sage advice in time to "Write it out, go ahead and put it in an envelope; just don't mail it for three days." And before that was, "Count to ten before you say what you are thinking."
It's a different story these days. Kids have foul mouths and don't seem to give it a second thought. They dirty up their Facebook pages with obscenities and vulgarities. They go into the Attack Mode by email and Facebook. And I'm not just talking about young men (or older men). You would not want your kids to read a message I received recently from a woman who didn't like something I had written about the Beth Bentley case. I'll tell you, though; if she worked for me, I'd fire her and she'd never know why.
I occasionally get accused of not publishing all the comments I receive. It's true; I don't. I do publish about 99% of them. If the senders included their true names, I'd publish that other 1%. I'd be happy to let the world see their true colors.
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