Thursday, September 20, 2007

Final comments on Mr. Ragsdale's letter?

Reasons for printing letter not good

Dear Editor,

First, I would like to thank Khalil Spencer for an excellent letter to the Monitor on Sept. 13 in response to the juvenile and antagonistic Ragsdale letter. I was stunned by the publication of the first letter and contacted the editor/publisher. I wish to comment on a few reasons he gave for publishing the Ragsdale letter.

First, he cited the right to freedom of speech. However, I believe this freedom does not permit infringement on the rights of others.

Every person should be incensed if a letter referred to an ethnic group as "targets for the Sportmen's Club." Yet, similar injurious terminology ("mobile hood ornaments") was published in reference to cyclists. This is blatant discrimination with hostile intent, which threatens the rights of cyclists to the road.

Second, the editor claimed to be encouraging debate. However, I challenge that no healthy debate was ever initiated with insults. Such "debates" collapse into shouting matches that inevitably end with an injury or death. There was no kernel of useful debate material in the Ragsdale letter. It was simply an unsettling verbal assault on a part of our community.

Finally, the editor claimed the Ragsdale letter may have been an attempt at humor. However, those who have been threatened by drivers while on the bicycle, or who knew someone killed by a hostile or careless driver, cannot laugh about this threat to their physical well-being.

I am disappointed in any person who finds humor in the injury of others.

Please don't seek a violent outlet against another for the discouraging climate within our county. We, as a community, all face similar frustrations. Let us not add senseless acts of violence to our list of challenges right now. And I ask the Monitor to not encourage such destructive modes of thinking.

Lisa Dougherty

Los Alamos

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