Wednesday, November 4, 2009

IN Touch: Mean-Spirited Comments or We Live in a Truly Sick Society

My twelfth post on The Indianapolis Star's IN Touch blog is now online. As I've said previously, I'm going to keep re-posting those entries here (at least until someone from the Star asks me to stop). Go ahead and visit the post on the IN Touch site, anyway.

In the past, I've complained about editing when posts have made it into the print edition of The Indianapolis Star and even some of the online versions. However, this time, the editing problems are much worse than usual: The last several paragraphs, including my conclusion, have all been deleted without explanation. I don't know if it was intentional or an error. I've written to the editorial staff to ask that this be corrected, but so far I haven't heard anything (and the edited version is still online). I'm going to reprint my entire post in the format that I wrote it. I'll indicate where the post on the the IN Touch blog stops.

Before diving into the post, I thought that it was worth giving those of my readers not from the Indianapolis area a brief bit of background about the incident at the heart of this post. On Saturday morning, Ed Delaney, an attorney and first term Democratic Representative in the Indiana General Assembly (his wife is a major player in Indiana Democratic politics), went to an Indianapolis suburb, apparently to meet a potential new client who wanted Delaney to look at some property the "client" was interested in acquiring. It turns out that the potential client was another attorney, Augustus Mendenhall, who has apparently been harboring a grudge against Delaney since approximately 1983 (yes, you read that right, 1983) when Delaney was peripherally involved in litigation against Mendenhall's father. Back then, Indianapolis' prosecutor (and future mayor) Stephen Goldsmith, was going after porn shops in the city. Delaney represented a major developer that was apparently upset about a porn shop near its shopping mall. Goldsmith sued Mendenhall's father who owned the property where the porn shop was located and eventually succeeded in closing the porn shop (and seizing Mendenhall's property), but the prosecution was overzealous and was partially overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court (the seizure of property was the issue). Mendenhall sued Goldsmith, but lost. That is obviously a very abridged version of the story (and is taken from bits and pieces that I've read; I haven't done any real research into the back story).

So, with that as background, here is my IN Touch post:
By now, I’m sure that most of us have heard about the attack on Rep. Ed Delaney. Others who know Ed better than I do have and will continue to write about the kind of person he is, the service that he has provided to the community, and the senselessness of the attack. Instead, I want to focus attention on some of the comments posted on the website of The Indianapolis Star in response to the attack on Rep. Delaney. Take a moment and read these comments and then ponder what those comments say about the state of our society.

no2bama666: a liberal anti american politican, and being an attorney, hmmm, sounds like a double header beating this one's tush haha. well you live a life of hurting other ppl, an one day its your turn to be hurt, his day finally came.

acyl72: It is unfortunate that this moron could not even maintain his gun properly. Otherwise we'd be rid of one more crooked politician. If they won't go for term limits maybe we could use a more permanent form of term limit.

taytertott: What is the problem? One crook fighting another crook. Looks as if this may be an eye opener to some of these rude lawyers, and politicians. Your not safe even from your own. Now think about that when you treat some one from the street like crap. Sorry this man is hurt but Karma has a way of rearing it's head. Once again politicians interfering where they don't belong.

scooterbug300: [Delaney] was the slime ball attorney for a greedy developer who used his money to buy Goldsmith to drive out a business he did not want near his mall.

MB451645: So, if you shoot a police officer in the head, some scumbag lawyer uses the intent to kill defense. If you punch out a scumbag liberal Democrat piece of dung, it's attempted murder? We're in big trouble.

[this is where the post ends on the Star's website]

no2bama666: seems pretty obivious de laney was dirty and did something crooked. de laney didn't get charged with anything, but he doesn't have a good history behind him. he may have gotten off very light for what he did to this man's father. there are times a good beating is the only way to balance things out even if it is illegal. lots of things are illegal and we all break laws everyday.

cabinetguy: I can think of several politicians that need the same treatment, the entire system needs an attitude adjustment to say the least.

katldy73: Politicians think they are untouchable. Well they aren't. Your actions always have consequences.

Jennevieve67: I hope he hires the most savvy attorney he can find and I hope this attorney beats this political power hungry man at his own game. Sometimes you can push to hard and then someone pushes back. I think the wrong man is in jail....

CombatSoldie: Nice thing about this story is that everyone involved is an over educated democrat. Mendenhall is a law school grad who is a practicing lawyer. He is upset over DeLaney (D, husband of Ann) was the attorney (working for the Simon Mall, btw they are democrats, very rich ones) would not allow a porn shop. Too bad more democrats will not do the same type of attacks. It would clean up Indiana.

I worry that these sorts of comments are, in part, the result of the general nature of uncivil discourse that we’ve been watching in the political arena; or perhaps, the uncivil discourse is the product of a society that tolerates comments like these. But we, as responsible citizens, need to stand up and say enough is enough. Thankfully, for each of these horrible comments posted on the Star’s website, a number of other comments critical of these viewpoints were also posted. So perhaps all hope for civility is not lost.
I think that losing those last few comments, not to mention my conclusion, really lessens the impact of the post.

Since submitting my post to the Star yesterday, I've continued to follow some of the comment threads. Here are two more that caught my attention:
rebts: masses too stupid so we take their porn away because we know what is good for them, dems think masses are too stupid and therefore violence will happen to them... maybe since he was a dem he thought he should be able to do anything and it would be OK because he was a dem..but the other dem thought the same thing and then violence happened, yeah,...correlation..

combatsoldie: The masses will use violence when speech is silenced. These days the elite dems believe that the masses are too stupid and have to ruled.
Do these comments represent just a small, fringe element of society or are they indicative of a much wider problem?

Update (Nov. 6, 2009)

Here are a few more comments posted on the website for The Indianapolis Star:
icecis: Politician's lie WAYYY more than lawyers do......While politicians are not Kissing babies in their momma's arms, the minute mom turns their back, their stealing the kid's Lollipop. I believed every word Aug said in the Partly shown video of his statement after arrest. I sympathize with the pain of the Victim at his Age, and how terrifying it must have been for him and family...Delaney was in the hospital less than 48 hours though. Still not excused....Aug is going to do time, but if he gets Attempted Murder and 110 years in prison....im seriously moving out of the U.S. IM done with corruption in this country and good people and families getting screwed because people cant tell the truth and do the RIGHT thing. If that had happened 20 years ago, this would have never happened. Delaney, Id be at church this weekend praying Dateline doesnt get hold of this story and doing some footwork and be thankful that newscasters in this City dont have alot of Gusto for "intriguing" stories.

icecis: There's corruption in the governement. This story is alot more than the news. Ever think some of the news might be a little corrupted too and obviously ....the news for all purposes are going to take the victims side, as they should.......but Delaney sureeeeee likes that camera right now............Still not excusing the act of weakness mendenhall had and the terrible beating.....but Delaney aint a saint here, he's lying and exxagerrating thru his teeth and eating it up for the camera. I sound cruel?? Yah. maybe. Corruption is everywhere. Corruption is in the news too, to sell votes and papers. WE aint hearing it all folks. Aug, Id trust you with my kids any day of the week. My boy's middle name is yours and you've always been my hero, .......and his too. Hang in there.

lastrep: Democrats are lauding the jamming as a life saving event while on the way to escort unborn babies to their death.

LifeLongIndyMan: I wonder how many of these tea-bagging bible belters are saying to themselves "Man.. the one time God has to jam a gun it's a democrat and a lawyer.. dagnabit.."
These comments got me curious, so I decided to see what kind of comments were left on the websites for the local TV stations. If possible, those comments are even worse. I'll post a follow-up with some of that vile insanity soon.

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