As you peruse Bradenton.com this week, it would be almost impossible to avoid seeing some of the cruel commenting on our coverage of two horrific tragedies. We have deleted the most offensive, and continue to try monitoring the others.
I've blogged here before, beseeching these commenters to show some decency. And I know this challenge is shared by Web sites worldwide. But it really hits home when it's about our neighbors, their families, their friends.
Yes, there also is some really sensible, thoughtful commenting on the stories. But the nasty ones drown out those voices. It's not the comments about our coverage, either, that anger me. It's some of the comments about these young men and their families.
Johnny Gordon and Travis Fricke died when their speeding car crashed and cartwheeled this weekend. And 19-year-old William White Jr., a former Bayshore High School student, was shot to death Sunday evening. Arrested in connection with his death are two 18-year-olds, Timothy Brooks and Cody P. Rogers.
East Manatee Editor Jim Jones wrote a column this morning in the Lakewood Ranch Herald, questioning how the commenting could be so harsh about such unspeakable loss. In part, he writes of the comments:
Many were sensitive, wise and insightful.
Others were crude, vulgar, racist and stupid. Shockingly so.
I won't dignify the lowest of the low by repeating those postings here, but there is nothing funny about someone losing their life in an accident or homicide.
I hope you all can help us weed out the cruelty before it permanently damages free speech.