I am a graduate and employee of Kennesaw State University, and I want to express pride in the KSU community and the administration’s commitment to making sure that all types of people feel welcome on campus, in spite of the fact that a shrinking contingent of the population still believes as Robert Hines does.
I am also a resident of Cobb County, and I want to express pride that my experiences with the other members of my community are in no way reflective of the values, or lack thereof, that Hines describes as part of the culture of the university, the county, and the state as a whole.
While I firmly believe that the right to free speech is among America’s most prized freedoms, and it should be defended against any attack, I also contend that the existence of this freedom does not exonerate news editors from their duty to make responsible decisions about what should and should not be printed.
Had Hines included any research supporting his claims, or had he even bothered to learn the meanings of the words that are used to describe the human beings that Hines unflinchingly diminishes or demonizes, he may have had a right to enter such a discourse.
All he did, however, was spout poorly informed hate speech, the likes of which most children today know better than to express, and the Tribune was right there to make sure he had a forum in which to do so.
Hines is just one old man, though. I have no doubt that he is a product of his generation and set in his ways. These are common ways to explain away the insane rantings of the elderly and out of touch.
The Tribune, on the other hand, represent the interests of a larger community — my community — and I expect better from journalists.
While I don’t necessarily see it as the Tribune’s responsibility to personally stamp out bullying, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that you shouldn’t legitimize bullying by providing a public stage for such behavior.
Michael Ruther Acworth