As I sit in my office staring out the window Friday morning, I can see Linton City Hall. I have no clue if Mayor John Wilkes is inside, overseeing a project somewhere in town or attending a conference.
But I can assure my employees he’s not sharing on TV, the radio, social media or in our newspaper that we’re “The enemy of the state.” Wilkes doesn’t always agree with what’s in the newspaper. When he doesn’t, he walks across the street and shares his opinion in a civil and professional manner.
President Trump could learn a valuable lesson from our mayor. You don’t have to stoop to name-calling on Twitter or put violent thoughts in citizen’s minds — “I’ll pay for their legal defense.” — to get a point across.
I’ll probably take a beating in the comments section for what I’m about to write, and that’s OK. We live in a society where free speech is still valued. What isn’t valued is someone picking up a gun (or guns) and killing innocent people.
That’s what happened Thursday in Annapolis, Md., inside the Capital Gazette newspaper. Five people were killed and others wounded in the attack by a single gunman.
Apparently, the gunman had a beef with the newspaper following a story that ran about him. It was a story about him being charged with a crime, and I’m sure the newspaper got their information from the courts and police just like hundreds of reporters do every day.
We run into angry people all the time concerning stories that are in the paper about them doing something illegal. We don’t like to do those stories, but it’s our job to keep the public informed.
In no way am I suggesting President Trump is responsible for this gunman’s actions. But his attacks on the media (which by the way is a business, just like the steel or car industries, or the local antique shop) puts thoughts in the minds of some that don’t need anything to push them over the edge.
I want to repeat what I said earlier. NO WAY do I blame President Trump for Thursday’s shooting. But the way someone acts, especially our president, has consequences.
President Trump has put more money in our pockets thanks to a tax cut. That’s a good thing. He’s trying to make our citizens safer with secure borders. That’s a good thing. He’s trying to keep crazy dictators from using their nuclear weapons. That’s a good thing. He wants U.S. businesses to be treated fairly in the world of trade. That’s a good thing.
But this obsession with tweeting and making fun of people must stop for us to grow and work together. For goodness sakes, he’s the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! If it’s OK for the president to act like a playground bully at times, why isn’t it OK for citizens to do the same?
Our president must set an example.
Yes, this latest shooting hit close to home because it was a newspaper. In my 38 years in this business, I’ve dealt with many angry readers because their name was in the court news or a story was written about what they did to get arrested. I can easily look back and think of a few that could have gotten violent if it happened today instead of years ago.
Violence and violent acts have been around for years. But we didn’t have the leader of the free world suggesting violence is acceptable against certain people.
What happened Thursday was tragic. What happened in Las Vegas, Orlando, Texas, Sandy Hook and other locations was the same. Sick people doing something sick.
I’m not convinced this is a gun-control issue (though I do believe it would help). I believe it has turned into a tongue-control issue the past couple of years.
President Trump won the election, and it’s time Democrats start working with him to make our country better. But it’s also time for President Trump to act like he’s the president and move past acting like a playground bully on Twitter and to anyone who puts a microphone in front of him.
The future of our country depends on it!
Chris is the publisher of the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (812) 384-5765.