Wick Communications

Where do we go from here?

In First Amendment on January 8, 2015 at 11:48 am
Photo courtesy Getty Images

Photo courtesy Getty Images

I woke up Wednesday morning wanting to further lampoon Kirby Delauter. Then masked thugs who can’t take a joke shot up a satirical publication in Paris, and suddenly the “you-can’t-print-that” crowd doesn’t seem so funny any more.

In case you’ve been living on an ice floe somewhere, Delauter is the absolutely precious Fredrick County, Md., councilman who threatened to sue if a local reporter ever put his name in the paper again. Because, well you know, “You have no right, etc.” Except, as he learned after a sustained and embarrassing #KirbyDelauter social media explosion, we do have the right to write “Kirby Delauter.” It’s granted by the very first of the amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Delauter’s delusion is quaint in comparison to that of the men who shot up the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris on Wednesday. Twelve people were killed and many others injured, apparently because the gunmen don’t appreciate anyone poking fun of their religious icons.

With due respect to Delauter, who I’m sure is a good man in many respects and certainly not a murderer, I think these two disparate tales are related. Despite communication tools that are better than any the world has ever known, we sometimes seem to be drifting farther apart from each other. We’ve erected our own personal silos in the form of ear buds and passwords, even as we share what we had for breakfast on YouTube. Strange isn’t it? Why don’t ISIS fighters use the Internet to bring understanding of their beliefs rather than for shock value? Why would Delauter say he doesn’t want to hear from a reporter, yet engage her on Facebook? And why do people presume and proclaim that they are right and others are wrong, when evidence to the contrary is only a click away?

I suppose we can’t know these things. …

In the face of an awful beginning to the new year, I continue to find hope in our chosen profession. Every day we have a duty to bring understanding to our communities. Though the powerful and the disenfranchised don’t always understand it, we are the glue that bridges gaps. News organizations like ours foster better relations between police and protesters, between Cardinals and Wildcats, between the generations. We do that merely by reporting on our shared humanity. There is conflict, yes, but we all love our children, work for a better life, plan for the future.

I’m particularly heartened to hear the enthusiasm of Wick editors when asked to consider addressing the Paris shootings on our editorial pages. I look forward to seeing the editorials, columns and cartoons in the days to come.

Your reporting, even on the most mundane things, is part of a tapestry that binds us all and battles our ignorance. It’s harder to hate, when you know.

Forward.

Clay

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