Letters to the Editor

In a world gone mad, watch the rhetoric

In reference to Leonard Pitts’ July 8 column, America has gone mad and there’s no place to hide:

Our country has a population of more than 320 million people. At any given moment, there are tens of thousands of potentially violent people— mentally ill or otherwise — whose actions can be easily triggered by a factually incorrect statement or a factually correct statement uttered in a provocative manner on television or on social media platforms.

In his column, Mr. Pitts quotes historian Arthur Schlesinger: What sort of people are we, we Americans? . . . Today, we are the most frightening people on this planet.”

A significant part of the recurring problem discussed by Mr. Pitts is the phenomenon of people taking positions and/or making provocative statements before all the facts are in.

I think one of the worst offenders of this bad practice is President Barack Obama. He seems to be incapable of acting in a presidential manner and expressing concern and sympathy without jumping to conclusions, which we know definitively, in at least three cases, have been wrong.

After him, come the many viewer-hungry talking heads working on cable television and talk radio.

Then there are the hip shooter Op Ed column writers in newspapers like the Miami Herald who also publish on websites.

Things have changed. It is time that all of us give far more thought to what we say and write and how we say and write it before publicly communicating to what the phrase “yelling fire in a crowded theater,” in today’s world of Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

The “theater” is a virtual theater. It seats millions and it has perfect acoustics. The fame gained by impulsive, poorly thought out communication is a fleeting one.

The pain and death that it is seems to be more frequently contributing to is not.

Robert E. Panoff,