Editor’s Viewpoint: Facing problems in the noonday sun
Some days I wonder why I became an adult. Before you tell me that I had no choice, look around. Clearly some people don’t grow up, they only grow old. The difference between growing up and growing old is similar to the difference between people who live in a community and those who populate a mob.
For example, cities and counties are formed to help give a physical and legal structure to a group of people already living there. That requires decisions, including difficult matters that cause disagreements, and to settle those requires an adult attitude. We all know that being an adult isn’t always easy, but it is necessary to ensure that we maintain a civilized community.
Mobs, on the other hand, are formed mostly to seek retribution anonymously to avoid the chance of being held accountable. Avoiding that type of responsibility is avoiding adulthood.
Today, however, while many of our national disagreements have devolved into childish discussions using immature arguments and very little logic, the ways a mob can exact retribution have evolved. For example, a virtual mob, named Anonymous, included me on an email sent to Orlando threatening retaliation for arresting more than two dozen members of Orlando Food Not Bombs, a group that feeds the homeless. What was that organization’s crime? Not having a permit to feed more than 25 people at a time in a downtown park. By the way, the law limits an organization’s permits to only two per year per park, and this group sees a need to feed homeless people more than that.
The arrests caught the attention of Anonymous, who bombarded and eventually temporarily disabled several websites, including the local Fraternal Order of Police and the mayor’s re-election campaign. The group promised further reprisals, saying it would attack 10 Orlando-based websites for every person arrested in the future.
In the meantime, a city spokesman reaffirms police will continue to arrest those who violate the ordinance, while a member of Orlando Food Not Bombs says the cyber attacks are a distraction from the real problem, one I’ll bet they continue to address.
In addition to agreeing with their good intentions, I will give those in Orlando Food Not Bombs the respect due someone who will peaceably protest their grievances. Living in the South during the Civil Rights era, I can tell you why civil disobedience was successful here: it occurred in a civilized community, the kind created and maintained by the adults who live in it.
What do you think? Tell us in the comment box below.