In recent weeks, The Beverly Review has published numerous letters to the editor about messages posted on the marquee of a local bar.
One message thanked Chicago Police Department officers for working 12-hour shifts at 2017 wages with no days off. The other side of the sign opined about the comparative value of pro athletes and police officers.
That opinion was obviously informed by recent media reports about pro athletes protesting police brutality.
The sign insulted some people, and it motivated a courageous young woman to write a letter to be published by her community newspaper.
After her letter was published on Sept. 2, The Beverly Review received a torrent of letters condemning the author, and people also sounded off on social media. Many supported police. Sadly, some people went beyond opinion and leveled veiled threats, such as one critic who posted, “Let’s show her the love.”
People are entitled to their opinions, and many concerned citizens passionately expressed them to this publication about the woman and the issues she presented. Some were cogent discussions; others were shrill, ad hominem attacks.
Some criticized The Beverly Review for publishing the letters. However, even when the kitchen gets hot, newspaper publishers can stand the heat.
When it comes to enabling community residents to express their opinions about topics they feel are important, The Beverly Review is proud to publish letters from its readers that generate discussion among concerned citizens.
Like other newspapers, The Beverly Review supports freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The publishers and staff are humbled that, in this hectic world, people take the time and effort to write us a letter.
The heated emotions displayed in response to the young American’s letter also fortifies our belief in allowing authors to request that their name be withheld from publication. Those letters are not written by anonymous authors. The editorial staff is aware of their identity, but they know some writers are not capable, or willing, to endure the effects of wisecracks like “showing the love.”
Freedom of speech is tricky. Americans seem to forget that freedom of speech protects them from being arrested by the government—not from the reaction or consequences of an employer or other people.
Opinions are many, but in expressing them, people should listen to a local mom and her daughter who made headlines in recent years with some wise advice: “Choose kind.”