Gaylord: Blame of community unwarranted

Shocked, appalled, angry, disgusted and saddened constitute a stunning display of raw emotion. What act could possibly trigger such a cumulative response in a human being?

The truth is that the magnitude of these emotions expressed singularly or collectively vary from person to person, dependent upon the event or experience that triggered the emotional response.

In the average individual, such expressions of emotion are usually the result of a catastrophic event witnessed by the individual or observed via media in significant detail.

It appeared that Melissa Waters experienced the horrific event of which she writes as an eyewitness. However, the event(s) was not witnessed by Ms. Waters. Her visceral emotional responses were triggered by a newspaper article.

The article referenced by Ms. Waters was published by the Sopris Sun but was later retracted by the newspaper. The editor of the newspaper formally apologized for the lack of factual content contained in the article, resulting in its removal from the publication. In fairness to Ms. Waters, she may not have been aware of these facts at the time she initiated her letter to the editor. 

Words matter, and words can be as destructive as a bullet. Verbally insulting expressions of racial defamation and falsely accusing a person or group of persons of act(s) for which they are not responsible are examples.

This is what Ms. Waters did to the very good people of Redstone with her statements. As a retired law-enforcement officer, accusing an individual or group of people for an act —of which there is no evidence that they committed — can have very negative, unwarranted and unjustified consequences.

In America, everyone is innocent until it is proven that they are the perpetrator of the act for they are accused.

Ms. Waters, I have no doubt that the events during the Fourth of July celebration in Redstone that you address in your letter occurred. The individuals who committed these acts have not been identified. To accuse an entire community of exceptional people for these acts is unwarranted and unjustified.

Philip R. Gaylord