Bob McConnell: Online forum
June 4, 2011
I want to address those in this community who use the Steamboat Pilot & Today online forum to intimidate others but don't have the courage to identify themselves. I hope Brent Boyer understands that allowing this encourages hateful speech rather than reasonable discussion. Across the country, newspapers of integrity have banned anonymous comments. Allowing vile, hateful comments and veiled threats with no accountability is irresponsible journalism and makes people reluctant to stand up for what they believe.
I don't understand cowards. I never have. Cowards hide in the shadows. I do understand fear. I understand the fear being experienced by Lisa Watts and Kelly Victory. They organized an ad hoc community group to address the negative impact of medical marijuana in Steamboat. They did it openly. Cowards responded by vandalizing Dr. Victory's home the night before the meeting. Cowards are calling Lisa a "monster" who shouldn't exist. Cowards are talking about where Lisa lives. Cowards are talking about drive-by shootings, mass graves and heads being cut off.
We don't need to rail about the border, or Arizona. Threats of drug-related violence are being made by cowards right here in Routt County. The Pilot is allowing these threats to be made anonymously.
Steamboat, we have a problem. Today it's medical marijuana. What's next? We have a choice to make. We have ugliness being spewed against people who stand up to debate an issue. We have a newspaper that encourages hate through anonymity. And we have a few cowards who hide in the shadows. You, the cowards in Steamboat, crawl back in your holes. My name is Bob McConnell and I will talk to you openly about the way you choose to run your mouths and your businesses. Any time, any place. Wear your name tag.