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MU professor first to sue over long-range acoustic devices

Monday, October 10, 2011 | 6:02 p.m. CDT; updated 3:42 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 11, 2011

COLUMBIA — When MU professor Karen Piper watches TV, she has to turn on the subtitles. During group meetings, hearing the speaker can be difficult.

Since 2009, Piper has suffered from what her doctors say is the same type of hearing loss that can accumulate naturally over time. Hers, however, was not caused by age, but by an acoustic crowd control device used by Pittsburgh police at a G-20 summit protest in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Sept. 24, 2009.

The incident was the first time a long-range acoustic device had been used against civilians in the United States.

Frequently used by naval vessels, the devices, known as LRADs, can be used for communication and as acoustic warning devices capable of emitting more than 150 decibels. Numerous YouTube videos of the incident show protesters fleeing from a truck-mounted LRAD after the device emitted a loud, high-pitched siren.

Three weeks ago, the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the city on Piper's behalf. The suit is the first in the U.S. dealing with LRADs.  

Piper was living in Pittsburgh at the time, participating in a one-year fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University. She said she heard people talking about a protest at the G-20 summit that day and decided to watch from behind police lines and do research for a book she is writing on global financial institutions and water privatization.

"I decided to go down there just to see what was going on," Piper said. "I was hoping just to get pictures and see what protesters' signs said.

"It just was a bunch of people standing around peacefully. They were just a ragtag group of kids."

Piper said she decided to leave the area after she heard an officer say they were about to use tear gas on the protesters. She said officers began corralling protesters between a truck bearing the LRAD and the tear gas.

She said she asked police what route she should take, and they pointed her directly in line with the LRAD.

"The sad thing is, there wasn't any warning," she said. "I didn't know it would permanently injure me."

Piper described the effects as excruciating.

"I had lots of pain my ears, and my ear started leaking fluid," she said. "I felt dizzy and nauseous, so I went and sat down."

After she was finally able to leave the protest, she said she went to urgent care, thinking something was wrong with her left ear. The hospital referred her to a hearing specialist.

"That was the doctor who said I'd had permanent hearing damage," she said.

She sent an email to the city explaining her condition four days later. She was surprised and displeased with their response.

"They said, 'You responded exactly as expected to the LRAD,'" Piper said.

Piper contacted the ACLU in October 2009, and the organization lodged a formal complaint with the city that year. Not satisfied with the city's response, ACLU attorneys filed a lawsuit three weeks ago.

Pittsburgh Solicitor Dan Regan said the city was not in a position to discuss the incident.

"The complaint is being reviewed, and the city is deciding how to respond," Regan said.

Witold Walczak, one of the the attorneys representing Piper, said she wasn't the only person from the protest who has complained about damaged hearing.

"We have heard from a number of doctors who have had people coming in to complain about hearing damage after the incident," Walczak said.

He added that police officers were among those who complained to doctors.

"Piper's case really demonstrates the dangers of using this weapon because it's so imprecise," Walczak said. "There is collateral damage to innocents."

Piper said she is now writing the conclusion to her book, which includes details of the protest. She said the ringing in her ears that continued for months after the incident made it difficult for her to work. She said she worked at coffee shops to drown it out.

Piper is seeking damages for medical expenses and lost income due to delays in finishing her book. She said she doesn't know the exact amount she'll seek. She said she is outraged about the situation and doesn't want it to happen to anyone else.

"These are just young people who could change their minds later, but they will have this injury for the rest of their lives," she said. 


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Comments

Chuck Kane October 11, 2011 | 8:47 a.m.

I don't want to be insensitive to the injury she experienced. Deafness is serious. However, what were the police supposed to do? No matter what methods they use, they get kicked around. What ever happened to take personal responsibility? Granted, according to Dr Piper, she was not participating in the protest. She was there to do research - certainly a noble cause. But, when you expose yourself to what could turn in to a potentially hazordous environment, you have to accept the fact you could get caught up in any fall out. We have had way too many demonstrations in this country that have turned heated and violent. In this case, ignorance is no excuse.
According to the story, she was warned that tear gas would be used. That is a very strong indication the situation is escalating. She states the officer told her to go the direction of the LRAD. Maybe she didn't know what it was, thats not her fault. There is also a good chance the officer wasn't sure what it was or what its capabilities were. Did he also suffer hearing loss? (Detractors would say it doesn't matter, thats part of the job. No it isn't).
If the barn is on fire, you don't walk in to it no matter what anyone says. Horses and chickens will, but I would think a Phd would know better. But I guess the court will decide.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 11, 2011 | 9:48 a.m.

Based on what I just read, it sounds like...
1) The police didn't have any reason to disburse the protesters.
2) The police didn't have any training using the device.
3) The device probably damaged people inside the property being "protected."
4) The police injured the police.
5) The city is and will continue to be in denial of any responsibility for it's actions, most likely even after several lawsuits are filed.

Based on the comments I saw yesterday, I predict that several people will get on here to blame the victims and to deflect any accountability, because, after reading the print, they decided they don't like the way the people look.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 11, 2011 | 11:46 a.m.

I can understand why anyone would want to give notice to high shrill sounds and how those affect the hearing. But I can also understand preventive measures for safety reasons. I live right next to the siren that goes off on every first Wednesday. I am only one house down from it, and I have often wondered if they could test it in a shorter amount of time, but the way I feel about needed warning in an emergency, I just think that it will not last forever (though it sometimes seems to sound as if it will. I have often wondered if the emergency sirens must shrill out into the night on the boulevard behind us, as there is very little traffic for them to clear in the middle of the night, but I am content in knowing they do not sound off that often, and there is some sort of real emergency when they do. I am not sure, however, why a loud-popping motorcycle can travel through in the wee hours of the morning when rest is at its typical best in a night of sleep. Or people talk loudly in the middle of the night, as if no one is in the world but them. But it must be important for the motorcycle to be out, the sound is not for long, and I go back to sleep quickly if I am awakened for any reason by any loud noises. But I do understand what the shrill, deafening sound is like that can affect hearing. I once taught in a private school where one of the other teachers would stand right next to me, right in my ear, and blow the whistle on the kids. After a couple of times of that hearing loss for a couple of minutes, when I would see her headed down the stairs with that whistle on her neck, I would flat out travel way across the main area where she blew the whistle. Sue someone? For a public noise? Sounds as if there could also be preventive ways of avoiding against the noise, knowing it will be there and when. And nothing lasts forever. "This, too, shall pass." Though I am awakened sometimes, I go back to sleep - and I have insulated my house against noise, with the proper curtains, wall finishing and tight windows, doors, etc. Knowing the noise will be there is one way of preventing it from hurting your ears.

:)

:)

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 11, 2011 | 12:38 p.m.

Oh, everyone relax now. Delcia has just informed us that the permanent hearing loss will go away.

Thanks for the fine post, Delcia.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 11, 2011 | 1:02 p.m.

"...that the permanent hearing loss will go away."

Hey, Paul, since when does preventive mean the same as permanent?

There are also surgeries to restore hearing, and I do not see suing a public noise problem away, because there are preventive measures one can take if one has any sort of notice on time and place, or expectation that such a noise is possible/probable.

Doubt Karen Piper will win this case. Wondering what age she is and the natural progression of her hearing ability anyway. So, as it is not nice to ask a lady's age, I will sign off here and get something done that I have long looked forward to and will enjoy immensely.

Enjoy the troll, Paul. You are very deserving.

:)

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 11, 2011 | 2:21 p.m.

So what are the police allowed to do? We just heard one side of the three sided story because as we all know there's your side, my side, and the truth. So there was a police barrier and she crossed it, also the police told them to disperse and she was still there. Also I'm sure it was not as peaceful as she claims or why was this tool used? Oh and I'm sure I'm wrong because I don't agree with Paul. But then again anyone who takes the side of authority is wrong in his eyes.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 11, 2011 | 2:36 p.m.

I always liked the idea of high pressure water hoses to cool off a crowd.
Of course, if you don't disperse quickly you could get knocked down and get badly bruised.
But deafness would subside once you shook the water out of your ears.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 11, 2011 | 3:16 p.m.

Sally,

You would not be asking what the Police are allowed to do, if they did something that caused permanent damage to you...

What are they allowed to do? Serve and Protect, NOT Intimidate and Abuse...

Of course thigh, there are people that seem to believe that Intimidate and Abuse IS Serve and Protect....

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 11, 2011 | 3:31 p.m.

Oh Ricky I guess your right they should have brought flowers and a guitar to sit down and sing with the protesters. No, I would not have been there unless it was a cause I deem worth fighting for and then would have to face and accept the consequences for my actions, you know that part of being an adult. And again they used a tool that was non-lethal on protesters.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 12, 2011 | 1:13 a.m.

Yeah Sally, 150 decibles close up could never cause hearing loss. That just doesn not make any sense....

It's always easy to say "I'd have to accept the consequences" until you really have to accept the consequences. I usually find that when it is time for the person to accept consequences that said "I'd have to accept the consequences", the person that made that statement is usually whining like a 6 year old when the time comes to have to accept those consequences.....

Microwaving an entire crowd of people for crowd control purposes is non-lethal too, but you don't see our Police Force using that technology (even though we have it), do you?

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 12, 2011 | 1:49 a.m.

Cause word! CAUSE WORD! CAUSE WORD!!!

Do ANY of you know how to READ???????????????

Anyone????????????????????????

My GOD!!!

Delcia says "Hey, Paul, since when does preventive mean the same as permanent?"

From the article...

"That was the doctor who said I'd had PERMANENT hearing damage,"

Check it yourself if you disbelieve.

Sally, at least, was able to get ONE thing right...

"Oh and I'm sure I'm wrong because I don't agree with Paul."

But then she followed with gems like:

"So there was a police barrier and she crossed it, also the police told them to disperse and she was still there."

Which is completely amazing given that the article clearly printed this:

"She said she heard people talking about a protest at the G-20 summit that day and decided to watch from behind police lines..."

and also said this:

"He added that police officers were among those who complained to doctors."

and this:

"Piper said she decided to leave the area after she heard an officer say they were about to use tear gas on the protesters.

She said she asked police what route she should take, and they pointed her directly in line with the LRAD."

I feel that somewhere I should be able to find a community where people can actually read a few sentences AND COMPREHEND THEM before spouting their mouths.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 12, 2011 | 1:54 a.m.

So please parents, encourage your children to stay in school. If your children are having trouble with basic reading, consider hiring a tutor or spend a little time with them yourself. Send them to a private school if you can afford. You don't want them to be dragging your last name through the mud twenty years later, embarrassing you like this and burdening society with their incompetence.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks October 12, 2011 | 7:20 a.m.

We used the LRAD in training many years ago and loved them. Other then the high pitched sound it can also be used to broadcast the message and in numerous languages. The cool thing about them is the fact that they have pin point accuracy. You can isolate 2-3 people yet the people standing to the left or right can barely hear anything.
Depending on the distance the person is from the device determines the intensity. We never used it less then 75ft away from the targets. The times it was used against us in training if it got too high you just have to walk away.

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 12, 2011 | 9:46 a.m.

Paul pratice what you preach and read it again

She said she heard people talking about a protest at the G-20 summit that day and decided to watch from behind police lines..."

"I decided to go down there just to see what was going on," Piper said. "I was hoping just to get pictures and see what protesters' signs said.

sounds to me like she went past the lines ;)

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 12, 2011 | 9:52 a.m.

Does it make sense that they would put this thing outside police lines? Do you think they were using this on bystanders or protesters? Sometimes you have to use common sense Paul.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 12, 2011 | 10:10 a.m.

The imagination of Sally Willis vs the text of the article...

And I was really wondering where you had gotten your statement from...

"So there was a police barrier and she crossed it, also the police told them to disperse and she was still there."

Arguing with facts is one thing - statements quite another. But now I am confronted with the burden of having to argue with an imagination. Given the unpredictable nature of this element I am forced to concede that I will be soundly defeated and surrender unconditionally. At this point I formally urge the powers that be to appoint Sally Willis to the presidency with Sarah Palin as the vice president and Delcia Crockett as secretary of state. We should then abolish the department of education...

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 12, 2011 | 11:08 a.m.

Okay I think this is right. Again Paul do you really think this was set up behind police lines???????????????? Come on I know you're smarter than that! Or maybe you don't have any common sense. And I would rather not be in politics. I never claimed to know how to fix the damage that has been done by know it alls like you type A.

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 12, 2011 | 11:20 a.m.
This comment has been removed.
Paul Allaire October 12, 2011 | 11:35 a.m.

I'm glad you could find the right thread for your question.

[I knew you could.]

Do you remember me repeating this from the article you "read?"

"He added that police officers were among those who complained to doctors."

Given the above statement any other explanation presents much difficulty. And you don't want to doubt the accounts of the police. Do you?

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 12, 2011 | 11:38 a.m.
This comment has been removed.
Paul Allaire October 12, 2011 | 12:03 p.m.

Corey Parks illustrates the reason the device was likely used behind police lines...

"Depending on the distance the person is from the device determines the intensity. We never used it less then 75ft away from the targets."

"The cool thing about them is the fact that they have pin point accuracy. You can isolate 2-3 people yet the people standing to the left or right can barely hear anything."

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 12, 2011 | 12:09 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Ricky Gurley October 12, 2011 | 12:25 p.m.

Hmmm, where is the moderator now? Here Sally is attacking Paul with incidents from his past that have nothing to do with the topic at hand, and the moderator just let's that fly. Ohh Joy Mayer, FINE JOB!

I'll bet if I ran a few searches and put any "dirt" I found on Sally up here, the post would be deleted faster than I could hit the post button.....

WTF?

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 12, 2011 | 12:46 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Ricky Gurley October 12, 2011 | 1:04 p.m.

Everybody has "dirt", Sally... Take it from someone that "digs up dirt on people" for a living......

Who cares about what Paul did? He did not shout over a bullhorn directly into into someone's ear at close range, did he?

Maybe I have already started? Perhaps I'll look at "Carley Warley" too? I mean, if you want to "splash crap" to try to intimidate people on these forums, you should not be immune to having a little "splash" on you, should you? You remember the old saying, "you can dish it out, but you can't take it"? Perhaps I don't even have to participate at all, it's Paul's "fight"; so maybe I should do some research and send him an email?

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer October 12, 2011 | 1:08 p.m.

Ricky, I was actually in a discussion with Paul Allaire, who stopped by the newsroom. We had a fruitful talk about how our comments are moderated, and what should and shouldn't be allowed.

Paul, thanks for coming by.

— Joy Mayer, Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 12, 2011 | 1:15 p.m.

Do you think that hints at someone's criminal record for the purpose of intimidating them during a discussion that has nothing at all to do with their criminal record; should be allowed, Joy?

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer October 12, 2011 | 1:43 p.m.

Ricky, as I was saying to Paul today, I think determining what is relevant to a conversation is tricky business. And determining motive for bringing a fact into a conversation is even trickier.

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 12, 2011 | 1:51 p.m.

Ricky that's my point, Paul is so quick to say what EVERYONE else does wrong, much like yourself but he has made "mistakes" himself! No one is perfect so let's not be so quick to cast stones. Paul is so quick to point out anyone's errors (anyone who doesn't agree with or praise him). People should be allowed to voice an opinion without being belittled and bullied. So after all his dishing I just gave a little back!

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 12, 2011 | 1:59 p.m.

Surely you don't believe that there is a need to discuss a poster's criminal record on a thread regarding a lawsuit over hearing loss, do you? Especially when that poster is not the subject of the article that is being discussed?

Could you find any relevant reason for Sally to mention Paul's past incidents in their little discussion? Other than to try to intimidate him?

I am sure that Sally was not trying to put Paul's information out to the public so she could help him to get this all out so that it would become "old news" and nobody would mention it again, out of the pure goodness of her heart... That probably a pretty fair statement, isn't it Joy?

I mean you can sit there all day long and say "well, we don't know if posting that information might be relevant to the conversation"? But then, does that mean that I can start posting personal information about you or your family members if I can find something in your or their background that might have something to do with the topic at hand? I mean, there is a point in which you can use some common sense. Everyone here knows what Sally was doing.

If you are going to use the old "I can't read their mind, thus I don't know their intent" excuse to let content go through that SHOULD be moderated, then let me post a sig-line with a link to my webpage, since you can't tell if it is my intent to advertise or just convey to the general public who is really making a post on the forum. Or if I call someone "ignorant", let it stand since you can't determine if my intent is to call them "dumb" or to just say that I "don't think they have enough pertinent information to the topic at hand to make any kind of an informed and intelligent statement about the topic at hand".

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 12, 2011 | 2:37 p.m.

Okay Sally, that's fine.. I even understand what you did.. But do you think it really took this discussion in any direction other than a possible "mud slinging contest"?

I mean, here is the point.. Paul communicates in a way that can be offensive to some people. So do I.. But that does not mean we are actually TRYING to offend anyone. Not everyone communicates the same. I don't communicate any differently here than I do in real life. Just ask any of my friends. I am sure that Paul is not really TRYING to upset anyone either, having read his posts for years and observing the consistency in which he communicates in his posts; I am almost certain that this is just simply the way Paul communicates and I'd say he probably communicates much the same way in "real life".

Look, if you want to call some "ignorant", or say they "spell like a 6th grader", or call someone on here a "dipstick", or say that they don't know how to read properly; personally I am fine with that. But I don't see any reason to try to bring up their past "mistakes", or whatever you want to call them. Paul has paid for those mistakes.. Now Joy might want to moderate that type of communication, but I honestly don't see why? We or at least I hear people talking like this in real life everyday. And I personally believe that if this is the way a person really communicates then it is genuine and I have a problem with a moderator trying to stifle the way a person just naturally communicates. But, if the moderator wants to put us all in a "happy place", complete with people that say "yes sir" and "no mam", and "please" and "thank you", and "how are you today sir, what beautiful syntax you have there"; then let the moderator build that perfect little world here. Personally, I want to be in a place where the communication is real. Where people do get passionate about their arguments, where people do get "riled" every now and then, where there is some emotion in their posts; whether it be anger, sadness, or happiness. But there are limits, there is a difference in causing damage to a person's reputation by putting out unpleasant things from their past and calling someone "ignorant" or a "dipstick". One can cause a lot of damage, the other is just name calling that really amounts to nothing...

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 12, 2011 | 2:48 p.m.

Ricky, I agree that people should be passionate about their point of view but you can do that without personal attacks on someone else and or their point of views. We don't and won't agree about everything and that's okay. I just think maybe we should all be a little more respectful (myself included). I apologize.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 12, 2011 | 3:02 p.m.

I think when we discuss issues concerning Law Enforcement, it always gets a little "heated". There are usually two very bright lines that people line up behind in these topics. One is for the people that trust the Police and one is for the people that are just a bit skeptical of the Police. Now, I'll grant you that you can usually find some type of criminal background with the people that are skeptical of the Police, and that same background is not as prevalent with the people that trust the Police. But that is not any indicator at all that the Police are perfect.

There are some people that have never in their life had any contact with the Police, but that does not mean that they are wonderful people either. There always seems to be a pretty good "clash" between these two groups of people. I personally don't think that either group is "right or wrong", I don't think that this is a "right or wrong" issue. I think that this is just one of those situations where these people's attitudes are formed from their experiences with law Enforcement..

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 12, 2011 | 3:22 p.m.

Rick, I believe that Sally has no idea what mud she is wallowing into when she involves herself in the discussions involving the local politics. Nor do I believe that she can understand the difference between the silliness that I interject between my serious points in serious discussions and her recent underhanded attempts to intimidate me by slinging what was never anything but mud. Most likely the only way she would learn is to be directly on the receiving end of some of the dirty tactics that someone obviously pointed out to her for some obviously very pointed reasons. She has no idea how important the issue of overt gerrymandering is and has no regard for the depths to which people, some of who's actions she defends, will stoop to turn the outcome of the eventual decision in their favor. She cannot see how the players that we are familiar with are being used as pawns in a larger game. She also cannot understand how the issue on this thread sets a precedent regarding human rights and government accountability.
I don't really know how much more understanding the moderators have. I believe the object of much of the "communication" I have experienced recently is to convince me that the average person isn't really even worth taking up for and that I should just regard them like so much livestock, hopelessly imperiled, unaware of their situation, and dangerous if I get too close. There really is no tangible reward in working for the rights of that which is only going to arrive on someone's dinner plate at some point or other...

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 13, 2011 | 9:47 a.m.

John,

What do you think the moderator was doing there...?

Maybe she did not liuke you claling me a "Hi-Tech Detective"? LMAO!

I did not see any specific information mentioned about Sally, in either post....

"Ginger Lopez 2.0". The Columbia Missourian is starting to be The Columbia Tribune.

John, contact me privately for a lunch meeting, I have a few more people interested in joining us for lunch too.....

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 13, 2011 | 10:27 a.m.

Well Rick, ain't that a kicker? It was late at night and I don't recall the exact contents of our posts, but I don't think they met this criteria:

"Comments containing personal attacks; profanity; nudity; attacks on race, creed, or religion; or illegal material are prohibited."

Seems the October 12, 2011 | 12:09 p.m. comments in this thread is closer than what we said. Darn college kids...

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 13, 2011 | 1:11 p.m.

"Youngsters"..... LOL.

I think we have a good plan in place, though.. Let's just stick with it, and see what happens....

Ohh, Joy wrote me an email and said that another person there at the Missourian took my post down because they did not like my "tone"... Get that now, "the tone of my post"... What a laugh...

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 13, 2011 | 2:53 p.m.

@ Rick Gurley, John Schultz and Paul Allaire:

As I recall there were some remarks in the now missing posts concerning whether or not one person might be posting under two or more names.

I've previously posted that in my opinion this is probably happening, although I doubt many are doing it. I'd guess maybe just one person.

Apparently doing so wouldn't be a breach of current Missourian rules. On the other hand, WHY (for what reasons) would a person do it?

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 13, 2011 | 4:33 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Ricky Gurley October 13, 2011 | 5:09 p.m.

See Ellis,

Now the moderator is removing comments because they bring out legitimate issues that are embarrassing to the moderators.... LMAO!

Just make the lunch next week, Ellis..

(Report Comment)
Ed Ricciotti October 13, 2011 | 5:22 p.m.

Looks like the moderator is troll hunting and there's plenty of game in this town :)

(Report Comment)
Frank Michael Russell October 13, 2011 | 5:30 p.m.

@Ellis,

It is Missourian policy that a commenter must post under his or her real name: "All Columbia Missourian publications are committed to a policy of transparency and openness. In that spirit, your first and last name will be attached to each post you make. You may note that this is consistent with our policy on using anonymous sources in our news stories: An anonymous source may only be used in the rare cases and only with the approval of a top editor. Comments are like letters to the editor in print; they’re published and stay in the Missourian’s digital archives. The Missourian does not remove them upon request." I hope this helps clarify the question of whether our policy allows a commenter to post under two or more names. A discussion of whether someone is posting under more than one name would violate our comment policy if it involved a personal attack on that person. Numerous editors at the Missourian help moderate comments, and we appreciate the opportunity to provide our online readers a forum for civil discussion.

Regards,
Frank Russell
Columbia Missourian news editor

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 13, 2011 | 5:36 p.m.

Or the Moderator is just a "Dipstick" that is about 12 years old and does not know how to moderator a forum.... Take your pick...

Ohh, delete that...

(Report Comment)
Tom Warhover October 13, 2011 | 5:44 p.m.

I'll address some of these questions and complaints in a Dear Reader letter in the next few days.

Tom Warhover
Executive Editor
(aka chief dipstick)

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 13, 2011 | 6:02 p.m.

Post one (1) To Tom Warhover

Probably won't have to, Tom.. I happen to know that there is a small group of people that would like to make an appointment to talk to you sometime next week...

Do you remember this email from 04/29/09 Tom:

"This policy borders on being titled "crap"!

The people that "need their mommies", are the ones that have to report others for saying things that they don't like and in turn interpret as a "personal attack". In the real world, if you walk into a convenience store and someone walks up to you and calls you some names, you don't get the kind of "shielding" from that you are getting here. You have to make a choice as an adult, ignore them, argue with them, or punch them. The wise thing to do would be to ignore them; and that is what a mature adult would be expected to do under our current legal system.

This is a board for discussion, people are going to get passionate about making their point. Things are going to be posted that may be harsh or rude. And all this policy does is coddle to those that are so sensitive that they would rather use more energy reporting the things they don't want to see posted than just ignoring them. It takes more time and considerably more effort o report a post than to just ignore it.

I had this discussion with Jake Sherlock a while back, and he seemed to believe his job was to coddle the "sensitive babies" that could not make the mature decision to ignore posts that seemed to "attack" them. And I point out how ironic it is that a Newspaper that would file lawsuits, gripe, complain, and publicize any attempt for the government to impede on it's right to free speech and a free press, would stifle free speech from it's own community, on it's forum.

It is not the popular speech that everyone likes and can agree with that needs protecting, it is the offensive speech that people take issue with and offense to that needs protecting; because that is the very concept of what free speech is.

For those that would stifle free speech, in my personal opinion, you are just a bunch of Nazis that have no concept whatsoever as to what it means to live in a country that grants more freedoms than any other country in the world. And I for one, hope that in regards to this issue, what comes around goes around!

Rick."

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 13, 2011 | 6:04 p.m.

Post two (2) To Tom Warhover

And your response Tom:

"Hi Rick,

Thanks for your note. I actually agree with much of what you say. It’s not something I take lightly. That said, the policy has been in place for quite a while, and so the column was intended to remind people and let them know we intend to enforce it.

I hope we’ll continue to allow comments that a few people still consider personal attack, because I know my definition and someone else’s won’t be the same. For instance, many — perhaps most -- people would consider it offensive when you right “you are just a bunch of Nazis”. I’ve certainly never been called a Nazi until now. I’m not offended though.

I guess what I’m saying is that my intent is not to make everything vanilla. It is, however, to encourage a bigger tent of people.

I know you don’t agree. I still appreciate your views.

Tom"

So, why "back-peddle" now? Something to think about.....

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 13, 2011 | 6:22 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Ricky Gurley October 13, 2011 | 7:21 p.m.

Great! And now come the spammers!Between the heavy handed moderation and the spammers, this forum is going to be a "wonderfully, delightful" place to post on...

It does seem though, that heavy moderation usually seems to correspond with heavy spam.... I have seen it on tese forum for years now... Probably someone that does not like the heavy handed moderation...

But before anyone goes to making unfounded accusations, it is NOT me... I HATE spammers. But... if it is someone spamming the forum because they think that the forum is being "over-moderated"; I just gotta say I can see the humor in it....

(Report Comment)

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