Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Power of Words Saturday, Nov. 24, 2007

I'm not talking abracadabra, but effective communication.

Free speech has been replaced by responsible speech: You don't yell 'FIRE' in a crowded place, nor should you call out a simple greeting to your friend John in the airport, 'HI JACK!'

Ripped from the headlines, as many crime/detective etc. shows and books claim, many unthinking (to be charitable) and deliberately cruel examples show up all the time.

How many times do perpetrators say to the victims or witnesses, 'Tell anyone and I'll kill them, then I'll come after you.' Messages of retribution are left in the guise of body parts or dead pets.

Talk shows are notorious for pitting neighbor vs. neighbor, or exploiting internecine family agnst for ratings. Murders have occurred, notably after the Jenny Jones show of a few years ago in which a man was brought on as the object of affection by a secret admirer--another man--to his shock. The reaction some time later came as a gunshot from the one loved to the one he had no interest in whatsoever. Recently, another revelation on a makeover show had the shamed and humiliated recipient killing herself.

A new Megan's law is trying to stop cyber-bullying but it doesn't work retroactively. In 2006, a 13 year old girl named Megan was on medication for manic-depression. She had a falling out with a girlfriend down the street whom she'd known for years. The mother of the friend went on line acting as a teen boy 'Josh', saying nice things for weeks then slamming Megan saying 'the world would be better off if she was dead.' Less than an hour after that text message, Megan had indeed killed herself. The world is not better off.

Is this woman who pretended to be Josh guilty of murder? Or merely an accessory? Deliberately causing emotional damage knowing the unstable nature of the recipient--is this a crime or an 'unfortunate series of events'. The communication was effective. The message was clear.

Words do indeed have power.


Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed your essay on the power of words.

auria cortes said...

"You don't yell 'FIRE' in a crowded place, nor should you call out a simple greeting to your friend John in the airport, 'HI JACK!'"

We can totally be friends.

SAAM said...

I think she is guilty, for sure!