Equal opportunity, please
To the Editor:
I'm grateful for the aggressive and professional pursuit of drug abuse and trafficking in our county.
The local law enforcement units and judiciary are to be commended for their commitment to curtail and punish this destructive activity.
I appreciate the efforts of The Brazil Times to provide coverage of the successes our county has in this local war on drugs. This coverage sends the message that there are consequences for ill-thought choices that people make when it comes to drug usage and all the illegal activities associated with it.
I acknowledge that posting photographs of those arrested and/or convicted in drug abuse cases might have a deterrent effect. To that end, I'm supportive of the display of offender photos. If those catch the attention of a young reader (or otherwise) who goes on to read the article and gets the message that drug use has devastating consequences, that's newspaper space used wisely.
I'm a big believer in equal opportunity and am grateful for the outstanding achievements that many people in our county have attained. I also appreciate the press coverage of these successes. This coverage also sends the message that there are wonderful consequences for wise choices that people make when it comes to career choices and thoughtful decisions in life. If photos of those people catch the attention of a young reader (or otherwise) who goes on to read that article and gets the message that pursuing excellence in life has enriching outcomes, that's newspaper space used wisely.
Recently, online readers were given the opportunity to see and read about an individual who made bad decisions about drugs and suffered for it. This individual's front-page, large online photo, complete with orange "jail wear," no double caught the attention of many readers. We were also given the opportunity to see and read about an individual who has made well-thought decisions about life and his career who is enjoying recognition for those actions. This individual's front-page smaller online photo may not have caught the attention of many readers. In fact, to get the "rest of the story" about his accomplishments, you needed to "click" and go to a secondary page. I hope young readers did that.
I hope young readers (or otherwise) were drawn to both photos and read both stories. I hope young readers saw and comprehended the big differences. I hope young readers reached the wise conclusion that "I want to have my picture on the front page of the newspaper some day ... and I'm gonna make sure it's there because of good things about me and my life, like Harold House, and not like the 'drug guy.'"
Thanks for giving readers those opportunities. I just wish they'd been more equal.