The public arena should be a “sacred place” to share ideas and opinions, however, when people cross this line and attack opinions of others “with undue confidence and unsubstantiated opinion” the sacredness disappears. I read the article “Mother accused of killing 2-year-old wanted keepsake photos of child, photographer says” written on 3/29/16 in The Fayetteville Observer. This article is about a controversial situation going on in my town. A mother and father were recently arrested and charged with first degree murder of their 2 year old toddler. This topic in itself is very upsetting. It’s hard to wrap my head around the idea that this can happen right in my “backyard”. This particular article was about the mother getting angel pictures done of her deceased baby. The photographer at the time had no idea of the situation, so she was glad to do the pictures for the mother. Later to find out that the mother was doing this to create a false sense of “innocence”. She wanted to look like a grieving mother to perhaps fool everyone.
In the comment section of this article, there are many opinions on this situation. Many hope she “rots in hell” and “gets the death penalty”, but there is one who states “what happened to ‘innocent until proven guilty?’” The voices that are missing in this discussion are the people actually involved. Also, what about the voice of the photographer? We might know more of the situation if the photographer could voice the exchange she had with the mother to the public. As you can probably guess, the comments are emotionally charged. The killing of the baby isn’t something taken lightly by most people. These emotionally charged thoughts turn into emotionally charged opinions. There is no support to back up what they are saying. While this particular case is already viewed as a murder, there are others where it may not be as it seems. The public arena has its opinions on everything. Saying things without support takes away the sacredness of the public arena. Yes, we want diverse ideas and persons, but without support it is not worthy.
In many cases, I feel that an informed moderator could enhance the dialogue on public commenting sites. This would allow for richer discussion, rather than the rattling off of unsupported ideas and opinions. Having someone on the “inside” could help move the conversation along with a strong understanding and a chance to teach the public about what truly is going on.