Wednesday, June 17, 2009


While going through the 600 bulletins on the Bulletin Board (BB) at (an online community) early this morning, I came across a notice to report and ban a member because "he's a sick f**k" and to look at his profile was "not for the faint of heart." Considering myself quite stoic and strong-willed, I clicked on the link in the bulletin to see what was so controversial.
This member has posted a picture of a dead (and mutilated) soldier as his profile picture. He has also posted many more graphic images of mutilation and acts of war. These are ugly and profound. I am conflicted in how I feel about his right to express his opinion in a public forum and the sensitivity of exposing the public to such graphic images without a warning (other than the person who posted the link on the BB). I expressed this conflict in my statement of the day: "Lark the Shark (Mafia Wars) is conflicted over the outrage on the BB. A member has posted pics of the horror of war. Free speech is what our troops are fighting for over there."
I prepared myself for a flood of venom directed towards me, but so far I've only gotten this email conversation, much to my pleasant surprise:
K: I think there is a diff between freedom of speech and disrespect. The pics he has on there are horrible. I understand freedom of speech, but I just really have a problem just plastering pics of a dead soldier.
Mass public opinion will ban him from the sight. Those that rally the support will fight him until he gives up and goes somewhere else to express his opinion (or cause outrage). And it is my opinion that the US government disrespects us in not giving us the truth. With the media's support, we are manipulated and lied to all the time. I saw it and now I choose not to ever look at his profile again. Not to give him validation. Not to engage him. All that does is fuel his need for attention and controversy. He does have the right to express his opinion on a public forum, no matter how much I object. I certainly don't want to see his pictures. I'm a visual artist and anything I SEE is in my brain forever. But there is no denying that while I object to war, I can still support our troops being over there and doing whatever it takes to secure our freedoms here. There are always atrocities in war. No one escapes blame. But our country is based on the freedom to disagree, to have an opinion opposite of the popular, and to demand accountability (whether we get it or not). There should be some kind of a warning, if he invites someone to his site. This should be put in place by the site managers. When you get to his page, it should say that there is graphic material, just as it should say for some of the profiles that have pornographic images in their comments and tags. But someone performing a sexual act is not filtered any more than the picture of the dead soldier. I am in conflict.
K: You make some very good points. I wish I hadn't seen what I did. I keep seeing it over and over in my head. I am purely disgusted by it. but you are right. He has the right but I still clicked report profile. Thank you for sharing your views on this. You helped me see this in a diff light.
Thank you for being an intelligent, open-minded person. I am sometimes afraid to take a stand because of all the extremists out there. It's scary to have an opinion that doesn't march with the crowd. We don't want to see the ugly side of life, the cruel, the grotesque...if war is softened and presented as righteous...when will it ever stop? Have you ever seen the pictures from the Nazi concentration camps? I was in 8th grade when I saw a documentary on it. THOSE images are still in my head, just as if I saw them today. Just because I don't want to look at it, doesn't mean it's not there.
K: That is very true. We as a society have become very desensitized and it's sad. I don't want to become callous to the horrors that happen. But I also don't want to just turn my cheek at it either. Activisim is something I feel very strongly about, I just have never taken a political stand. It's always been for the animals.
I have thoroughly enjoyed our conversation.
Thank you!

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