I try not to make the news about me, I just report it.
But honesty compels me to write this.
Sometimes, HOW I report it is relevant. I've had several people ask me why I was so strident in my refusal to write a recent story without police confirmation. I was accused of trying to be morally superior (I DO try to do that, but I always miss the mark, lol). I was accused of a lot of other things, too, all of them too stupid to speak of here. But I do think the morally superior one is worthy of response, it's a fair interpretation.
I didn't take that stance because I think I'm better than anyone. I took that stance because I once got it wrong.
Badly wrong. Hideously wrong.
I very deeply hurt a local family who was already in a lot of pain. I kicked them when they were down.
I didn't mean to, I honestly thought I was doing right, thinking about hundreds of frightened parents, and not thinking about how their fear would be alleviated in a matter of moments, or maybe hours, when their kids came home and were fine and well … while the pain of the family of the child who was gone will last forever.
It was easily the worst mistake of my career - and I have made many. And I'm not going to bring up names because they know exactly who they are, and if they see this, I hope they recognize themselves, but if they don't, I'm sure as hell not going to ask them to relive the hurt I caused them.
We blithely throw things out there on the Internet and rarely think about the consequences.
Don't be like I was.
I think about that family almost every day. I writhe in shame for what I did on a regular basis. I hurt over what I did. And I have to sit with that every day, for the rest of my life. There is literally no taking that back. And it's still NOTHING compared to the pain I caused that family, and what THEY live with. Every day. For the rest of their lives.
A five-second post may not seem like much, but it can change so many lives.
I'm not lecturing or telling anyone else what to do, except on my page. I'm just honouring the lessons life has offered me, and sharing them, and setting boundaries that respect those lessons.
Yes, I was pretty furious when I wrote the post demanding people on my page stop asking me to be someone other than who I am, and provide info-tainment at the expense of people I care about. But all I was really doing was setting a boundary, and making sure I never in life make that mistake again.
I don't expect anyone to learn from my mistakes except me. I DID learn. So now I do things differently.
And THAT'S why I'm so strident about it.