When Facebook first came out I loved it. It gave me a chance to catch up with old friends and colleagues. Now it’s become a place for hatefulness (and, unfortunately, often from those same friends and colleagues).
In the last week or so I was irked by posts from two local people – people who have in the past professed their love for Diboll. But, now, seem to want to lash out with half-truths and exaggerations.
One person posted a photo of a Lufkin Daily News story about the City of Diboll investigating misconduct allegations: “What is going on with the City of Diboll? Withholding names? Seems like they threw (name withheld … why get it out there again?) name out in a heartbeat when they were wanting to get rid of him. Must be someone at the top trying to keep this covered up!” He followed that with a comment: “Attitude & Morals (or lack of) reflects leadership! … Corruption breeds corruption!”
Don’t get me wrong. I applaud those who keep up with government goings-on and who hold leaders to the highest of standards. But, there’s a way to do it that’s more constructive. The Free Press published an announcement in the June 16 edition at the beginning of the City of Diboll’s investigation into this matter via independent investigator:
“FYI: It was confirmed by various sources that a City of Diboll employee(s) has filed a harassment complaint against the city manager. The Diboll Free Press will keep tabs on this story until City Council concludes its investigation. At that point we will publish the findings.
“City government is a tax-payer funded entity, therefore subject to higher scrutiny that private entities.
“We hope for a quick and fair resolution for everyone involved.”
That hope for a quick and fair resolution includes both the accusor and the accused. All names and details allowed by the Freedom of Information statutes will be publicized. And, if the result still seems hinky, then we will ask more questions and encourage all concerned citiizens to ask questions as well — whether on Facebook; via letters to the editor; or, at a City Council meeting.
But, let’s do it with a little decorum that the seriousness of the issue deserves.
The other post that really got to me was:
“Well I know there is a lot of anti-christ (sic) going on in the world right now but I didn’t think I would experience it in our close knit community of Diboll. It appears our 15U softball fundraiser shirt that includes a scripture has offended some folks in our community. Well all I have to say about that is let’s fill this community with these shirts, come out and support the-se girls and see the non supporters of our athletes stick out in the crowd like a sore thumb. There is a not so special place for non believers and I am proud to say, I will not be meeting you …”
This post was in response to city staff being cautious about Bible verses on items representing the city – following the nationwide uproar over our suggested police uniform patch that had a bible verse on it. It was recommended – to avoid potential costly lawsuits – that we change the patch. The shirts the city-sponsored softballers were going to sell at the city softball park had a Bible scripture on it.
A solution was found at a meeting before the tournament and before the post accusing some people of being “anti-Christ.” A church would have a booth at the tournament and sell the shirts and donate the money back to the team. Problem solved. No need to ruffle feathers with an accusatory post that just wasn’t true.
Again, I’m not advocating for concerned people to not post on Facebook and elsewhere their opinions about city decisions; but, there’s a better, more ethical way to do it. What would have been wrong with something like: “The city would not allow the softball team to sell shirts with a Bible verse on it, so a church has generously volunteered to sell them for us. See you at the games and lets show the other teams our love for Christ!”
Some of you may ask, “Why is he picking on these two people’s impassioned Facebook posts?”
Well, I thought that over the last week they would rethink their diatribes and pull their posts. But, they didn’t. So, they’re out there. I’m just writing my impassioned response in the paper instead of on Facebook.
Richard Nelson has been editor of the paper since 2009 and publisher/owner since 2011. He can be reached by phone at 936-829-3313 or by email to