Give Us Your Name, We Are Glad To Listen

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In my more than two decades of sports reporting at the Payson Roundup I have received hundreds of anonymous complaints, tips and queries.

Because they are anonymous I usually pay little attention to them.

I've always figured if a reader didn't have the guts to sign or say his or her name, there's not much use in giving credence to the bone they have to pick.

Also, I don't have much respect for those who write, e-mail or call anonymously.

My disdain for the anonymous letters, e-mails and calls is why I also loathe those "harangue and babble" columns we see in some publications.

I think those type of entries should be called "Coward's Corner."

There simply is no place for "perorate and bluster" columns in responsible community newspapers. I believe, those who publish and write those types of entries violate most of the Seven Pillars of Character -- Honest, Respect, Caring, Fairness, Citizenship, Courage and Responsibility -- that are heavily stressed in our public schools.

In teaching responsibility in the middle school classroom, students are asked to own up to their own actions and to show strength through courage.

Is writing and publishing an anonymous piece of blubber living up to "responsibility?" I think not.

Lesson 8 of Character Counts, which is about citizenship, teaches teenagers to "be on the up and up" or duty.

Is writing and printing anonymous dribble that could harm someone's reputation and well-being, on "the up and up?" Again, I think not.

Some defend anonymous charges and "blow and bluster" columns by saying the authors could suffer consequences for what they said or wrote.

That's balderdash; sheer rubbish.

Don't we also teach in public schools that suffering consequences for our actions is a first step in learning and gaining some type of righteousness?

A sound advice teachers and coaches often give teens is that if a action is not worth suffering the consequences for, it was not worth doing.

I can remember early in my teaching and coaching career a teenage boy telling me he was going to punch out a classmate after after school.

It seems, my student had been continually bullied on his way home from school and he was fed up.

Teachers, counselors, parents and the SRO had done their best to intervene with the bully, but it was to no avail. Now I realize the bully simply thrived on intimidation and torment, especially on those smaller and weaker than he.

I was convinced my student was going to throw the threatened punch no matter what I or other adults did.

So, I asked him if he was ready to suffer the consequences of any blow he threw.

I explained what the consequences could be --suspension from school, possible injury to the other boy and police charges.

He answered, "Yes."

Sure enough, the next day after school he cold-cocked the bully with one well-thrown upper cut.

True to his word, he stepped forward to suffer the consequences from the school and his parents.

Thankfully, the police were never involved.

While neither I or any other teacher or coach condones violence, most of us in the school's faculty believed the boy's commitment to suffering the consequences of his act was admirable.

It seems that those who cower behind excuses of possible "retribution" could learn a good deal from that boy.

The reason for this column is three anonymous calls I received this week from those who would not give their names.

Those so-called tips were simply attempts to discredit some one in the community who actually had done nothing wrong, discreditable, illegal or immoral.

So, while all Roundup reporters and I certainly appreciate feedback from readers, we are not a journal for a disgruntled few to air their gripes behind a false veil of anonymity.

Give us your name, and we'll be glad to listen.

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