July 30, 2014

COLUMN: Social media paints ugly picture of Gardner

Danedri Thompson

Columnist

I grew up in Gardner. With brief stops in other communities to work for newspapers, airlines and attend college, this has been my life-long home. I’m married to another Gardner kid, and we chose to make our lives here.

But, had I not married a person likewise attached to this community, I don’t think I would choose to call this place home – at least not lately – and the problem stems largely from Facebook.

Social media is a wonderful tool, but many in this community have turned it into a weapon that is threatening to bar the doors against kind and decent people moving here.

I am not a member of the local, community Facebook page, because reading it literally ruins my day. Although it started out as an informative page, as its grown it has digressed to a myriad of complaints, advertisements and spiteful comments.

When the people created the page several years ago, I’m certain they never intended to create such a hostile place, but that’s how it evolved.
I had hope for this page; I’d already watched horrified as the local newspaper’s website wastaken over by internet trolls extolling anonymous venom.
I hoped that, with their names attached, civility might rein on a local Facebook page.

And then I watched as the inane and sarcastic comments inched past; and for the longest time, I thought I was the only one amazed at the rude commentary and personal jabs.

But nope. The other day, a high school friend no longer living in town posted on her Facebook page that she used to miss living in Gardner until she started regularly visiting the local page. She wrote that site is full of mean “bullies.” Another friend commented that she’s glad those people aren’t her neighbors.

I agree.

Last weekend, I had a bad bagger at the local grocery. He was not paying attention. He came within inches of putting another person’s groceries in my shopping bag.

I joked with a friend that I should’ve taken a picture and posted it to that Facebook page to serve as a warning for others. The key word there is “joked.”
Unfortunately, others don’t just joke about it privately. That page has showcased the bashing of  a local Sonic carhop’s service, disparaged local restaurant owners for their food, chastised Casey’s employees, displayed pictures of teenagers acting unruly in a local park, disparaged a local daycare provider and publicly denigrated homeowners for not properly edging their lawns. Some of the comments border on libel. While here may be a place for reviewing a local restaurant or telling a misbehaving teenager they are out of line, a public Facebook page isn’t that place, especially when many of the page’s regulars hope to attract new residents and businesses to this community.

It’s so very tacky.

It’s one thing to have a discussion with your own friends, but to have it in a public place where your rude comments are likely to reach and offend the other party or worse, their family and friends, is disgraceful.

It appears that the page’s original creators are attempting to clean it up by limiting negative comments about private individuals. It’s a start, but the damage may have already been done. What a shame.

When posters on the page attempt to go the other way, by, for example, organizing food drives for the food pantry or a benefit for someone in need, it turns into a page of self-aggrandizing. I was always taught that when giving to the needy, do so in a way that the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. Hat tip, Matthew 6:3.

I don’t blame Facebook or the page’s creators. Sadly, a lot of the comments reflect the lack of civility in a culture that glorifies snarky humor, rude behavior and narcissism.

I don’t begrudge anyone wanting to know what’s going on in town or asking questions about how things work. But I do begrudge the people who are publicly making this town look like a bunch of bullies on an elementary school playground.

Next week, the Facebook group will gather for its first annual picnic. It’s easy to dash off a sarcastic comment at arm’s length from a keyboard, but more difficult when you realize that Facebook contributor is a fast food worker, business owner, clerk or neighbor.

Social media is an important part of our culture, but so is civility.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    I have told person after person to NOT move to Gardner and I will continue to do so……..especially now that we have a state representative and others turning the community into a gun culture community and across the state of Kansas. Then on top of that Gardner has one of the highest taxed cities and highest school taxes in the whole state. And you would be living in the intermodal hellhole while paying all of the costs that many of the thieves do not want to pay and they don’t pay their taxes and assessments either or only a small portion of either. Already the Russell Family in the first year of their benefit district assessment is delinquent in paying their taxes, at least when I checked last week, and assessments on several properties. And this is happening on other benefit districts that the city has approved along with the slimy “farm” appraisals these lowlifes apply for and get such as Simmons First National Bank out of Arkansas who got their taxes reduced from over $5,000 a year to $3.08 on property at 115 N. Moonlight by getting their “farm” appraisal from the County and you have many other banks, savings and loan associations, builders, developers, investors and the list goes on and on of those doing the same thing. These lowlifes want the citizens to bankroll them for all of their development needs and putting the citizens at great risk of having to pay for those bonds that they don’t pay for and in the process connive and manipulate to lower their tax bills to a low amount such as $3.08. This kind of financial rape has been going on for years now and the citizens keep voting in candidates that are no more protective of the citizens than a man in the moon. These citizens are much more concerned where they are going to eat their fast/fat food that particular day or how they can get their permit to kill and they have a state representative to tell them how and probably hold their hand while going thru the process – amazing what some people will do to get a vote.

    Many, many, many reasons why I could not recommend a person to move to Gardner – City of Promise – Promise You Will Want To Leave.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/17424-do-walmart-target-and-home-depot-hurt-the-economy

    You won’t and haven’t been getting this kind of protection here in Gardner nor across the state of Kansas – the worthless politicians and bureaucrats don’t work for you, the citizen – they are too busy setting up gun culture communities and taking care of the thieves. And the citizens have been enabling and supporting these jaybirds and thieves so they have no one but themselves to blame for loss of jobs, higher taxes, sickening pollution, unsafe conditions, guns everywhere you look and many, many other adverse affects.

  3. Judith Rogers…you are part of the problem as well. You are very hateful and condescending as well as a bully. You have something negative to say about anything. Doesn’t matter what its about. Maybe you need to take a step back and relax and stop your hateful remarks about our town. If you don’t like it then move.

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    I talk about issues that are important to me and many other citizens. I provide you with facts to back up my opinions time and time again. Many citizens don’t want to hear the truth or be held accountable and then start their slamming on me because they don’t like what I have to say. It’s okay – I am used to it, however, your statements about me won’t stop me from commenting. I especially like how 99% of the people who make detrimental comments about me do so anonymously and won’t take ownership of their comments – why should I worry about people of that low integrity level?

  5. Judith Rogers says:

    P.S. I definitely would move if I had the funds to do so, however, if I did move, I would still be commenting about what goes on in Gardner and across Kansas and the U.S. because my comments are about very important issues.

  6. Judith Rogers says:

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/17424-do-walmart-target-and-home-depot-hurt-the-economy

    You won’t be finding this type of intelligence or protection of citizens here in Gardner or the state of Kansas. Our politicians and bureaucrats are RUNNING AFTER the thieves who bring such hurt to communities.

    Think that Zimmer deal or other Gardner deals with the thieves will be or are beneficial to citizens – if you think so, then I believe you are a FOOL.

  7. jthall1990 says:

    Judith, I appreciate your passion and what you have to say and also the fact that you use facts but I don’t appreciate how hateful you are. People might take what you have to say more seriously if you weren’t so hateful. You might want to think about that.

    As far as the ‘gun culture’ you deride so much is concerned you might want to remember that it is our constitutional right to own guns and if you don’t like guns then don’t own one but leave the rest of us alone.

    Sincerely,
    Theresa Hall

  8. Judith Rogers says:

    I will not sit back and keep my mouth shut as I watch the whole state become one gun culture community after another due to cult followers who are exhibiting ignorance, fear and regression and it is even worse to me when the slimy politicians are bringing this about by their actions. Why in the world would I want to keep my mouth shut about that issue and I certainly don’t care to leave the issue alone. If your kids are doing something that you feel is very dangerous and/or wrong, do you just keep your mouth shut about it and leave them alone? Only irresponsible citizens do something of that nature, however, we see that done more and more in today’s world and why we have huge problems one right after another and the citizens have brought the problems on themselves by keeping their mouths shut and who turn their heads from the wrongdoing. Moral corruption extends far and wide and the price is high because of it.

  9. Margaret Drovetta says:

    I could have told you this a long time ago . . . . way before the Facebook page was created. Hateful comments hurt more than just the person they are aimed towards.

    Let’s try to get back to what we learned as children: Matthew 22:35-40

    Gardner IS a great, great place to call home.

    Sincerely,
    Margaret Drovetta

  10. Judith Rogers says:

    Well, Margaret, as the wife of the previous Mayor, your comments are not surprising. However, I continue to believe Gardner is not a great, great place to call home and a lot of that is due to the words, actions, inaction and voting records of your husband, Dave Drovetta and other politicians and bureaucrats.

    I do not hate the sinner but I certainly hate the words, actions, inaction and voting records of many sinners and myself, I will speak out about important issues that affect me.

    Here is what Matthew 22:35-40 says:

    Matthew 25:35-40 (New International Version)

    35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    I have found the big problem with your husband, in my opinion, was that he was and is known for his helping the thieves and himself rather than “the least of these brothers and sisters”. I had and still have a big problem with what motivates your husband, Margaret and I don’t say that for any other reason than that is how I feel and think.

    God will be judging Dave’s legacy – not me, however, I will be living and suffering the adverse affects of his and other politicians’ and bureaucrats’ legacy – that is my opinion.

  11. jthall1990 says:

    Exactly what cult are gun owners following? I am a 51 year old woman who believes that the Constitution gives me the right to own and carry firearms. So I guess that might make me a cult follower of the Constitution, if so, then guilty as charged. And I don’t know any irresponsible gun owners and as far as my family goes my husband and I took gun safety courses when we were young and our children also have taken those courses. We have taught our children from a very early age how to properly handle and take care of a gun. The only people who are afraid of guns are those who have not been trained on how to use one. Guns do not kill people, Judith, people kill people. The gun is only a tool in the hands of the killer just as knives, crowbars, hammers, rope, etc would be.

  12. Judith Rogers says:

    Guns do kill people right along with the people pulling the trigger………you create gun culture communities where everybody and his dog has a gun strapped to their body, then you are asking for big trouble in my opinion………you have more enlisted service people dying from suicides than from being in active service in Ahfganistan and most of those deaths are from guns of one kind or another. I certainly don’t feel more safe with a bunch of vigilante people out there with their guns, especially when they have not had extensive psychiatric testing before giving them a permit to kill. I believe more guns on the street do not make me more safe and I certainly would never like for my kids to see me strapping on a gun from the time I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night and then sleeping with a gun.

    Mayor Sly James is certainly trying desperately to do something about guns in Kansas City which is so needed but the Republicans are certainly turning a deaf ear to him in the state of Missouri and that is because most of them, like here in Kansas, are creating MORE gun culture communities rather than less.

  13. Judith Rogers says:

    Glad to see they are staying on these slimeballs’ rearends…………..

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-bell-trial-councilman-20130522,0,2309937.story

  14. Judith Rogers says:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bell-assessed-illegal-sewer-fees-09032010-m,0,1606148.story

    This article is a couple of years old but clearly shows why you keep track of what your City Hall is doing or not doing. Citizens in Gardner have not been doing their jobs for years now and consequently they do live in a city with one of the highest city taxes in the whole County while the thieves are smiling on the way to the bank. Cronyism government is never a winner for average citizens.

  15. Chris Shaw says:

    I am having trouble understanding a “Gun Culture Community”? Is that a specific city or community? Is it local, regional, and or national? Does a community then become a “Gun Culture Community” after having an incident(s)? Once a “Gun Culture Community” is identified is it possible to then not become a “Gun Culture Community”?

    Are there specific communities in the State of Kansas that have this moniker attached to their name? If so, I am definitely interested in the rise and percentages of these new and prospering communities popping up throughout Kansas.

    I just hope I never have to be involved or live within a “Driving Culture Community” because I heard their numbers are astronomical and catastrophic.

  16. Judith Rogers says:

    Mr. Shaw: As if you didn’t know, listen and review the words, actions and voting records of your politicians not only on the state level but also on the city levels across the state of Kansas to know how gun culture communities come about and are enabled and supported. But wait, that would take some time and effort for a citizen which so many don’t care to involve themselves in – just give them their concealed carry permit to kill and they are happy as larks and they get to become part of the newly adored vigilantes ………we will see out that works out for them and the politicians and the peace loving citizens…………….

  17. jthall1990 says:

    Judith, do you know how paranoid you sound? And if guns kill people, then you will have to outlaw all other types of weapons that are used to kill people too such as knives, hammers, crowbars, ropes, baseball bats, etc, etc, etc……….Maybe you should read the following article:

    :http://www.top10stop.com/lifestyle/top-10-most-common-murder-weapons (and be sure to watch the video of people who live in Australia who have had their guns confiscated by their government!)

    And also you might want to keep in mind that people who use guns to commit crimes or kill people usually have stolen said guns or bought them illegally!

  18. Judith Rogers says:

    I have heard the NRA propaganda time and time again………I still do not want everybody and his dog with a permit to kill walking around a community with a gun strapped to their body………not to my liking……….and there are many politicians and citizens who can’t turn their communities into gun culture communities fast enough………..see how that works out for you………….unlimited guns of all kinds, unlimited ammunition, etc., etc. You live by the sword and you will die by the sword.

  19. Judith Rogers says:

    Gun culture communities aren’t enough for Brownback and his slimy cronies – they have added more to the mix…………….

    Politics
    New Kansas law legalizes more kinds of knives
    July 28

    TOPEKA — Kansas residents may now carry switchblades, daggers and other types of knives in most public places without fear of arrest under a new law that a lobbying group says makes Kansas one of the nation’s blade-friendliest states.

    Legislation lifting the state’s prohibition on several types of knives was signed by Gov. Sam Brownback in April and took effect July 1. The Senate approved it 40-0 after it was amended to clarify that school districts, jails and juvenile detention facilities could keep their bans in place. The House passed it 95-26.

    The driving force was a national group called Knife Rights, which contends the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear bladed instruments as well as firearms.

    Knife Rights lobbyist Todd Rathner, who traveled to Topeka to speak for House Bill 2033, praised the Kansas law’s prohibition on enforcement by local governments of any type of knife ordinance.

    “In terms of knife law, Kansas is darn near perfect now,” Rathner said.

    According to Knife Rights, Kansas joined Arizona, Utah, New Hampshire, Georgia, Alaska and Tennessee as states that have enacted such “pre-emption” statutes preventing regulation of knives.

    “In some places it’s an incremental task,” Rathner said of promoting the right to carry any type of knife. “In other places like Kansas we can accomplish a lot more in a single legislative session.”

    The Kansas Association of Police Chiefs testified against the bill. Rathner said that should not concern the public because he has heard from law enforcement officers anecdotally that kitchen knives are more often used in crimes than the types that were previously banned.

    Opposition in the Kansas House came partly from lawmakers reluctant to remove local authority to regulate knives.

    “I think when we say local control is important we should vote that way and that just isn’t happening very often,” said Rep. Annie Tietze, a Democrat from Topeka.

    Other House Democrats cited safety issues. Jim Ward, a former Wichita prosecutor, said switchblades were banned decades ago because they were used mostly by gangs and criminals. Ward said the potential for harm from the weapons outweighs any good from legalizing them.

    But proponents said switchblades can be useful for emergency workers, farmers and others who need to open a knife with one hand while holding something with the other.

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