Letter: Kill the messenger, and silence the message

Kill the messenger, silence the message

To the editor:

Shakespeare saw it otherwise in "Henry IV Part II" when Northumberland responded to the courier bringing him news of his son Hotspur, "If he be slain, say so; The tongue offends not that reports his death." Now, after centuries of honoring those who alert us to disaster or other important information, such as Paul Revere and William Dawes warning in 1775 that "the British are coming" or Andrew Rowan, the soldier who carried President McKinley's message to General Garcia in Cuba in 1899, recent events in Paris and elsewhere necessitate an immediate obverse response.

The Internet and social media, which have been heralded as the greatest contribution to prosperity and the quality of life, have now been co-opted by those who oppose our basic values and lifestyle. With terrorists becoming less visible to attack but more covert as they hide among those most vulnerable, with unfettered and increasingly more sophisticated access to the essentially unregulated Internet, they are able to receive and respond to whatever is disseminated by our free society, with no censoring of their often encrypted proselytizing and inflammatory messages, Therefore, in contrast to history's admiration and respect for those entrusted with our communications, we must kill these abhorrent messengers.

As Marshall McLuhan noted in 1964, the medium influences the message. Therefore both the messenger and the messages must be silenced.

Dr. Donald B. Giddon, Lenox


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