Many in Blount County need to back away from Facebook. This is a human issue, not a political issue. This is about judgment. There may be “many good people” on Facebook, but there are also many of us who don’t show the best of judgment. Let me begin with myself. I’m not immune to bad judgment, but I know how to stop myself. It's sort of like letting an angry email “cool” overnight. Many posts, if left to cool, would never post at all.
Look at recent Facebook postings by local officials and law enforcement. County Commissioner Joe McCully’s post on June 7 was not well thought out. Did the commissioner recognize among those pictured “Demonstrating in Kingston today” were known neo-Nazis? Did he recognize members of the Society of St. Ambrose, a hate group that has shown up in Blount county with Confederate flags (and at churches no less)?
I recognized them. There are five men pictured, two of them hiding their faces behind posters that read “Black Crimes Matter,” (a clear display of racist ideology), and a fourth is clearly recognizable as a member of the society, and that fifth fellow? He is wearing a mask and hiding under his hat.
McCulley’s one-line caption is like saying “I’m gonna just leave this right here.” People who do this on FB usually post those words with an article or picture they agree with. With McCully as an example, is it any wonder Deputy Matthew Smiley felt free to dash off another racist phrase about the removal of Aunt Jemima’s name and image from pancake syrup? The deputy “was reprimanded,” and MuCully should resign.
These posts might seem harmless, but they are not. They perpetuate an attitude that such comments are OK; they don’t provoke thoughts about how “the way we’ve always done it here” might be wrong.
The sheriff’s office must up its game regarding orientation and training. “Receiving a copy of our HR Rules and Regulations Manual as well as our Policies and Procedures Manual” is not enough. Acknowledging receipt doesn’t mean the officer read the manual.
Old Niles Ferry Road