I reveived calls, texts from concerned readers wondering if I take the attacks personally. As a blogger, I know if I dish it I must be able to take it. The difference is I point out faults within the scope of the duties and responsibilities but when they make references about me it's about my weight, my job (their belief that I never worked) and the claim that I'm living rent free (if that were true I need a refund). I know who I am and I live by the mantra, if they don't know me personally, I don't take the tnings they say personal. I don't care if the critics never believe I have a job. I'll just sit at my desk and imagine I'm home. At one time, someone challenged me to post a copy of my degrees online. Unless you're offering me a job or writing me a check to pay these student loans, you are not getting access to the most expensive framed art I ever purchased. When I see people post about my weight or boast that their business partner will pay more in taxes this year than I made in my lifetime, I know they don't have anything they can challenge me with; obviously I struck a nerve. At one point, anonymous comments bothered me; especially when they were out of left field and didn't pertain to anything that was being discussed. Contrary to popular belief, I don't delete comments. However, if the comments are just so inflammatory, I report them as spam and let Google deal with it. One thing I know for sure, everyone is not going to agree with me and that's expected. There are some that say I'm negative but they never show me where I'm wrong.

For the record, I'm not bothered by comments; I'm bothered by cowards that hide in the dark of night to either egg or key my car. At the time you vandalized my property, I was in close proximity to you but your cowardly nature kept you lurking in the darkness. I'm also bothered by the fact that we had a police chief and others that spent most of their time looking through antiquated laws, overlooking hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines to have me spend a night in jail because of an unpaid parking ticket. Why? Because they thought it would shut me down. Just like this administration think using Merlene to seek legal actions against me will silence me. Here's a suggestion, do your jobs and stop trying to villify the citizens, there wouldn't be any so called negative posts. I report what's happening and if you don't believe the posts, watch the videos.

Why don’t graffiti “artists” sign their real names to their work? Why don’t comedy-club hecklers actually step out from the dark cover of the audience and make themselves a little vulnerable onstage during open-mic night? And why are the nastiest Internet comments so often posted anonymously?

Writing and sharing your thoughts in a public forum is a privilege. Some people will disagree with what you write. And a subset of that group will actually take their disagreements public as well. Deal with it. Yes, I have to sign my full name to anything I write here and yes, you can scroll down to the bottom of this page, sign in as RudeDude762, and write that this is the dumbest article you’ve ever read… or that I’m an idiot… or that you hate me. And yes, that comment will ride along with this article forever. So what?

Incredibly, such a commenter is now called a “troll” in Internet-speak. What petty insecurity that term reveals. It means that authors, journalists, columnists and others who traffic in ideas now expect the right to have one-way communication with large audiences. Because if you demand that anyone who responds to your content publicly sign the response with their full name, you are severely limiting those responses.

Posting a nasty personal comment while keeping yourself protected by anonymity — is morally questionable. But wait a minute. Don’t we want to allow more people to contribute to the conversation, if it’s a conversation worth having? Not everyone with something to contribute wants his or her name associated publicly with that contribution — and retrievable online forever with a simple Google search. Disallowing anonymous comments would limit debate on social, cultural, political and all other societal issues.

I’ve always disliked the term marketplace of ideas, because the public square (which is how we can think of the Internet in the digital era) is really more like a battlefield of ideas. We argue. We yell. We call each other names. May the best idea win! But that’s just one opinion. What’s yours? Please share your thoughts in the comments section. You don’t even have to use your real name! (Oh, and by the way, regarding my first question: Graffiti artists don’t sign their real names to the buildings or subways or buses they deface because they’re vandals and $%&*s — signed RudeDude762.)

About a year ago, a reader from Wisconsin discovered my blog and she was concerned that I was allowing the negative comments affect my commentary. She said she wanted to send me something and asked for my address. I was thinking, I don't know who this person is and I'm about to give her my home address. Reluctantly, I gave her my address (the post office box) and the next week, I received a collection of Rudyard Kipling poems. I glanced through the book and a poem was bookmarked with a note saying " this poem reminds me of you" and she knew me based on my blog. The poem she highlighted was "If".

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
For those of you wondering how I'm able to continue blogging, it's by the Grace of God and a daily dose of Rudyard Kipling. I hope you all enjoy this Superbowl weekend. Please remember to govern yourselves accordingly.


  1. This post has made me admire and respect you even more. Please keep up the good work. To be young, black and gifted. Rumble young man rumble!

  2. And for those that think I delete their comments, there's a Lumberton Informer Facebook page where comments can be posted.

  3. This is what I don't understand. Ben, Jay, Kent and Paul says your blog is running away potential investors. In other words, your words have power. I'm not a genius but if I believed a person had that much power I would do whatever needed to be done to get them on my side. Seems like a no brainier to me. I guess they're not smart men or maybe they think they can stop you with threats. Whatever is going on in their minds they need to realize that you are the key to help move them forward. Just my opinion. I love your candor and I pray for your protection. If this board don't wake up and smell the coffee then come to Poplarville. I'm sure our mayor would love to have you on his team.


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