Yesterday I called my friend Mary Ellen and asked her to save me from doing something stupid. I explained that I’d received a hateful email from a woman named Teri Wadsworth about one of our kids:
“He’s guilty as sin he needs to serve his sentence he shows no remorse cocky and creepy a serial killer in the making I will start a campaign to keep him in prison he knew what he was doing let him be it’s the best place for him and society.”
I rarely receive such vitriolic emails, and the few I do receive bother me more than they should. I am upset by such expressions of unmitigated hatred being vented towards someone the hater obviously knows nothing about.
Where does this woman get off using words like “cocky” and “creepy?” Her assertion that he is “a serial killer in the making” is completely unfounded by scientific fact and is said simply to inflame others who are as ignorant as she is. The child she has targeted for her fury has been shielded from the media and has done or said nothing that could be interpreted by any rational person as anything but remorse, regret, shame, and embarrassment.
I told Mary Ellen that I wanted to write back to Teri Wadsworth and say that the only creepy person I could see in this picture is Teri Wadsworth.
Mary Ellen said that while most advocates would advise that I just let the comment pass and not engage the hater, ignoring the comment does nothing to diffuse the hate. She surprised me and said maybe I should engage this Teri Wadsworth. But how?
In the past I have “outed” these haters, drawing public attention to their dark hearts and lack of compassion, forgiveness, and understanding… and I can think of no reason not to do the same in this case, too. There are only four Teri Wadsworths on Facebook (my apologies for drawing attention to the innocent people who share her name), and she goes by the email moniker of “ladybug.” But on reflection, it seems to me that pointing out the shortcomings of others does only half the job.
Last week Matt sent me this link to a story of forgiveness that provides a positive example that has received a lot of praise in the media. If the parents of a slain son can see fit to take in their son’s killer, why can’t an uninvolved person like Teri Wadsworth find a place in her heart to feel compassion for a young boy who made one terrible mistake in his life?
To view this remarkable story, please click here.
I don’t know whether Teri Wadsworth will even get by the fact that I have used her name extensively in this post and go on to explore her motives for being so angry, but I really don’t care. There are lots of people in the world whose views create an unflattering impression, and I consider myself fortunate to have so little to do with them.
Groove of the Day