Call the Tune: Columnist offers a reply to anonymous e-mailers

By Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

We’ve written before about our disdain for anonymous communications directed at this newspaper.

In the not-so-distant past, we regularly received all sorts of anonymous letters in the mail. We still retain a couple of folders of such correspondence.

Some of it’s just plain entertaining, but other pieces are downright hateful and even racist in some instances. It’s amazing how hurtful people can be when they hide behind the cloak of anonymity.

But as we’ve written many times, freedom of speech carries a tremendous responsibility. As such, we take full responsibility for the news articles we publish. We also stand by the opinion columns that appear on this page.

And as we’ve noted before, that’s why we won’t publish unsigned letters to the editor.

Once again, we believe an inherent requirement of freedom of speech is that people are accountable for the statements they make.

But advancements in technology continue to provide avenues for people to hide behind the cloak of anonymity and spew venom at whomever or whatever they hate or despise without any regard for the truth.

That’s why we don’t have much use for weblogs, or blogs as they’re more commonly called. While some blog administrators will identify themselves, many don’t.

Worse yet, many allow anonymous comments to be posted.

But perhaps a new form of anonymous communication — at least to us — involves anonymous e-mails sent to us. They’re anonymous in the sense that you don’t know who is actually sending the e-mail. In some cases, the author has created a free e-mail account with a fake name.

While many of these types of e-mails are stopped by our spam filter, some do make it through and are read by the news staff.

Just like the anonymous correspondence we used to receive by regular mail, these anonymous e-mails run the gamut from being a source of amusement to providing some insight into some really sick minds.

Perhaps most galling, though, is that some of these anonymous e-mailers actually will send a follow-up e-mail, complaining we didn’t respond to their initial e-mail.

For those sending anonymous e-mails who expect an e-mail reply, consider this column your response: Don’t hold your breath because it ain’t gonna happen.