Words That Hurt/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on March 3, 2015

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It was a proud father at work. Former Red Sox pitcher, Curt Schilling, used his Twitter account to congratulate his daughter upon her acceptance to college. Eventually, two posts appeared which were offensive and were directed at the young woman. Eventually the identities of the two posters were disclosed. One lost a part-time job and one was suspended from his school.

 Why do people search the social media and seek opportunities to be offensive and vulgar? Articles have appeared on this topic but it remains a mystery to many. Perhaps people are emboldened by the quasi-privacy afforded by the internet. Nevertheless all readily agree that such behaviors are disturbing and bespeak an alarming trend of anti-social behavior.

In disputes in general, and litigated matters such as divorce proceedings, harmful and painful statements are often made. Such statements obviously “poison the well” and make conversation that is productive virtually impossible. Why do people engage in such behaviors. Perhaps the reason is vindictiveness, or pain, or a need to assert control and dominion. In the words of Mr. Schilling, we gain a bit of an insight. He said on his Twitter account; “The real world has consequences when you do and say things about others.”  Indeed, words expressed in anger lead to consequences. They are usually harmful to one or both parties. Silence is golden, or as our mothers taught us: “If you have nothing good to say, say nothing.”

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