By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Latarski: Think before you post on social media websites
Placeholder Image

Strother Martin told Paul Newman in "Cool Hand Luck" that "What we have heah, is failure to communicate." The result was ol' Luke got a serious whuppin'.

Rush Limbaugh, the zeppelin of radio talk show hosts, used foul language to describe a young woman testifying before Congress, realized he went over the line and then issued an apology.

The merits of his comments or sincerity of his apology is a matter of debate. When it comes to Limbaugh, you always have to wonder: is it Rush talking or is he having an Oxycotin flashback?

Some people listen to Rush simply to be amused, rather like watching the monkeys at the zoo pick fleas off each other. Others listen to him because they firmly agree with him right down the line. That's OK because this is why they make chocolate and vanilla.

But this is not about Limbaugh; ol' Rush is only the latest example when it comes to foot-in-mouth-disease.

It is astonishing how many people get on whatever is the electronic device of the week and send out text messages, e-mails, twitters, smoke signals or whatever and say something incredibly stupid, only to have to explain it away or apologize a few days later.

Some of these folks are celebrities, but many ordinary people are also ending up in uncomfortable situations - and sometimes in court - because they sent messages and opinions meant for only one person, only to have their nasty electronic correspondence come back to haunt them.

He who hesitates is lost may be the right attitude for a boxer, but when it comes to making statements you may have to explain later, it might be a good idea to first engage computer number one: your brain.

Unfortunately, a lot of folks appear to have bugs in this computer when they decide to share their views and don't understand what may be meant for one person can end up posted for the entire world to see.

Think back to high school days in ancient times when the worst thing that could happen was passing a note to someone that might be intercepted by the teacher and read aloud to the entire class.

Then there was leaving a note for someone in their locker. This was a standard form of communication and worked well - until you got the wrong locker.

This is how you could find yourself committed to a Friday night date with the wholly wrong person and the only way to get out of it gracefully would be to claim you suddenly came down with diphtheria.

Even worse was the note telling the skinny little runt to meet you after school to settle the problem, and it turned out that the guy that showed up was not your sworn enemy but a defensive tackle who took great umbrage at being called the names in the note.

That gave birth to the original sincere apology, and a plea for mercy.

Students don't write notes now - they hardly write at all - but if communication is needed, it likely comes in the form of a text or tweet from across the room.

And most frightening is that some people, especially young people, will provide information to the world that could place them in serious peril if it is accessed by a bad guy.

No doubt technology and the vast array of communications channels and options it affords us have benefits and gives us a freedom unknown in other times.

But with that freedom comes a responsibility to act responsibly.

Rush Limbaugh is on the radio and understands what he says goes out into the world. So if he wants to say something stupid and then defend it, or apologize, that is his work.

But for many people the ease of communication has dulled the concept of thinking, and of personal safety.
Nowadays we do not have failure to communicate, so if you want to engage the computer in your hand you need to first engage the one that is attached to your neck.

It may save you much grief.

We'll know more about you than you would be comfortable with. It is as if you were confiding with a friend and unaware that the person at the next table was listening.

Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at