I’ve been losing interest in sites like Facebook since the last election. I couldn’t post anything without a barrage of comments informing me of my wrong opinions, and eventually went on a spree of only posting Beyoncé videos in an attempt to stop the madness. Instead, people were more infuriated. It was then I realized silliness doesn’t exist on Facebook — and soon neither will I.
Before the end of this year, I plan on deactivating my account.
Recently, KDKA’s Rick Dayton posted on Facebook a link to a story about the Penguins not changing their goal song to Mac Miller’s “Party on Fifth Avenue.” I’m not really a sports aficionado, but I am a fan of Mac, and I was taking his death particularly hard. It triggered grief for my brother, who died the same way that Mac had been reported to.
My brother, like Mac, was known for being sweet and kind to everyone. My brother, like Mac, would give the shirt off of his back to a stranger. Mac’s death had me mourning for my own brother all over again.
And then I read a comment under Dayton’s post:
“Good! I feel for his family over the loss of their loved one, but he made the bad choice. Don’t understand why someone who made this choice is getting so much glory.”
Two things immediately struck me about this woman’s comment. First, she is wrong; Addiction is a disease, not a choice. Second, she didn’t seem mean, just uninformed.
I was physically shaking after reading her comment. I wanted to scream, but I also wanted her to know my brother. I wanted her to know how sweet he was, how so many people try drugs and never become addicted. My anger was rooted in hurt feelings, and it caused me to step back, meditate, and find the words to advocate.
And I wrote back to her. (See the picture accompanying this column.)
It was the best I could do at the time. I was still shaking as I wrote. Once it posted, I promised myself I would not engage in a verbal war with this woman. When I still couldn’t calm down, I screen-captured the post and put it on my Facebook page accompanied by this PSA: “Addiction is not a choice, it’s a disease.”
As of this writing, my post had received more than 100 likes, 14 comments and four shares.
One person wrote they weren’t sure Patty deserved the kind of response I had provided. I disagree.
We have to stop fighting ignorance with anger. I’ve never been able to learn when someone’s screaming at me. How about you?
I’d like to end this column with the same words that appeared in my final Facebook response:
Thanks guys! We live in such an angry, divided World. We have to learn to communicate with kindness. There are many topics that I need to learn about and I would hope someone would be kind and try to educate me rather than snap at me for my ignorance. We have to be on the same team ... Team Humanity.
Follow featured contributor Gab Bonesso on Twitter @gabbonesso