Verbal Incision

I didn’t hear every word the older man said, just the last half of his tirade as it was exceedingly loud: ” … I can’t believe you’d say such a thing about him even if he is dead. You just don’t do that ever. I’m gonna go outside and tell your mom right now.”
The young woman was on the brink of tears – doing her best to hold them back. She looked miserable.
Considering the fourth of July almost here, I wish I would have said: “My great uncle fought and died for your right to say whatever you want. Don’t let some old guy use that freedom against you.” Or “You have a right to say what you feel about things and people, living or dead. Where would we be as a society if we couldn’t speak ill of Hitler and others like him?”
Perhaps the older man was a friend of the family who knew the dead man well and perhaps the young woman was aware of facts that the older man didn’t know – I wondered if there was some flaw in the dead man’s character that the older man just didn’t want to believe so he went off on the young woman. To him the dead man was a saint and the implication that he was a sinner just like everyone else was too much for him to take.
The man probably didn’t even know that his comments were verbally abusive to the young woman. He cared more for the dead man’s honor than the condition of the living young woman. He chose to defend the former by berating the latter. The thing is that dead men tell no tales. And that young woman might never again have the confidence to say what she feels. She’ll remember that time when that guy told her mom about what she said, when everybody got mad over it, and decide to just keep it in. She might never reach out for someone to talk to because the last time that happened it didn’t work out so well for her. If anyone needed to be defended, she did. If anyone needed consolation, she did. If anyone needed to know that someone had taken her side, she did.


1 thought on “Verbal Incision

...Anyway, that's just how I feel about it ... What do you think?

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