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Letter to the Editor: Downtown Safety Discussions Needn't Get Nasty

Crowds, crime and liquor licensing can be debated without personal swipes.

This letter, sent to Editor Laura Houser, is from a Birmingham resident who contributes to Patch as a freelance writer. Views expressed are his.

Bullying is a hot topic in families, classrooms, a new documentary, Patch articles and other media coverage. Though discussions usually involve young people, schoolyard-like piling on occurs among adults at times.

A largely constructive reader discussion at this site about , for instance, includes off-topic personal pokes. A local realtor who spoke last year in support of another site's liquor license renewal is targeted with four harsh posts from two people, including one suggesting: "How about when the shooters are in town they walk over to her workplace," which the commenter identifies.

Another poster, using a screen name, lashes out against a reader (who identifies herself) as "biased" because she knows South's owners. She also is derided as someone who shouldn't comment because she lives elsewhere in Oakland County.

It's dismaying to see sniping and name-calling degrade a conversation about public policy issues that people can disagree about reasonably, as nearly all participants demonstrate. Respect tops bullying, just as in a classroom, campus or other community.

Alan Stamm  

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