Nebraska recently defied ideological boundaries by repealing the death penalty, overriding the veto of Governor Pete Ricketts. The move was particularly interesting given that Republicans, who are usually pro-death penalty, overwhelmingly control the legislature.
Of course, not everyone was happy with such a controversial move. One such individual was State Senator Bill Kintner (R), who expressed his displeasure with the move by making the following Facebook post:
“According to the Nebraska Legislature, the thugs that did this should just be locked away and well fed for the next 50 years of the(ir) lives. Anyone think the Legislature is thinking clearly?”
The post was accompanied by a picture of a beheadded woman.
The post, naturally, generated hundreds of comments, many of them negative, and Senator Kintner pulled it down a day or so later.
In an interview after the post, Senator Kintner said, “Is it a little graphic? Yeah, I think so. But a murder’s a murder. I think it speaks for itself.” In a subsequent Facebook post, Kintner wrote:
“There are plenty of places online that are appropriate for debating issues, this FB page is just not set up to do that.” I don’t think Senator Kintner knows how Facebook works. Two points:
- If you make a controversial political post, expect debate and controversy. If you don’t, you clearly lack an understanding of how Facebook works.
- Senator Kintner is a public official who uses social media to discuss his political positions and actions. Of course people are going to debate it! That’s the very nature of social media! Deleting a post because people are debating it (and, by implication, deleting a post because people disagree with what you said or did) is antithetical to social media and democracy.
As for the post itself: It’s way too far. You only do yourself discredit when you rely on graphic imagery to make a point. It’s also unfair to your friends and followers: Content will appear in their newsfeed even if it is graphic, disturbing or upsetting, and no one should be forced to see images like this against their will.
In conclusion, bonehead move here.
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