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Dear Troll

Typically, on my Facebook page I make a deliberate effort to avoid offering pejorative and intemperate remarks. However today I am going to step back from this pledge and make a few observations.

Yesterday I started a thread shortly before I left NYC to escape the heat and humidity for the weekend. Other than reading comments on my cell phone, I could not respond to express my expectations of civility and reasonableness. Unfortunately, two people have not met the standards of decency or intelligence and I feel compelled to call them out.

Firstly, let's discuss the behavior of a troll. From reading through the thread, one can quickly figure out who I am referencing. The troll and I are not really friends other than in the Facebook sense and a troll is going to do, what a troll does, almost no matter what. But I keep him around on the slight possibility that he might say something smart once every two decades. Now, I have never actually seen anything smart come from him, but one can still hope and wait and wait and wait and wait…

More offensive and troubling than the aforementioned troll, are the attacks and rhetoric of one of my real world friends. And when I suggest that we are real-world friends, I am thinking of my attendance at his wedding, being recognized by an organization that used to run and by his graciously allowing me to participate in his Seder. In all three instances mentioned above, what I most appreciated was the palpable sense of community. Despite this action, I hope he still considers me his friend, even though we completely disagree.

In two separate instances this real-world friend crossed the line and disappointed me with his comments. During part of the discussion, the friend characterized somebody as a "preacher", which is a clear belittling of one's religion. On my page, there is no place for that. I'm sure that you hold views which are uniquely reflective of your Judaism and it would be completely improper for me to direct my arguments at you as a Rabbi.

More troubling still is the friend's comment "I never thought that I'd live to see the day when folks in our community ARE NO LONGER INTIMIDATED by the "thought police" from NDY." Unless I am miss reading your statement, I take this to mean that people who oppose a 14-year-old from killing herself are only following the script of NDY and are incapable of autonomous thought. On multiple levels that's outrageous and offensive. Are you suggesting that all those who disagree with you are mindless sheep?

The premise of my friend's position is that people with disabilities should be completely autonomous about all decisions in their life, but he doesn't respect that people can come to their own opinions without being told what to think. As a supposed leader in the disability community, I am shocked that you would hold the intelligence and authenticity of other members in the community with such contempt. With regard to a 14-year-old killing herself, this is a no-brainer for me. You are certainly entitled to your own opinions, but not entitled to your own facts. She is only 14 and SMA is not terminal.

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