Why I Have Deleted Someone’s Comment

I hope everybody understands that my “Memory Lane” pieces are intended to be harmless and benign. In them I concentrate on features of my past which I find it pleasant to remember, passing by things that would not be so.

A reader who grew up in my neighborhood took issue with today’s piece, and made some very serious allegations against a person who lived there in those days. He may be wondering why I’ve deleted his comment, so let me explain.

I find it hard to believe that none of the kids on my street would have heard about this thing, and impossible to believe that, had they ever heard of it, they would’ve kept it to themselves. But today was the first I’d ever heard of it.

No legal action was taken, which means there is no record that can be consulted. It’s not possible for me to verify or refute the allegation. For me to let the reader’s comment stand might be called “reckless disregard for truth,” and so be grounds for libel. It’s also possible that the allegation properly applies to someone else. I have no idea how the reader came by his information, and it would not be good journalistic practice for me to publish something that I couldn’t check. Nor do I think it would be a right thing to do.

I thought the reader made the comment because he was angry. I didn’t write that piece to upset anyone. And again, I have no idea whether his allegation was true or accurate. Finally, I would rather not get involved in investigating criminal matters from such a long time ago.

3 comments on “Why I Have Deleted Someone’s Comment

  1. You did the responsible thing, Lee. When I read the comment made by that reader, I was unaware that he was from your childhood neighborhood along with the person he was referring to, but his typing in all caps was a signal to me of his anger, otherwise why yell.

    And my reaction was the same: if there were never any charges and no record of such alleged behavior exists, how could there be any verification?

    You are commended, kind sir.

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