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Originally published: 2012-12-17 15:19:02
Last modified: 2012-12-17 15:19:02

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I was disappointed to read about a local restaurateur who was arrested, photographed and then displayed in your publication ("Businesswoman charged with writing worthless checks," Dec. 5).

It is one thing when the usual parade of misfits and serial law breakers are thrown up there on your rogues gallery (nothing more than a modern day version of the old English "stocks") for all to gawp and gleefully point at, but when a 72-year-old lady who has, by and large, run a popular business in this community for many years, it is entirely another.  

You may defend such decisions by claiming that since it is your business to deliver news, but it is more newsworthy that someone with a higher profile as in a principal of a popular retail business falls foul of the law, than a sub-30-year-old who got caught with drug paraphernalia when stopped for speeding, that it is fully justified. As is often the case with those who find themselves in front of the magistrate, there is often a trail of misfortune and circumstances-beyond control that led them there. To have them branded as criminals is only feeding those rigid and narrow minds who see everything in black or white and gloat at the misfortune of others. 

Creating and then running a business takes risk and a huge amount of personal input. There are times when after making your major decisions, that you must sacrifice all to make it happen. Often, how the money flows (cash flow), can have you running between your daily deposits, the goodwill and tolerance of your suppliers, your bank and finally your own equity and assets ... just to stay open for another week. When things are slow, like now when the economy has seen much better days, your mettle is tested to the max as you fear such scenarios as experienced by this lady may put you there next. It certainly requires a thicker skin than those who sanctimoniously sit in their safe zones and point and stare at those who took that risk and then fell. 

These are often the same angry and judgmental folk who you will come across in traffic and make sure that your error is exposed and then punitively dealt with. They will often also be those who hide behind their screen of self-righteousness and supposed self-sacrifice, while in reality, they are just craving the approval of their bosses, church leaders ... or higher. 

I think we must examine our character as a community when we enthusiastically hold up all those who make a mistake or break a law as "criminals," that is, bad people, who we assume must fully  deserve the public humiliation and  "serves you right"response, without knowing the full story.

Nigel HorburyValle Crucis