In the midst of a national debate over whether the current political rhetoric indirectly triggered the Arizona shootings, the mayor of Carrboro, NC, chose to bluntly express himself on Facebook about the tragedy. Some think he took it too far.
According to the Chapel Hill News, Mayor Mark Chilton of Carrboro, NC, asked his board members to come up with an official report repudiating what had happend to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and supporting peaceful debate. Although the idea was preliminarily approved, he seems to have been swept by his own personal feelings on the matter, and chose to write the following on his official Facebook page:
Shooter, you probably think you did this for your country, but like Timothy McVeigh you are America’s worst enemy. You don’t deserve the kind of civilized trial and punishment that you will end up with. F— you.
The message, directed at Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner, has people in North Carolina wondering if this is the way a public official should express himself in public, even if it is through a “relaxed” medium such as Facebook. Yesterday, Mayor Chilton defended his choice of words by telling the local newspaper, “I wasn’t expressing myself as a mayor; I was expressing myself as a human being.” But where does one draw the line, especially if the politician is using his official page, “friends” journalists, and thus knows anything he posts might be scrutinized?
Tthe Chapel Hill News said Chilton’s Facebook page has over 900 followers, but when we looked, this lonely, mostly inactive page was all we could found, and it claims to be “official.” We suspect that the real page has been hidden through the use of privacy restrictions, or has been taken down altogether.
Do you think Chilton’s usage of the F-word on Facebook is understandable? Should we voters be more tolerant about politicians expressing themselves candidly on the social network?