Letter: That was no argument, just ‘bullying’

I found Ben Jones’s letter to the editor that appeared in last week’s newspaper very disturbing. Instead of providing counter facts to dispute the letters he disagreed with from the week before, he decided to personally attack his fellow county neighbors.

His letter states that he assumes the Knights know each other because they have the same last name and seem to be in total agreement about our fine public schools (sarcasm by Mr. Jones noted). So what? Should people who are related to each other and agree on an issue be precluded from submitting letters to the editor?

He also assumes they know Jim Gannon. If they do know each other, of what relevance is that? He calls Mr. Gannon a “scold,” which is defined in the dictionary as a person who finds fault or who expresses dissatisfaction sharply or continuously. He then states that Mr. Gannon has enlisted the formidable (again, sarcasm noted) Knights to bolster the attack, since everybody’s eyes glaze over when “concerned citizens” (more sarcasm) Junk and Cordani whine about the school budget. Is he accusing Mr. Gannon of a countywide conspiracy, or does he have facts about the Knights that support his implication of their inability to have their own opinion? Is it now considered whining when concerned citizens publicly state their beliefs about a county issue? Is it an attack, when residents of a county provide information they believe should be considered when reviewing an issue that affects all county residents? Is it necessary to personally insult people who do not agree with your opinion?

Mr. Jones continues his derision of Mrs. Knight by stating that her “facts” (again sarcasm by Mr. Jones) are not correct because she obviously does not understand the nature of rural Virginia, the challenges of Rappahannock County, and the very real accomplishments of our students and our schools. Yet, he provides no facts of his own to support these accusations.

Mr. Jones goes on to state that it is his genuine hope that the school board and the board of supervisors understand and consider the obviously political motivations of those who seem to make a hobby of stridently criticizing public education. I do not see the obvious political motivations and I do not see those who are making it a hobby to stridently criticize public education. I see citizens who are presenting their concerns about a countywide issue.

Mr. Jones has decided to personally attack the Knights and Messrs. Gannon, Junk and Cordani instead of offering any information that refutes their concerns. In any debate, I would more seriously consider the person who is presenting their very real concerns rather than the person who resorts to bullying as his only counterpoint. It is my genuine hope that more citizens of our wonderful county will get involved with their thoughtful concerns and ignore the potential bullying they may receive from those who disagree with them.

Barbara Cioffi

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