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A shameful and despicable personal attack

By Scott Tibbs, June 8, 2011

On June 3, the Bloomington Herald-Times published this remark about sobriety checkpoints in a staff editorial:

We’ve always suspected the drivers who complain the loudest about the checkpoints may be those who worry they may be caught driving under the influence.

On Friday evening, I tweeted this response to the editor of the Herald-Times: "You should be ashamed of yourself for your despicable character assassination against opponents of sobriety checkpoints."

I had a guest editorial in the Herald-Times last November where I argued that sobriety checkpoints should be banned. Is the Herald-Times saying that I am a drunk driver who is only concerned about getting caught by police? I can't imagine that it crossed their minds, but the connection could easily be made.

While I have repented of the heresy that drinking is sinful, I am effectively a teetotaler because I find the taste of alcohol very unpleasant. My opposition to the sobriety checkpoints is based entirely on my love and respect for the Constitution and the basic freedoms this nation was founded to protect. But why should I even have to make that argument? Is the H-T really so arrogant to believe the only people who disagree with them are drunk drivers?

This is the same "newspaper" that has banned using the word "murder" to describe abortion in story comments because it is "defamatory" to abortionists, yet the H-T editorial board has no trouble dismissing thousands of people in Monroe County - people from all over the ideological spectrum - with legitimate and coherent legal and philosophical arguments against sobriety checkpoints as a bunch of drunks who fear getting caught by police.

This is the same "newspaper" that has often breathlessly opined about civility. The H-T commended Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads for civility in opposition to I-69, called for civility in landlord-tenant disputes, celebrated the civility of a theological debate, and called on county leaders to "ensure a climate of civility" in debates over county planning. Does the Herald-Times have any credibility on the issue of civility in public discourse?

This is shameful. The Herald-Times should issue a retraction and an apology for this uncalled for personal attack on those who disagree with sobriety checkpoints.