Sticks and stone may break bones, but words don't

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By The Staff

We have grave concerns about Roane County Constable Mark Patton’s fitness for duty.

As for the suit seeking to have him disqualified from elected office, we’re comfortable letting the honorable Judge Russell Simmons deal with merits of that.

We come here today with another concern — the impact of name-calling and obscene gestures that seem to be in ample supply.

Witness after witness in the suit testified recently that Patton has wagged his middle finger at them or called them the equiverlant of a fatherless child.

Yes, this behavior is uncouth and calculated to get a response. Some of the recipients say they responded in kind.

Now wait a minute.

Our mothers taught us the old saying, “Stick and stones will break our bones, but words will never harm you.” This simple preschool lesson apparently needs some review.

Officials, those who are elected and those who serve as law enforcement officers, ought to have thicker skin than that. We understand the pressures they go through, but that’s all the more reason they need to be able to shrug off childish insults before matters escalate.

We count on them to be cool-headed.

Our mothers also taught us that uncouth behavior reflects on the issuer, not on the recipient.

All of us — public officials, police and the rest — have bigger worries in life than the slings and arrows of some jaw-flapper.