"[O]ne man said that there would be “blood on the streets” if the “Orthodox school board” remained in control and the Number Six school is sold.I have to hope that most people who see this find it to be upsetting. Whether the comment was meant as a threat (scariest possibility), warning (still scary), or even a prediction (at the very least, highly irresponsible), the words should never have come out of the mouth of anyone who considers his/herself to be a reasonable person. Even if the quoted never intended the words to be a threat or a warning, to not consider that there are less mature or more hotheaded people who might actually consider acting on such ideas.
“They’re going to come after kids wearing yarmulkes,” he said.
In addition, I think most people can agree that the mention of "blood on the streets" is a bit to close to home when there are likely many district residents who have living relatives who not too long ago, actually did witness blood on the streets and violence against anyone who identified as a Jew. Using such loaded imagery is just a huge mistake, no matter how you explain away your intentions. Try to imagine "warning" African-American members of our community that if they vote for the wrong item or candidate there will be "fires on front lawns". Can't really imagine that, can you. Well, if it's not OK there, it isn't OK here.
Which leads me to my third point. It's OK to sometimes make mistakes. It's possible that the person who made the comment spoke completely out of turn and didn't realize how inflammatory his comments would be. That does happen, though of course it shouldn't. The larger problem here is that I see comment after comment both here and here defending the use of such potentially incendiary language. Are people so blinded by their stance on the topic of local school board politics that they can't recognize completely irresponsible and dangerous speech when they see it? Is it so important to not ever be seen as sympathizing with the enemy that people can't do what is so patently the right thing and condemn what is so clearly language that has no place in this (or any) discussion?
Instead this story is endlessly parsed in comments.
First: "it didn't happen."
Then: "it might have, but it wasn't meant as a threat, just as a warning."
Then: "the police didn't really come to the meeting to question the man."
Then: "ok, maybe the police did question him but they knew he wasn't serious."
How about just agreeing, as any sane person should, that this kind of speech is a mistake and make it clear that you don't view it as a betrayal to your cause to treat other people like human beings - even if you disagree with some of their views?
I know that I, for one, would move on a lot quicker from this little incident if people would stop digging in their heels and pretending that such hate-filled speech is anything but reprehensible.