The last word

A letter to the editor and to the community:

I wanted to let you know I have written my last column for this newspaper. There are many reasons for my decision, not the least of which is that the risks finally, after 3 years, outweigh any reward.

In my Jan. 8 column, I asked a hypothetical question about guns and race, a question that has been in the mainstream, national dialogue since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee 1,068 days ago. A hypothetical, by definition, means “imagining a possibility rather than reality.” I have since learned that both law enforcement and the editor of this newspaper took my hypothetical as reality, as an accusation that was neither stated nor intended. A month later, none of these men has asked the one person who knows what she wrote and what she meant. That person is me.

I can take the threatening mail, the hate mail, the notes hoping for me to be raped, and the comments section. I am a professional and, sad as it is, this is the normal course for columnists and journalists, particularly women, in the Trump era.

In writing for The Anderson News, I have gracefully tolerated men grabbing my grocery cart at Kroger while they look my body up and down and tell me I’m an idiot. I have been berated on the County Park trail while walking my dogs and while shopping on Main Street. I have been “taken down a notch” in the lobby of The Animal Clinic minutes after putting my beloved, 13 year-old dog to sleep. All for voicing a political view.

The disproportionate, and frankly terrifying, response to my Jan. 8 column is where I put down my pen. I no longer feel safe writing a column in Anderson County.

To those of you who supported me and, in turn, the 1st Amendment, thanks is not enough, but thanks is what I have. I thank you, and I wish you well.