It's the electronic equivalent of pushing a smaller kid off his bike. Sure, you can do it. Sure, you might not get caught. You think you're just being funny. In reality, you're a big jerk and everyone but you knows it.
We're talking about cyber-bullying, and these days it's not just for children anymore. Exhibit A from the Rogue Desk of cyber-scrivener misbehavior: the May 4 email below from Steve Sargent, husband of Trudy Sargent, a Portland Public Schools board member. The email's recipient? James Williams, the 23-year-old son of Dilafruz Williams, another School Board member.
Here's the background: In the run-up to the May 15 School Board election, James Williams emailed about 200 Portlanders, asking them to support Ruth Adkins. Steve and Trudy Sargent both supported Adkins' opponent, incumbent Doug Morgan.
Before graduating from Lincoln High School in 2002, James Williams served as the student representative on the Portland School Board. He graduated from Princeton University in 2006, but he's registered to vote in Portland. He sent the email endorsing Adkins from his parents' home, where he now lives.
Still, Steve Sargent, a 50-year-old real-estate investor, considers Williams' residency claim dubious.
I noted the return address on your letter. I am sure you would not want to mislead people about your residence. Yet your mother keeps telling everyone that you attend school at Princeton. Since this is not traditionally known as a correspondence school, I assumed you had to live there to attend. I am sorry you had to drop out and move back in with your mom. We have never met, yet, as a spouse of a school board member, I feel compelled to say "best of luck with your next school."
"I fail to see how a private e-mail to James poking fun at his claimed residence qualifies as 'cyber-bullying,'" Sargent emails the Rogue Desk. "But perhaps you have more tender sensibilities than I (especially when on deadline and desperately seeking copy)."
Ouch! Now, back to the first paragraph of this missive.