I spent much of the day in the heart of the Ozarks, at Alley Spring Mill. The previous photos I’ve seen of it didn’t do it justice, and neither do the ones I took today. It is an extraordinary place — a mill on a crystal clear river with bright green and pure aqua waters; cut into a limestone cliff with odd rock formations dotting trails surrounding the area. I’ll have photos later and more about the trip, but I’m tired tonight — it is about an 8 hour round trip. I love the Ozarks, though. Each time I go I try a different route, and see a whole new aspect of the hills, and I’ll never tire of it.

However, today was not all daisies and daffodils (though there were a lot dotting the hills on the way — daffodils, not daisies). My enjoyment was shadowed by the fact that I wasn’t too happy with myself today.

I do have a temper, and will not hesitate to blast the hide off of idiotcy, but I’m not a ‘mean’ person, or at least, I try to avoid mean behavior. (Some will probably argue that I fail.) However, there’s a difference between being critical of a person’s action or behavior, and making statements about the person’s character; especially statements that can cause hurt or embarrassment. The former is being diligent, the latter can be ‘mean’.

I crossed the line between the two recently in regards to Jeremy Wright, when I moved to discredit the person in order to discredit than the event, and the reaction to the event. Sometimes we need to do this — the person is the event and the event the person, but I don’t think this was one of those times; the issue wasn’t about what Jeremy wrote, as much as it was about how other webloggers reacted to what he wrote. That, is what I should have focused on.

But, in a moment of frustration in the discussion thread, I cast doubts on Jeremy’s character in order to cast doubts on what he wrote–purely to strengthen my argument. I regretted doing so almost immediately, but had no way of deleting the comment; later, when Jeremy entered the discussion, I could have, and should have, apologized for bringing up the issue of his character, but I dug in. Got mulish.

There was no need for this: I am more than capable of forming a solid and well reasoned argument without doing so. A better argument, really, because the point I was trying to make got lost because of ‘character’.

Jeremy, my apologies for casting doubts on your character, when I should have focused on the event, and the reactions of other webloggers to the event.

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