Dealing with hate literature: No easy answer

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In this beautiful, mostly peaceful place, hatred lurks.

Every once in a while it lifts its sick head — and we mean that literally. Anyone who would distribute the kind of disgusting, hateful literature as a Coeur d’Alene neighborhood received recently is not mentally or emotionally healthy.

The latest propaganda is recycled from 2016, with an updated assault on diversity. The conscientious citizen who passed along the tip acknowledged that she wasn’t sure if the newspaper should report it as “news” or ignore it. We choose to ignore it, but with some reluctance — and an explanation.

First, we know that our decision not to publish the images distributed to a few homes will be viewed by some as censorship. We understand, because it’s true. Some media outlets and industry experts would disagree with our decision, some ardently. And again, we understand.

Right or wrong, our determination is based on these considerations:

• This distribution of anonymous hate literature on a minuscule scale is not a news event. These hit-and-run acts of cowardice aren’t uncommon. Further, there’s no evidence that they’re anything more than the nocturnal exercises of one low-intelligence, high-emotion individual.

• As in the days of Aryan Nation parades in downtown Coeur d’Alene, we’re mindful of the media’s tendency to get “played” by destructive interests. Back then, a few knuckleheads marching down Sherman Avenue in their Nazi gear was sometimes witnessed by only handfuls of local gawkers and protesters, but coverage around the globe reinforced an impression that North Idaho was densely populated with like-minded ghouls. Whoever dropped off the latest hate fliers is clearly stupid, but perhaps sly enough to hope that media would spread the poison much farther than he or she ever could.

To those who believe there’s value in knowing that someone or several someones who harbor this kind of anger and hatred lives among us, again, we understand. But we also believe that’s true in virtually every community of any size in this great land of ours.

In our humble view, this is not news. It’s the bad behavior of an underdeveloped or damaged brain which should be pitied, not promoted.

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