Found today in my mailbox—the snail-mail kind: A note in response to my recent letter to the editor in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The note, postmarked St. Louis, but with no return address—of course—was written in a nearly illegible scrawl—all caps, on lined notebook paper. It’s a scrawl that I recognized as soon as I saw the envelope.
I’m not a handwriting expert, but I think that this same person sent me a similarly angry response about 10 years ago, when he/she saw my letter to the editor about the danger of allowing handguns everywhere in Missouri. [Wish I could find that note! It was more threatening than this one. It said something like, “Jews like you should be shot.” I think I reported it to the police. Maybe this guy is ten years older now and less aggressive due to reduced testosterone?]
The previous letter landed in my mailbox without a stamp or a postmark, which meant that The Scrawler tracked me down and came to my house to personally deposit his/her hate in my curbside mailbox. That was truly scary.
This note is less frightening, but still worth mentioning.The first one came as a shock. This one is less surprising, because we have now entered the Trumpian era, where the President-elect himself has legitimized anger and has brought hate speech into the mainstream.
Here’s what the note says [as far as I can decode it]:
NOVEMBER 10, 2016
HELLO MS DEMOCRAT
DONALD TRUMP WON YOU LOSE
GROW UP AND GET A LIFE YOU SORE LOSER
I WON’T SUFFER IF [illegible] DONALD TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE IF YOU DO TO YOU LUCK
YOU ARE A LAP DOG FOR HILLARY CLINTON. HER [illegible]
NOW A BIT OF HUM [I interpret this to mean “humor.”] AN CRUMPLED [?] COPY OF YOUR EDITORIAL IS [illegible illegible illegible] THE BOTTOM OF MY BIRDCAGE
If anyone out there can look at the attached image of the note and decipher the remaining words, please let me know.
I accept that The Scrawler has as much right to his/her opinion and anger as I have to mine. I know that the 1st Amendment guarantees our right to free speech, and that both letters to the editor and personal responses come under that right. We are both humans and citizens of the United States [I assume]. But there is one major difference between me and The Scrawler:
I signed my letter.