I find it distressing that some discussions on issues on this web site cannot continue because too many people cannot debate without calling other people names. 

I am a passionate person with strong beliefs and I have no hesitation when it comes to expressing opinions on issues that I feel concern our community. It is a trait that has served me well over many years as a newspaper columnist and later as a web-based one. It is also a trait that attracts strong opinions that sometimes support and more often oppose my positions. 

But I try to never made it personal. I question people’s actions but not their beliefs. I try to not call them names, question their intelligence or belittle their heritage and I have little patience for those who cannot argue without resorting to name calling and personal attacks.  Unfortunately, I sometimes fail to live up to that standard and cross the line. When that happens, I try to pull back and apologize for my actions and words. I’m human. I get mad. I make mistakes.

This past week, a discussion over my observation of what I saw as the unprofessional actions of a small number of Virginia State Troopers who serve on the tactical squad was viewed by some as a condemnation of police officers in general. That was neither what I said nor was it my intent. If some took it that way  I apologize for that misunderstanding.

But too many responses to those observations turned into hate-filled tirades on both sides of the issue. Those who posted the comments used the discussion as an excuse to insult others. I had to shut several discussion threads down because of the increasing level of bile.

This web sites exists to discuss issues. It does not exist to allow people to anonymously call people "morons" or "liberal agitators" or to claim association with Floyd Countians lowers their IQ. Those who find it impossible to discuss an issue without calling other people names are not welcome here.

Effective immediately, any post that includes a personal attack on someone else will be removed. Those who continue to hurl insults will be banned from making future comments.  If it continues I will start moderating comments before they are posted.

I encourage open discussion of issues on Blue Ridge Muse but I cannot, and will not, allow this site to become a place where people can insult others and hide behind anonymous screen names. That ends now.

Any reader of this web site who feels I have crossed the line is encouraged to challenge me on that point but I would appreciate it if those who wish to question my integrity also have the integrity to do so openly and with their names.

If you are skittish about using your name on this web site, you are welcome to discuss this with me personally. I eat breafast most mornings at the Blue Ridge Restaurant. My office address and phone number are on this web site. If I am not in my office there is usually a sign on the door that says where I can be found. I am more than happy to sit down over a cup of coffee and discuss any issue with anyone, even those who disagree with me

You can also email me at doug@blueridgemuse.com and I will respond to anyone who uses their name. However, I do not answer anonymous emails. I never have and I never will.