A friend of mine in the newspaper business once warned me to never, ever read the comments section after an online article. “I guarantee you that no matter what your stand is on the article, someone will make a comment that will completely piss you off.”
They were right.
I’m convinced that there are people out there…so called haters…who have the sole purpose of posting a completely opposite view of the article to which they are responding. Even if the article would be about the horror of using kittens as hockey pucks in Eastern European countries, someone would respond chastising how idiotic we are to be so insensitive to the growing hockey puck shortage and over-population of kittens in the Eastern Bloc. (Note…this is fictitious…I hope such a thing does NOT exist!)
As Melanoma Awareness month approaches in May, there will be many articles about sun safety and anti-tanning legislation. And I guarantee there will be comments with completely opposing views. In some cases however, those opposing comments might not be all that wrong.
I read such an article about melanoma awareness recently, and of course there were the token opposing views. (Despite my friend’s warning, I still occasionally read the comments). One comment stated that she bet “all the anti-tanners would have more health problems from the diet soda and fast food that we’re consuming than from tanning.” They definitely might not be wrong. Another commenter stated that “the chemicals in sunscreen cause cancer and shouldn’t be used!” This person may also not be wrong.
Sure, there are the idiots, but there are also people with valid arguments…or at least arguments they feel passionate about for one reason or another. They are just as passionate as I am about melanoma awareness. Perhaps the first person had family members suffer or die from heart disease as a result of a poor diet. This person chose to educate the world on the benefits of a healthy diet, and is simply trying to state the facts that heart disease is a top killer…more so than melanoma. Point taken. The second person may be sensitive to various chemicals and has found that many chemicals in sunscreen are proven carcinogens when applied in high doses. Another valid point.
Everything in this world has some type of negative impact on our lives. The sun can cause melanoma. Water can cause drowning. A pillow can suffocate. The caramel coloring in syrup causes cancer. A sheet of paper can cut your skin.
Every waking minute of the day could be devoted to informing the public of all of life’s dangers, and only the surface would be modestly scratched. We just can’t support them all as individuals. So, we pick and choose, based on experience and emotion.
For me, my mother suffered from lupus all her life and she died of lung cancer. My brother died from melanoma. My dad and most of his family suffer from heart disease. All three were smokers. My father-in-law suffers from MS. I had a prostate cancer scare. Some good friends have family members with autism. I support awareness and education for each of these causes, but I chose melanoma awareness to be my primary calling. I can’t explain why, but that’s the stance I’m taking. I know I’m not wrong in educating the public. Just like I know you, the one supporting a healthier diet is not wrong about your cause. And you, the one that feels chemicals offer an inherent danger to the public may not be wrong either. I understand that.
Just because I’m not wrong doesn't mean you are. Please understand the same of my cause, and don’t be a hater.