We’ve all had them - massive brain cramps that seemed to flash a green light for us to do or say something, which at the time seemed appropriate or maybe downright hilarious, until we had a few moments to reflect on our actions or words.
If we’re lucky, the ramifications of our statement or deed can be erased with profuse groveling to the offended person(s). However, sometimes apologies, regardless of how sincere they might be, just aren’t enough. With all that said I would like to introduce you to Lindsey Stone, a non-profit employee in Massachusetts.
Stone finds herself in the eye of a very public “storm” that resulted because of a couple of hefty cerebral spasms that she recently suffered.
Cramp No. 1 happened in October, while on a work-related trip. Stone and at least one of her co-workers made a trip to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. While there, Stone posed for a photo that shows her apparently shouting and flipping off a sign that asks for “Silence and Respect” at the tomb.
Cramp No. 2 was Stone thinking it would be a hoot to post that photo on her Facebook page.
While Stone might have intended for her photo to be an inside joke among friends, apparently not everyone who has seen the image appreciates her sense of humor. Thousands of people were offended by the tomb photo. In fact, according to ABC News, a Facebook page has been created entitled, “Fire Lindsey Stone.” That page, created only last week, has already collected over 18,000 “likes” from people in cyberspace.
Stone’s actions have not just made her a target for Internet scorn. Her employer, Living Independently Forever (LIFE, Inc.) has placed her on unpaid leave pending an internal investigation.
Is LIFE out of line for its reaction? Apparently not.
Everyone here at the Courier-Post, and at other Gatehouse properties, recently completed mandatory training. One of the points that was made is that a Gatehouse employee can be punished for his or her actions, even if done away from work, if it reflects negatively upon the company.
I’m assuming other local companies have similar policies, based on the number of phone calls I’ve fielded over the years from people pleading to not put their DUI in the paper because their employer might see it.
In the wake of her brain cramp Stone has offered excuses for her actions. After seeing negative posts on her Facebook page, Stone wrote that in the photo she was just “challenging authority in general,” citing a previous posting of her smoking next to a “no smoking” sign.
Page 2 of 2 - “OBVIOUSLY we meant NO disrespect to people that serve or have served our country,” wrote Stone.
It would be understandable if every veteran, and their family, was offended by Stone’s actions, particularly in clans where loved ones were killed while serving their country.
According to ABC News, Robert Johnson, an army veteran and military and defense editor at an Internet news site, has taken the high road in regard to Stone’s actions.
“…If Lindsey Stone wants to rip on the Tomb of the Unknowns, me, my service, or the hundreds of mutilated troops I served with at Walter Reed Medical Center, she should be able to do so without fear of retribution,” Johnson wrote. “Freedom like that is what we fought for, and respecting other opinions is part of what the military tried to teach all of us who served.”
Everyone suffers from brain cramps from time to time. Smart souls recognize how foolish their words and/or deeds are before they become public. For those who are more impetuous, one can only hope they learn a valuable life lesson without causing others, and themselves, too much heartache.