Why I Left the Facebook Group ‘Grew Up In Park Forest’ For Good

Commentary
By Gary Kopycinski

Friends, Park Foresters, Countrymen:

I have left the Facebook group ‘Grew Up In Park Forest‘ for good.

Here’s why.

I posted this in a stream of comments not too long ago:

I’m about to leave the group. There have been nasty personal attacks that have nothing to do with politics, religion or sex. Turning people’s names into pejoratives, personal attacks abound. The juvenile attacks are too much, some hiding behind the supposed anonymity of the Internet … until they meet the person they attacked in a store in Park Forest, in real life, and put their tail between their legs and run off.

Didn’t happen to me, but I’ve heard it has happened to others. And I believe it.

This isn’t a pleasant group any more. I’ve had enough.

Too many are flaming away here like this is a news group in the early 90s. Sadly, it seems that many never really did grow up in Park Forest.

I subsequently left the group, especially after I read a post from a long-time Park Forester who lamented, “What the hell has happened to this group?”

And, indeed, what had happened was a volley of insults toward some people, and, after they had left the group, their names were turned into a pejorative, an insult. Some even used personal conversations they had previously had with some of these individuals and let it out there for all the world to see.

Personal trials.

Personal failures.

Exposed.

Unforgiveable.

I had stayed with the group because I could share ENEWSPF headlines with people who ostensibly cared about Park Forest.

This, however, caught my attention:

The juvenile attacks are too much, some hiding behind the supposed anonymity of the Internet … until they meet the person they attacked in a store in Park Forest, in real life, and put their tail between their legs and run off.

It’s easy to hide behind the “anonymity” of the Internet and flame away.

Unless you live in Park Forest, and have a chance encounter with the person you insulted online.

That amused me.

Some told me how the person who insulted them “put their tail between their legs and run off” when they saw them and told them who they were.

Kudos to those who had the courage to reveal themselves publicly and in-person to those who had bullied them online.

Shame on those of you who put your tails between your legs and ran off.

There’s an old adage in politics that politics is a game of addition. We should not insult or subtract those who might likely vote for us.

Well, that’s too bad. Does not work in the real world.

This group was too much for all of us.

Let’s try this moving forward…

Let us imagine that, when we make a comment online, we are making that to a real person, face-to-face.

Will we be so brash with our insults then?

For your consideration. No matter which group you belong to on Facebook, or beyond.

Gary Kopycinski is a Village Trustee in Park Forest and a high school educator for over two decades. His views are his own. He can be reached here.