It’s been nearly a year since I fled Facebook. For those considering it, there are few finer feelings. It is as if I was granted freedom from everything bad in the world. It is an amazing feeling.
When I wake up in the morning, I do not look incessantly at others’ lives. I do not worry what drama is stirring up among people I either know or don’t know. I don’t parade around the social media site looking at the bad things people have said about me.
Yes, freedom is a wonderful thing.
But wait, I do have a Facebook account… say what?
OK, more on that in a moment.
My best friend and life partner is on Facebook and she enjoys it. More power to her. If there is anything pressing I need to know about — happenings with family or, more frequently, new beer releases — she will tell me.
She likes to look at Leader-Call stories online and see the reactions from so many corners. She doesn’t comment, at least about LL-C stories, but anyone who knows my wife knows it is not because I told her not to. Good luck with that.
She does get a good laugh, though, when she reads asinine comments made on the LL-C Facebook page.
“Do you know you are Mark Carter?” she asked me one recent morning.
“I’m Mark Carter?” I asked.
It reminded me of the scene in the film “My Cousin Vinny” when Ralph Macchio is being questioned about a murder he not only didn’t commit but had no idea he was being investigated for it.
Sheriff: “You shot the clerk?”
Macchio (oblivious): “I shot the clerk.”
He said it as a declaration, though, and not a question. It was used as a confession against him.
Yes, I know it is only a movie, but it is appropriate.
To at least one person, though, I am indeed Mark Carter. It doesn’t matter that for 20 years, I have written an opinion column with my photo attached to every one of them. Never mind that I don’t hold my opinions back when they need to be said. Anything I would say behind a fake name would be said in a public forum. To do otherwise would be disingenuous to the readers of this newspaper.
Apparently, though, Sheriff Alex Hodge and his minions have made substantial investigative efforts to find the true identities of fierce critics such as Mark Carter and some character named John Johnson, who, we have heard, is every member of the Leader-Call staff.
You folks know better than that. We have no reason to hide behind anything.
Who is John Johnson? Who is Mark Carter? Not only don’t I know, but I don’t care. I find their insights to be enlightening at times and wish they would find the fortitude to come out publicly with some of their assertions — backed up with facts, of course. Their hidden identities must mean they are easily scared of backlash or maybe they were former Hodge employees who know a lot of what is really happening at that department.
I know one thing, neither is me.
But I must say that my Facebook exodus is not 100 percent clean. As an administrator on the Leader-Call’s Facebook page, I have to have an account. I certainly don’t want a personal account, since I rarely if ever posted anything anyway as Sean Murphy. So I did create an alter-ego so that I could post sports scores, stories, news videos or whatever I am called on to do. I still loathe Facebook, even if only using it for work.
My alter ego has one friend — and will always have one friend — so that I can send sporadic love notes to her during the day. Yes, I am sappy that way. As I look at it, there will forever be a string of love notes written to my sweetheart that one day we can take a ride down memory lane together. Sappy indeed.
One thing I will not do, though, is disclose who my alter ego is because it is no one’s business but the bosses at the LL-C and my wife, although I don’t even think the bosses at the LL-C know what my screen name is.
I will stake my 25-year newspaper career on the fact that I am not John Johnson or Mark Carter or any other made-up name created so I can take pot-shots at a sheriff whose ego and conceit range far beyond anything I have ever come in contact with. His second-in-command Maj. Jamie Tedford is a disgrace to law enforcement. It is a sad commentary that there are good deputies in that department who have to serve under such lousy commanders.
You see, if I have something to say about someone I will say it right here, in black and white ink and my smiling face attached to it. I also will give my email address in just a couple more paragraphs for all the hate mail, which I am sure will come without the writer’s identification. I don’t live in a Facebook world where I publicly post opinions with fake names attached. My opinions are right here — every Thursday. That openness is the standard operating procedure at this newspaper and that makes working here so rewarding.
To the moron who outed me as “Mark Carter” — you really are stupid and probably need to find something more rewarding to do with your life than trying to be an unpaid sleuth for the sheriff. I mean, I’m sure Hodge could use your help serving indictments while he runs B Clean, but if your investigatory tactics are any indication of your intellect, I doubt that even he would take you.
Maybe you could write a love letter to your significant other instead.
You can sign it John Johnson, just so those in Facebook world don’t get confused.
Sean Murphy is managing editor at the Leader-Call. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.