An unfortunate choice of words
SELDOM, IF EVER, has the Citizen come under such attack as it did last week over
a single phrase used to describe the part of Orangeville that was targeted by tire-slashers, an area that the article said has “some of the town’s poorer neighbourhoods.”
Our only purpose in using the particular words to describe the area bounded by Broadway in the north, John Street to the west and the town limits to the south was to note the vulnerability of most, if not all, the victims of the Oct. 31 rampage.
After all, although the area includes many beautiful heritage homes and lovely homes on large lots, it also has streets where the property owners don’t have the luxury of a garage and hence must leave their cars outdoors overnight.
What struck us in particular was that although the tire-slashers were apparently not just on foot, having been reported to have driven off in a 1980s Chevrolet Cavalier, they made no attempt to do their damage in any of the newer districts to the north and west.
The reason struck us as fairly obvious: one was not as likely to find cars parked outdoors overnight along streets in such areas.
Whatever the case, what was intended as a brief expression of sympathy for the victims was perceived by a huge number of readers as merely a remark designed to denigrate people living in that area of town. That was not our intention.
At the time we received the police report (shortly before going to press) we had no idea as to the identity of the individual victims, or anything much beyond the simple fact that more than 20 vehicles were involved — a fact we saw as more than justifying the story and its description of the suspects being given prominent display.
In the circumstances, we must apologize to all those who feel offended by use of the phrase and acknowledge that we ought to have explained just why we used it.