On My Soapbox: Professional responsibility

As a professional, there are certain questions to ask yourself before using social media. How far is too far? What is deemed acceptable? Will this get me fired? 

Sheriff’s Office Patrol Commander Steve Deaton didn’t ask any of these questions before his social media posts with an Elf on the Shelf in compromising situations. 

The pictures range from disgusting to violent to racist to just plain stupid. 

One of the pictures was an elf holding a chainsaw with a mutilated African American football player with caption, “And here’s the start . . . Our patriotic elf grew angrier all season. He finally snapped and decided to show the NFL how he goes about taking knees for not standing during our National Anthem.”

Mr. Deaton, if you are against players taking a knee during the anthem there are other ways to express your opinion. You are a public servant and your job is to protect and serve. As an African American man, I’m not sure I feel safe with an officer who posts photos of that nature publicly. 

If it was a joke, it should have been kept within the core group of friends who would find humor in it. It’s still wrong, but at least it is only conveyed to a selected few. 

The fact that the Judge and the Sheriff both like one of the photos is a bit “iffy” too, but I won’t go too deep into that. 

As elected officials it is their responsibility to take action and alleviate the problem before it gets worse. I’m not calling for Deaton’s job – although there are plenty of people who are – but I think some type of action should be taken. 

Imagine if a local city council member, school board member, firefighter or police officer posted one of these photos. They would be fired by the end of the day. 

If I posted something like that the owner of Granite would probably fly down to Taylor himself and give me the ax. In the meantime, my mom would come to the office and make sure that I and everyone within at least a block, knows how stupid it was to post it.  

There is a story on the front page of today’s paper courtesy of the Williamson County Sun that shows just how angry some people in Williamson County are about this whole situation. I have also seen several online posts that express outrage. 

I was astonished when I first heard about it. I was even more surprised when I heard there were little to no consequences for the actions. 

I understand social media is personal, but when you are in a public position, you have to think about the possible backlash for everything you post. 

I’m going to get off my soapbox now and go check out the Tex Mex Fest in Taylor. This is the first time it is here, so it should be pretty cool. 

“The price of greatness is responsibility. 

-Winston Churchill 

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