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Don’t fuel rumors through belief

One rumor can destroy and cause a standstill. We saw the manifestation of the danger of idle rumors Tuesday in Selma when telephones began ringing from anxious shoppers who wanted to know how safe Wal-Mart shopping was for the day.

Apparently, the telephone callers had bought into an urban legend that the parking lot of the Selma store would be a battle ground for gang initiation. Now, if they had only stopped to think. First of all, any reasonable person would have picked up the telephone and called Wal-Mart. A reporter for The Selma Times-Journal did so, just minutes after the first report of “something hazardous going on at the store.” The manager assured us Wal-Mart was safe, secure and business as usual.

But the rumors kept flying and becoming more and more violent. Finally, around 6 p.m., someone called to ask if someone held hostages inside the store.

A little common sense goes a long way. There’s no need to panic or spread wild rumors without basic knowledge of what’s going on. Relying on he said to her and she said to someone who told me is only asking for trouble.

If something were afoot, law enforcement authorities would be the first to send out an alert and your media outlets would keep you informed.

Summer is just around the corner. That’s when a good many of these rumors get started. Let’s not make a habit of this. It hurts our community.