Responsible Headlines

I am finding myself compelled for the first time to actually write a letter in response to the provocative title of this past week’s Santa Barbara Independent.

At the memorial of a cherished dharma friend, some of us wondered in dismay at the choice of words in an otherwise good piece of journalism and the telling of a story that needs to be told. What was brought to light in the beautiful gathering yesterday was the importance and enduring effect of choice of words.

I read the well-written article deeply and was educated by it. At the same time, I was so saddened, as were other dharma students, by the choice of words for the title. Perhaps “Brutality in Burma” would have said it all, rather than the choice to bring religion into it. In my humble opinion, such a title just provokes the issue, rather than serving to clarify it.

Just as Bin Laden had little to do with the truth of Islam, this has little to do with the truth of Buddhism. The man on the cover, just like Bin Laden and other such “leaders,” is an egocentric individual with distorted toxic views. These people align themselves under the banner of a religion and strut their harmful views in a religion’s name in a way that not only discredits their religion but all religions. Genuine common sense clearly recognizes these views as a discredit to human dignity, human rights, and global understanding.

Local dharma students aspire for the simple telling of truth, and we hope that in the future The Independent will be very mindful of the responsibility in the choice of words as you educate your caring public on such serious world issues.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Montecito Pushes Back on Streamlined Rebuild Process

Not so fast with fast-track rebuilding, leaders tell the county

St. George Files Suit Against Gelb for Unpaid Debt

Pair of Isla Vista landlords in legal tussle over property sales costs.

Thousands of Plaintiffs Added to Refugio Oil Spill Case

Litigation follows footsteps of 1969 Union Oil spill attorneys.

Push Comes to Shove Between Law Enforcement and Mental Health

County supervisors confront too many needs with not enough money.

Helicopter Hits Electrical Wires, Starts Small Fire

A crop duster hit power lines in Ellwood Canyon.