As a lifelong news writer and editor, I have read with some interest the columns, editorials and letters to the editor that have appeared in these and other newspaper opinion/editorial pages over the past several months.

Additionally, I read online the so-called news stories and comments with varying viewpoints that follow.

In my opinion—and this is the appropriate venue for expressing it—some comments are vindictive, bitter and unkind.

At what point did we become a country of sheep? When did we choose to be unkind or hateful because of something someone else is reported to have said or done? When did common sense and common courtesy, for all intents and purposes, essentially disappear?

When and who decided that what offends us should be destroyed rather than that we should work toward change and a more tolerant future? When did a difference of opinion move from civil discourse to hate, foul language, and name-calling? At what point did we blame someone—or everyone—else for the way we choose to speak or act? When did we decide to choose unhappiness over happiness? Did we allow someone else to decide all this for us?

When all is said and done, I prefer to think for myself, make my own decisions, choose my own path, and live by what I believe is true. I’m open to new ideas, differences of opinion and civil discourse. I may not always agree, and I have been known to change my mind.

I don’t take lightly that I am fortunate in my life to have found good employment, to be surrounded by a loving family and the best of friends, and to be in relatively good health. And I still believe in the inherent goodness of most people.

If you live in a manner that you dislike, it’s likely you can choose even one small change to make it better. Perhaps you should look inward. Perhaps not.

Some say that I look at the world through those proverbial rose-colored glasses. Fine with me. I wear glasses and I love roses.

Judy Riley