DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine was a victim of domestic violence. When I asked her why she didn't phone 9-1-1 for help, her response was, "They play those 9-1-1 calls on the radio all the time." She didn't want her prominent husband's career damaged by adverse publicity.
Today, a group of us discussed the issue, and many of the women said that because of the popularity of 9-1-1 calls being broadcast on the Internet, radio and TV, they'd be hesitant to phone for help when needed, too.
Abby, someone is going to suffer serious harm out of fear that their call for help will be publicized. Do you know what can be done about this new "drama entertainment"? I wouldn't want my terrified call heard by the public either, so I'd take my chances without calling for help. I just hope I don't wake up dead one day as a result.
- Publicity-Shy in Florida
DEAR PUBLICITY-SHY: Nothing can be done about "drama entertainment" as long as the public has an appetite for it. It draws viewers and listeners - which means advertising revenue.
In the case of domestic violence, calling 9-1-1 is the lesser of two evils. Ask yourself if your friend's husband's career was worth risking her life for. It makes more sense to risk a 9-1-1 call being broadcast than to have cameras and TV reporters camped on your lawn while the EMTs or the coroner carry your battered, bloody body out on a gurney.
DEAR ABBY: You give so much great advice, I'm wondering if there is a basic principle you abide by in order to help guide you when giving advice.
- Curious Reader
DEAR CURIOUS: I hadn't really thought about it, but I suppose it's something like this: Show up for work ready to put forth my best effort. Be honest enough to admit that not everyone agrees with me or that I'm sometimes wrong. Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Don't pull any punches, don't preach and always try to be succinct.