Letter to the Editor: Using the word hostage in reference to mail is wrong | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the Editor: Using the word hostage in reference to mail is wrong

Eugene Hiers

This editorial is regarding the headline from a Summit Daily News story on Jan. 31.

“Hostage? … Really?

A licensed mental health professional in Summit County said if there was a person being held hostage, their family or friends should be offended when the situation is compared to mail.

Per the definition of hostage, “someone who is taken as a prisoner by an enemy in order to force the other people involved to do what the enemy wants,” as defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary. So, is our mail the same as a person being held hostage? By definition, certainly not. 

What happens when we “dramatize” words which are not fitting to satisfy our feelings? This can cause various reactions which would escalate many situations. While receiving mail in a timely manner is important and must be addressed, the negations for such words as ‘hostage’ only increase hostility without helping with the resolution of the situation. Perspectives can help us take a step back from the situation for a deep breath. Being direct is always helpful, according to “7 crucial steps to minimize drama in your lift by Deschene, L.

Snail-mail continues to be an integral part of everyday life, especially in remote counties with excessive costs of living. Then some situations require the use of the U.S. Postal Service for insurances who require drug prescriptions be mailed from a pharmacy too far to be picked up. 

Point is, words lose meaning when wrongfully used which cheapens their importance. Postal Service employees are not themselves holding your mail. If anything, they want to ensure its proper delivery. But “hostage” desensitizes actual people who were truly held hostage. These are people, not mail. 

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