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Sticks, Stones and Big Words 

The Bulletin must have scored better on its SATs than us. Or perhaps not.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "imperious" (yes, we had to look it up) as "having or showing the proud and unpleasant attitude of someone who gives orders and expects other people to obey them."

In a recent swipe at the current—and seeking reelection—Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty, the editorial writers at the Bulletin pulled quotes from Flaherty's emails to provide their own definition of the word, specifically calling the tone of his communications "snarky and imperious." To show what they mean, the editors at the Bulletin go on to directly pull a quote from one of his recent emails to a member of City Club of Central Oregon who was trying to organize a debate between Flaherty and John Hummel.

"Imperious: 'Please do not schedule City Club events for me to attend without speaking in person with me. . . I invite you to call my assistant Nichole Brown to schedule a time to meet in person with me at your District Attorney's office. I would be happy to discuss your proposed 'debate' as well as your choice of moderators.'"

At first consideration, the tone of Flaherty's email does not strike us as "imperious," or haughty or even snitty, for that matter. It sounds like he is making a reasonable request.

But, then again, that assessment does not consider the full context of the email exchanges and, more broadly, the ongoing friction between the DA and the city's daily newspaper.

Yes, Flaherty apparently has denied to take part in a debate hosted by the City Club, and that would be moderated by a city editor from the Bulletin—and perhaps he has done so rightfully so.

Since Flaherty took office, there has been no secret of the feud between him and the Bulletin. Just after taking office, Flaherty fired five deputy district attorneys. Investigating those firings, a Bulletin reporter successfully requested and received the job applications from replacement candidates. In turn, Flaherty tried to pull her in front of a Grand Jury. That action did and does not reflect well on Flaherty—and we repeat that we truly believe that the DA should be the most virtuous person in the county. But the Bulletin's editorial team continuing to wrestle in the weeds with him does not reflect well on them, nor does such cat fighting make accepting an invitation to debate any more appealing. And it certainly does not do justice to the public interest for hearing the candidates talk about the issues.

This is an incredibly important election; its debates and the media coverage are important opportunities for Central Oregonians to discuss issues much more relevant than ongoing catfights. For the sake of a smart and fair campaign, we give them the boot and hope that both parties—the Bulletin and Flaherty—pull the remainder of the campaign out of the ditch-fighting, hair-pulling and Tonya Hardingisms.

Oops. Did that sound a touch imperious?

Last Friday, a Bend High School student arrived at school with a gun and took his own life. As this tragedy directly touched many lives in the community, and here at the newspaper, we are deeply saddened by the student's death.

This is not a time to debate gun control, or the alert system that the school district used, or what—if any—counseling could have prevented this tragedy. Those discussions can come later, when emotions are not so raw.

This is simply a time for sadness.

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