Re: “Leonard Pitts: Elegy for a suicide victim becomes an elegy for so much more” (Sept. 16):

As always, Pitts found just the right words to articulate what many of us feel about the suicide of one man outed by the Ashley Madison site. Human frailty enticed by greed, exposed by malice and catapulted into despair. Too many wrongs to count.

But it was the Ashley Madison site’s description of its customers – “free-thinking people who choose to engage in fully lawful online activities” – that stayed with me.

Beware the words “fully lawful … activities.” Nothing is perfect about lawful behavior.

Laws are there to set the lowest boundary for what is tolerable in society, and that is far from perfect.

The phrase “fully lawful” is usually offered to justify something unethical, immoral or just plain wrong.


Do we really admire the scalpers who scooped up free tickets for the pope’s appearances and put them on sale for thousands of dollars?

Those of us who work in mental health counseling know that affairs are rarely about “free thinking.” They are usually about human turmoil, failed intimacy and a complex of needs and wants that battle with our better selves.

Free thinking is neither the motivation for most affairs, nor the solution to the guilt and pain that they cause in our own hearts and in the hearts of those whom we betray.

All of us can have sympathy for individual human weakness. Many of us mourn the loss of privacy that makes that human weakness public property, fodder for public shaming for political or personal gain.

But a company whose business plan is to encourage betrayal, enable deceit and send condolence cards to the families destroyed as a result?

No culture worth respecting can have sympathy for that.

For that, fully lawful or not, is despicable.

Mary E. Plouffe, Ph.D.

South Freeport

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