Last night, I received an e-mail from Liz Ditz at I Speak of Dreams, letting me know that a fellow blogger and anti-quackery champion had died unexpectedly. That man was Free Speaker, at the Age of Ignorance blog.
I can't say that I knew him, really. I'd seen some of his posts around various blogs and read a few of the posts on his blog. But I cannot say that I knew him or that he was a friend. Sadly, I did not take the opportunity to forge that. About all I know is that he and I had some similarities, such as our reasons for starting our blogs.
And as I thought of his passing, and others' responses to it, I wondered, "Why do we do this?"
Why do we blog? Why do we speak out, when those who disagree with us are, quite frankly, frightening in their response? When we face the threat of having our real identities "outed"; when we face threats against our employment; and when we even face death threats...why do we continue to speak out?
I think the answer is passion and compassion. We have a passion for the topics we discuss. It gives us courage to face the slings and arrows others would throw at us. It is a fire that burns within us as we try to shed light on darkness, to burn off the chaff of misdirection and irrationality that pervades life. And feeding that passion is our concern for our fellow man. When predators would take advantage of people, especially those facing emotionally charged circumstances, we cannot help but raise our voices and take the wolves to task.
From what little I know, personally, about Free Speaker, and from what I've heard from others, he was just such a passionate and compassionate individual who cared deeply for his wife, his autistic son, and everyone who could fall prey to the fraudsters, especially those who would threaten those with special needs. He was outspoken and fearless as he bore his torch into the darkness.
Although I did not know him personally, he stands as an inspiration. And he will be missed.