Let's start off with this.
Okay, with that little news bite in mind let me tell you about my latest foray into the Twilight Zone.
I recently sent a letter to the editorial pages of the Dallas Morning News after they ran Eric Fair's "Haunted By Fallujah" article. His article's been circulating on the blogosphere and it details his remorse of what he had to do as an interrogator of detained terrorists in Iraq. I try not to dignify them with the term "insurgents".
My letter ended with the line, "If the safety of our troops requires taking these terrorists apart with a blowtorch and pliers, so be it. Bill me for the propane". Maybe a bit over the top but it got the point across. The letter was published.
So yesterday evening I received some snail mail from a total stranger taking me to task for my comments. No profanity in it but he made it evident he thinks I suck on toast. Whatever, life isn't a popularity contest.
Now the Dallas Morning News wouldn't have given him my home address so he had to find it. The only thing the DMN lists is my name and the town I live in. No big deal there either, I've lived here long enough my name & address is probably on a few publicly accessible databases. As an example, I recently verified the address of my first wife by doing a plain old Google search, nothing special, no pay site involved, just boredom & persistance. Something to keep in mind if you publicly state your opinions and have a not too common last name.
So, now what do I do? My gut feeling is the letter writer is harmless. But for every ten like him there's probably one or two nutjobs that might want to make their displeasure known in a more personal and immediate manner. Again, perhaps like the idiot in the story I linked to.
Hell of a thing. Where I come from you can voice your opinions and if someone disagrees with them they go to the same forum you were heard in. Any dissenters DON'T contact you at home. Even via snail mail. For years I've written letters to the editor of whatever paper might be read where I live. Sometimes I've been pretty strong on my statements, but I've never gotten a reply sent to my home.
I don't worry about myself. But I've got a young wife and three young children. They don't need this crap.
And I won't shut up. Seems I remember that's what the Nazi's counted on when they rounded up the Jews, nice quiet, compliant sheep. Sorry, going quietly into that good night doesn't fit into my game plan. The bastards want me they better pack a lunch, it'll take some time.
Because of a recent attempted break-in of my home we've got a gun for the wife. I made it a bit more accessible for her tonight. And I'm soliciting suggestions as to what else I can do. Shall I contact my local police chief and have him talk to his peer in Dallas, trying to find out about this guy? Do I get a lawyer? WTF. This is new to me. If I was living alone I'd respond by writing back to him. As it is I don't want to stir any pots that might be ready to boil over.
I had a close buddy who took his own safety for granted. He ratted on some "business associates" back in '79. After the first one got out of jail in '84 my buddy was shot and subsequently died one month later. It all involved some heavy drug trafficking, that's a part of living that life I guess. But with that in mind I take this VERY seriously, especially since my family's safety might be involved.
Do I seem pissed? I am. Because no matter how unacceptable and strong someone's comments may be, in this country we're STILL guaranteed freedom of speech. And intimidation of any sort doesn't go down well with me. Yes, I look at this as a form of intimidation even if, as I suspect, the letter writer is some pipsqueak with pipestems for arms, it's still sounds like it's one step removed from, "Nice house you got there, is it insured?' Maybe it IS overreacting. I really don't have the objectivity to make that call.
And no damnit, I WON'T SHUT UP!!
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Let's start off with this.