I’m writing this on November 4th, the day after the 2015 election. In the spirit of a fresh start, I have removed every one of my old posts, except one. The post below was written in June of 2015, and was posted on this site a few weeks ago. This wasn’t a political post or a criticism of something one of our board members said. I got fucked with, and I just can’t seem to let it go yet. That’s all.
But because I don’t want to spoil the good mood of and imminent spirit of collaboration I’m hoping occurs, I’m not posting today, November 4th. I am setting this to auto-post in a few weeks, and will forget about it until then.
WITH TREPIDATION, I POST ANEW
Hi, my name is Ron. I write stuff. Until recently, I did this (mostly) anonymously, but I guess nothing lasts forever..
This is not an attack. If you recently said something not so nice about me in a public forum, you don’t need to worry, I’m not here to respond. Your words are yours, I heard them, and they are forever etched into the internet. I just wanted to say a few things, show you some stuff, and draw some conclusions of my own. I hope you feel compelled to draw your own conclusions, or at least ask some questions of some people.
I certainly did take a beating on the Brookfield Matters Facebook page, and walked a mile in the shoes of some people I’ve made fun of. Yep, that sucked. I accept it. This post is not a plea for forgiveness, it’s an acknowledgement. So be it. I’m moving on, exposed to Brookfield and the world.
I have become a cautionary tale, an object lesson and a passion play. Can you believe Mom and Dad said I’d never amount to anything?
You thought I was gone for good? Maybe I would have been, I don’t know. I was pondering what to do, and then shit got real. Here’s what I have to say…
On the weekend of May 30th, there was a lot of chatter on a Brookfield Matters post, commenting about me, my wife, my blog, PEP Talk, etc. This particular comment was made (my employer info is obscured):
Cue flashback sequence…Here’s some stuff I’ve never shared until now:
- This email from June 1, 2014, the author mentions my workplace (redacted)
- This email form June 4, 2014, the author mentions my home address (also redacted)
- The IP addresses of those emails match some of these other comments I’ve received, but also never shared. Note the email address Thomas.Paine@comcast.net that was used in some of those comments.
At work on June 1st, the Monday after my identity really became a non-secret, I was called to my HR department, where I was informed that some important people in my company, including the CEO, received a message about my blog. It was sent anonymously, from Thomas.Paine@comcast.net. (I think that’s the pot calling the kettle black, right?) The intention of the message, to say it nicely, was to call negative attention to my blog activity during work hours.
My HR director made it clear that my political beliefs and activities are not against any company regulations, and I didn’t get into any trouble at all. At all. They were simply making me aware of the incident, and expressed sympathy for me.
My observation and a logical conclusion: DeVaux went out of his way in his comments to awkwardly shoehorn in the name of my workplace. We all know DeVaux used to write a blog as the Cranky Yankee. On that blog he lists 5 other (mostly abandoned or defunct) blogs, including this one, authored by a Thomas Paine.
No accusations, just some facts and puzzle pieces. My opinion: The comments seem to be well-placed suggestions, and/or alibi.
After my HR meeting, I decided to take down the site temporarily. I decided. Just like right now I’m deciding put it back up with this post.
When the site went down, an announcement was made on the Brookfield Matters Facebook page, and there was much rejoicing upon that post. Among the comments was this one:
I am not attacking, I’m observing. I find it interesting that Dr. Appleby would have made this comment the day after the message was sent my employer. Again, it’s only my opinion, but this comment sounds either like a suggestion, or an alibi. CYA?
Flashback 2: Dr. Appleby sent me this email back in March 2015, where he states that he was the one who figured out who I was, and that 2 other people had already tried to make my life difficult at my workplace.
Here’s a broader logical conclusion (also not an attack) based on that email from March and his comments on Facebook – Dr. Appleby has been involved in conversations or schemes regarding my job, my employer, and my livelihood. This is proven with his own words in that email. In a binary, true or false sense, Dr. Appleby was part of the discussion, which makes him an accessory to the result. Regardless of what he has professed.
Another fact I’d like to present…Some will argue that I brought this on myself. They would say that images I posted set off a chain of events that ultimately got me here. I would say this: The most egregious images in question, you know, the ones of Tinsley and Appleby, were posted in January 2015 and February 2015. Look at the dates on the messages I linked above – I have been getting taunting emails and veiled threats for almost a year before I put those images up.
That I’ve been called a bully is hypocritical and silly. I’ve been trolled on LinkedIn, taunted on Twitter, and they have been threatening my job for over a year. These are the kind of bullies who play the victim in public, but have taunted me in private. I believe they used the knowledge of my identity, and my desire to stay anonymous, as a tool in their terrorist toolbox. I’m presenting my point of view and my opinion, and if you disagree with me, or don’t like the way I write, I invite you to stop reading.
But no, someone chose to try to ruin my livelihood over a few pictures and some sarcastic comments.
None of you reading this pays my salary. That’s the difference. Your logic in comparing me to Greg Beck is flawed – I’ve never been a town employee AND/OR a BOE member making terrible and insensitive comments on the clock about tragic events concerning innocent school children. I was very glad when Beck stepped down from the BOE, but I never called for him to lose his job, and said so.
Anonymity was a necessity when I began, for many reasons. Regardless of our right to free speech, even satirical, critical, lampooning free speech, I was always worried that something like this could happen, and it seems I was right. The U.S. Supreme Court thinks it’s okay to make anonymous political statements, and they said so in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm’n (1995), where Republican Justice Stevens wrote for the majority:
Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. … an author’s decision to remain anonymous, like other decisions concerning omissions or additions to the content of a publication, is an aspect of the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.
I speak for myself. I maintain that I was, and will always be, one man writing a blog about current events and whatever else I feel like writing about. Do I talk to friends and neighbors and my wife about these things? Do I ask former and current leaders questions? Of course I do, but that doesn’t make them authors here. Also, I don’t care any more if you believe me.
You hated some of my pictures, I get it. I could try to explain or excuse myself, but that’s not what this is about. Some of the pictures were, at best shocking, and at worst demeaning to their subjects. If you were offended by them, then I am sincerely sorry.
You’ve noticed some changes. New blog name, new look, new email. You may have noticed that almost all of my old posts are gone. I don’t know if or when they’ll come back. I don’t even know if I’m even going to continue this.
I don’t like writing anyone else’s story. It’s never good writing. People send me a lot of stuff to write about. I’ve gotten emails full of rumors, stories, requests, and various media. You told me about so-and-so and their cash only, no-tax-paying business. You shared tales of alleged spousal abuse and restraining orders. You presented to me your own logical conclusions of abuse of power, cronyism, and huge personal gain from questionable politics.
Please. Stop it. If you have something to say, you can say it yourself. This is my story, and if I ever write here again, you can be sure that the words will be mine alone.
I’m looking forward to enjoying my summer.
And finally, if this does end up being my last post, thank you all. You took the time to read what I wrote, and it’s been a pleasure, mostly, to entertain and inform.
My name is Ron. I write stuff.