It is important for people to learn from this situation. While certainly I can look up aspects of the law and use the latest psychological forensic theories to explain poor behavior for the moment I am not. I will leave perhaps for later when I begin to summarize what has occurred and why it has occurred. For the moment what is most important is that we become aware of the behavior and in turn do better as a society to ensure that these behaviors do not happen again. I have a responsibility to share my experience with others so they may think about what they are doing and treat people fairly and justly. We are one America and no one has the right to threaten or intimidate certain peoples, groups, and background because they haven't come to grips with their own feelings of self-worth.
This is not a political debate because we are dealing with people's lives and their right to live peaceable with their neighbors. Our children should also be protected from hate and bigotry and should not have to be used as targets to intimidate and bully someone to silence the other improper behaviors of their lives. In this situation I had asked for confidentiality to protect all parties involved and instead had serious violations of privacy and intentional distortion of my message.
At this moment I don't really care about that. What I do care about is how a few misguided individuals could gather a large collection of followers to engage in intimidation tactics. It sounds like something a sociopath with high social skills could pull off; certainly not someone with a moral conscious unless that conscious is primarily about themselves and how they look. While I may or may not have been intimidated I can say that the behavior is grotesque and beyond anything that could be considered "normal".
There is a lot to this and there is no way I'm going to cover it in a single blog post. First, it is unlikely you will read it all in one setting but secondly there much of the information must be looked at from a logical and moral standpoint and that isn't easy to cover all at once. So I am going to take my time raising this issue to help my state come to a better understanding of why these behaviors occur and what tools are in place to act on them.
Let me say that intimidation in this instance came in many different forms. Much of this started because of involving children in personal disputes and a prior history of abusive, dishonest, and self-seeking behavior. When you see people making racial jokes about "nigga babies" and you see them sharing inappropriate information to your children, not to mention the extreme rudeness, you have to take a stand at some point.
Children are supposed to be protected so using children for personal dysfunction and involving your own children is wrong.
My stand was very polite. It was designed to sort of raise awareness of their behaviors to them. Sometimes just being aware makes the difference. That didn't work as they ignored the gestures and doubled their efforts in rudeness became increasingly aggressive.
It was a type of discounting of the other person and their needs. I guess that is what bigotry, racism and hate is all about. Bigots discount the value of others and raise their own value artificially. It may not be rational but it is heartbreaking to know that when people look at you and talk to you they devalue you, your children, your experience and your life. ....but that is how some people are.
At some point I'm likely going to analyze the different laws of Michigan as they relate (I bet there are some gaps and room for improvement) to bullying, intimidation, harassment, and other forms dysfunctional group behavior used to encourage people and what looks like push them out of town. This is where I may make some policy change recommendations and do my best to shore up those gaps to better ensure communities are protected. I suspect I could find a legal academic to do a pro bono review.
Lets go back to this case...
I'm not going to go through all the details just yet. I can say that sharing information that is false, misleading and designed to do damage to children is highly highly inappropriate. Going out to people in the community by manipulating conversations and making up stories to damage reputations and to create an intimidating environment is called defamation of character. Yet, doing this in a manner designed to inflict emotional and physical harm to intimidate a family should be criminal.
Incidents such as calling to encourage me to leave a local social club, having a local "hot head" act in an aggressive manner, having a local close law enforcement friend of their come up to me and ask if "I have a gun" in an aggressive manner (there is much much much more to this story), being stared at by people I never had a problem with, having people whisper while I walk by, shaking their head at me in disdain, and much more. On their own none of these people are "bad" but together they have few limits in what they will believe and what they will do.
I will be going into detail at some point on these incidents show how this behavior his highly inappropriate and should be considered illegal. While I do understand the background and lack of critical thinking of this group I believe very much they were intentionally mislead. They were what would normally be called a "proxy".
Proxies occur when a perpetrator intentionally provides others with misleading and false information to harass another person. In their head they may think their morally correct but they are acting on information from their social group that was not critically thought about or questioned in any way. Thus, the group itself appears to be somewhat dysfunctional and likely comes from a older sports culture that is now shunned now in most modern schools.
The use of intimidation tactics can be used to silence someone, punish them for enforcing boundaries, or push them to leave town. We can do better as a society. If we allow these behaviors to continue and not hold them accountable then we have accepted them as "business as usual" in our approach to keep our town as "local" as possible. However, I am a local and was born and bred here with multiple generations from the same area. The only difference is my black children and my name. Is that a problem for some people? It appears that may be a big problem for some people and the lack of accountability of such behavior.
We have to do better on hate and bigotry