May 28, 2014 1:37 pm ET
People who hide in the shadows don’t deter me
One of the first life lessons I learned was one that my late father taught me, and it was a dandy. Safe to say that the lesson changed my life, but it took a beat down for that lesson to really hit home.
Let me set the stage for you. Our family was about to buy its first home. In the meantime, we had to move into a small rented section of a house near the old Rex Theater in the city.
One day, I looked out the window and saw my younger brother getting beat up by an older kid. I ran to my father and told him (actually, I yelled at him) about what was happening. He calmly replied, “Go help your brother.”
I did, but that was when I got the aforementioned beat down. My father’s reaction was simple: “Don’t ever let that happen again.”
They were gruff words, especially for a kid who just had his behind handed to him, but they were meant to make me tougher. My father, you see, was a paratrooper during WWII and served in the Philippines. He was a weightlifter, as was one of his best friends, and together they built their own gym.
A side piece to this story is my father’s friend asked him to go into business together if they survived the war and start a gym. My father declined, as he had a good job back home and needed to take care of his family rather than go off on a risky venture. Years later, that friend’s risky venture—York Barbell—became quite the success story. The rest, as they say, is history.
OK, now back to my childhood memory.
My father was a fanatical lifter all of his life. After the beat down, he bought me a set of weights, which I used every day … and to this day I have never stopped lifting.
Later in life, I trained with some of the best in the state and competed in numerous events. I used to joke that the only people I feared were the ones pushing more weight than I was in the gym.
So, today, with all of that history behind me, I think you understand that I don’t back down or take kindly to bullies. These are individuals who hide in the shadows and throw rocks when you aren’t looking before they slip back under their rocks.
Which leads us to present day.
On May 24, while playing my guitar (with headphones so not to disturb the neighbors), the phone rang at 11:27 pm. I noticed that the caller ID said “private caller,” but that is not a strange occurrence anymore. Out of curiosity, I answered the phone.
And that is when the bully struck.
The male caller spouted some obscene comments toward me and hung up.
What a coward.
But it didn’t stop there. That call was followed by two more calls at 11:28 pm and 11:30 pm, both again laced with obscenities.
Can I prove who called me? No. Can I say undoubtedly that the calls are related to what I write in this blog and the feathers of the status quo that I ruffle? Absolutely.
In a sense, this just proves my point—these types don’t belong in the positions that they are in, such as running our government or holding any type of leadership roles. Their idea of freedom is, “You are free to do things my way, or you are free to take the highway.” If you take issue with them based on facts, then they label you as a racist, a hater, a malcontent, or a trouble maker.
Or all of the above.
Bullies do not believe in debate. They only want discourse when it suits their agenda.
The funny thing is, bullies like this do a lot of complaining. They complain when you delete their comments after they are repeatedly warned to keep the comments clean. They sit behind fake names and fake identities and whine that they have the right to do whatever, and say whatever, they want.
Remember folks, freedom of speech doesn’t protect you from saying just anything. After all, I doubt that argument would fly if you yell “FIRE!” in a movie theater or “BOMB!” on an airplane.
So, I don’t tolerate bullies well, as I have said. But rather than take a physical approach, I just, after repeatedly warning them, ban them from making any more comments.
It’s called accountability. Look it up if you’re unfamiliar with the term.
Bullies will never stand up and face you because, as the famous movie line uttered by Jack Nicholson says, “You [or, in this case, they] can’t handle the truth.”
Now, as I was writing this, some other issues came to my attention over some Staigerwald campaign signs being destroyed. This again is the act of bullies and cowards.
Believe me when I say that I will report on every sign destroyed, and I have no problem naming names so that the voters can figure out who is behind the vandalism. Whether it’s here in Dundalk or Parkville this should not be tolerated and ultimately the action could cost the offending candidacy their shot at being elected.
Now, with that said, I am still willing to offer anycandidate what I had promised—600 words in your own writing formulating your platform. No editing. No commentary. Just an avenue to reach the voters.
Finally, let me say this. If I do find out who made the calls to my home phone—and, with today’s technology, that is not difficult to do—I will be the first person to shout it to the rooftops.
As the old newspaper vernacular goes, “EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL AOUBT IT!”
That, folks, is the bottom line. Like I said, “Accountability.”