I hate this. I hate having to interrupt blogging about interesting and educational subjects and everything else I’m trying to accomplish in life in order to address another needless pro-casino hissy fit.
As most of my regular readers know, I don’t generally visit pro-casino sites or forums, and I rarely blog about anyone who is not an elected official, policy maker or town committee member. This blog often employs parody, satire, and multimedia to express my opposition to the Middleboro casino project, and to tell the story of my involvment with it.
One thing I don’t talk about very much, however, is that, as a result of this blog and my vocal opposition to the casino project, I have often found myself often the target of pro-casino harassment, threats, and intimidation. Instead, I’ve tried my best to focus the content of my blog on the casino battle, the officials involved , and what I’ve learned from being part of it - except in those few instances when I have had to call public attention to some extreme behavior on the part on non-officials and policy makers.
My fellow blogger, Carverchick recently wrote a post entitled Collateral Damage, which I consider to be one of the most extraordinary and moving efforts to present potential casino ‘impacts’ that I’ve ever read. Sadly, the post’s effectiveness has resulted in the generation of indignation and moral outrage on the part of a small few, including an internet bully who has attempted to harass and intimidate Carverchick by e-mailing her a disturbing YouTube video and photos of his own children.
The blog post is about a father who committed the ultimate act of violence and betrayal to his family which occurred as a result of his reaction, in part, to overwhelming gambling debt. This scenario is far from unusual. I have encountered many such stories of child murder or endangerment in the course of my research on the effects of addictive gambling. In fact, it was one of the factors that convinced me to oppose a Middleboro casino. And though these things are well documented, some pro-casino people either choose not to believe it, ignore it, or possibly even accept it - while misdirecting anger and indignation at Carverchick for being so bold as to write about addictive gambling's youngest victims.
I would ask that those people attempt to understand that calling attention to these sort of cases is not poor taste – but rather a taste of what our communities will face living in the shadow of a mega casino. We should be aware of these cases, and not harass and intimidate the blogger who brings us their story.
I wonder if Chris Hanson gets hate mail too…
Someone, apparently, has been claiming that I currently have a lawsuit pending against a pro-casino person. Give me a break. How many things have been said about or done to me on the aforementioned pro-casino website and other venues. Contests? Rants? Threats? Insults? Did I run for the yellow pages to look up a lawyer? Again, no.
However, not long ago I did receive an e-mail threat that I felt severe enough, especially considering the escalating and increasingly delusional nature of the individual who sent it, to bring it to the attention of law enforcement authorities – who agreed with me.
A surrounding town’s web site has been linking to my blog.
So? Can I help it if Plympton suffers from good taste? I’ve known about the link for months. I don’t brag about it. I was flattered. Plympton, as you may know, has a special place in my heart.
And besides, let’s face it, back in Middleboro, town officials are legally mandated by the odious section 22 of the intergovernmental agreement they signed on July 28th to “support the Project” and “actively work with and assist the Tribe and its contractors and agents to obtain any and all approvals, legislation, liquor licensing or other enactments required for the Project from governmental entities and officials of the United States, the Commonwealth and the Town.”
Sounds like some pretty big enthusiastic thumbs way way up to me.
So, can someone explain why Middleboro or its casino supporters have suddenly become the moral authority on what is acceptable neutrality?
In a preceding blog post I make mention of a “mystery blogger” who I am reasonably certain is none other than Brian Giovanoni, chairman of Middleboro’s Casino Resort Advisory Committee. Brian has protested this assumption, calls it unfounded and has asked me to remove mention of him.
When a member of CasinoFacts.org e-mailed the “mystery blogger”, at the mystery blog e-mail address, guess who answered? Brian. Which means that his e-mail address is associated with the mystery blog. At that time, Brian quickly claimed to have set up the anonymous blog for “someone else”. Second, the blog sounds a lot like Brian, especially in his habit of trying to convince surrounding communities that a mega casino in the region will be open a floodgate of riches rather than cannibalize the local economy. I have witnessed this striking phenomenon in Brian’s writing and first hand. And third, Brian has blogged anonymously before, on a blog known as Factfinder where he once enjoyed labeling anti-casino people as liars.
Despite being anonymous, however, this mystery blogger continues to make repeated use of my name on their blog – the one Brian set up. This wouldn’t be so bad except that the ‘mystery blogger’ obviously doesn’t understand me, satire, or parody very well, and so most of my comments are taken out of context. Not to mention that, again, it’s anonymous, and that Brian, who objects so much to reading his own name on a blog, created it.
And what do you suppose my reaction was to this? Did I threaten a legal action? Did I boast of all the house liens I’m going to rack up alongside my folder full of libel?
Can’t say the same about Brian, though.
Nice. And, unfortunately, there's more.
Brian, aka FactFinder on a pro-casino forum:
What happens is the people who write this stuff end up digging themselves deeper and deeper. As I have stated on numerous occasions. I do have my folder of all the the libel cases. Making a statement that I am committing a federal offense is actually a criminal offense. She may think it is funny but I do not. I have spoken with the Plymouth County DA's office on these matters. I will have to direct them. I know Carver Chics real name. I have passed it along to the authorities.
It is getting out of hand and these bloggers will not be happy until I am the third, fourth or fifth lien on their homes (since I will have to get in line for most).
Compared to Brian Giovanoni, Adam Bond is starting to look like King Solomon.
A person in Brian’s position as a town committee chairman should be able to put his big boy pants on when it comes to criticism about his actions on the issue in which he is involved. And if he can’t, then maybe he should turn his chairmanship over to a grown-up who won’t point the non-neutrality finger at other towns while he himself creates pro-casino blogs and cavorts on a pro-casino web site owned and operated by a notorious loose cannon and internet bully who harasses and threatens the opposition and makes unpleasant scenes at public meetings, and where posters are constantly encouraged to pursue legal action against casino opponents by a litigious flame throwing lunatic known only as ’Vegas Val’.
The problem folks, is not me. The problem is not my fellow bloggers, my fellow anti-casino activists, CasinoFacts.org, the Bailey brothers or CERA.
The problem is the shortsighted rush to place a mega casino and a sovereign nation in a region shared by over a quarter million people without appropriate forethought, research, public awareness and due diligence.
The problem is labeling a blog or post or comment as controversial while considering an 18 story casino leering 24/7 into people’s backyards a ‘growing pain’.
The problem is spewing outrage, venom, negative effort and moral indignation over words on a blog and the person who writes them - instead of raising up those voices in defense of the region, the environment, the safety, and most importantly, the people and their families who will be hurt as a result of bringing the world’s largest casino to the town of Middleboro.
"Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power. Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, founded in injustice and wrong, are sure to tremble, if men are allowed to reason…There can be no right of speech where any man…[is] compelled to suppress his honest sentiments.Equally clear is the right to hear. To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker."
- Frederick DOUGLASS, American abolitionist, author, orator (1817-1895) speaking in Boston 1860