Veiled Threats from Former Candidates

I am in receipt this morning of an apparent email threat forwarded to me stating “Gariepy is next.  He’s in a lot of trouble.”  The writer of the threat is a former candidate for City Council.

The threat directed at me is probably related to a discussion thread on Michael Lombardini’s Sterling Heights Local Politics Facebook group in which another former candidate for City Council chose to take issue with a complaint lodged there about  positions on immigration, specifically Muslim immigration.  The candidate or the candidate’s surrogates apparently successfully petitioned Facebook to remove Mr. Lombardini from the site temporarily.

It’s unclear if the writer who referenced my name directly was talking about having my Facebook access removed, or something more sinister.

I am not, and will not be intimidated by threats, direct or indirect, by people who wish to silence my opposition to their candidacy for public office or ideas espoused publicly in a government forum.

If you cannot successfully challenge my ideas with facts, logic and reason, you will surely fail to silence them by threats and attempts at intimidation.

I welcome an open exchange of ideas, both here and on Facebook, by thoughtful people who are engaged in the practice of civilized discussion.  I have routinely found myself deleting blog comments by the threatening writer over the past few years, however, because of their abusive nature.  Apparently this individual has fixated himself on this blog as the reason for his failure to be elected to council after several attempts.  Of course, I am only form my own opinions, and I only get one vote at the polling place, so his fixation is misdirected.

Politics, even local politics, can be a grim business sometimes.  If you want to advance your ideas and be involved in your community, you sometimes encounter people who are opposed to those ideas and that involvement.  It is not the first time I have encountered this, and if I keep doing things right, it won’t be the last, either.  The opposition, paradoxically, is a sign that you’re being effective.  Veiled threats are not acceptable behavior, however, and will be directed to the appropriate channels.




Posted on June 16, 2016, in Issues and views. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thank you for this post and for the support you have shown me at “other locations” on this subject.

    First I want to agree with something you said “somewhere else”…. Facebook is a private company, and therefore standard 1st amendments rights are not guaranteed. Since it is their private property they can ban whoever they want.

    But I have several problems with what has happened…

    1. The vagueness of policy. I received a one-sentence notification from them that I have been suspended for “violating community guidelines” but they didn’t bother telling me what guidelines I violated.

    In reading their community standards they have policies against “harassment” of private citizens. But how someone who is posting under an active campaign web site and who (at least as of this morning) has a still-active campaign committee filed with the state…. could be considered a “private citizen” is beyond me.

    I have been mindful of who is and who is no longer a candidate. And I have made a point of laying off the other candidates from 2015 because there is every indication that they have stepped back into private life. But that is not the case here.

    If it is suddenly going to be a FB policy that you are no longer allowed to question candidates for elected office about statements they made in public, at a public forum, on TV, then there is really no need for them to call themselves a “community” any longer.

    2. Inconsistent Enforcement. At least 5 times in the last 11 months, the page of that candidate has made posts which directly attacked either me personally or the group as a whole for somehow being “unfair”. I didn’t complain at the time because I value the free speech of even people I disagree with, but it did not go unnoticed by me that the post which (I assume) got me suspended was a direct rebuttal to a post attacking me. So FB is fine with me and our group being attacked, but defending ourselves is somehow a violation?

    3. The attack on free speech. I don’t care who the candidate is, or whether I support them or not…. when you are a candidate for public office your public statements and platforms are fair game for debate. Around here, it’s called “America”. If you can’t play by the rules of America than you shouldn’t try to play.

    4. The attack on Truth. I have been very careful to avoid saying things that are untrue. Yes, I have STRONGLY disagreed with several candidates and elected officials in the past (and will in the future)…. but there is a difference between arguing over conclusions and arguing over fact. To the best of my knowledge, I have never knowingly said anything false about any candidate or official, and I have been quick to publicly apologize when there was any doubt about the facts and I presented them. And in this particular case… I have yet to hear that anything I said was untrue. I think that’s important.

    I don’t know how this is going to end up. I’m going to play it by ear. I may take you up on you offer to suggest alternatives. I’ll want to think about it for a bit first.

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