D-Day - And The Drone
THOSE FREEDOMS WON BY TREMENDOUS SACRIFICE
Today, June 6th, is the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Europe by allied forces that marked the beginning of the end for Hitler and his Nazi regime. Millions of words have been written about this event and dozens of movies have been produced memorializing the valor shown during the invasion and the months that followed, including Saving Private Ryan and The Longest Day. Dozens of documentaries are available for viewing on YouTube and vary in length from a couple minutes to a couple of hours. Here is a three minute clip that will remind us of that date:
IS THIS WHAT THEY FOUGHT FOR?
Today, as I contemplate this day and what D-Day meant to the world and freedom as we know it, I cannot help but think about how things are in my city, Costa Mesa, California. Today we wrestle with abridgment of many of those hard-won freedoms. Today residents find themselves chastised and vilified for daring to step up and attempt to address grievances with our elected leaders. The list is long - too long to present again here now. However, there is one situation boiling in our community today that simply demands comment.
For the past week there has been a YouTube video circulating that has become white-hot locally. Since it was posted on June 1st more than 442,000 views have been tallied. By the time I finish this and post it that number will be rapidly approaching the half-million mark. Of course, that's not unusual in this day and age. What is unusual is the content and the reaction of local officials and residents to this event.
I will not provide a link to that video lest you be distracted from my message today. It presents a mostly audio recording - taken from a GoPro camera attached to a quadcopter drone machine that was being flown as part of some kind of drone race at Fairview Park. The subject of the video is a long-time resident, an active volunteer in the community and the mother of two school-age children. She actually ran for a school board seat not too long ago.
ONLY A FEW FACTS ARE KNOWN
I don't pretend to know all the details of this event, but I've watched the video a couple times. I will not attempt to sugar-coat the audio record - it's there for all to hear. The woman in question used some very salty language toward the owner of the drone as she attempted to take it to a police officer that she had called. I understand that the man wanted his drone back, and I don't know - and the record is not clear - whether the woman was actually in danger from the flight of the drone before it crashed near her and her dog. It does appear that she feared for her safety as she walked to meet the police officer. Only she and her husband, who was accompanying her on their walk through the park, know the truth.
SITUATION APPARENTLY RESOLVED PEACEFULLY
The 16 minute video apparently ends with the owner of the drone receiving it back from the woman, who had carried it some distance hidden from view under her sweater - all the while the GoPro camera was recording the audio. I don't know what kind of editing was subsequently done to that audio/video clip, although that might have been important to know.
NOT THE PURPOSE OF THIS POST
The purpose of this post is NOT to attempt to criticize her, nor excuse her, for the language she used, nor is it to criticize the drone pilots who may have been violating operating rules at Fairview Park.
JACKALS AND HYENAS ON THE ATTACK
The reason for this post is to address the reaction by members of this community to that event, particularly several elected and appointed officials who seem determined to destroy this woman's life - apparently because she's friendly with political opponents. We've seen a predator mentality take over, with some of the most vile posts on social media I've ever seen locally basically calling for her scalp. Some of the most vocal are people I've respected in the past, even though I've disagreed with them on specific issues. Their actions on this issue have changed that...
We've seen one high-ranking elected official actually post her name, address and telephone number on social media! We've seen our mayor, Steve Mensinger, actually encourage his minions to bring flash drives of segments of the video clip to the City Council meeting tomorrow to be be played during Public Comments. We've seen another image placed on social media that shows her photo, a photo of her home along with the address and the names and ages of her children! Those acts are despicable!
What I AM concerned about is that this appears to be yet another attempt to swat down a member of the community for exercising free speech. Was she correct in picking up that drone and refusing to give it to the owner until the police officer intervened? Probably not. Was her language something one normally expects to hear? Probably not, but I can tell you that I've heard more than a few of those caterwauling the loudest about it use similar language in much less stressful situations.
WERE HER RIGHTS VIOLATED? PROBABLY...
The woman's speech was recorded without her knowledge - a violation of law. It was published on YouTube without her permission - a violation of law. Does she have legal recourse in this matter? Probably. While important points, in my mind it's not the most important point here.
WHAT IS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED?
What is to be accomplished by members of our city government condoning and encouraging further defamation, ridicule and violation of her rights in a situation that has ABSOLUTELY NO RELEVANCE to city government matters? The encounter was between two private citizens - we don't even know if the drone pilot is a resident of the city or not - and was resolved peacefully by a member of the Costa Mesa Police Department. This woman is friendly to members of the council that oppose positions taken by the majority, led by Mensinger. This looks like a vindictive attempt to cast a shadow on those elected officials by destroying the life of a member of the community who agrees with them.
I WILL ATTEND AND WATCH... AND WRITE
Tomorrow evening I will attend the City Council meeting and will watch to see if, in fact, any individual uses the bad judgment to actually attempt to play a segment of that video clip into the official record of the meeting. Yes, it will be their right to do it, but what's the purpose? It will only demonstrate to those of us in attendance and watching on television - and recording it for posterity - the vindictive mean-spiritedness at play in an event that has zero relevance to city matters. And I wonder what those young men who gave their lives on Utah, Omaha, Sword, Gold and Juno beaches on June 6, 1944 would feel about this situation?
I would remind those considering such an act - including the mayor and his minions - of the Bible admonition - "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Karma's a bitch!