Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?



These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.


Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

You Have GOT to be Kidding Me

I found the article, posted below, in my email this morning. I read it, and then sighed, "You have got to be kidding me."

Apparently, they're not.

Seems that a cartoon placed on a local blog to depict how someone felt a matter was being handled by another party. The matter had gone to court this past week and the court found no probable cause, and it was dismissed. The cartoon was then passed onto
Clerk Magistrate, and then he passed it onto the Chief Justice in Boston.

Now, here's my question. How was this cartoon passed onto the court, and by whom? And, more importantly, why?

The context of the cartoon was obvious considering the circumstances behind the entire mess. It was one persons way of showing how he felt the matter was being handled by another. It was not a threat, although it depicted violence according to the article, it was directed to the Blogs author (himself), not anyone else. It was how he felt he was treated, in a "black humor" sort of way.

No threat. Free speech. Nothing more. Appropriate? Well, I am not one to pass judgement, I would have dropped this whole thing days ago, but for some it is necessary to fire one last salvo. Sorry. Violent context. Let me rephrase that, have the last word.

The real story is why was this cartoon passed onto to the court, and by whom? What was their motive?

I don't know. I'm just thinking. I read the article, and those questions were the first to come to mind. A poor job of reporting on behalf of the Telegram? I doubt it. I am sure they asked how the cartoon go to the court, but that was not reported. Probably, because the question was not answered.

It's time to drop the matter, and I am saying this to both parties. Move on. Go to your separate corners, and play by yourself, other wise this will go on forever.



December 25. 2007 12:00AM

Court boss is asked to review violent cartoon on blog

Despite verdict, town official insists he has no grudge against clerk magistrate

By Craig S. Semon TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

STURBRIDGE— A violent cartoon on a local blog has caught the attention of the Dudley District Court clerk magistrate and has been forwarded to the chief justice’s office for review.

The rudimentary cartoon, depicting a bruised and bloody victim and stick figures engaging in three acts of violence in a courtroom, popped up over the weekend on http://sturbridgewatch.blogspot.com, a blog run by Planning Board Chairman Thomas R. Creamer.

Mr. Creamer said the cartoon was put on his Web site on Friday and was removed a day or two later when he was updating his blog. He said he found the cartoon on the Internet at www.jom-cartoon.com.

Clerk Magistrate Kenneth F. Candito of the Dudley District Court said yesterday the cartoon was brought to his attention and he has brought it to the attention of the office of District Court Chief Justice Lynda M. Connolly in Boston.

On Friday, the clerk magistrate found no probable cause in a case involving a criminal complaint and counter-complaint of assault and battery between two public officers — Mr. Creamer and Community Preservation Committee member Edward T. Goodwin — during a Sturbridge selectmen’s meeting earlier in the month.

The cartoon, one of 56 on the jom-cartoon Web site, depicts a battered victim with two black eyes and blood streaming from
his right eye, right nostril and mouth.

Above the victim is the caption “Violence is essential in any courtroom” with the word “essential” underlined.


In addition, there are three stick-figure drawings in which a faceless perpetrator is committing violence against a victim holding a gavel and presiding over court.

The perpetrator forcibly pulls the victim over the bench, rips him in half and beats him to a bloody pulp.

Mr. Creamer said he doesn’t know anything about the Web site and has no connection with its owner.

He said he didn’t receive any complaints over the cartoon and took it off his Web site because he updated the content on the page and was now focusing on a different topic.

In addition, Mr. Creamer said the guy who is depicted as being bruised and bloody in the cartoon is supposed to be him or the witnesses and not Clerk Magistrate Candito and not Mr. Goodwin.


That whole thing was supposed to represent me, and despite the fact that there was overwhelming evidence against the other guy, he (Mr. Goodwin) still stuck to his story that I grabbed him,” Mr. Creamer said.

Mr. Creamer said that at no time did he have any issue with the clerk magistrate and his ruling. In fact, he welcomed it.

On Friday, before placing the cartoon on his blog, Mr. Creamer said the clerk magistrate’s ruling was a victory for the people of Sturbridge because they won’t have to be reminded of this “incredibly unfortunate and embarrassing situation” repeatedly on a regular basis.

Yesterday, Mr. Creamer reiterated that senti
ment.

“I’m please with the clerk magistrate’s ruling. His ruling was about healing. I don’t have an issue with that,” Mr. Creamer said.

“My issue is the fact, even up until the very end, Mr. Goodwin demonstrated absolutely no regret, no remorse whatsoever and still, still, despite the fact that 12 witnesses could not collaborate anything he said, continues to come up with reasons as to why nobody could see what he did.”

Mr. Creamer said the cartoon is merely a symbolic statement and not a thinly veiled threat against anyone.

“The cartoon was posted to depict Ed Goodwin committing mayhem against any or all who would testify against him or challenge him,” Mr. Creamer said.

“That cartoon depicts him shredding and tearing to pieces the witness statements that were made against him.”

Mr. Creamer said if he had an issue with the clerk magistrate’s ruling, he would have posted it on his Web site.

The altercation between Mr. Creamer and Mr. Goodwin took place three hours and 16 minutes into the selectmen’s meeting on Dec. 3.

Mr. Creamer said he went over and sat behind Mr. Goodwin and said to him, “Ed, anytime you want to talk about this, I’m more than happy to do that,” and then Mr. Goodwin slapped him twice, knocking off Mr. Creamer’s hat and dislodging his glasses.

But Mr. Goodwin’s lawyer, Kirstie L. Pecci, who is also his daughter, said Mr. Creamer grabbed her father’s arm and her father turned and raised his hand to protect his face. She said her father never touched Mr. Creamer, except that maybe her father’s face or hand may have brushed Mr. Creamer’s hat.

“My father is just going to move forward in a positive fashion from here,” Ms. Pecci said Friday after the clerk magistrate found no probable cause.

The argument that led up to the alleged assault is captured on the videotape of the meeting that was televised live on community access cable TV. Although the action took place off camera, one can clearly hear the heated dialogue between the two members on the recording.

It includes Mr. Goodwin calling Mr. Creamer “Bozo” twice and a “dysfunctional fireman” and Mr. Creamer saying in response, “You want to go outside and continue this discussion?”


The term “dysfunctional fireman,” which was directed toward Mr. Creamer by Mr. Goodwin, sparked off a protest organized by the Local 1009 Worcester Fire Fighters Union at the selectmen’s meeting on Dec. 17.

For 17 years, Mr. Creamer was special operations coordinator for the Worcester Fire Department, retiring four years ago.



18 comments:

  1. A friend just told me about your blog because of the McGilpin Road discussion. I was one of the eight households that asked the planning board to pave and not widen the road and attempt to maintain its character. Apparently because we have a selectman on our road the rest of us get no credit for putting this issue forward. The Planning board chairman that posted the violent cartoon put a google picture of our houses on his blog, with pages venting his issues over our road issues. He obviously wanted to fight at a selectman's meeting, posts angry language and material on his website, calls everyone liars and holds a position of power in town hall. Will I ever be comfortable going before him on an issue- will there be repercussions? Written, verbal or physical? If my son posted a cartoon showing violence against a teacher after a altercation in school, he would probably be expelled. Should I hold an adult to a lesser standard? So yes I feel it should be reported- intimidation is not appropriate in small town politics.

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  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Your points are well taken. I do understand your side. The Planning Board member that posted the "violent" cartoon admitted that the violence was directed toward nobody but himself, and I am going by what is quoted in the newspaper. Sort of self deprecating attempt at humor. Did he threaten anyone? No. What he did was an attempt to portray what was done to him. Do I agree with the method? As I said before, I am in no position to judge, but under similar circumstances I can think of other ways to let my point be known.

    And, you are correct, if a child posted threatening cartoons online aimed at another person, or persons it should be reported. In this particular case they were an expression of not what he would do, but what he felt was done to him. I know, I know...there are better ways.

    The person that reported the cartoons to the courts did so with the attempt of causing a furor regarding the charges, and counter charges that had been presented in that court room. If the reporting person honestly thought the cartoon was threatening, then why did they not report the cartoon directly to the Sturbridge Police? This is the way to handle the situation, not by circumventing our police and going to the court. Just a thought.

    And, finally, we may not agree with a persons words, opinion, or stand on an issue, but as long as it is done without threats, and peacefully, then they can do it. The First Amendment guarantees that.

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  3. The cartoon depicted by Tom Creamer Planning Board chair is clearly out of bounds for any human never mind a Sturbridge Town Official. Could it be a threat against the judge for ruling against him, possibly. The judge in the cartoon is being pulled off the bench and beaten, the witness is being torn in half, another beating is taking place nearby and a fourth victim is a bloody beaten mess. The words “violence is essential in any courtroom” are alarming. It is clear that this “cartoon” is Tom Creamers way of venting his true feelings about the court ruling against him. His web site is full of vengeful acts against anyone who disagrees with his views.

    You asked who sent the cartoon to the judge, any visitor to Tom Creamers blog could have and should have alerted the authorities. How do you know the police were not notified?
    If Tom Creamer Planning Board chair and Jennifer Morrison Planning Board clerk and blog site editor felt this cartoon was appropriate why did they take it off the web site?

    You say” we may not agree with a persons words, opinion, or stand on an issue, but as long as it is done without threats, and peacefully, then they can do it.” I am not sure Tom Creamer is living up to that and I am surprised you are defending a man capable of posting such violence on the internet.

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  4. http://www.jom-cartoon.com/USERIMAGES/courtroom.gif

    Check out the picture from the telegram and gazette article. I am not sure he was depicting what was done to him. Note the wig on the floor- I can understand the Magistrate's issue with the content. Anyway, at least it is on the record now, and I plan to steer clear of this guy. I will be back to this blog- great web design. Thanks for hearing my voice.

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  5. Thanks for writing. I can't second guess anyones intentions. That's not what I do. What I do know is what was done, and what was stated. I am in no position to determine just what he was depicting, or where his head was at.

    One thing I do know, in fact what we all know, is negative stuff that falls from the lips of another or from their pen will only incite more negative stuff, and nothing positive will be gained, i.e. WORK. In this case, work for the betterment of our town.

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  6. Dear Betty,

    I am not defending anyone, or anything. All I do here is think, and offer my thoughts. That's it. I don't second guess another's motives, or methods. I am not a reporter, and I, like you, only know what is reported in the news. I don't listen to hearsay, or second hand news.

    One thing you must know, I don't defend violence in any form. That is not who I am. And, you are right, how do we know it wasn't reported to the police? We don't, however this you can be sure of, if it had been, and they found merit to the complaint of the cartoon being a threat to another, then the article in the Worcester Telegram would have read a whole lot differently. Either they were not informed, or they found no merit. It's easy enough to find out, just ask to review the police logs for that day. Now,Betty, that is your homework assignment. Afterall, all I do here is think, and ramble. Thanks for writing.

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  7. What I find most sad about this is hearing people say they are not comfortable participating in government because of the this man. Is that what Sturbridge has coome to? I (whimper) am also one of them. I hope some of you writers also write to Jim Malloy since he seems to be the appointing authority. As anonymous stated, if a child had done that a psychologist would have been called for an evaulation. Perhaps we need a town
    psychologist?

    By the way, you have GREAT pictures on your website!! I love them all-especially the snowy Common!

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  8. Hi Just Me ( or , is just you??) Thank you for the compliment regarding my photos. I appreciate that a lot.

    I said in a recent posting that I am merely a catalyst. I expound on whole lot of nothing one day, and something significant another. If there is enough public outcry, then maybe someone should forward a particular posting to a friend, or Town official. Click on the little envelope below each post to forward it along. But, you know what? I think most of them read this Blog anyway....(ssshhhh). Thanks for writing, JustYou.

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  9. In reading the comments here, it is interesting that all of these writers were silent when Goodwin struck creamer and resorted to name calling at a public meeting.

    How cany anyone take them serious when they demonstrate such one-sidedness.

    As Creamer says on his blog, they were probably elated and tipping their glasses in toasts.

    Tired of the sos'ers

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  10. Dear Anonymous Poster on 12/29,

    Many of the writers have not been silent on the issue, their comments tell that. They have commented in different ways, and they are entitled to their opinion, as are you. As far as them being silent at the moment of the attack, I wouldn't know. Were any of them there?

    As far as Mr. Creamer thinking they were "elated and tipping their glasses in toasts", well, I wouldn't know about that either. I doubt it though.

    One more thing, what is a "sos'er". Is that a reference to the old "Save Our Sturbridge" stuff? If it is, how does that fit in here? I understand that had something to do with keeping Wal*Mart out of town.

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  11. Dear Thinking, and Anyone Else who reads this: An "SOS'er" is someone who is thought to be an individual who runs with certain other individuals who supposedly control Sturbridge. Interestingly enough, on 12/28/07, I found on Creamer's blog part of a statement I had made in February 2007 at a Selectmen's meeting concerning accessory apartments. Instead of putting my name to it, Creamer had attributed the statement to "concerned resident, a supporter as opposed to member of SOS". In reading the quote on his blog, I immediately realized 4 things: 1) the quote used on the blog was incomplete as compared to that in the newspaper; 2) the newspaper quote itself one-sided and incomplete; it did not truly represent my position on the issue; 3) my name was not attached to it, but anyone could find my name if they looked in the newspaper archives so the quote as used on Creamers was misleading, at best; 4) it stated I supported SOS.

    Save Our Sturbridge (SOS) was formed by a group of citizen activists before I even moved to Sturbridge. Personally, I have no feelings one way or the other with regard to their mission, which as it turns out failed because... WalMart is here. However, I have expressed once before on this blog that when residents are moved to a point of forming groups and become citizen activists, I find it admirable; so does Margaret Mead and many others individuals way more important than I am!

    When I contacted Creamer to request that he change the quote to: 1) reflect what I actually said at the Selectmen's meeting (not use the newspaper quote); 2) attach my name to it; 3) remove the part about me being involved with SOS - what ensued was a flurry of e-mails which ended up making me feel as if I was a hostage to him, and his blog. Only when I threatened to write the newspapers and make a public statement did he remove the quote from his blog. He cites reasons for removing it as: a former friendship we had; that I'm a "good and caring person" and he "respects" me. Creamer did "offer me" an opportunity to write a letter to his blog, but having read some of the articles on his blog, my belief is I'd only be setting myself up for attacks by him and his followers. Instead, I told him not to write me back and "I'll be watching".
    This last comment from me spurred statements from him such as, "would suggest to you that one might misconstrue the meaning of that". "I will be putting a block on further emails if I have to in response to your potential threat and will if necessary seek remedies through the legal system in the form of a restraining order." Hmmm...who is harassing whom?

    Creamer's current definition of SOS, and what I believe to be the other writer's definition of sos'er, is this: (I have provided below the exact description written by Creamer in an e-mail to me dated 12/28/07):

    "As for what SOS used to be, well that is one thing, what it is now is an entirely different Not really much different than the manner in which the major political parties are constantly re-inventing or realigning themselves. This occurs when the extremists within a group take control of it, thus driving more balanced and moderate members out. SOS may not exist in its formal state, but the key players are still using the same playbook (anonymous letters, e-mails, and phone calls, along with verbal and physical intimidation, coupled with lies, perjury, and misinformation which means they are still in existence."

    How can someone make such a statement and know communications such as those are being done by "sos'ers" when they're anonymous?? Huh?? I have been accused of writing anonymous letters - you're wrong, just like you're wrong that I am affiliated with SOS.

    If in fact tactics such as intimidation, lies and misinformation describe what an sos'er is and does, then Creamer himself is an sos'er, and all of you who follow him are as well.

    Grow up!

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  12. There are several things that I personally admire about people.

    1) Taking responsibility for their own actions, and words.
    2) Standing up to others that make accusations about themselves, or others.
    3) Backing up their position with facts.
    4) Honesty.
    5) A "do no harm" attitude.

    These are just a few of things that I admire about people. Probably, the same things that you admire about folks as well.

    These are the kinds of people that make a difference. The kind of people that we in town can trust, and put our faith in as our town moves forward. Even if we disagree with them, it is OK. Good people, productive people can still have opposing views.

    I am happy that this venue has given people a place to set the record straight, and to move on to the business at hand.

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  13. I must say I admire Carol Childress for standing up to Creamer and standing by the truth. We need more people like her in this world.

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  14. Mrs. Childress and Thinking Out Loud.

    I just happened to read Mrs. Childress's misleading and incomplete account of what transpired relative to a quote taken directly from the T&G and wanted to respond to her misrepresentations.

    1. Let me first say that Carol was offered 4 opportunities to post whatever response she wanted to offer in regards to the quote and was told by me it would be posted as a blog article on the front page exactly as she wrote it for all to see. I am more than happy to forward the emails supporting same.

    2. Mrs. Childress failed to mention that I indicated to her that I left her name out purposely because she was a former friend and I did not want to use her name out of respect for that, and because she was not an elected official I chose to respect her privacy by not putting her name next to it. You will note that other comments attributed to individuals on my blog are not attributed to them specifically (with some exceptions) but to their position instead, except where those individuals are elected officials or have made public statements in an official position, or public statements that are absolute mischaracterizations or lies.

    3. The quote I used came exactly from the T&G article and was shortened for space reasons and because (in my view) the rest of the quote was a bit more inflammatory in addition to identifying her as the Chair of Opacum Land Trust, which I chose not to list as it cast a shadow upon an organization which I contribute to annually by way of membership, as well as previous financial donations and hundreds of hours of volunteer trail work, donation solicitation from Wal-Mart for trail clearing equipment, as well as delivering a two day Wilderness First Aid Course which netted Opacum approximately one thousand dollars as all proceeds were directly donated to Opacum. (Not a nickel was retained by me as it was a donation of my time and resources with all course fees going directly to Opacum.

    4. When Mrs. Childress contacted me with threats and other insults, I tried to discuss this with her respectfully and even reached out to her unsuccessfully via phone to try and come to a resolution that would be equitable for all. She insisted upon insulting me and threatening me with letters to the, which as I indicated to her was well within her right and I encouraged her to do what she felt necessary. I indicated to her several times that as a former friend that I was willing to work with her on this and resolve it to a degree of satisfaction for all. That proved futile via a furry of emails and no response to my phone call, so I indicated to her in the end that as a former friend and someone I still respected I would remove the quote, which was taken directly from the T&G.

    5. I indicated to her on several occasions as well, that if the quote was misleading or taken out of context that she should take that up with the T&G as the material I used was exactly what had been quoted in the newspaper and in fact did add the other sentence at her insistence, which I felt made the quote look even a bit more unflattering, but she insisted.

    6. I did indicate to Mrs. Childress after being bombarded with emails and threats from her that were this to continue I would block her emails and take appropriate legal remedies via the legal system to address her continued harassment and unsolicited emails. I chose the pen, others chose violence.

    7. It is a bit odd, that after I went to such lengths to remedy this to her satisfaction she has chosen to misrepresent this situation here rather than the venue of the front page of my blog. It is equally interesting that her and others have chosen to insult me and mischaracterize my approach to things on this blog as opposed to writing directly to me or to my blog. Interesting in light of the fact that you mentioned several things you admire about people:

    1) Taking responsibility for their own actions, and words.
    2) Standing up to others that make accusations about themselves, or others.
    3) Backing up their position with facts.
    4) Honesty.
    5) A "do no harm" attitude.

    The individuals here who have chosen to comment have certainly failed to take responsibility for their words or actions (with the exception of Mrs. Childress) by not listing their full names.

    These same individuals have made accusations that are unfounded, baseless, and misrepresented.

    They provide have no verifiable facts with which to solidify their allegations and they are being less than completely honest.

    The thing that is most harmful to each and every one of us in the end is the lack of truth and honesty, lack of intellectual integrity, the lack of fact based information, and the use of emotion with which to formulate opinions as opposed to intellect.

    Interestingly enough, it was once said that Martin Luther King was dishonest and intimidated people by fighting for the truth and freedom of blacks in America. The same was said of Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Jesus Christ, Saint Stephen, Mahatma Gandhi, Robert Kennedy, etc. etc. These individuals stood for the truth and sometimes the truth is ugly, but it is the truth. I am certainly just an irrelevant soul in the shadows of these individuals, but my admiration for them and their accomplishments motivates what I do.

    In the end, sometimes in order to expose the truth and have people take notice, one has to get a bit direct and a little stern or the truth stays hidden.

    Thanks for the time and space. As I have said previously, I read your blog everyday and promote it as much as possible.

    TRC

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  15. In response to the comment from anonymous relative to "the Tree" and the cartoon I would like to offer the following response.

    The writer mentions the Google image which I used to depict the intellectually dishonest basis for their argument in so far as saving one tree when it is evident that literally thousands of trees were clear cut in order to build the 8homes referenced by the writer.

    The writer also fails to mention that in response to a reasonable request from a reasonable resident of McGilpin Road (who was out of the country at the time) I removed the article because he indicated that his wife was concerned about her house being depicted (from a 3 mile overhead image) on a website. Thus, as I have been out of the country repeatedly doing work for the Defense Department and well understand the concerns his wife might have being alone at home, I removed the article. I wrote an article that day after our phone call about that particular situation titled "A Reasonable Request from a Reasonable Man" on my blog which is viewable. I cannot now understand why the writer would raise the issue knowing full well it had been addressed. One might now question whether or not the entire call was a ruse, but I will choose to take this man at his word, as I do not have sufficient reason not to at this time.

    The writer then comments about me looking for a fight but fails to acknowledge the fact that it was her neighbor's father that assaulted and insulted me as evidenced by the investigator's report which clearly states "...There is probable cause to charge Goodwin with Assault and Battery". By the way for the record her neighbor (the selectman) provided a written statement that at no time did he see me touch his father, but did see his father "swatting" me.

    As for the cartoon, well the reality is that if someone makes their mind up about something based upon emotion as opposed to intellect and wants the cartoon to be something it was not, I certainly cannot change their mind.

    Just wanted to convey some facts to juxtapose the comments offered by the writer.

    By the way, I loved the article with the letter from the cousin.

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  16. Well then, I'll forward the email to this blogger so it can be publicized if he chooses to do so. Then everyone will see that I had to ask FOUR times before you offered to do anything halfway decent, and truth be told, with all the time you spend compiling video clips and creating your own movies, YOU, as the responsible party for causing this action in the first place, could have and should have put my entire comment on your blog, as I requested, using your own time.

    For my part, posting anything on your blog would only make me your latest blog pinata. No thanks.

    As a public official, you are required to serve residents of this town. Your blog has done a disservice to me and the town by misrepresenting what I said at a public meeting. In the interest of truth and integrity, I contacted you in good faith, and look where it got me.

    Public meetings allow people to express their opinions and thoughts without retribution. Just like this blog does. Your blog does not.

    Spare me your martydom Mr. Creamer You seem to liken yourself to people like Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Jesus Christ, Saint Stephen, Mahatma Gandhi, Robert Kennedy?

    Get a grip.

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  17. Thomas R. CreamerFriday, January 04, 2008

    Apparently Mrs. Childres failed to read the comment I posted or simply chose to distort it as she has the email thread in question, which I did forward to the blogger this morning, as a method of verifying my comments.

    As for the individuals I referenced I clearly stated the following: I am certainly just an irrelevant soul in the shadows of these individuals, but my admiration for them and their accomplishments motivates what I do".

    But one can twist it if so inclined. Now, I must admit this is going absolutely nowhere as it always seem to whenever we engage one another, so I am finished, and you can feel free to distort anything else you wish on this subject.

    TRC

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  18. "The healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers."
    Carl Jung, quoted in the London Guardian.

    ReplyDelete



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