The brave freedom fighters of Burlington have delivered a master stroke of stupidity.
During a City Council meeting in December, Councilor Joan Shannon was bombarded with prank calls — more than two hundred of them. The barrage interfered with her ability to participate in the meeting. Several miscreants were referred to a restorative justice program, which is way better than prosecution.
Now, you can think what you like about Joan Shannon. She’s a frequent target of abuse on Twitter, from people who think she’s a defender of the powerful and an opponent of police reform. Disagreeing with her is fair game. Trying to defeat her in the next election is fair game. Slagging her on social media is, well, not great, but within the bounds of what we all use social media for.
Prank calling? It’s juvenile. It’s sophomoric. And it’s counterproductive, since it’s likely to make Burlingtonians think less of the movement.
I mean, what’s next? TP’ing her trees? Tossing eggs at her house? Flaming bag of dogshit on the doorstep? Did the well-organized, principled folks who led the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 suddenly revert to the seventh grade?
I posted some tweets about this last Friday, and got a fair amount of blowback from a small contingent of the usual suspects. They tried to shift the blame to Shannon for calling the police or failing to do a technical fix that would have allowed her to participate while her cellphone was going nuts. They downplayed the prank by claiming it was a small number of calls, or that they were from constituents trying to make their voices heard.
Just stop. If you want to communicate your views to an officeholder, great. But don’t do it during a public meeting.
And you can’t communicate jack shit if you call and hang up.
I’m not saying that Shannon is right on the issues. I’m saying that the barrage of hangup calls was wrong. And stupid.