The Right to Liberty. The Right to the Pursuit of Happiness. It's about the Constitution. It's about what it means to be an American Citizen.
Sure, the war between Bradbury and Onamia began as a NIMBY - Not in My Backyard. But think for a moment, about what exactly a NIMBY means. Perhaps the acronym should be niMby... not in MY back yard. There isn't an acronym that I know of for those who would put something in YOUR backyard but if there was it might be BYBYTM.... (Better Your Back Yard Than Mine.) Now in the case of 94 convicted sex offenders (and one convicted ex-executive director), the people who wanted to put this facility in MY back yard are not the people affected by the facility. They're not affected because, obviously, it isn't in THEIR back yard.
Now comes the conflict. Shouldn't the people who are affected by living next to the sex offender facility have some say in the matter? Some control over their own back yards? Or is it perfectly acceptable to impose sex offender facilities on any American citizens anywhere? In our case, as you probably know, we don't have the right to vote for the politicians who made this decision. Yet, we are the ones affected by their decision. There were indeed laws in place to protect property owners but Larry Milton (dead), Bob Mickus, Jerome Kryzer, Bill Hill, Mark Loch (gone) changed these ordinances to accommodate the company in Golden Valley.
I went to Mexico with my dad when I was sixteen. I have a lot of great memories from that trip, don't get me wrong. But I also have a very bad one. Leaving MinneSNOWda for Mexico was like stepping into another world. I couldn't wait to hit the beach. A hot white sand beautiful tropical beach. As I laid out on the beach, in my two-piece swimsuit, my winter-white Minnesoda body soaking up the rays, I was totally unaware that I was getting burned. I didn't feel it. To me, it felt pleasantly warm in the sweet tropical breeze, watching the ocean waves... By the end of the afternoon, I was crimson. I was Lobster Girl. And then, the pain set in. If you haven't experienced this, there is no way I can adequately describe it. Pain like never before. You can't sit still. You can't lay down. You can't wear clothes. You can't sleep. You just have to stand there and endure the hurt! I took cold showers and my daddy gently smeared cream on my back. But that relief only lasted a few moments before the pain came back. But then, just when you thought it couldn't get worse, it did. Then the itching began. We are not talking a mild tickle that needs to be scratched. We are talking agony. And of course the deep burn made scratching impossible. There was no relief. If you've ever experienced it, you know exactly what I mean. After that, the vacation was pretty much... not so good...
What happened to me in Onamia was pretty similar. I was merrily living my little life while the city council made their plans. I was unaware that I was burning until the damage, tremendous and irrevokable, had been done. And when the war began, so did the pain. I couldn't sit still. I couldn't sleep. (I did however wear clothes...) The pain was having people I'd never wronged make personal attacks against me just because I didn't want Nexus to change my neighborhood. The pain of people, whose politics I was not allowed to participate in, make decisions about my life without my having any recourse. The terrible pain of having friends turn on me because now they worked for Nexus or because they were intimidated by the mayor or because in actuality, they weren't very good friends after all. The pain of being ostracized. The pain of being ignored. The pain of being ridiculed. The pain of not being heard. My life turned into one huge flaming ball of pain. And my daddy wasn't there to watch my back.
Then the itching began. Jim D'Angelo lying about the safety risk - handing out a brochure stating that in the past 10 years there had only been "one incident" when sheriff and police records indicated that there had been literally hundreds of escapes, assaults, sexual crimes, theft, etc. at the Mille Lacs Academy. Itching, when we found that Jim D'Angelo threatened to leave Onamia if the city council didn't cave in to his demands by giving Nexus tax exemption. Convicted felon former Mille Lacs Academy Executive Administrator Paul Smith told the county commissioners that if they didn't grant Nexus tax exemption or abatement that Nexus would leave the state and they caved as well. Doesn't anyone play poker anymore? Don't they know a bluff when they see one? Anyway, I'm in enough legal trouble right now without bringing up terms like extortion and blackmail, but somehow it just doesn't seem right to threaten the government to manipulate them into handing over tax payer money. Doesn't seem right at all.
The itching grew worse when we found discrepencies in financial figures Nexus used when applying for government funding. (Don't worry about it Vic. This will all come out at my trials.)
When we brought this to the attention of the county board and they ignored us, the itching became unbearable.
Then we uncovered information that an eleven year old boy had been accidentally killed while in a prone-restraint hold by an employee in one of Nexus' facilities. Nexus had not disclosed this to the Onamia city council. And when I did, Nexus sued me for it. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to scratch, the itching got so bad. And even then, the community still supported the Almighty Nexus. Don't they realize that if my old friend who works at the Academy - the one on the sheriff's report charging "child abuse" goes over the top, there could be another scandal like in Mason City? Don't they realize that Nexus sold that institution? What could happen here? Are they going to sell this one if there's an accident?
But wait. There's more. There's the failed Fairmont, MN facility that Nexus tried to sell recently. There's the 30 day testing program we weren't told about. And dare I talk about grant money for research on the poor troubled boys? Using them as guinea pigs? I haven't even begun. The itch kept spreading as we kept finding out more and more reasons for not wanting to keep company with this company. Was I surprised that Paul Smith was convicted in Oklahoma? Yes and no. I wasn't surprised at what he'd done or that he got caught. I just kind of expected the judge to let him off with 15 years of tax abatement. But for once, it seems that Justice prevailed.
A small dab of cream, a bit of relief.
Throughout this war, I've had no community support. I'm told its because Hannabelle called the sex offenders an offensive name, that I rant, and because I was mean to an old friend who betrayed me when she claimed the right to make determinations about my life. Doesn't anybody mind their own business these days? Pain and itching.
Yeah. Hannabelle used the "F" word. She calls sex offenders sex offenders. She said a kid died when a kid died. But nobody seems to mind that the CEO of the corporation lied to the public about safety. That the Executive Director had embezzled. They don't seem to mind that a child died and Nexus failed to mention it. Nobody has shown a lick of sympathy to any of the people who have suffered at the brutality of Nexus (MY OPINION and I'll explain why I say "brutality" at my trials), and the stupidity of the Onamia city council. Nobody has said, "We're sorry for your pain." Nope. They say I did it to myself. Shouldn't have laid out on the beach... The difference is, I didn't. I wasn't laying in the sun. I was sitting at home, minding my own business. This was all done to me against my will. Against my Liberty.
Now, if I sound to you like I'm ranting, that's your problem. Me? Yeah sure. I got badly burned. But I'm sitting here now with ice water in my veins, cool as a cucumber..... waiting to peel.
NIMBY means you didn't have the Right to put it in MY back yard. But you did it anyway.
Itch... itch... itch...
*I'd like to welcome my new readers. I appreciate your support! :)