On the 21st day of February of 2008 I attended a Town Board meeting in the town of New Harmony, Indiana and tried to raise questions about the rental of town owned office and commercial space, by the town government to the Posey County News, a local weekly newspaper. I contended that in general it was unseemly for a newspaper to rent it's business space from a government entity about which it frequently reported. And that in particular that the the Posey County News was paying less in rent than it cost the town tax payers to heat and cool the space being rented to the newspaper, even if all other costs of renting it were ignored, as they clearly were. And that, finally and most improperly and most importantly, the rental arrangement had been arrived at between the newspaper owner and the Town Board President, Mr Campbell only, with no public discussion and no public vote by the entire board, as is clearly required by Indiana state law. My contentions were not disputed and my questions were not answered or acknowledged.
Instead, Mr Campbell shouted in my face that I was a "Scum Bag" and that I should "hit the road." When Mr Campbell ordered me to "hit the road" Town Marshall Scott Champlin rushed forward and roughly put his hands on me and ordered me out of the public assembly. Where I had every legal right to remain. Under both Indiana state law and US Federal law. Those legal rights not being diminished in the least by the fact that Mr Campbell had ordered me to leave. Mr Campbell, as town board President, is Marshal Chaplin's Boss but he is certainly not mine and had no right to order me from the town hall. I therefore stood on my rights as a human person and as a US citizen and declined the invitation to depart. The result being that I was arrested by Marshall Chaplin, at Mr Campbell's behest, and charged with "Disorderly Conduct." A criminal misdeameanor. I was taken 15 miles to the County jail during the worst ice storm in history and was booked into jail and bailed myself out and was picked up and carried home by friends.
The verifiable facts are that I am an honest, peaceful, civic minded, tax paying home owner with a perfectly clean police record, an auspicious military career and no black marks whatsoever against my good name. So rather than have my reputation sullied by this false charge I hired an attorney and plead innocent. The town brought forward nine prosecution witnesses against me, these nine prosecution witnesses were questioned under oath by my attorney at court depositions made before the Posey County Prosecutor and none of the nine, not even one, was able to testify that I had broken any law whatsoever. The County Prosecutor therefore dismissed the disorderly conduct charge BEFORE my defense witnesses were even called to testify.
But the town board was determined to punish me for raising the questions. So another charge was then added to the disorderly conduct charge. They accused me of illegally "intimidating" Marhall Chaplin by "gritting my teeth" at him. I kid you not. It is absolutely true. Not a joke. They accused me of intimidation of a police officer by means of gritting my teeth. Inspite of the fact that I am a 62 year old arthritic with serious emphysema who uses a cane to walk and requires medical oxygen, besides the fact that I have no teeth but only dentures that will not grit even if I were so inclined. This new charge was also found to be without supporting witnesses even though the whole episode occurred inside the small and crowded New Harmony Town Hall. So this charge too, was eventually thrown out by the county prosecutor.
However, the viscious boys and girls of the Tea Party set who run our town are nothing if not persistant. Their next hateful move was to turn my name into the Indiana State Police as an "unfit" person to posses a fire arm permit. Because of that (probably illegal) political act of revenge I actually lost my hand gun permit for several months. I have been unable to speak of this until recently because I had to hire another attorney to represent me in a hearing to get back my fire arm permit and the attorney counceled silence until the hearing was over. So quiet I stayed for almost a year as my attorney was busily gathering huge stacks of evidence to prove that the Tea Party Set was full of Beans as to my unfitness to own and carry a fire arm. I am, in fact, more qualified and "fit" to have a fire arm under both state and federal law than almost anyone around me. First because of my extensive military training. And secondly because of my law abiding history and long record of working closely with "real" police in taking a bite out of gang and drug crime as the leader of a Neighborhood Watch Association. I dealt with the real police working to stop real criminals. This was in my former home in New Mexico. Near the crime infested Mexican border. Where there are truly real criminals.
When I finally had the court hearing on the gun permit matter, on May 12th 2009, it was scheduled to be held before a Judge in Indianapolis. The Tea Party folks on the town board sent Town Marshall Scott Chaplin to Indianapolis to testify against me. However, because of my absolutely perfect record of obeying the law throughout my life and my military record and my sacrifices to aid in legitimate law enforcement efforts, and also because Marshall Chaplin showed up to testify against me bearing 75 pounds more weight than his frame was intended to carry and with his beer belly hanging over his belt and in a wrinkled shirt and scuffed tennis shoes and his badge on askew, rather than a proper police uniform, the case against me was dismissed. Without the hearing even being held. And without any of my hundreds of pages of evidence even being presented. Both the prosucutor and the Judge were apologetic in tone that I was dragged through such an unfair and unneccessary ordeal.
So, I won another round but I am far from unscathed. The attorney fees and associated legal expences for the court case for disorderly and intimidation along with the expences incurred in defending myself from the phony Baloney attempt to take away my fire arm permit have cost me, all in all, just south of $6000.A big chunk of change out of my family's budget. But at least it is all over and now I can rest in peace.
Yeah, Right!! Now, I have another situation with the good old Tea Party set that runs the town government. A few weeks ago I was approached by the new owner/editor of the same local weekly newspaper. The newspaper whose old, previous owner/editor had aided in my arrest and prosecution. The new owner/editor was contacting me to offer me a job writing a weekly opinion column for his little newspaper. His name is Dave Pearce. Dave and I traded Emails about the conditions of my servitude and came to a firm agreement that I would write the opinion column and it would be called "Ordinary People" and Dave even asked me for a picture to use at the top of my column. I was, you will understand this, pretty happy to find a venue. I began to write a few columns in advance and sent them along to Dave and he, Dave, gushed over them and said that he and I would have a long and fruitful association, and that he would like to mentor me both as a a writer and a person, which I felt was pretty uppity and arrogant of Dave, but I wanted the job and smiled and said, "Mentor away, amigo!"
Then after receiving the few columns from me Dave wrote me a cryptic Email just a day before the first column was to be publshed. His little love note mentioned "difficulties encountered today" and that my column would "not run this week". Then he disappeared on me and stopped answering Emails or returning phone calls. I finally asked a mutual friend to go chat with him, and they returned from the tete a tete with Dave bearing news that the town board has indicated displeasure with the prospect of my writing appearing in print, and that they, the Tea Party Folks, have told Dave that if he publishes my columns that they, the Tea Party Set folks, will wreak financial havoc with Dave's newspaper by poisoning the well with a couple of major advertisers whose ad money pretty well keeps the paper afloat. And so, now, I am out of a job as an opinion columnist before my first opinion column ever even saw the light of day. It is difficult here in New Harmony, civil liberty and free speech wise, and I am thinking I might move to Ireland or Mexico or China or California or maybe at least to Illinois.
Ron Nesler....Posting from New Harmony, Indiana where the Tea Party folks who hold the town hostage are pretty danged lacking in humor or other human traits or characteristics.