By David M. Greenwald
Davis, CA – Beth Bourne has asked multiple times, “How I could be more effective in communicating with Davis parents my concerns with our public schools promoting gender ideology in K-12th grades?” She adds, “I believe this is the biggest social and medical scandal of our time.”
She has said a number of times that she would like a forum hosted by the school district on gender identity.
On the surface that ask doesn’t seem unreasonable—the problem that she doesn’t seem to understand is that that ship has now long since sailed and the bridge has been burned.
Many in the community who find themselves somewhat in the middle on this issue might have been open to have a public discussion last spring before all occurred that has transpired in the last month.
But that was before.
That was before a public meeting was shut down. I continue to believe that the librarian erred in doing so. That free speech is of fundamental importance to a free society. And that we should have an open airing of differing opinions—even ones we don’t particularly like.
I believe that critics were absolutely in the right to complain about the meeting being shut down and I believed at the time it was a mistake.
But none of that justifies what has happened next.
There have been at least six public threats to the library and school facilities throughout the community.
There have been people who have personally received threats at their home.
Teachers have their safety threatened and their workplace impacted.
Parents have had to disrupt their days and worry about the safety of their kids.
I have spoken to more than a few parents who worry about what happens next. Who worry about what happens after the threats grow stale—will the individuals grow tired and give up or will they start to take action?
This notion of false flags are a diversion. I don’t believe it for a second. There is nothing new about false flag allegations. Sixty years ago this month when four children were blown up at the Birmingham Church, people claimed the civil rights movement was behind it trying to engender sympathy for their cause. Turns out it was the KKK.
Regardless, what is unequivocally true is that at this point a community discussion is out of the question. Even if we were inclined to do so, now is not the time with passions running as high as they are.
But, more importantly for my purposes here, the tactics of the last month have been counterproductive to whatever initial purpose Bourne and Mothers for Liberty had back in August.
She got the community’s attention all right, but not in a way that she probably wanted and not in a way that is productive for community dialogue.
People who might have been willing to listen even in July, are now angry and frustrated.
The community does not want to have dialogue at gunpoint. That’s not dialogue. That’s terrorism.
Even the relatively moderate establishment, the Davis Enterprise, this weekend in a rare editorial called out “Moms for Liberty.”
As they wrote: “Their neighbors, your neighbors, are under threat and there are others in this community who are complicit, at the very least, in identifying and targeting them. They can’t plead ignorance at this point. However naive or uninterested they were in the beginning about the consequences of their actions, they can no longer ignore the obvious.”
They concluded, “EVERY TIME someone publicly and baselessly accuses local school or library staff of harming children, then the lunatic fringe is going to pounce. It only takes one, and they’re out there looking for targets.
“So if you’re wondering why your kid’s school had to be on lockdown, remember that it takes a chain of anger to get to this point. And one end of that chain is anchored right here in Davis.”
The bridges have been burned. At this point, everyone is afraid to speak out. People are getting threats at their home. Police resources have been diverted into finding out who is responsible. And no one cares any more about the issues that were at the center of this back in late August.
“The important thing to remember is bomb threats are almost never real,” Chief Pytel said recently. “They are designed to threaten people, cause intimidation and fear.”
There’s real fear out there—and it’s not going to lead to the kind of results Moms for Liberty would like to see.
Pytel himself was quoted by the Bee saying that in his forty years on the force, “I don’t remember anything like this happening.”
I certainly don’t in the 25 years I have lived in this community or the 17 years I have run this publication.
Fear is not a good way to motivate dialogue.
In short, the only thing that Moms for Liberty has done is turn the community off to them and their message. Even people who are otherwise aligned.