Harassed and Ignored
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A “complainers vs. Navy/jobs supporters” conflict has developed on Whidbey Island. The extreme noise of military jets was a surprise to many buyers. The impact of these jets is obvious to anyone living 250 directly below them. But the Navy has a history of denying the obvious. Of course people complained and sought a remedy. Their primary goal was to close the OLF, the source of the worst abuse.
The Navy has claimed the OLF Coupeville is the only suitable location for carrier landing practice, leaving people believing that closing the OLF would mean closing the base. As a result, thousands of people whose jobs depend on the base were alarmed and participated in a Pro-OLF effort.
To refute the Navy position of “OLF only” and “no health impact”, citizens developed a bank of scientific evidence that showed the impact of extreme noise on health and supported for the relocation of the OLF because of its limitations. They gathered into groups, put up web sites, protested, and made contact with anyone who might support them. Despite the high cost, they used the courts when Navy actions were illegal.
As citizens groups grew stronger, so did the Pro-OLF harassment. They used the Internet, degrading petitions, business boycotts, signs, protests, property damage, threats, and discrimination. The substance of most of it is based on the lie, “they were told so they should shut up or move.” We have real estate attorneys to thank for that.
Click and read Internet Harassment, the results of one hour’s search online. The premise of most of these hateful comments is that “they were told (or they should have known), and they should shut up or move.” Many seem to be seeking attention without much consideration for the validity or even logic of what they say. It appears to be a competition where each feels they are scoring points for the Navy.
Reaction to the Truth shows comments following an online newspaper article about the class action lawsuit. The truth is that the law was not followed, and two law firms are willing to take on the tremendous cost of a class action law suit based on that fact. Other articles, including statements from the Prosecutor’s Office and County Commissioners, presented the same conclusion to the community.
The comments showed that a lot of people are unable to process the truth, or they choose to ignore it. Desperate for a “target,” they assume that COER (Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve) must be at the bottom of this, when, in fact, COER’s mission has remained constant – closing the OLF. Some COER members, like most property owners in the noise zone, will probably join the lawsuit to recover a portion of their loss, but disclosure deception is not their focus.
Signs shows the how a definition for the word “idiot” on the internet to harass noise complainers evolved to be used for at least two different car decals seen in the community. The change in the wording reveals an understanding of the inadequacy of the past noise disclosure, but a refusal to let go of the lie “they were told.”
Harassment by Leaders shows how elected officials and other leaders have chosen to harass citizens instead of seeing the value in informing them.