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Struggling to Define Harassment
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My on-air conversation with WILK's Corbett.

(Note regarding my call-in above: Corbett introduces me as calling from Wilkes-Barre. I actually called in from my new hometown of Buffalo although I was a bit off guard going into the call to clarify directly. You'll also notice my remark that I once (loosely) worked with Corbett at the Times Leader in the mid-80s. In fact I did at what was probably his first or second year there when I produced cartoons for a consumer column the paper ran. I had the rare honor to be within earshot of Corbett as he worked the phones to investigate the merit of one of his stories, and I will tell you, he is as creative as he is genius!)

I happened to be listening to WILK when Corbett hosted a call-in by none other that the topic of my recent posts, Bob Kadluboski. Sitting here typing this out I can't recall the entire conversation but mostly Bob seemed bent on justifying his behavior and fanning this angle to Corbett's agreement. As I said in my previous post, when someone is bent on purely harassing someone else it follows that they are calculated enough to find allies in the institutions around them in order to validate, strengthen and thus continue such behavior.

Bob wants you to know that the police are his friend. He wants you to know that Corbett, a sensible man for social justice by any measure, agrees with him. For, how can a man with all this community validation be such a bad guy for tying up city council time and money in dealing with him? Why, it's the city's fault that Bob behaves the way that he does. If it weren't for all the "obvious" corruption he wouldn't have to raise his voice and be such a meanie!

This goes back to the very first point I made in opening this can of worms, which is that the art of harassment is to embed this nefarious behavior into otherwise legitimate activities.

It is not easy to draw the line between harassment and legitimate behavior, particularly with respect to protest and satire. I obviously have my personal conclusion and have produced my commentary accordingly. The best case scenario here is that Bob does not understand his own negative impact and interally feels as though the means justify the ends. The worst case scenario is that he is as purposeful in actual harrassment as I postulate, possibly as part of some larger plan, out of a sense of revenge, or any other number of insidious motivations which, to be fair, would not be right to speculate about. I only believe based on what I see and gather from watching him in these meetings.

I took the time to call into Corbett's show after Bob's call and conversed a bit about all of this. While I too agree with Corbett that political satire is effective and government officials do need to present themselves directly to the public, I think he and many others fail to see how none of what Bob is doing meets the ideal of this framework. Wilkes-Barre council members do not deserve to be hindered in the process of public interface by people who invest in plain view tactics of intimidation, just because a small number of people believe that they are "automatically guilty" of something.

Tony George now has a great excuse to pull back on requiring his city department heads from attending these meetings meaning that the cause of transparency has been diminished that much more in Wilkes-Barre, not enhanced, by the tactics utilized by Bob or others similar. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

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