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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Scientology, more on the DA and Pittsburgh, ALVINNNNNNNN

No, I'm not going to bash Scientologists, so don't get all excited or hot and bothered. I was contacted by a woman who works for Freedom Magazine, put out by the Church of Scientology. She was interested in interviewing me for an article they wanted to do about "use of the Internet to threaten, harass and harm innocent people" and possibly doing a documentary as well.

I have to admit, I thought about this a lot. I knew that Scientology was having a tussle with hackers online and that there was a lot of nastiness going on. I really didn't want to get in the middle of that.

I brought this up to my WHOA staff on our YahooGroup and only one staff member was really against me doing the interview. But the rest agreed with me - we can't discriminate who we give interviews to, because we don't discriminate who we help. I've done interviews for a Catholic magazine, and NRA-affiliated radio show and some other so-called "controversial" media outlets. But I kept my comments just about staying safe online and giving tips and basic info.

So I got back to Sheila MacDonald and let her know I'd be happy to do the interview as long as she understood that I had to remain neutral and would talk only about my personal cyberstalking experience, my work with WHOA and online safety tips. I told her I couldn't get in the middle of anything else. And since we're doing work on the house (still taking care of my new office downstairs and getting ready for Re-Bath to redo the bathroom), I couldn't do a video interview for the documentary here at the house.

She was really nice about it. I've heard rumors of horror stories of people who rebuffed Scientologists and were hounded. But she wrote back that she appreciated me making my position clear and:

"We would not be asking you to endorse our cause or anything to do with Scientology but to tell of your experiences with the Internet and how you dealt with that. We, like you, know how the Internet can be used to harm others and we feel strongly that educating the public is a vital action to take. The story as you know, is not just your story or our story, but what has happened and will continue to happen to countless others if nothing is done to expose the abuses. Freedom has always been a voice for those who could not be heard otherwise and we are very proud of our work. Thanks again for your good work. We need more people like you and your organization."

I was pleasantly surprised by this response. She wrote that she'd get back to me with when an interviewer would talk to me over the phone. But since that last email, I haven't heard a peep and it's been two weeks. BTW, Sheila actually has a nice blog at Wordpress. She's a good photographer and I am extremely jealous of the places she's been, LOL.

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Karen, from the DA's office in Alleghany County, PA has been in touch with me. She told me she'd talked with someone from the Pittsburgh PD to ask him what they do with cyberstalking cases. She was told that unless there was a death threat or threat of physical harm, they tell the victim to stay off their computer. I shit you not.

She called to tell me that and I was appalled. She told him his department needed to take this more seriously and talked about me and my organization, WHOA and how we've been working with victims for over 10 years. He just had no grasp as to how serious a problem cyberstalking is.

Sounds like the Pittsburgh PD needs me to come do some training. Pfft.

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I'm a kid at heart. We rented the new movie "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and yes, it was silly as heck, but I loved it. Chris did, too.

Speaking of chipmunks, they're baaaaack. I've seen Sweetie and Julian so far out back and on the porch, but so far, no Chippy. I don't know if it's too cold for him still to come out and play or if he's possibly gone for good. Chipmunks in the wild don't live for more than four or five years and this would be about that point. I'm hoping I see him, but last year I had Sweetie kind of trained to eat sunflower seeds close to me. So I'll probably see if I can get her to eat out of my hand.

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Chris showed me how the garage door (which I think has been on the house since it was built in 1955) was starting to come apart. It's made of wood and you can see it's separating. We went to Home Depot yesterday and picked up a new garage door, but mine is a weird size, just under 9'x7' and the closest we could find was a 9'x7' door. So Bob and Robin will be stopping by to see if the new door will fit and Bob will help Chris install it.

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Chris interviewed with the York Parks and Recreation Dept for a part-time job. The guy who interviewed him was impressed and said he had to pass it by his boss, but it looks like Chris has the job.

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The weather was so nice the other day we took the Jeep out to the beach. The guy who came knocking on our door with Jeep stuff came through. Chris got a hardtop, a like new bikini top with a rear window thingy (I don't know what to call it), soft doors and more. It was like Christmas. We're going to sell the old hardtop and bikini stuff on eBay. I mean, this is like new (except for the hardtop, but that's in better shape than the one that came with the Jeep). Now I have to actually drive the thing. I haven't driven a stick shift in years and am nervouse. But I'll do it. Soon. Really.

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