Archive for October, 2010

A Moral Compass

October 10, 2010

“Conscience is a man’s compass.”~ Vincent Van Gogh

Amy Cohen-Efron’s article “Disillusionment With the Deaf Community” described her experience with cyber-bullying:

I get ostracized and harassed just because of my own opinion and my role as an Editor of DeafRead. As one of the pioneers of Deaf vlogging world, I get cyberbullied just like others. Yes, someone did call my employer about my online activities. This kind of stress caused a trip to emergency room.

Amy’s article in turn inspired Karen Mayes’ blog article “‘Different Opinions Resulting in Questionable Behaviors”. Karen wrote about her reaction to the posting of “letters to employers” on a blogsite two years ago.

I do remember four years ago, after the Deaf Bilingual Coalition’s first convention held in Milwaukee, WI, amid the disagreements and agreements, I came across one blog that stated a letter was sent to one core member’s employer and I was taken back by it… why would one go that far to contact one’s employer?

Indeed, why would a person go so far as to write a letter reporting someone’s online view/ opinion to his employer?

Is it to put that person through the emotional stress of answering his employer’s questions regarding the letter? To jeopardize a person’s job and ability to support his family?  To trash the person’s reputation in the workplace and in the deaf community?  In other words, to make that person pay for the words/ messages he put online on a private computer?

How would you feel if you were suddenly subjected to the same ordeal?

V/bloggers, commenters, and readers alike all have seen this monster rear its ugly head online. And it’s an ugly head, no matter what shape it takes on:  online personal attacks, cyber-harassment, hijacking of a thread, email threats,  organizational bullying, online outting of a v/blogger’s real name, letters written to one’s employer, frivolous lawsuits,  real-life threats/stalking, physical confrontations, ad nauseam.

Is it because of the target’s opinion/ view?  No, it’s because the attacker dropped his moral compass in the angry desire to hit back at the person he disagreed with.

It’s bad enough that there are bullies out there, committing such acts.  It’s just as bad when people turn a blind eye when they see/read such actions occurring online and in real life and do nothing to stop it. That’s called the sin of omission. Where were their consciences when they witnessed such actions?  Nowhere.

Under the comment section of Karen’s blog article, Ben Vess dropped a bombshell statement which illustrated this lack of moral compass:

After reading these comments and seeing that my name has appeared in terms of trying to refute some disputed facts between who said what.

First thing first, I do not have an opinion or statements regarding my feelings about such subject. It is too subjective for me and others to even have a productive dialogue. However, I will discuss facts.

Fact #1: Barry Sewell sought me out when he saw my blog calling Ella a coward and wanted to discuss ways to counter the opposition against “us” at the time.

Fact #2: During the whole DBC fiasco, there was DBC and then there was us.

Fact #3: Barry Sewell sent me three documents [RSD, csd, and CAD]to be signed (very explicit instructions on how this should be executed. The documents were intended to be sent to the workplaces of these three people: barb, David, and Ella. All of the documents questioned their capacity to do their jobs correctly.

Fact #4: I was the one who passed the letters on to the people being accused. Yes, me.

Fact #5: Barry sent those emails to me and I still have them. They are free to anyone who wishes to obtain a copy.

I hope having these facts come into light will clarify some of your misunderstandings about what happened with these letters and how the three accused people got them.

-Ben Vess

Ben added another comment, the last one before Karen closed the comment section:

Actually, Barry, the full truth is this: I was more than willing to sign these letters of protests, I admit that. Then i read them and realized the true intent behin them. It wasnt just about disputing their philosophy bit rather their character and decided against it and made that clear to you as well. Now, sticking only to facts..

You all of a sudden have copies of everything when you previously claimed u had no record of?

By all means Barry, go ahead and “expose” me, post the emails. I have nothing to hide.

What are YOU hiding by not doing so? C’est la question.

Ben Vess was kind enough to send me, Candy and Karen a series of email conversations that took place from July 14 to 17 in 2008 between him and Barry Sewell.  The convos occurred about two weeks after the DBC Conference in Milwaukee ended. The first series of conversations is called the “Next Step”series that took place on July 14th.

Hi Ben,

Appreciated your latest vlog.  It’s about time
somebody stood up to Ella and call her a cowards because that is what she
is.  Can’t have it both ways.. to lead a movement but hide in midst of
questions and discussions.

Regardless, I’m thinking about putting together a
group of concerned citizens and submit letters to CSD Fremont, CA Board of
Education, Rochester School for the Deaf, NY State Dept of Ed, CAD and NAD
to submit a copy of AIM meeting in which their employees and board members
participated with radical comments against CI, Oralists and how Ella
hijacked DBC and CAD to promote her financial interests in Deafhood
Foundation.

Do you know of anybody that is willing to serve as
the contact person for these letters?  We need somebody that is outside of
former DBC members.  I drafted rought drafts for everything but just need
to find a willing candidate to serve as contact person for “concerned
citizens”. My thinking is since we can’t seem to hold these
people accountable we might as well make them accountable to the State
and CAD /NAD.

This way, they will have to issue public apology or face disciplinary
actions.  Once they do that then it will break them up and destroy the
spell they are under.

Your thoughts?

Barry

———————————————————————————————————–

I appreciate your willingness to be the contact person for concerned citizens.

I think everybody knows who you and I
are and that we both support the same quest.Would be ideal if you
could find somebody that is from California for the letter to California
School for the Deaf and CAD / NAD.  And would be ideal if we
had somebody from NY for the letter to Rochester School of the
Deaf.   This way it will be seen coming from concerned
citizen from their State, which hold more weight than if it came
from you or me.

I agree with your version of what Jesus said
and has done.  People manipulate Bible into more than what it really is
just as they have done unto Paddy Ladd’s Deafhood.

Appreciate your support.

Barry

———————————————————————————————————

Aw, you will have my full support until the very end, even if i’m the
last one standing. I agree about you thinking that I am too public
for being a contact person.

I’m sure I can find someone in San Diego–they’re academics
not emotionals. I don’t believe in jesus personally but I understand the holy canon. let’s get this ball rolling!

Ben

——————————————————————————————————————————

Please also let your trusted friends know that
their name and contact information will be pasted and covered when we post the
letter on the web site. Nobody except the destinated people will know
who submitted the letter.

Thanks,

Barry

———————————————————————————————————-

Ben,

Very good.  If you can find somebody who won’t expect to be anonymous
then great.

There are three different subjects here.  Ideally, the letter to CSD
should be submitted by somebody that wears cochlear implant or belongs
to CI community because of what was said by DE.  But realistically it
could be asked by anybody that resides in Calfifornia. Ideally, the
letter to RSD (Rochester School for the Deaf) should be submitted by a
deaf person that still appreciates oralism because it will really put
Barb on the spot for what she has said and force her to come clean
with DBC and its supporters. Then any deaf person in California could submit the letter addressed to CAD and NAD to demand an investigation and perhaps even an
explanation.

Makes no difference if these individuals are deaf or hearing.  Just
make sure they understand the delicate situation.

Barry

———————————————————————————————————–

Draft letters prepared and ready to go.

[No signature] ( but this is from Barry’s email address)

The next series of convos are called the “Closure”series, which took place July 15-17, 2008.

Hello everybody. I wanted to say that we’ve
received enormous amount of response to www.DBCfacts.com from every imaginable
directions.  Most of them were very supportive and they thanked us for
disclosing the truth.  Many of them asked if it was possible for us to seek
closure and rise from the ashes.  It touched me to a level where I made the
decision to seek closure.  In short, I phased out all information to
show our love and support for deaf babies.

I shall ride into the sunset, simply because the
deaf community is not ready for my help.  I just started to vlog in
DeafVideo.tv and will continue to educate those who are listening and help them
understand things that DBC don’t want them to know.  You can see
some of my new vlogs there.  Enjoy!

I have no regrets. I met many
of wonderful people through this journey including you.  I’ve
neglected some of your personal notes and will shift my focus there now
that I’ve phased out DBCfacts.com.  The truth has been told.  What
they do with the truth is up to them.  They are responsible for their own
actions.

Hugs everybody,

Barry(DR Hocokan)

——————————————————————————————————————————–

Have you sent out these letters towards DE and Barb’s jobs? There seems
to be a commotion about this going on at Patti’s blog.

I have decided that I will refrain from blogging for a while.

-Ben

———————————————————————————————————————————

Ben,

First…  great vlog message from you
today!  It clarified things up for most people even though few are still
confused.  Got to give them many different analogy / examples in order to
reach different people with different mindsets.

The letters have not been sent out yet.  There
is one lady who is thinking about doing it.  She knows the Supt at CDR and
felt comfortable being the source of that letter to CSD.  May still need
somebody from CA for the letter to CAD and NAD.  Not sure who should
submit letter to Rochester School for the Deaf.

Have anybody in mind yet?

Probably wise for you and I to refrain from
blogging for now… and let everybody digest the truth we’ve shared…
don’t need for you or I to be out there destroying what has already been
destroyed.  We will have demonstrated ourselves as the better people
(compared to DBC Core leaders) when we know where to stop and
when.  Since I took the web site down I received so many VP calls from
strangers who realized I was not the monster they envisioned me to be.
They saw my human side and decided to call to thank us for telling the
truth.  It’s very effective when they see me in person and realize I’m not
behind this crab theory thing.  It’s for
real.

We did our part and the truth has been
told…  now they are digesting… I received many VP calls and emails from
many people I didn’t know.  They wanted to talk to me directly and they
felt better afterwards.  It’s time consuming process but it has to be
done.  Our message is getting out there and they’re working.  A guy
called me on VP a little while ago and told me about your analogy and was
impacted by it.  He understand our side now and is embarassed for his
support towards DBC. I told him not to be because we all learn and to
use it for
future references.

Keep in touch!
Barry

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Barry,

I think perhaps these letters should not be sent. I’m a bit
uncomfortable at offing someone from their job on a totally unrelated
matter (organizations and so forth). It appears the letters have
already been sent and what I’m afraid of is that they will jeopardize
our fight for transparency.

As for finding someone to send these out, I’m not sure I can really do
that. I don’t know. To be honest, I’m not sure I would appreciate
someone else doing that to me.

Have copies of these letters (that has already been sent) been given
to Barb, DE, and Ella? I think it’s fair to do so because at that
point, they are given a chance to defend themselves.

warmest,
Ben

—————————————————————————————————————————

Ben,

I totally agree.  I’ve heard about
concerns for their employment status and was a bit surprised to think
they would
lose their jobs
.  The goal is not to unemploy anybody.  The goal
is to force a public apology from those who monopolize all three entities, CAD,
DBC and Deafhood Foundation.  The goal is to expose unethical conduction
ontheir part as well as conflict of interests.

Fortunately I have not submitted any letter to
any of these agencies.  However according to several sources there were
already several other individuals who wanted to take up on this matter on their
own because evidently the CI community and Oralism advocates
are equally as outraged and concerned about it.  They are coordinating
things on their own because they wanted to CSD to clarify
their positions on the matter.  In short, I think it has taken up
on a life of its’ own, which is not surprising.

Other individuals have already planned on
taking the matter up with CAD and NAD as well.  I do not know who
these individuals are so for that reason I am not sure if I’ll ever see a
copy of these letters unless they contact me.

When I learned of this fact I mellowed out and did
not really have to do anything.  Probably best if I didn’t anyway.  I
really appreciate your suggestion.  Cooler head always prevail and I think
you and I have cooled down in the past few days.  I know I’ve cooled down
considerably after receiving so many emails and VP calls from
strangers who were
very supportive of our quest for the truth.

Regards,
Barry

[This blogger pauses] “A bit surprised to think they would lose their jobs.”  Omg.

To continue–

————————————————————————————————————————-

I think it would be much better if we got leave these documents alone.
let it sit in our mailboxes or whatnot. To be honest, I kind of get
the feeling that if they got sent out, someone is going to get
seriously burned and it won’t be them.

Maybe it’s for the best that we let the healing process start.

I believe your intentions were good, trying to get them to own up
their shit, but it seems like that they won’t. Let history judge them
for their actions today, ya know?

🙂 do stay in touch,

Ben

——————————————————————————————————————————–

Hey Ben,

Hey friend,

I learned something last night
from my VP conversation with a genius. I learned that we are not a deaf
community. We are an ASL community.

The term ‘deaf’ is a medical term.
One does not form a community based on a medical term. One forms a community
based on language therefore the name of our community is ASL community. The
term, deaf is what divides us. The term ASL is what unites us.

Now, guess
who is part of ASL community? Anybody that signs ASL! It involves interpreters,
hearing people, oralists, CI, and the deaf, as long as they sign ASL.

Why and how did we start off calling our community the “deaf community”?
It started at the DEAF SCHOOL! We labeled ourselves as deaf community, failing
to realize that we were in fact an ASL community.

Based on these facts, bilingualism is a
‘transition’, meaning we make a transition to English language to communicate
via literacy to communicate outside of our ASL community.  Based on this
approach there is no reason for our division that we are witnessing today.
Do you concur?

Barry

————————————————————————————————————————–

DeafJeff of the The Terlinguan blog made a post called “Here is to Questionable Behavior” shortly after Karen’s post.  Ben Vess commented after Candy had said that she had no part of the letter-writing campaign:

Der Sankt said…

Ah, Candy is right to stay out of this.

There are far too many people involved, to be frank. I do not feel that Barry Sewell should be severely punished more than others. I went to several people for advice on how to handle this and all but one told me NOT to pass the letters to Barb, DE, and Ella. They should be held responsible too.

Then there are those who actually sent the letters.

Barry may have been wrong in drafting them. I was wrong in agreeing to signing them before I realized the seriousness of it. It is even more wrong to have sent them after knowing that even having the letters in itself was wrong.

It is true that Candy, AnnC, Paotie, and few others did not know about any of this until I came out in Karen’s blog. It is really best to not drag them in this mess because they know just as much as most readers here.

I take full responsibility for my part in this.

I think it would be fair if you guys also seek out those who knew and turned a blind eye to it for the last two years. They are just as guilty for not having done anything to stop it. Also, those who actually took the time to send the letters out. For they are the ones who crossed a line that should never be crossed.

I just hope everyone can take responsibility for their actions and inaction and make it all possible for us to move on and form a stronger community.

-Ben

I was just as stunned as Karen, Candy and some others were upon reading Ben’s revelation earlier in Karen’s blog.  I certainly had no part in this letter-writing scheme. Remember that in my blog article regarding Barb DiGi’s mooning joke directed at Barry, I’d questioned her joke as reflecting badly on her and her leadership role, when ppl were discussing writing letters to her employer about her online activity.  I said that I didn’t condone that kind of action against her.

“I don’t condone the actions of people who “report” online behavior to another’s place of employment or to the school where a person works or studies, unless the behavior is truly criminal. In BarbDiGi’s case, the mooning clip is questionable behavior for a teacher who is usually expected to set an example for children, but it is not a criminal action. What I am referring to in my blog is about the example of leadership that Barb DiGi presents to the deaf community.”

I hate to think what would have happened had Ben’s conscience not kicked in when it did.

Barry (aka the holism) wrote several comments (these are excerpts) under Karen’s blog:

I remember being accused of contacting Barbara Digi and David Eberwein’s employers, which never happened. I waited patiently until a shred of evidence showed up about a year and half later. Barbara Digi and David Eberwein were able to secure copies of the letters and showed them to Ella. Ella acknowledged this in one of her video commment and stated that she personally saw copies of the letters and acknowledged that they did not contain my signature. Needless to say that I kept her video comment into my hard drive for future reference.

The boiling question is why did Ella, Barbara Digi, David Eberwein and many of their supporters allow the accusation against me to fly around for a long time knowing that the letters were not from me. I’ve yet to see the letters myself and am still waiting.

I was going to vlog about it and post the video of Ella’s statement regarding the letter but I could not because I was warned of repeating copyright infringements via youtube.com and DeafVideo.tv. Copying what people said and pasting them on my vlogs was not permissible. They’re using it as an excuse to shut me up however it does not stop me from distributing copies via emails to private individuals who really wanted to know the ultimate truth on these letters. I’d be glad to send you a copy as well.

And shortly after, added this one:

One more thing Karen… in that video comment Ella did not say I was innocent. She only said that she saw the letters and they did not contain my signatures and went on to say that I was too clever.

I privately emailed Barry and asked if he’d send me a copy of Ella’s vlog, which he willingly provided.  It’s a seesmic video which cannot be published online.  I viewed the vlog and can confirm that Ella did indeed say that she saw the letters and that they did not contain Barry’s signatures.   She did not say he was innocent.

Another of Barry’s comments, this time addressed to Barb DiGi:

I never denied the fact that such draft letters reached my desk from different people who were outraged by the nature of discussion that took place inside of an AOL chatroom when we were having our weekly DBC meetings. They came to my desk because pretty much everybody at DeafRead.com and DeafVideo knew that I was on a crusade against Deaf Bilingual Coalition. I produced over 21 vlogs on DBC during that period and that in itself generated different ideas coming from different people who felt disgusted with what DBC was doing. It does not mean I agreed with everything that these disgusted people might have said or done. I don’t control them and their thoughts. The idea of writing a letter to your boss was not mine. It did not originate with me. And again because people saw me as the leading crusade figure against DBC they blanketed me with different ideas on how they thought we should approach the matters. Indications and draft of letters reached my desk because of a simple fact. They saw me as the crusader against DBC.

Because I received copies and decided not to carry them out does not make me an accomplice. In fact I told people that I would not get involved. Give credit where it is due. I declined and wiped my hands clean off this saga.

And you? You had your hands on the actual letter(s) as soon as it arrived. I still do not have any clues on how many letters were sent or who sent them. You saw the signature(s) and you knew they did not contain my signature. And yet you sat back and watched the entire sage whereas I was being accused by every directions for a long period of time and yet did absolutely nothing to restore the truth.

We’ve all seen examples of a selective blind eye. This is what I mean by a sin of omission.

An excerpt from Barb’s reply to Barry:

Ok Barry, speaking of ethics, I am a bit confused because posting the letter which was addressed to my employment in your very own dbcfacts blog wasn’t exactly ethical either. Nevertheless, I reckon that you removed it knowing it was not in your best judgment so it was much appreciated that you took the step to correct it.

An excerpt from the holism’s reply to Barb:

Barb, you’re saying that I posted the letter on dbcfacts.com? Not so. What I posted was a copy of the AOL meeting showing who said what regarding rejected Cochlear Implant volunteers and strangling them. No “letter to the employer” was ever posted in that web site. This is the first time I’ve heard this. I still have the web site in my hard drive and just went over it and do not see any “letter to the employer” posted there.

Where is that “letter to the employer” post on dbcfacts.com?  Karen saw it, in fact that was the basis of her blog.  That was the “commotion in patti’s blog” (now defunct) that Ben Vess was referring to. Sauniere saw it also.  Here is an archived page of dbcfacts.com after the post was wiped. A good number of ppl saw that posting, even though it was wiped shortly after it was posted.

Barry, if you didn’t post those “letters to the employers” on dbcfacts.com and that post ain’t on your 2TB hard drive, then who did?  I refer you, Barry, to a bolded part, “…when we post the letter on the web site” in one of your “Next Step” messages to Ben (see above).  Somebody tampered with or spoofed the blogsite? Or is it selective amnesia?

An excerpt from Barry’s response to Barb:

Barb,

I’d like to see the document and compare them with my records. From the look of it I think it’s been fabricated. I won’t know until I’ve seen the copy. Ridor once suggested that somebody fabricate stuff on this issue. I have that information some where in the file but never saw anything that’s fabricated yet. Still waiting for somebody to email me a copy. And again I’ve already stated in this thread that these information did not originate with me. Already explained that information were coming from different sources. And I stand by these words. I’m protecting the names of these individuals just like you’re protecting your the people that signed the letters therefore it’s possible that I might have taken over as the “sender” in order to protect certain people but I know I did not originate them.

Ah, fabrications.  Such things take on a life of their own, especially in the hands of one who is well known to attack others online.

An excerpt of Barb’s response to dianrez’ question about what would be achieved by exposing the signers:

To respond to Dianrez, several letters were sent out to my workplace three years ago some with signatures and some without. Of course, it was not taken seriously and no action was taken. I happen to know one of the signers but I am not the kind of person who will disclose the name here.

In a recent email reply to me from Barb:

In fact, I never saw the letter myself directly from my employment but from a person (who has a connection to inside information) who mentioned that several was received with no signatures and one from Pennsylvania that this person couldn’t recall whom. It was last summer that I got to find out (from someone else) who sent the letter but again it was hearsay. I am waiting for Ben to reveal who since he was the witness who knew that sent the letters.

Interesting, so Barb never really saw the letter(s) or signature(s), but confirms that her employer did indeed receive the letter(s).  She was only told from someone with inside information (at her workplace? my guess) about who sent the letter.  Hearsay, oh, well.

Hearsay.  Lotsa “he said, she said” here.

In 2007, a member of the Deaf Bilingual Coalition launched a witch hunt campaign to drive a popular blogger out of DR.  The blogger was called all kinds of names, psychopath, deficit thinker, you-name-it.  The harassment reached its peak when same DBC member tried to expose the blogger’s real name, wrote a letter to the university where the blogger was a doctorate student, and falsely accused him of being a martial arts fighter.  A good number of people turned a selective blind eye and just watched gleefully as the sparks flew, saying nothing about the DBC member’s online witch hunt behavior.  This did happen indeed.  Many moral compasses dropped there.

When California’s AB2072 issue arose online recently, Candy was outted in her very own blog, her real name exposed by none other than a leader of the Oppose AB2072 coalition.  Her online right to keep her real name private was violated. That exposure led to Ridor vlogging  about Candy’s occupation and who her employer was.  Candy’s employer received several email letters/vlogs  regarding her private online views that had nothing to do with her job from Ricky Taylor, Carl Schroeder, Michelle Aguilar, Kathryn Kerr, and Nikki (?).  This did happen indeed.  Some more moral compasses dropped.  And people are still turning a selective blind eye.

Sin of omission, the overlooking of an attacker’s overreaching behavior simply because the target holds an online view different from yours?   You leave the door wide open for the same attacker(s) to do their dirty work over and over, to other people.

And who knows? They may come for you next.

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