I'm not social media-savvy, nor do I intend to become so. Posting my trials, tribulations and favorite recipes online simply doesn't interest me. I have, however, taken an interest in the grappling with conscience recently displayed by the likes of Facebook and Twitter and the comeuppance of hate speech on mainstream social media.
Since the very public banishment of President Donald Trump from these platforms, there seems to have been a less publicized house cleaning of offenders. Their adherents, rudderless and despondent, are leaving in droves of their own accord.
I'd been exploring New Hampshire's varied radical right groups protesting Gov. Sununu's pandemic "overreach," and several groups and members that posted calls to action on Facebook have disappeared. One such group, the obviously reasonable Absolute Defiance, has spent weekends protesting at the governor's home. This is his home, complete with wife and children. At least one protester has been armed, though an organizer said no protesters “open-carried.” That's comforting.
Skylar Bennett was arrested outside the home and was carrying a concealed handgun. Bennett said, “I carry a handgun for protection all the time. When you do political activism, you have to make sure to protect yourself.”
I'm curious. From whom he is protecting himself? Mrs. Sununu? The governor reported that Bennett was carrying two dozen rounds of ammunition. That's a whopping degree of self-protection. Gov. Sununu canceled the outdoor inaugural ceremony for safety reasons.
Then there's Daniel Richard, who formed the innocuous-sounding New Hampshire Committee of Safety to protest the government. Dan issued a decree firing Sununu, apparently having missed November's "rehiring" by the citizens of New Hampshire. He hand-delivered his notice to a sheriff guarding the Sununu home.
Meanwhile, the Libertarian wing-nut faction in the House issued a “termination of the state” document declaring the November election fraudulent (yes, the very election in which many of them were elected) and New Hampshire’s government illegitimate. I'll say! It appears Facebook has parted company with some of them as well.
But it's not only mainstream social media that has, um ... grown a pair. So have some crowdfunding websites. (Crowdfunding is another thing I don't understand, but they're going strong, so clearly it is I who is in the dark.) GoFundMe refused to allow members of The Proud Boys (and their mothers must certainly be proud of these boys!) to bilk — I mean, entreat — others to assist in their post-Capitol assault legal defense. Enter GiveSendGo, putting a Christian spin on crowdfunding. GiveSendGo opens wide its arms to all. Well, to all Christians. CFO Jacob Wells is a self-proclaimed “Jesus guy.”
On its Facebook page, GiveSendGo claims to be a "Free Christian CrowdFunding and Fundraising Site that allows you to easily and effectively raise money for whatever mission God has given you ... GiveSendGo is a unique ... platform for those living out the heartbeat of God."
Those living out the heartbeat include summer's murderous celebrities Kyle Rittenhouse and Derek Chauvin, as well as Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and numerous people seeking quite literally a free ride to the Jan. 6 debacle in Washington. If would-be donors can’t afford to donate, they can hit the “PRAY NOW” button to let a fundraiser know they are supporting the effort through prayer. Sadly, GiveSendGo also is departing Facebook for greener pastures.
Closer to home — actually at home — I learned today and I'm honored to share with you that I'm a victim of cyberbullying. I have arrived! I'd never have discovered this on my own. I was tipped off by a concerned citizen. My, but the online discussion was colorful. I wasn't explicitly threatened with bodily harm, though there was explicit mention of bodily parts, female genitalia being a particular favorite. Such a charming group!
These folks clearly have a great deal of time on their hands, some of which might be spent on a little more attention to grammar and spelling. Just a suggestion.
My newfound celebrity gave me the opportunity to reconnect with Russ McLauchlan of the Conway Police Department, with whom I once shared a passion for kids and soccer. We served together on the Mount Washington Valley Soccer Club board years ago. Russ gave me sage advice. Ignore it and it will probably go away.
I'm guessing it won't go away as long as I'm writing these columns, but that's why I'm paid the big bucks.
Jonna Carter lives in South Conway with her husband and five crazy rescue dogs.