Many of you know that TPV is a labor of love for me and other writers here. Many of you also know that I have a day job. I work for a small health nonprofit. And that's what I was doing when around noon, the phone at work rang.
As I usually do when it rings, I picked up, "This is Spandan", I said.
"Spandan!" A voice answered, "How are you?"
"I'm well", I said, "May I help you?"
"Do you believe someone should use their bully pulpit to silence freedom of speech?"
What the heck? I thought. Is this some sort of survey? I had received a call previously with a survey from the city about employment situations and the minimum wage.
"Who's this?" I asked. "I could be anybody. I'm anonymous."
The caller repeated the question about the bully pulpit and the first amendment. He then informed me that he was banned from here for expressing their opinion. He had blocked his caller ID and would not tell me who he was, so there is in fact no way for me to tell why he was banned - not that I would doubt a decision to block someone who subsequently turns out to be a stalker. He proceeded to lecture me that since this blog is public, no one may be blocked from commenting.
With all evidence to the contrary and all, I hung up.
He called back, twice. He exclaimed outrage that I worked for a nonprofit, and as such was subsidized by taxpayers (far fetched as nonprofits are merely tax exempt, the government does not pay my salary in my day job) and yet was blocking speech. I explained that my work at a health nonprofit helping patients who suffer from unspeakable pain had nothing to do with my work at TPV.
"Were you born in this country?", he repeatedly asked along with continuing to stress that my dayjob is for a nonprofit organization. It's hard make coherence out of the combination, unless he wished to threaten my jobs on the grounds that I may be an undocumented immigrant. If he had paid a little more attention to this space he is so obsessed with, he'd know I'm a naturalized US citizen.
I finally set aside the phone receiver and let him talk to himself until he hung up.
It was a very weird experience for someone with a west Los Angeles (310) to call me and stalk me. How do I know the number if it was blocked? The caller did block his number, but he was calling a business line with an unblocker, which means it was easy to see the number in the call records the nonprofit's phone company furnishes live online. As such, I am now in contact with and reports including the calling number are in process of being furnished to the San Jose Police Department, the Beverly Hills Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office.
I am taking every precaution for my safety, but I want to assure the community that we will not be intimidated or scared off. I am also committed to moderating the comment section vigorously so that we continue to be a sanctuary for pragmatists.
But to that end, I have put together a little tip jar in honor of our stalker. After all, I figured that we should not let so much hard work by our stalker go to waste. So won't you say you love him too by giving a few bucks?
Click on this link to give, or you can just use the button that appears below any post.
As always, if you can't give, no worries. Just know that you are part of our success. I wouldn't be stalked if we weren't making some serious waves. In the last month, our 30-day rolling traffic of visitors has grown from 50,000 to 400,000. You made this happen. Keep it happening!
Oh and the GOP debate starts in 20 minutes. If you're watching and drinking, be sure to get a ride after. Open thread.