Naturally I get a lot of email that is derogatory in nature. Taking the positions I have on issues tends to draw attention from the empire builders who drape themselves particularly from the mantles of public service. A good many of those emails I can’t share, because they are too mindless, derogatory, or simply vile. But one email I received and the banter between this guy and myself I would consider to be an interesting study of psychology.
A guy named, Mike took exception with the comments I had made about Ryan Farhenkemp, the Lakota teacher recently found guilty of child pornography while on his teaching job. Mike didn’t like that I associated the teaching profession in a negative way by insinuating that the perversions of Farhenkemp made other teachers guilty as well. So he sent me an email to “correct” my thinking as I suppose he fantasized his action to be. For two days he and I bantered back and forth on the topic and I thought it was going in a productive direction, only to end unfortunately on a negative.
Below are the contents of this discussion:
Mike Stefanov has sent you a message On Tue, Sep 27, 2011:
You have some good messages but you really devalue them with statements such as this; “When they want to be paid well, they all stick together. But when one messes up and does something stupid, like the pedophile at Lakota, then the teachers act like he acted alone and they should not be judged because of him. So which is it? All for one and one for all………..or, judged by independent merit?)”
Your insinuation that the pedophile may not have acted alone is deplorable. You should be ashamed to equate other teachers with the trash of a pedophile. Your message is getting lost by some of your attacks on teachers. I think that you would have many more sympathizers to your cause if you did not spew the vile hared that you so often do. Putting all teachers in the same basket with the other pedophiles is classless. It would be like someone putting all Catholic priests together because there have been a few that have abused kids. Pedophiles can be found in every walk of life and in every occupation. Keep spewing your hatred and your message will soon be falling on deaf ears.
On Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 12:29 PM, Rich Hoffman wrote:
Don’t count on it but thanks for the comment. In the case of that particular teacher, people knew what he was up to, and didn’t say anything. That doesn’t make them as bad as the pedophile, but they aren’t innocent either. The statement was a general statement on collectivism, but your interpretation is fascinating.
Keep in touch,
Mike Stefanov wrote:
Thank you for the reply back. Just FYI; it was the Lakota SD that brought this particular pedophile to the attention of the authorities. If it were not for some at Lakota that alerted the authorities, this sick teacher may still be amongst the students.
As I alluded to in the other email, some of your messages are good but do not cause them to be viewed as untruthful by distorting the facts that you are presenting. Smart people will see through your distortion of facts. I view myself as a Libertarian but the bending of facts can be construed in the wrong way. Your enthusiasm can be commended but it must be tempered with truthfulness. I do not appreciate your attacks on teachers that actually are honest and hard working. I see through your distorted message. Keep bending the truth and spewing hatred and the message will be lost. History will back me up on this. Ronald Reagan must be turning in his grave when he sees what the GOP has become.
On Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 5:37 PM, Rich Hoffman wrote:
Good points, Mike. I’ll keep those views in mind and in perspective.
(Now here comes the going south portion)
On Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 7:57 AM, Mike Stefanov wrote:
You do that, Rich. Keep those views in mind. I am one that may have given you support but will not because of the manner in which you degrade teachers. I have been fortunate to have had good teachers. Teachers have made a positive influence on my life and they have had a positive role in the life of my children as well. There are some bad teachers but there are many more that are good. Bad and incompetent workers can be found in every occupation. Education is not alone in this.
I have been blessed that I have had a good life and have been able to afford just about whatever I want to. I have an income that is in the 99th percentile. I have a nice home. A lot of this success can be traced back to having quality teachers. From what I can glean about you it appears that you are most likely unemployed and have had bad experiences in school. If you are employed you occupation is most likely menial and you more than likely have a middling income. This misfortune has caused you to become bitter. If you think that the Lakota SD is so poor and you don’t like it, just move to an area that would be more to your liking and more affordable for you. In the meantime, don’t continue your attempts to lessen the quality of the schools. Additionally, you are having a negative impact on the value of my home and that is not welcomed by me. The amount of additional taxes that I will pay is nothing compared to the amount that my home will depreciate by because nobody wants to move to either Liberty Twp or West Chester due to a school system that is subpar.
Believe it or not, I like minimal government. I am a Libertarian. I don’t like any more than you do. However there are no free lunches and paying for a quality school system is money that is well spent.
Rich Hoffman Replied:
You were doing so well, Mike, then you had to come back with that.
I am certainly not unemployed, or underfunded. That’s cute that you’d make that assumption. As for school, I don’t think it does enough and gets in the way of the ambitious. I wouldn’t say I had bad experiences or good ones in school. I think it wastes the time of children to create jobs for the adults. I find it hard to believe that you are in the top 1% with your beliefs.
Bitter, me? I’m not bitter about much of anything. Don’t confuse lack of respect for bitterness.
Mike seemed in the end more concerned about proving to me that he had value as a person, and he sadly associated that value with money. This tells me a lot about the contents of his mind. He represents many of the teachers whom he is defending in this exchange with an assumption that money equals value. He misses completely many of the points I have been making because he does not have a mind to understand them. So he came back to me at the end of this exchange with accusations that I’m unemployed and somehow bitter about the teaching profession as a whole.
The unsettling aspect of this discussion is that Mike believes so strongly in this exchange that he took considerable time to try and convince me that I’m wrong, and even when I gave him an honorable way out, he came back for more.
There are many Mikes out there and they vote. They bounce around life like twigs in a raging river. They go with the flow of popular sentiment even if that direction is one of destruction, and they forget that once they were part of a tree that had broken away from their roots and now find themselves soaking wet and directionless going wherever the river takes them.
Mike obviously wanted to prove to me that he was a person of value, which actually makes me feel for the guy. There are so many people like him that it would be easier to count those who are unlike him.
This doesn’t make him right or wrong, but simply an interesting scientific behavioral study which can provide insight into the kinds of nonsense “thinking” people shake their heads at in contemplation. It must be a terrible thing to have no control over one’s destiny, and to just go with the flow. I personally can’t imagine such limitations, so it never ceases to amaze me to observe the conditions of such types, and the utterances which emanate from their condensed lives as they travel aimlessly down the rivers of life.
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