In the wake of death threats, the Branson Police Department's slander campaign, threatening phone calls from the Branson Police Department and politicians I made a trip to city hall.
***Note: Out of camera view there are four more police officers in the small room surrounding me.
I was horrified, having to ask myself, "Is this worth dying for?". When the Branson Police Department went to my apartment claiming "We got him", my worldly possessions were put into storage - that is - what's left. They claimed I was liable for comments made - to me mind you - on this blog. Like caller ID noting threats were coming from city hall, IP addresses suggest threats came from the Branson Police Department and a politician himself.
Two days later I left town in fear for my life before making a re-entry 40 days later.
It took a lot of courage to march into city hall and request the indicting documents, knowing terrorism was a method Branson's current city government had no problem using. But, for the first time, I wondered how far Branson's leaders would go to keep control of information they don't want released to the public.
I knew they'd threaten, but, would they actually do it? Eventually, I had to make a choice. I decided to take it head on with the protection of video cameras. I walked into city hall to make information requests, still not answered in violation of Missouri Law, But, when did violating the law ever stop this administration?
By the time I was able to retrieve the documents elections were approaching rapidly and though some of the politicians running for office were clearly without honor, I didn't want documents being posted to effect the outcome.
It's nice to step back, look at both sides and describe the different perspectives; however, in the midst of direct attacks it can become impossible.
Accessing and publishing core documents is a way to objectively portray the score card. Press releases are created to project an image - an idea - a philosophy or hype. The numbers often tell a different reality. And though I've sat through hundreds of hours of meetings at city hall, enough to have a clear picture of what is really happening, publishing core data is the best way to inform the public about what is actually happening versus an opinion about what might be happening. The Sunshine Law, if followed, is a great way to objectively share data the public has a right to access.
In the end, I regressed, it's not worth dying for.