On behalf of all the "John Does unknown and unidentified individuals and/or entities'' whom Fred Weber Inc. threatens to sue in the future, I can only say how appalled I am by the $5 million lawsuit they have brought against our neighbor Tom Diehl.
This is an obvious attempt to suppress opposition to the trash-transfer station they plan to build in Oakville. Fred Weber Inc. contends that the use of the term "trash terrorist'' in a flier distributed to residents will somehow associate their company with "acts of injuring and killing innocent people by fanatics who hate the United States.''
This is such a ludicrous stretch of the intention of the phrase "trash terrorist'' it is almost laughable. Unfortunately a $5 million lawsuit is not funny. This is called "strategic litigation against public participation — a SLAPP suit — specifically designed to stop the voice of public opposition. Target a community leader with a lawsuit and scare the rest away with threats. What's so much more frightening is the direct attack they have made on the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.
If the lawyers working for Fred Weber Inc. had taken the time to look up the word "terrorist'' in the dictionary they would have found several definitions. Not surprisingly we find: "One who favors or practices terrorism'' — terrorism, "a mode of governing by intimidation.''
Some might find Weber relentlessly pursuing its objective of installing a trash-transfer station in our neighborhood, despite overwhelming objection, very intimidating. One definition of "terror'' is "a great nuisance.'' I'm sure the concerned citizens of Oakville believe a trash-transfer station in the middle of their community will be a tremendous nuisance. Furthermore, menacing people with financial ruin is a very real terror tactic.
Fred Weber Inc. spokesman Thomas Barta referred to the "trash terrorist'' flier as a "deliberate and underhanded attempt to damage'' their business. The "John Does'' feel that a trash-transfer station is a deliberate and underhanded attempt to damage their neighborhoods. And, by the way, we take issue with him using the term "underhanded.'' It carries with it a strong connotation of lying and deception by people who hate the United States.
We are not liars. We are not deceitful. We do not hate the United States. We love this country and will fight to protect the freedoms on which it is founded, including freedom of speech.
Too many other John and Jane Does paid a tremendous price so that we all might enjoy those freedoms. We cannot allow their sacrifice to be cheapened by greed.
Stand tall or crawl. Stop Fred Weber Inc. Protect your right to free speech.