Last week Graham Rayman of the NY Daily News reported on threats made towards local politicians in my district.
I understand what they are going through but do not pity them.
About a year ago I started making comments on social media about running for President for the 2016 campaign. This was all done in jest because of the controversial nature of this past election. However, it was surprising to see the amount of encouragement received from colleagues and friends expressing their support for a local run for office. Within a few weeks my posts went from lighthearted jokes to real political literature expressing my plans to run for office. After showing a serious interest, I received a huge amount of backlash from groups and individuals on political Facebook groups and pages. At first none of this was taken seriously due to the sometimes hostile nature of the internet. Things started to turn ominous when I began receiving personal direct messages.
One particular person who aggressively attacked through comments and would later go on to sending threatening text messages. This person happened to be connected to a local politician, known to represent this politician and trying to get the public to vote for him. I was shocked at first because most people enjoy being Facebook warriors but no one has ever directly gone after me. To have someone go after me, despite my military background and community presence, was a shock.
At first this person became my friend on Facebook and, then when he saw I was a credible threat, bombarded me with attacks through social media by using almost a dozen different fake profiles along with a small group of other individuals. Progressively, this became private messages, text messages and phone calls. The messages went from simple vitriol to criminal level accusations and that’s when I decided to start keeping records. The last messages I received were so disturbing that I went to the police station to file charges but left empty-handed and told that because I am a public figure it was not allowed to file anything. This is what I was specifically told after I let them know who these threats were from.
The level of severity in this harassment can be seen. Most of this happened around the week before I won Father of the Year for New York City. All of this has made me realize why so many other individuals who are outspoken disappear from the public. I believe many are attacked by these political figures and, out of fear, choose to protect themselves and their family by walking away. What really bothered me after this whole ordeal was knowing why they attacked me which is the fact that having someone with a solid and independent background puts their position in jeopardy.
Let’s face it, the Bronx and all of the political sphere is pretty corrupted. Someone with real integrity would jeopardize the schemes and current plans for those who are already in office. For my safety, I have chosen not to make the information public but keep very detailed records with key individuals.