My house faces the main highway running through Mariposa and leading to Yosemite. I always have a sign in a front picture window, filling the whole window. The content is usually driven by the fact that Mariposa County is solidly conservative, and I'm on the other side.
The sign that I put in the window shortly after the beginning of the year was intended to encourage liberals after the Trumpocalypse. It was a photograph of Martin Luther King and an American flag, with these words paraphrased from him: "Accept finite disappointment. Never lose infinite hope."
Two days later, a rock came through a front window (but not the window with the MLK posting). That window, the same size as the other, normally doesn't have a sign. But instead of replacing the window, I simply patched it with clear packing tape (yay, 3M) and put a sign up with an arrow pointing to the hole and with the words "racism does this". The packing tape was sufficient to survive rain with high winds without admitting even a drop of water.
And local Democrats passed the hat, yielding well above enough cash to replace the window.
So far so good.
Last Tuesday, Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA 04), in a very safe seat, held a town hall meeting at the county fairgrounds, a couple of miles south of downtown. It was to be at 6:00pm. An email that went to Republicans advised them to show at 4:00pm with enough people to fill the hall so that liberals couldn't "disrupt" (i.e., express opposition during) the event.
The email didn't work, for two reasons. First, it leaked, and some of us (including me) showed up way early. I got there at 2:30, and we had about 40 people there before the conservatives showed up.
Second, only about 20 or 30 or so conservatives showed at 4:00. The hall seated about 600. So when they finally let us in, the first few rows were taken up by liberals, the next few by conservatives, and the rest of the hall (including a very crowded standing room only) was filled with a delightful mix of both, including me because I found it more interesting to be in the mix than in a bubble.
Security was thorough but friendly, provided by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) at this (state) fairgrounds.
The crowd was raucous enough that I'd had enough by about 6:30, so I left. When I got home, Susan said, "Stay dressed, and take a look in the living room." There was a rock on the floor, and a hole in the window that normally bears whatever I'm posting at the moment. By this time, the MLK item had been replaced by an unflattering picture of President Trump with the words "What? No epaulettes?", and the rock through the window had missed his throat by about three inches. (You take your droll moments when you can get them.) We're not sure, but we suspect the rock appeared during the town hall.
So a deputy sheriff (the Sheriff's Office is awesomely professional) came out and took the rock and some photographs and my comments. An hour or so later we were relaxing in Engineering (that's the room with our computers) when we heard another rock come crashing into the kitchen, traveling its whole length along the counter and landing on the floor, leaving pretty sparkly bits of glass in its wake. I let the Sheriff's Office know about the second rock.
But about 15 seconds or so after the second rock landed, Susan went to the kitchen and screamed for a good, solid five seconds. I know Susan's body language, and I knew it was not a scream of anger or fear. No, this scream was the conscious, deliberate act of an animal marking its territory. Now, Susan has had training in singing, and it showed. This scream was a thing of awe-inspiring beauty.
Later we were informed that five tires on four cars had been slashed in the fairgrounds parking lot. One of the cars had a Bernie sticker, and all four cars are known by the local liberal community to belong to liberals.
The initial rumor, that CHP had not been patrolling the parking lots, is unfounded.
The owner of a local car servicing shop has paid the full cost of the tire replacements, including the tires themselves, and there's a local fund to reimburse him. I always check out a shop before giving them my car maintenance business: is it clean, well-organized, and well-equipped? This place passes the test, so they'll get my business. Our doctor will also give them her business, as will other local friends. Word will spread.
Here we see an example of balkanization of the local business community. Hate crimes will indeed make America great again.
In the meantime, CHP Mariposa Area Commander Becky Hagen issued an eloquent statement about the tire slashings not being what we're supposed to be about, asking anyone with information to step forward. The Sierra Sun Times, a local relatively liberal rag, published that statement in full on its web page. The Mariposa Gazette, the local conservative rag and one that's read by many more people, also finally carried that statement a week later. Both papers carried letters of outrage.
And I put a sign in a second window calling for anyone with info to call CHP, and it shows their number. We'll probably never catch the perps. The point of the sign is to at least cause them to hear the hounds baying in the distance.
Local liberals are outranged that Commander Hagen avoided mentioning the likely motive of the tire slashings. I do not share their view. The commander has a delicate situation. The confrontation between liberal and conservative viewpoints is heating up in this country, and in Mariposa County in particular. And when one of her officers initiates a traffic stop, that's one of the most dangerous things he can do. It's far better for the stopped (conservative) motorist to feel relatively calm during the traffic stop, without the simmering resentment triggered by a controversial statement by Commander Hagen. Sure, we could use a statement of motive, but the price is simply too high.
There ya go. Politics in the Wild West.