When the man in the Oval Office demands retribution against those who question authority, his cultists respond with brutal efficiency, even in blue strongholds like Massachusetts.
Last week, Kato Mele’s 23-year-old daughter said some things on Facebook that many people found appalling. She wrote that the White Rose Coffeehouse in Lynn, which her mother owns and where she worked, would never host a “coffee with a cop” event, klatches designed to build goodwill between police and the community.
“I will not be part of the false rhetoric that cops are just misunderstood good guys,” Mele’s daughter wrote, among other things. “They uphold an unjust system and murder without consequence.”
For this opinion, the family business was targeted and destroyed.
The chief of police in Lynn responded beautifully.
“This is a non-story,” Michael Mageary told Lynn’s Daily Item on Sunday. “This young lady has the right to say whatever she wants and we respect that. We will continue to do our job every day. My sense is that most officers will avoid the establishment, but that is their choice.”
But by then, it was already too late. A mob had descended within hours of the Facebook post, whipped up by a website that specializes in (and makes money from) marshaling drooling goons for mass attacks, mostly on victims who express left-of-center views.
They got into the cafe’s Facebook page, leaving hundreds of bad reviews to drive its five-star rating down. Mele’s daughter received rape threats. On Monday, the cafe was slammed with abusive callers, saying horrific things: They hoped Mele and her daughter are ruined, that they never work again, that her daughter drowns. An especially charming bunch of them, parroting a line from the hateful website that played on “coffee with a cop,” said they wanted to have coffee with a c-word.
“These are people targeting us for the stupid opinion of a 23-year-old,” Mele said. “If I had social media when I was 23, I don’t know what I would have done. We’re all dumb at 23.”
Mele was sitting in her empty cafe Thursday morning. In the year since it opened, the White Rose had become a community hub — a place for locals to come get coffee or a beer, to see art or listen to music. She’d hosted events to raise money for victims displaced by a big fire in town; for RAW, a youth art program; to give school supplies to kids whose parents couldn’t afford them.
“We have done whatever we can,” she said. “We have no televisions here. We wanted it to be a place where people could just sit and talk to anybody.”
Now Mele is shutting it all down, and with it her dream. After she survived cancer, she sold her house and liquidated her retirement fund to start the White Rose, and despite its place in the community, this first year had been a financial struggle. The cafe was running week-to-week before this happened. On Monday, the cafe was mostly deserted. Many of the people who came in were friends, offering condolences and dropping $10 or $20 into the tip jar. She couldn’t survive more than a few days like that — especially without her daughter’s help. Worse, she no longer wants to.
“What I have here is a family business that has no family,” she said. “Maybe I could weather this. But this used to be a place of joy for me, and I don’t see a way that I will ever feel that way again.”
The opinion that police shouldn't murder people is so unacceptable in America in 2017 that this is the result: internet Brownshirts burn a business to the ground and harass a family out of their livelihood in the space of a week.
Whenever you hear somebody complaining about "Social Justice Warriors" and "liberal intolerance", remember the story of the Mele family. I've been personally targeted before for my opinions on this blog, and I've paid a price for those opinions in the past, but never like this. The threat to do to me what was done to the Mele family has been made on several occasions, and so far I'm still here.
And yet these are the same assholes who will tell you every day, at length, on multiple media platforms, that they are being silenced every day of their lives.