Saturday, November 13, 2010

No good deed goes unpunished

In a small town in America, one man's good deed is now being severely punished. As a Memorial is being erected to honour fallen heroes, some of the townspeople are working very hard to dishonour another very good man: Clayton Murwin.

For those new to this debacle, you can catch up here, and here.

Let me state right out, for those who are not regular readers: I am not an American, nor I do live in that little community where some residents have, as Yankeemom puts it, decided 'to become 'judge, jury and executioner;' are hellbent on destroying a decent man's reputation, resorting to baseless accusations, and threatening him and his family with physical violence. From where I sit, some of the residents of this community seem to be of the opinion that if you have not lived there forever, you are a newcomer, (or worse,) and have no business having an opinion on the issue at hand. The issue at hand - a memorial honouring America's fallen sons - seems to have been lost by the wayside as some in the community, without full knowledge of the FACTS (yeah, I know those pesky things!) have been displaying a most ugly side of what I have always known and loved as "America the beautiful."

So yes, I am an 'outsider' from this specific community, but when people spend hours slandering, threatening decent people, on a 'social networking' site, their viciousness is open to the world. No geographical borders on FaceBook.

One of those leading the charge to destroy Clayton Murwin, his family, and his business, has this on his FaceBook page:

Love is kind ...It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

I am not going to name this person. He has already gained more than enough spotlight for himself. Let me just say this: having watched this whole sorry mess, I can only come to the conclusion, based on his own words, that this person "can't handle the truth" since he has made no attempt - as far as I can tell - to find the whole truth. Too bad for him.

Lots more I could say, but I'll defer to two American friends, who have also been closely following this. One is Blue Star Mom Yankeemom:

A Good Deed Turned Ugly ~

Author: yankeemom // Category: Supporting the troops

I haven’t yet posted on this myself out of respect for the legal issues surrounding this sad and maddening situation but yesterday was the last straw.

It has now started to make the rounds on the internet with people discussing it without knowing all the facts, only what they had seen in the media. The Murwins are under a gag order and are honoring it while, unfortunately, others also under this gag order are not. Instead they ran right to the press and spoke out - accusing Clayton Murwin of certain actions that have absolutely no basis in fact. It is all slanderous supposition and presumption on their part - and now it has gone way beyond a disagreement.

For background on the false accusations and slandering of Clayton Murwin, The Hero Maker, from people in his town and politicians (who should know better), go to the links below. Troy, CJ and Brat have already written about it ~ CJ has done a tremendous amount of research, speaking with those involved and finding out the facts. Unfortunately, neither those who would falsely accuse Clayton of dirty deeds nor the local media, seem to have the same respect for the facts....


Now, I’m the type of person when I come across an organization or site that claims it supports our troops, I dig for info to find out if they are on the up and up before posting about them or sending support financially. Well, those who have been reading my blog for awhile know that I have posted about Clayton’s project in the past and have interviewed him on our radio show a couple of times. I certainly wouldn’t do this if I had found anything to point to his being a scoundrel of any sort. You all know that the Military is my family, and I do not take kindly to anyone using my family for political or monetary gain.

For whatever reason, there is a group of folks who have elected themselves judge, jury and executioner of Clayton and, apparently, are determined to ruin his reputation as well as taking down his troop-supporting non-profit organization, facts be damned. And unfortunately now the anti-war coalition have become involved as well.

And those of us who have come up against such people know just how nasty they can be and how facts are not too terribly important to them as long as they can feel self-righteous and important. And I do not appreciate them using the Troops to achieve this in any way....

You just know Yankeemom has more, and you can find it here.

As I said above, the whole initial issue - a Memorial honouring fallen heroes - has become a platform for mean-spirited, ugly, and to quote Yankeemom, 'self-righteous and important' people (in their own minds, at least) whose words suggest an agenda other than honouring, respecting both Bucky and the truth.

Those of us interested in the truth, know that Clayton Murwin has done nothing wrong. Let me repeat that: NOTHING wrong! But hey, never mind that. As I used to joke in journalism school: Why let the facts get in the way of a good story? Many a true word spoken in jest.

In this town, (pop. 115,000 give or take,) the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. Not enough for outrageous slurs and accusations against Clayton to fly around unchecked; not enough for some to try and besmirch an active duty soldier's reputation (I'm talking of the threats, innuendos and outright despicable remarks to CJ by some, as they indulge in what can only be described as kindergarten-like thumping of chests;) not even enough to publish personal details of Clayton's bank account on FaceBook; oh, and let's not forget the outright lies. As if all this was not bad enough, as a few in the community spend a lot of energy whipping up sentiment against Clayton and his good deeds, now ugly small town America just got uglier. From CJ:

CJ Tactics Turn Threatening in Broadway

November 9th, 2010 by CJ

A few days ago, I wrote about Clayton's problems with a memorial to the fallen that we was planning in the community of Broadway, VA and the fallout from that issue. The past four days, a lot has changed. Perhaps because I'm bringing some sanity and objectivity to the issue, many on the other side of this issue have focused on bringing me down. I'll get to that later.

Today, I was sent a flyer by a citizen in Broadway. The person had come out of a Subway shop and found the following flyer on her windshield:



Clayton Murwin collected donation money, under the false pretense of building a memorial for slain serviceman Bucky Anderson, with the true intent to promote several shady 501(c)(3)s and Murwin's own egotistical artistic career. Anderson's family has asked the money be refunded. Murwin refuses.

Murwin's low-brow graphic novel Untold Stories From Iraq and Afghanistan glorifies the destructive war policies of the Bush and Obama regimes beneath the facade of honoring veterans and fallen soldiers. (Militarist propaganda in no way honors these groups, but rather justifies their cruel and brutal exploitation at the hands of the wealthy.)

Murwin is more of a pornographer than an artist. His portfolio includes a lewd and tasteless illustration of a scantily clad demoness (Google "The Hero Maker" + "Clayton Murwin")

There are struggling graphic novelists that need and deserve your support more than Clayton Murwin, and there are much better ways to honor SPC Anderson than supporting this parasite's greedy cause."

Under the photo of Clayton, the creator added his home address and accused him of "stole money from the friends and family of fallen serviceman Bucky Anderson." There are a few examples of Clayton's copyrights works on the flyer and the anti-war rally call that "VETERANS HAVE MUCH GREATER RATES OF HOMELESSNESS, UNEMPLOYMENT, SUICIDE, AND ILLNESS." It ends with "NO MONUMENT WILL CHANGE THAT! avenge bucky – bring the war home…no more dead appalachians for U.S. imperialism."

Yeah, you read that right. They want to "bring the war home."...

Yes, there is more from CJ, and you can find it here.

As the local, mentioned above, also has on his FaceBook:

"In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."
...Iroquois Nation

Really? Too bad that he, and others, have not stopped to consider the impact of their current actions, on not only this Gold Star Family, but on future generations of this small closed enclave in a corner of America.

It really is distressing to me that, instead of a) asking for, and LISTENING to the truth of the matter at hand, or b) saying 'how can I help resolve this, to honour our fallen?' some in this community are determined to ensure that well-meaning, decent people like Clayton Murwin suffer.

Bucky Anderson's family is still so fresh in their awful journey of grief, and being angry is an integral part of the grief journey. We all know this, and hearts ache for the loss suffered by America's families across the land. However, it would be really wonderful, and I suggest far more helpful, for all the self-professed 'friends' of this family, to spend their apparent abundance of energy in helping the family, rather than lashing out at innocents like Clayton Murwin, who gained nothing from his honourable offer, other than a whole lot of his own grief.

Following along with this whole sorry saga on a public site (yes, open to all worldwide,) I saw a glimmer of sanity:

I think that it would be best if we stop this discussion on matter fb. This is a private matter for the family and the other party to work out. I think there are to many hands in the cookie jar and in the end that is going to cause more trouble for the family then what they want or need. Instead of fighting over the matter I intend to pray that this matter gets resolve. I feel like the memory of a man who die in honor is now being thrown down the drain.

To that, I say a hearty AMEN!

This whole episode could have been avoided by ALL concerned staying focusing on honouring Bucky Anderson's sacrifice for his country. Maybe I am not familiar with small town politics, and cliques - and this is probably a good thing - but seems to me that everyone needs to remind themselves: this is NOT about YOU! It IS about how best to honour a fallen hero. Period.

As Yankeemom says at the end of her column:

My utmost appreciation to Spc Brian Anderson for his service and ultimate sacrifice to our country. A Hero indeed.

My most sincere condolences to his family.

My prayer is that the people of this small town in America take a step back, and think on how this terrible lack of respect reflects on those values for which so many of our sons and daughters have sacrificed their all in this current Global War on Terror.

Instead of perpetuating the myth of the ugly American, it is my hope that Harrisonburg takes time out to remind themselves of all that makes America beautiful. My fervent prayer is that instead of perniciously destroying Clayton Murwin, the good people of this small town America choose to focus their positive energies on celebrating and honouring Spc Anderson.

Maybe then Bucky Anderson will finally be allowed to rest in peace.

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