Memphis Police Asked to Investigate Threatening E-mail to Janis Fullilove

Someone reportedly e-mailed a threatening letter to Memphis Councilwoman Janis FulliloveThese types of letters are unacceptable.  They are also inevitable in any type of high profile case of public outrage such as what’s been happening with MAS.  There will always be a tiny minority of these types of letters generally sent by someone from one of these groups:

  • Crackpots who care nothing about the cause but just like to act creepy
  • People who do care about the cause but cross the line into poor judgment
  • People who oppose the cause and think they can undermine the vocal majority by posing as a supporter and pulling a stunt

Whatever the case, these letters are unacceptable.  No one should be made to feel threatened with physical harm.  Ever.

In addition, these types of letters take the focus off reform efforts.  You don’t notice any city leaders in Memphis bringing thousands of thoughtful, well-reasoned e-mails to the news.  But they will bring the one threatening one.  And that will become the focus, at least temporarily.

If you are writing letters in order to speak up for pets, always be respectful and try to make sure nothing in your letter could be interpreted as a threat.  If something looks questionable, rewrite it using different words or just delete it.  Keep your focus on effecting change.

Completely separate from the issue of inappropriate letters, I want to comment on the ending of the article:

Fullilove, who has five cats and a dog, said she wishes her critics would put down the poison pen and put their passion for animals to good use.

“They love animals, I believe that,” said Fullilove.  “Come here and adopt some of them.  Catch a plane, catch a train, get in your cars, carpool, I don’t care.  Come and adopt some of these animals.”

Ms. Fullilove, I speak only for myself but I can not catch a plane or a train and come fix your community’s problems at your pound.  But I know who can.

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11 Comments

  1. Trevor

     /  July 25, 2011

    I think it should also be stressed that threatening comments left on blogs/news articles/facebook are also unacceptable. I can’t tell you how many comments I’ve seen people leave on various sites about wanting to jerk some of the employees around on choke poles, leave them in hot cars for a while, etc. It’s not quite the same as sending a letter to someone but it still is a big deal.

    I know these people are usually just venting their frustration but internet tough guy talk is very detrimental to the community and cause. It only takes one Scott Roeder in our midst to take it from venting to something worse.

    Reply
    • Social Mange

       /  July 25, 2011

      “I think it should also be stressed that threatening comments left on blogs/news articles/facebook are also unacceptable.”

      Most definitely.

      Stupid question – who’s Scott Roeder?

      Reply
      • Trevor

         /  July 25, 2011

        Scott Roeder is the man who assassinated the Dr. George Tiller a few years back. His actions have become ammunition against all pro-life/anti-abortion groups since then. I may not agree with that movement but it is grossly unfair to claim that his actions are reflective of them as a whole. Most people who make threatening remarks will continue their lives as normal people. Unfortunately, when we allow people to say things like that without condemnation, it creates the illusion of community support. All it takes is one person who, due to other issues in their life, is willing to do something terrible and become a ‘hero’.

        Stuff like this:
        Yeah! Just name the date!

        lol, just kidding

        Hang him up!!

        Revenge is NOT justice.

      • Trevor, You have gone to a lot of trouble here to capture, edit, upload and post links to these photos but I think you are mistaken in some of the theories you posit. For starters, nutters have been a fixture in the anti-choice movement for many years – long before Scott Roeder came along. He is simply the most recent anti-choice murderer convicted. MOST anti-choice protesters are not murderers but the environment they promote within their movement is one in which murderers obviously feel welcome, thus their track record.

        This is in stark contrast to the no kill movement where, while we certainly could find someone capable of violence in our midst, we don’t provide a welcoming environment for it and in fact condemn it outright. Personally, I have banned people from this blog who have made threats because, although I don’t know them and can’t judge whether they are simply running off at the mouth or seriously violent, I don’t want anyone feeling comfortable making threats here. That said, I am not the thought police and I’ve been doing this long enough to recognize that when I post any sort of cruelty story (individual or institutionalized), many people are going to post comments saying things like “How would he like it if that same thing was done to him?”. I consider this venting, not an actual threat of violence.

        It’s an ongoing challenge in our country to protect freedom of speech – as it should be. Most things fall under the ‘shades of grey’ category and it’s up to each of us to do our best. I tend to err on the side of free speech unless I perceive a comment crosses the line. Hate speech, threats of violence and similar type comments are largely the interpretation of the reader. And while I try to read every comment, I readily admit an occasional reject may slip through. If anyone doesn’t like it, they can get their FREE back.

      • He was convicted of going to Dr. George Tiller’s church and murdering him there in 2009, sentenced to “Hard 50” years.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_George_Tiller

  2. Janis Fullilove has been in public service in Memphis for a rather long while.

    She sadly has issues with drugs and drink.

    She has also had issues with having the police called over to her home a very, very great many times.

    She has a Facebook page where folks have gone overboard in being very mean to her because of how she one time blew someone off in an email which was sent to her about the MAS. As someone who knows of her, I really think she might not have been in her right of mind to formally respond to her e mail or her very own computer or cell phone might have ‘messed up.’

    Janis Fullilove has shown tolerance to the homosexual community of Memphis but there were some folks who did not show her any tolerance back.

    I have nothing but the utmost empathy for Janis Fullilove because even with her own particular personal situation (which has been covered by the local media for ages) she is actually still a very good person in that she always asks of things which her voting base wonders about. She has somehow kept her hand on the pulse of her voting base for a really long time now and neither she nor anyone else in Memphis public service deserves anyone acting out of sorts through e mailing or anything else.

    Hopefully the isp addy of the e mailer will be found out quick.

    Reply
  3. Morgana

     /  July 25, 2011

    Shame really. I know I vent alot, but direct threats of violence? Also, is this the reason for the potential loss of webcams? She is hardly ever there, so it would not go down in my book as being a legal or even legit reason to drop the webcams.

    Reply
  4. Anne

     /  July 25, 2011

    i’m big on writing what i REALLY think/want to say for cathartic reasons. then i delete it and re-write it how it should/needs to be said

    Reply
  5. Jessica C

     /  July 26, 2011

    I agree. I dont think Ive been too aggressive in my writing (my temper gets the best of me) but Ive never said it to her directly, whether it was in an email or on her FB page or whatever. As far as her last statement goes, I would just say to her that its kind of hard to adopt every single animal, especially when you live on the other side of the country, when most of them are behind closed doors, they never give you any notice, even when you ask for some info on the dog, and kill way too many that they come across. If this was the type of shelter that had dogs sitting in there for months and months and every time you turn around there was a new dog, then I would understand. But its not, therefore, she does not get much sympathy from me. The threatening stuff is messed up though,

    Reply
  6. Miss Molly Moo

     /  July 28, 2011

    If each of these people were doing their jobs correctly, they would not have to defend themselves against such an angry public. It stands to reason that if a person like Matthew Pepper, Mayor Wharton, or Janis Fullilove ignores the horrors surrounding them that everyone else can see, someone will want to prod them awake one way or another. And when that person has shown no compassion or respect for life (so wrapped up in their own misery, greed, and arrogance), and the community fails to get their attention (or supercede their power), people may feel the need to step in, sometimes in a more dramatic fashion.

    Without the Paul Revere’s like Shirley to tell us what has been happening, we would all still be sleeping. She, along with others, are vital in showing us what is wrong and getting us energized to do something about it. The concern comes if discussions become circuitous and nothing more than talk is achieved, no actions are taken, and real changes aren’t done, frustration can set in and when faced with a never-ending cycle, we’ve seen those at the extreme who have felt forced to take matters into their own hands.

    In this movement, the time is now coming for debates to end and more constructive actions to take place to move us out of every day survival in a broken down system to a No-Kill solution. If we give no venue to take action, if there is no constructive way to act or make changes, the movement may go to an extreme…die for lack of effort beyond survival and debate, or head towards violence out of sheer frustration. Neither will help the animals we all care about so it is important that the conversation change from endless disbelief, questioning, and debate…to ideas, plans, and action (like the billboards).

    Prodding the perpetrators has its place, but it is not enough. They are not going to go away and they are not going to change as much as they need to and people understand that. They also understand the killing goes on every day that no one acts. If we do not move forward, it will cause some to go too far.

    Paul Revere mustered the troops to action and there was a lot less killing of innocent lives leading up to that revolution. If we are to answer the call, we too must work together to move this along and give those who are becoming frustrated the choice to move forward in a constructive manner and not go off the deep end.

    Reply
  7. Jessica C

     /  July 28, 2011

    Wow, you guys are leaving some really well-thought and eloquent statements regarding this shelter. Mine is much less so, but I figured I should say this anyway. Pepper et al. always make it sound like their way of euthanizing (i.e. killing) animals, especially pitbulls, is because of the “irresponsible public” and make it sound like if they didnt, then the citizens of Memphis would adopt them just to kill them, abuse them, use them in dogfights, etc. It dawned on me last night when watching ‘Animal Cops’ that Ive seen a lot of the episodes in Detroit and a lot of them in Philadelphia and both of those cities are probably the 2 worst cities regarding dogfighting, yet plenty- PLENTY- of those animals get adopted out into nice, caring, loving homes. Do I think that SOME citizens in Memphis are involved in dogfighting? Absolutely, its like that in every state Im sure. But I do not think that they need to kill every animal who comes in because of that chance when they can do their job and actually make sure the animal goes into a good home. Dont they do like background checks and home visits and all kinds of other stuff that other shelters dont before they adopt out the animals? So really they have no excuse for the killing; therefore, I have no- NO- sympathy for them.

    Reply

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