To the Editor:
For the next two months, I would like to not to be afraid to live here and not to have to check my house every morning to see if it has been vandalized. These are actual things that have happened to friends and acquaintances in The Villages, aka, Florida’s Friendliest Hometown, because of a difference of beliefs.
• Beer poured on the seat of a cart.
• Upside down flag torn off a flag pole.
• Flagpole taken off a house and broken.
• Ceramic vase on the driveway broken.
• Cars keyed.
• Campaign sign on a car taken off and torn.
• Threatening letters sent through the mail to a man and his family (a felony).
• Threatening letter sent to husband to ‘control his wife.’
• Threatening calls to stop marching (easy to find where someone lives here).
• Red paint on a driveway.
• Threatening hand gestures, not just the one finger salute.
• Yelled at to go home while peacefully marching (newsflash, this is my home).
• Saw a “decorated cart” outside a restaurant. A man walked about 30 feet out of his way to approach the cart and harass the driver. He could have just left him alone. What a concept.
• Tore down a campaign flag legally on a pole.
• Threatening to drive into people rallying on the sidewalk.
• Friends receiving threatening texts, calls, and emails.
• I have been called mean, stupid, nasty, hateful, and other things on FB. I understand it’s a diversion, but these are alleged ‘friends’ calling me names. I never call anyone names.
• I have been called a baby killer, told to eff off (many times), been yelled at, and had racist things said to me about others (blacks, immigrants, muslims).
• Confederate flags on cars, carts and homes, and worse, nazi flags in stores around The Villages. There must be a market for those or they wouldn’t sell them.
• Say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza or nothing. I won’t be offended. FYI, I bought matzo in Publix and the cashier said Happy Easter.
• I’m not assigning blame or behavior to any particular “side.”
Every time The Villages makes the national news, people I know from around the country call to find out if we are OK. At least it gets my children to call.
My first sentence still stands. I would like not to have to be afraid to live here.
Shirley Schantz is a resident of the Village of Sanibel.