The Morally Mature, Civic-Minded, Grown-Up Thing to Do: Yet, Another Open Letter to the Mysterious Mr. Phicks

Dear Mr. Phicks,

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Oh, come now, Mr. Phicks, don’t be that way. Really, there’s nothing to be afraid of!

I know you asked me not to contact you again, but I also know that your request arose from a state of ignorance and cowardly panic. You didn’t have all the facts and mistook your fear as evidence of actual danger. You saw that I got arrested for something, jumped erroneously to the conclusion that I was therefore guilty of something, subsequently forgot that you were an adult, and chose to flee and hide like a frightened child.

Hey, I get it. It happens. Behaving like a morally mature, civic-minded grown-up is often a challenge. But that was a few weeks ago, and you and your client have had a chance to breathe, cool down, come to your senses, get your bearings, pull yourselves together, think things through.

Perhaps by now you’ve recognized that innocent people do get arrested sometimes. Perhaps you’ve taken a closer look at why I got arrested, and why I committed the alleged “crime” (they’re calling it “misdemeanor breaking or entering”). Perhaps you’ve come to see, as I do, that what I actually did was really just what any morally mature, civic-minded grown-up would do in the situation I was in at that time, which is to say:

Perform some alarming (and of course non-violent) gesture in order to draw attention to, and warn the public about The MetLife Meat Grinder

…which is to say, MetLife’s systematic, for-profit exploitation of people with psychiatric disabilities.

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MetLife wants to crush me like an egg for exposing their cruel, for-profit exploitation of people with psychiatric disabilities.

Mr. Phicks, make no mistake: MetLife will stop at nothing to guard the secret of this corrupt and diabolical revenue stream. No doubt the company wishes to crush me like an egg for trying to expose it. If I am successful in doing so, MetLife could face tremendous losses due to litigation, not to mention the effort it will take to revisit millions of previously denied disability claims, and of course all of the benefit payments MetLife will eventually have to disburse as many of those previously denied disability claims are finally approved. Who knows how long MetLife has been cheating and shenanigizing the psychiatrically vulnerable in this way?

The upshot here is that my success will entail an epic financial disaster for MetLife, and I expect the company will spare no expense in order to avert that disaster. Heck, really no one should be shocked or surprised if I die mysteriously or disappear suddenly in the coming weeks or months. At the very least MetLife will try to discredit me, make me look like a criminal, and send me to prison for as long as possible.

I need help here, Mr. Phicks, and by “help” I mean corporate sponsorship. If I am to see this project through to success then I need a corporate ally to have my back on this: one who can match MetLife’s financial muscle. I need at least one major corporation (the more the merrier, really) who can fund my legal defense: a company like your client, I believe, is exactly what I need right now.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s no middle ground here, Mr. Phicks. Last year when MetLife did what they did to me and my family, it was like the company drew a line in the sand and shoved me on one side and themselves on the other, and now absolutely everybody else on Earth must choose a side, including your client. Unfortunately, your client’s expressed wish to “not participate”

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There’s no middle ground here because MetLife captured it from all of us. They invaded it, took it over, built office buildings and parking lots on it, leaving the rest of us with precisely two places to stand: MetLife’s side or mine. Ugh! What a sucky situation!

is simply not an available option. Especially since they have also exploited my psychiatric disability for profit, then to my view they definitely do not have the option of not participating. Of course, your client is definitely not obligated to choose my side, but with just two sides available in this situation, if they refuse to sponsor me in some way in this fight, then by default they ally themselves with MetLife.

Please, Mr. Phicks, perhaps millions of psychiatrically vulnerable people are counting on you and your client to step up and do the right thing here. Please do not turn your back on us like the effete, privilege-bloated cowards who run MetLife. This is your opportunity to do some good for a great many people. I implore you: embrace this opportunity to act like the morally mature, civic-minded, grown-up we both know you can become!

I believe in you Mr. Phicks! You can do it!

Sincerely,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”


Image Credit: (mysterious businessman skulking away in the night) Pixabay

Please, Sir, Don’t Be a Coward! — An Egregiously Unlawful Open Letter to My Fourth Alleged ‘Victim’, MetLife Exec Geoff Lang

Dear Mr. Lang,

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Don’t be frightened, Mr. Hare, I just want us to be friends! Image Credit: Pixabay

First, I wish to explain here why I feel absolutely no shame, remorse, guilt, or regret for allegedly frightening you and at least three other MetLife employees on June 14 when I took my quiet and polite stroll through the buildings of the MetLife, GTO campus in Cary, NC.

To be clear: I don’t use allegedly here out of any suspicion that you and the others may only be pretending to feel fear. On the contrary, I find wholly credible these words from your own sworn affidavit, for example, which was submitted to the Wake County District Court at the end of June in support of MetLife’s request for a No Contact Order against me:

“…this post[1], coupled with the fact that Mr. Scholten broke into MetLife and came specifically to the executive offices, cause me to fear for my safety…”

Especially after watching the moving testimony of the three others who found the courage to face me in Court last week, I am quite certain that the fear is real for all of you, for which you have my sincere sympathy, empathy, and compassion. Furthermore, I can only feel admiration for the three who had the guts, despite their fear, to sit not 10 feet from me in the courtroom, even though I wore no cuffs nor chains nor muzzle to restrain me (I would have, and with great panache, but no one thought to ask me).

No, it’s not the fear itself that I find suspicious, but the idea that it was somehow caused by me, which is why it’s difficult for me to feel any guilt, remorse, etc. regarding your anxieties. You see, I happen to know as a matter of fact that I am physically harmless to all human beings, including all who work for MetLife, including the four of you. And because I know this all as a matter of fact about myself, I can only conclude that you cannot possibly be frightened of me, per se, which is to say, the real me, the human being I actually am, but rather you simply must be afraid of your own misunderstanding of me.

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I am not your misunderstanding of me. Image Credit: Pixabay

Mr. Lang, I am not your misunderstanding of me. Your misunderstanding of me is a figment of your own imagination. It is pure conjecture, a speculative bogeyman built from irrational neuronal activity sparking and echoing zealously within your own skull. Your misunderstanding of me is a frightening fantasy, a kind of waking nightmare you’ve been having, and one that is proving more and more consequential for me and my family — my children!

As you surely realize, by writing to you in this way I am now in direct violation of the useless and wholly unnecessary No Contact Order that was granted to MetLife last week by a Wake County District Judge, and if you don’t quickly find the courage to face your hysterical fear of your misunderstanding of me (and come to my defense), your cowardice will surely now result in my incarceration and a permanent criminal record.

I implore you, Mr. Lang, please don’t be a coward here. The juvenile inability to confront one’s own irrational fears is dangerous in a leader such as yourself. Please, good sir, I beg of you: dig deep, “grow a pair”, as they say, and manifest the courage you need in order to face what frightens you needlessly (your misunderstanding of me).

I can help you do this. I am willing to sit down with you at your earliest convenience and speak frankly with you, answer any questions you may have, help you prove to your own satisfaction that you are perfectly safe in my company. I want to help free you from the burden of your childish cowardice. I want to help you grow and develop into the morally mature and responsible adult you can surely become. No doubt you will be a better leader for it, and MetLife can only benefit as a company. For my part, you will also share in the admiration I feel for those three subordinates of yours who bravely accepted last week to be used by you in court as a human shield.

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Please, oh, please, won’t you grow a pair of these! Image Credit: Pixabay

You are afraid; I get that. But cowering behind your subordinates and a useless No Contact Order will only perpetuate your fear and delay the inevitable. You are a leader, sir, and a leader must have the courage to face his irrational fears. Well, I can assure you that your fear of your misunderstanding of me is as irrational as they come. That bogeyman of yours simply does not exist. The real me comes to you in peace and with an open hand extended in friendship toward you.

I sincerely hope that you can find the courage to accept it. If you do so, then you will get to know the real me, at least well enough to see that you need not fear me.

And if you do not, well, I’m pretty sure this letter will give the District Judge what she needs to lock me up for awhile. If she does that, then it is my sincere hope that the fact of my incarceration will help you find at least some relief from the burden of your own cowardice.

Otherwise, you may wish to look into entering the Federal Witness Protection Program. I don’t know if they’ll accept to protect you from figments of your own imagination, but you can always ask.

Hope that’s helpful!

Sincerely,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”


[1] “this post” is a reference to the first open letter I wrote to Mr. Lang several weeks ago.

Oh, Great, Now I Need a Permanent Alibi

So apparently my physically harmless, civilly disobedient, one-man protest at the MetLife campus on June 14 has left a number of my former colleagues traumatized and fearing for their personal safety. In several sworn affidavits submitted by MetLife last week on their behalf, four of them affirmed things like like:

“…I feel targeted by Mr. Scholten and fear for my personal safety.”

“…I fear for my personal safety and the safety of my family.”

“…this post [a reference to this post], coupled with the fact that Mr. Scholten broke into MetLife and came specifically to the executive offices, cause me to fear for my safety…more importantly, I fear for the safety of the MetLife employees….”

Now, because I know for a fact that I pose absolutely no threat whatsoever to the personal safety of any human being, MetLife employee or not, at first I had serious doubts about the sincerity of these highly defamatory allegations. But in a hearing yesterday at the Wake County Courthouse in Raleigh I had the chance to face three of my accusers, and after watching them testify I must say that I now have no doubt whatsoever that these folks are frightened.

My sister had come with me to the hearing and the two of us did what we could to reassure them that I am harmless and that they are safe, but in the end it was all for nothing because the District Judge granted MetLife’s request for a 1-year No Contact Order Pursuant to the Workplace Violence Prevention Act which imposes on me a long and fundamentally useless list of restrictions that…

1. Cannot possibly make me any more harmless than I already am.

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Hmmm. How could we make this cute little duckling even more harmless? Image Credit: Pixabay

I am already harmless, and these restrictions won’t make me any more so. I have no history of violence; no interest in violence; I own no guns nor weaponry of any kind; nor do I know or practice any martial arts (karate, boxing, etc.). I don’t even play violent video games. Once a gun has been unloaded, disassembled, and melted down into scrap metal, really the only thing left is to cast a magic spell over it. That’s really all this No Contact Order is: just a worthless magic spell that the Judge has cast over an already harmless person in order to make him harmless.

2. Cannot possibly even make me seem anymore harmless than I already do.

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Would this gargoyle seem less frightening with a nice coat of paint? Next to some flowers? With a duckling on its head? Image Credit: Pixabay

These folks are truly frightened and confused. Of course, they’re not really frightened of me, but rather their misunderstanding of me. I am not their misunderstanding of me. Their misunderstanding of me is an imaginary bogeyman who is so deranged that he intends to harm them, and I am absolutely not that guy. But if he’s truly that deranged, then surely he won’t let some court order stop him in his blood-thirsty quest to hurt them.

These folks aren’t thinking straight. They all believe that on the afternoon of June 14 their bogeyman stood right next to them while they were working. It was actually just me, of course, but were I really as dangerous as they imagine their bogeyman to be, they’d all be injured or dead right now. The fact that they aren’t proves that I’m not their scary bogeyman. But their fear blocks them from seeing it that way. Maybe they think that the visit on June 14 was just a warm-up. Maybe they think their bogeyman was just there on some sort of reconnaissance mission and that now that he understand the lay of the land, he’ll be coming back for the real kill.

What’s more, this court order only protects them at the MetLife campus. What if their imaginary bogeyman visits them at home? Or what if he ambushes them while they’re sitting at a traffic light on the way to work? Of course I — the utterly harmless real me who is definitely not their bogeyman — would never do anything like that, but they have no idea that the real me actually exists. For all they know their bogeyman is an extremely clever sociopath who truly exists, but who is pretending to be a harmless autistic person who has merely been misunderstood as a dangerous sociopath, etc., etc.

This is not reasoning. This is just rampant, ignorance-fueled imagination run amok, and the No Contact Order can do nothing to get it under control.

3. Makes it impossible for them to get to know the real me.

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These giraffes look pretty friendly. I wish they would get to know me better and see that I’m friendly too. Image Credit: Pixabay

One of the best ways to get over any irrational fear is to choose to encounter the very thing that frightens you. Obviously that won’t work if you’re afraid of jelly fish or hungry sharks, but as long as what frightens you is harmless (like me), then the more you interact with it and see that no harm comes to you, the safer you will feel in its presence.

Really, the only way to help these people with their fears is to give them the opportunity to face them, which is now prohibited by law. These folks desperately need to get to know the real me, at least well enough to see that I’m not their bogeyman, that I’m harmless to them. But because of this No Contact Order, such an encounter is now impossible.

4. Means I now require a permanent alibi.

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I’m fresh out of excuses! Image Credit: ShutterStock

With this No Contact Order in place, I need a permanent alibi. For the next year at least, if anything happens to any of these people and which is even remotely mysterious, I am going to be suspect number 1. If one of them gets a mysterious flat tire I can be promptly arrested, booked, charged, and tried — even if I’m totally innocent. Even if I do have an alibi, that won’t help until after I’ve already been arrested, booked, and charged. Then the real investigation will begin and the alibi will exonerate me. But if I don’t have an alibi, then what?

Because of this fundamentally useless No Contact Order, I now need a permanent alibi. And something tells me that “Sorry, your honor, I’m autistic” won’t cut it.

I really don’t understand the purpose of this No Contact Order. Is the goal to ensure the objective safety of these individuals? Or is the goal merely to help them to feel subjectively safe. Although these are not mutually exclusive outcomes, in the end, being safe and feeling safe are really two different things. For example, many people are afraid to fly in an airplane, but feel perfectly safe in a car, which is objectively much more dangerous. Many people dread kittens, while others have no fear of texting while driving. Further, the pharmaceutical industry makes a ton of money selling anti-anxiety medications to people seeking relief from anxiety that they themselves know has no function whatsoever.

The fact is that fear is an unreliable indicator of objective danger, just as feeling safe is an unreliable indicator of objective safety. The one simply does not imply nor guarantee the other, and in any case, this No Contact Order will achieve neither goal, for the reasons described above.

 

You Don’t Fear Me; You Fear Your Misunderstanding of Me: An Open Letter to All The Sheeple Who Imagine Me to Be Dangerous

#KeepFamiliesTogether

Note: If you would like to donate to help the 2,500 immigrant children that were recently kidnapped from their families as a result of the Trump Administration’s cruel Zero-Tolerance Immigration Policy (protested yesterday by thousands throughout the US), please see the links provided in the following article: Here’s how to help immigrant children separated from parents at U.S. border.

Dear Sheeple,

Everyone who actually knows the real me knows that I am nothing like a threat to your personal safety. I am 54 years old, have no history of violence, have no interest in violence, and own no guns nor weapons of any kind.

I don’t even play violent video games.

Because I know for a fact that I pose no threat to your personal safety, it simply cannot be the case that I am the cause of your fear. If indeed you are afraid of anything, then it is your misunderstanding of me that frightens you.

To be clear: I am not your misunderstanding of me. Your misunderstanding of me is an imaginary bogeyman who doesn’t exist. The person I really am is nothing to fear.

I have almost no control over your misunderstanding of me. Other than pity you, the most I can offer as consolation is the opportunity to get to know the real me. If you can find the courage to do so, then I’ll be happy to sit with you and talk, answer your questions, help you to see that you’ve been afraid of nothing.

Other than that, what can I say? You are on your own.

Sincerely,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”

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I Hereby Dedicate My Next Incarceration to the 2500 Immigrant Children Victimized by Trump’s Cruel Zero-Tolerance Immigration Policy

So, I’ll be going to jail again soon…

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Soon, I’ll be doing this again, but in my mind I’m going to dedicate the experience to all the immigrant children who have been cruelly kidnapped from their parents by the Trump Administration and held in border detention centers.

I’m not sure when or on what grounds exactly, but apparently I really botched up on June 14, 2018 by strolling peacefully and politely throughout two of the office buildings on the MetLife campus in Cary, NC.

It might have been the hat I wore. MetLife has a dress code policy that prohibits the wearing of hats, and I had forgotten to remove mine after entering the buildings.

Lesson learned:

Always obey the rules of the MetLife dress code.

Joking aside, I’m now facing some serious misdemeanor Breaking or Entering charges which carry a maximum penalty of 3 months incarceration, and I have reason to believe that the rich and powerful white folks who are actually running things are going to take this opportunity to “teach me a lesson”, so to speak. I don’t think any of them even understand the first thing about Autism, let alone give a crap that I’m actually autistic, but maybe they’ll take into consideration the fact that I am also white and “pull their punches” a bit. Not that I’m seriously hoping to benefit in that way, but I may not have a choice. The sad truth is that white privilege makes everything easier, even crime.

My trial isn’t until August 7, but the rich and powerful white folks actually running things have made it incredibly easy for me to get locked up again before then. At this point I’m pretty sure all I have to do is forget to wash the dishes and back to jail I go. I’m pretty good about washing my dishes, but there are so many other rules I have to follow now. Two days ago a District Judge ordered me to give MetLife a copy of all the videographic footage I shot while touring harmlessly through the buildings. I have until 2:30 today to comply or I’ll be held in Contempt of Court and probably arrested immediately. Although I definitely plan to comply with the order, what if something happens to stop me? What if I get stuck in traffic on my way to their lawyer’s office? What if my daughter has a seizure and I have to spend the day with her in the hospital while she gets checked out? At the moment I’m trying to encrypt the file, and the process is taking forever.

Although a good excuse might earn me eventual forgiveness, that forgiveness would only come after I’d already been arrested, booked, and incarcerated for many, many boring hours.

I’m in a precarious situation right now. One way or another I’m going back to jail soon,  and so I want to try to make the most of it all by dedicating the experience to a worthy cause. In fact, I think I’ll go ahead and dedicate it to every worthy cause — every cause that a rational and morally mature person should support — but I’ll also pick a particular cause as well,

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Central Processing Station in McAllen, Texas. Center for Border Protection (CBP). Found here.

which is the 2500 kids who were recently kidnapped from their families and jailed in border detention centers as a result of the Trump Administration’s cruel Zero-Tolerance immigration policy.

Yes, of course, I realize that Trump has agreed to stop treating any more children in this Draconian fashion, and that 500 of the children have been thus far re-united with their families, but there are still some 2000 kids trapped in these detention centers and in any case, even those who have been reunited with their families were probably so traumatized by the experience that they are going to need lots of support to get over the trauma. All 2500 of them have been victimized by the Trump Administration, and I hereby dedicate my inevitable next incarceration to all of them, specifically; and of course their families too, who have all suffered unjustly; and most generally, I dedicate my inevitable next incarceration to all charitable causes that a rational and morally mature person should support.

Now, in order to make this dedication financially useful to the actual victims, I’m asking my readers here to consider making a contribution to one of the organizations dedicated to helping them. If you happen to have a favorite, then I encourage you to choose that one. And if you would like some suggestions, I invite you to consider those discussed in Here’s how to help immigrant children separated from parents at U.S. border.

I’m also open to any suggestions you’d like to share for good organizations to give to. Please leave their links in the comments below.

Thanks in advance!

 


Header Image Credit: By U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP Processing Unaccompanied Children) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons