McHenry Country Blogger Accused Of Laughing – Loudly; Said To Have Acted Alone
Note: I first posted this content 10 years ago about a then contemporary event which took place in a small Illinois town hundreds of miles from where I now live. So, why republish it now? Because it still makes me chuckle.
Public Officials Put At Risk By Sneaky Photos Taken Openly
I really must read the local newspaper more often.
Otherwise, I might miss out on the blogging news.
During yesterday’s grocery run, I made an impulse purchase of the Northwest Herald. While browsing through that periodical’s many worthy stories,1 I came upon this headline:
Board Calls Police On Political Blogger
The Tale of Terror
[Warning: This story contains a graphic account of heckling which may be unsettling.]
According to the Northwest Herald report (the original story is no longer online, but a summary can be found under the heading, “Audience member evicted” within State’s attorney probes vote), Cal Skinner, a former state representative, who now appears to spend 40 or 50 hours a day blogging at mchenrycountryblog.com, was escorted from the District 46 School Board Meeting earlier this week by a Prairie Grove police officer after trying to take photos of board member Karen Bowman yelling at fellow board member Charlotte Kremer. The school officials claimed Skinner was “heckling” the board and being disruptive.
Now, this was no ordinary heckling. No siree, Bob. If I’ve read the reports correctly, Skinner was heckling from the hallway outside the meeting room through doors that were both metaphorically and physically closed.
Yep, he was heckling a closed door executive session from outside that meeting.
This guy is very, very good.
At the risk of instructing the terrorists in these dangerous tactics, I include this representative excerpt from Threatened With Arrest. Skinner’s own account of the festivities:
As I do with virtually all executive sessions, I took some pictures of the wall and door. The Venetian blinds were down, but open, as you can see in the top picture.
Next, I noticed that one could see in through the vertical windows of the two doors.
Superintendent Fasbender was nicely centered in one, so I tried to take her photo. She ducked right, then, left to avoid the camera lens. You can see I got her picture. I can’t figure out why she didn’t want her picture taken.
Bowman, by this time, was browbeating Kremer.
She was vigorously gesturing.
Then, she was shouting at the top of her lungs.
“You’re going to hear from me!” she screamed.
It really startled me until I figured that this 12-year school board member had just completely lost control of herself.
While taking photos of public officials through a readily accessible window is clearly sufficient cause for arrest, there is more.
The District officials astutely pointed out Skinner’s more antisocial behavior and somehow, thank goodness, telepathically divined his far more sinister intention.
District  officials also said he was laughing loudly in the hallway outside, and they were concerned that Skinner might photograph documents that they wanted kept secret.2
Were it not for the quick thinking of those in charge, Cal Skinner could have photographed THE SECRET DOCUMENTS OF DISTRICT 46.
And if that happened, how could the schools stay open? How could Homeland Security function? Would the troops have to be withdrawn from Iraq to maintain order in Prairie Grove? Would all of McHenry County fall into chaos? How could authorities handle the mobs rampaging through the streets of the cities? And, most importantly, would next year’s Final Four be delayed?
Cal Skinner, Scalawag
Cal Skinner’s politics have precious little overlap with my own, but I have to admire anyone who can make a School Board Meeting exciting.
The only comparable disruptions I’ve caused that I can dredge up from memory are having been asked to leave a restaurant once (there were folks waiting for a table and we were lingering) and warned to “keep it down” at a party held at a hotel.
And, the police did interrupt a make-out session held in my car on dirt road near Kansas City, but I don’t think that falls in the same category.
Those infractions are, in fact, small potatoes in comparison to …
Cal Skinner being escorted from a School Board meeting by a genuine, well-equipped (if the newspaper photo is to be believed) policeman and threatened with arrest.
Cal Skinner’s account of this episode can be found at Threatened With Arrest.
Note: Originally posted Apr 21, 2007 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of AllanShowalter.com
- One of my personal favorites was an account of an elderly North Carolina woman suing the town and funeral home for damages, including “loss of affection,” resulting from her fall into an open grave when she tried to place flowers on a friend’s casket. One specific claim is that “people weren’t warned of the danger.” One wonders what form that warning would take. My recommendation would be opening the graveside service with “Hey, see that hole? Yeah, the one with the casket in it? Believe it or not, it’s possible to fall in that hole. So, be careful.” [↩]
- Mr. Skinner must have a heck of a camera [↩]