Letter to the Editor: Campaign Signs Cut

Signs supporting George Allen and Mitt Romney posted on Daniel Cortez's property were destroyed.

Dear Editor, 

Tragically, "hate crimes" have continued in Stafford County, Virginia. As an independent who votes the person not the party, I voiced my free speech by having two large political signs placed on my property Tuesday. Haters decided this disabled Vietnam veteran's voice would not be heard Tuesday night as gutless COWARDS cut up these signs rather than have the courage to let the voters decide who "we" would support during this upcoming election.  I have voted Democrat and I have voted Republican but never have I had a "hate crime" committed on my property when I supported a Democrat. The signs will be replaced as soon as more come in the Allen and Romney headquarters. To the haters who think my voice will be silenced..."You are messing with the wrong man." 

Freedom of speech IS worth fighting for.....I fought for it in Vietnam my Uncles in WWII and Korea, and my son serving today. I WILL continue the fight against all enemies of our great democracy..."foreign and DOMESTIC" right here in Stafford County.  I must ask you cowards who live in my community..."Is it the color of my blood that makes you think I can't support the candidate of my choice?"  Or your lack of intestinal fortitude to allow the people to choose?  Again you cowards....you are messing with the wrong retired Marine. 

Daniel P. Cortez
Stafford, Virginia

Mac Smith August 02, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Vandalism is sad, but it could also just be kids being knuckle-heads. Let's not take things so personally. And honestly, is the destruction of two signs an attack against one's honor? Chill my friend.
Daniel P. Cortez August 02, 2012 at 02:03 PM
This is the straw that broke the camels back....There have been other hate crimes on my property.....Not chilling....and not going to get complacent ever again...but you can...tragically this is a sign of our times...That is why we need to elect George Allen and Mitt Romney into office.
Arnold Smithson August 02, 2012 at 02:14 PM
We're talking about those cardboard campaign signs, right? Vandalizing yard signs isn't cool, but it happens every election. I'm not sure how electing Mitt Romney and George Allen will stop it. My fear right now is that things will escalate - the verbiage of this letter was a bit chilling to me and I worry that the author has a disproportionate response planned for when this happens again.
Willis Madden August 02, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Where did this happen?
Lindsay August 02, 2012 at 03:58 PM
This was not a hate crime. To be sure, it was mindless, pointless, rude vandalism, but to call it a hate crime is simply untrue.
Lindsay August 02, 2012 at 04:04 PM
virginia August 02, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I am just curious as to what other " hate crimes " as the person who signs were destroyed are? Also is this area where the signs placed on an easement?
Anne August 02, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Wow, I believe this guy is over reacting. I don't believe this was a hate crime but rather a bunch of kids or teens acting silly, like kids do. I don't think anyone wants Mr. Cortez silenced or his vote not counted. What I do find interesting is no one complaining about the signs left on the highways and byways after the elections. Case in point, Ft. Hunt Road and Sherwood Hall lane in Alexandria, VA. George Allen signs from the Primary have littered the roads here forever. I consider that hate to have to keep looking at them ( Just kidding). But I guess what I am saying is one mans pride and asked for signs is another mans (or womans) junk and trash. Lighten up.
MichaEl Hirsch August 02, 2012 at 08:01 PM
It seems to me very reasonable that Mr. Cortez has every right to be concerned and to protect by lawful means his property including his campaign signs. I'll say this much, love didn't motivate this act of vandalism, I believe that Daniel is correct, hatred motivated it. Cutting the signs shows the depth of depravity and intentionality. Now that's chilling! To drive by, see the signs, make a plan, come back and target Mr. Cortez's property is not only deviant but chilling! My yard, on the private road that I own in the City has Wittman, Allen and Romney signs displayed right next to the keep out private property sign. Mr. Cortez has served his countymen well and his pride in his freedeom of speech is commendable!
Anne August 02, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I feel the same. It is chilling through and through.
Anne August 02, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Serving your country has nothing to do with vandals tearing up a road sign about politics. Sorry we are on totally different pages. And Allen being Senator will certainly not change it at all. Sides aside, why do you put political party with vandals? Again I am betting a couple of kids CUT OR TORE the signs up.. I see no signs of a scissor or knife cut but of tearing up. I admit right now, you scare me as much as the letter writer does mike Hirsch. I hear venom and hate and not much tolerance for anyone who isn't thinking like you do! Much sadness in my thoughts about your dislike of others...
MichaEl Hirsch August 02, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Anne, If you are going to make it personal and indentify me by name, let's use reply. Your making personal comments against Mr. Cortez and myself are almost as absurd as your mindless defense of vandalism. No I do not tolerate vandalism, yes, I do dislike vandals and their vandelous actions. It seems clearly hypocritical to me that on one hand you you refuse to acknowledge that the willful prysical act of vandalism as motivated by hatred, but you will claim that you "hear venom and hate..." in my non personal comments? That's a classic case os selective hearing. Look it's simple, what you want to elude is the fact that it was maliceful criminal vandalism. The chilling aspect is that the signs posts were still standing, which is in itself certain evidence that they were cut! The prepetrators of this vandalism acted deliberately with predispostion and malice. They didn'y simply pull the signs up, they destroyed Mr. Cortez's proerty! Once again, Mr. Cortez is correct.
Lindsay August 02, 2012 at 09:05 PM
It's a bit of a stretch to claim that hatred, depravity, or deviancy (whatever that's supposed to mean) was the reason behind the vandalism. I'd wager alcohol or general irrationality and hot-bloodedness brought on by politics in an election year was the motivation. This wasn't a direct attack on Mr. Cortez's person - it was a wildly childish but symbolic destruction of signage in order to show someone's displeasure with the candidates. And there's no way you could know that the people responsible for this vandalism saw the signs, left, plotted their crime, and then returned to do it. That's pure speculation on your part, Mike.
MichaEl Hirsch August 02, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Anne, At least we agree that we both have creative imaginations. Anyway, I'll be sure to help Daniel some new yards signs soon.
LFC Calloway August 02, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Hmm. Let's see. Just curious. Would many of the above commentators have felt this as "chilling" if the signs slashed were for the other candidate and Mr. Cortez voiced concern? Or would they be in agreement with him and label it as a hate crime? If they had signs in their yard supporting the other candidate and they were slashed, would they label it youthful indiscretion, or something more?
Anne August 02, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Mike, for some reason I can't directly respond to you so I have to do it this way. You have the rights to your thoughts as I do mine. I don't deny you or Cortez your rights but will call meanness and hatred when I see it or think I do. I still believe a bunch of silly kids did this and not mean spirited adults who love Obama and Hate Republicans. I personally hate no one. I wish you luck Mike and keep grinning and vote. No matter how you are I want you to vote always... Just as I will right after you to cancel yours.. :) Good night
Anne August 02, 2012 at 11:16 PM
You bet I would. How come all vandals must be politically motived? Explain it please. I think you white right wing men tend to take things to extreme. Almost like you are paranoid. Are You? I certainly am not and if i'm wrong, well I will admit I am. But so far I have seen no evidence to suggest HATE as Daniel Cortez suggests.
MichaEl Hirsch August 02, 2012 at 11:17 PM
It seems to me to be a simple matter, Mr. Cortez explains that this is a repeat behavior. No one should for any reason vandalize anything.
MichaEl Hirsch August 02, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Thank you Anne. You can go first if you please. Why hate republicans, what a seemingly meaningless generalization. What is there to hate? Dislike, dissaprove, but hate? Really? I am confident that the two political committees that I am a member of, as a values voter, hold beliefs consistent with my world view. Have you ever read the Republican Party of Virginia Creed? How about the Democratic party platforms and planks going back to, let's say the Civil War, I have found this to be a tremendously helpful way to make an educated choice when casting my vote. It has been my pleasure to serve Fredericksburg as an Officer of Elections in Ward 3. Eveyone reading this should register, help others to register, get out the vote and participate in one of the processes that makes America exceptional. But please don't get drunk and trash my property! PS - I am so glad that there weren't enough votes to cancel the present Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and I am so proud of our new District 17 Senator. November is coming! Likewise good night to you too!
Anne August 04, 2012 at 12:22 PM
I take people from various churchs to vote on election day and take a weeks vacation at election time for this purpose. I don't care how they vote just that they do. Back to Mr. Cortez, I hope he doesn't become violent. That is my wish only. Is that to much to ask for? Violence solves nothing most of the time. Is a sign worth violence? Peace


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