Veteran’s free speech targeted
Signs stolen, note left in yard
By John Faucher
When U.S. Navy veteran Dean Sauers of New London went outside Sunday morning, he noticed his campaign signs were tampered with again.
This was the third time his signs were either taken or damaged.
A Russ Feingold sign was broken off, and a Hillary Clinton sign was taken and recovered by police near Sunshine Terrace.
On Sunday, Saurers picked up a knocked over sign in his yard and found an unsigned letter underneath directed at him, titled “A Note to the Liberals.”
“Your feelings mean nothing to everyone else,” part of the letter read. “If your feelings are hurt by someone, guess what get over it. No one cares about your special little feelings. My rights do not end where your stupid little feelings begin. There is no such thing as a safe space. Grow up and deal with adversity.”
The letter went on to generalize about liberals and continued with some name calling.
“It is not my intent to anger anyone, but rather to practice my First Amendment rights to express my opinion in a nonthreatening way,” said Sauers.
“I spent four years in the U.S. Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis,” he said. During his service he recalls a year working in the Pentagon and at times had to deliver a handcuffed briefcase to President Kennedy in the Oval Office.
“I support those candidates who will best represent my best interests,” he said. “I make no apology for that. Destroying signs and or leaving notes by either side of the political spectrum is not in the best interest of democracy.”
Sauers said he is thankful police have been able to recover many people’s signs when they are taken from yards.
New London Police Chief Jeff Schlueter said every time there is an election, police get a few reports of theft or damage to signs.
“This year we maybe had a few more reports but I think that is because of the homecoming theme ‘Make Homecoming Great Again,’” Schlueter said, referring to New London High School’s slogan that landed the school regional media attention in October.
“We recovered a lot of those signs and turned them back over to representatives from the different parties,” Schlueter said.