A couple weeks back I shared a “why I am voting” opinion from a man I coached and taught when he was a teen in the 1980s. As something of a counterpoint, let's take a look at information and opinion shared with me by two people I went to high school with in Ukiah lo these many decades ago. One of them attended many of the same junior high classes with me at the old Pomolita Junior High School on Dora Street. Anyone else remember being in Mrs. Inscho's English and History classes? There were a handful or two or three of Pomolita and Ukiahi alumni who went on to attend UC Davis at more or less the same time with me.
One of those fellow Davis graduates is adept at spotting interesting, intriguing, and usually timely things that are out there for all to read on the internet, but most of us miss or skip over for a variety of reasons. When this fellow alumnus from decades gone by shares something I have learned to pay attention.
Avid readers may recognize this relatively brief Wall Street Journal critique of Facebook: “In August, a Buzzfeed exposé detailed how one Facebook employee was allegedly fired after collecting evidence of the company giving preferential treatment to right-wing pages. Internal company documents leaked to NBC also showed that Facebook relaxed its fact-checking standards for conservative news outlets and personalities, including Breitbart and former Fox News stooges Diamond and Silk, so that they wouldn’t be penalized for spreading misinformation.
“And so Facebook continues to miss the bar when it comes to content moderation on its platform, stymieing coverage from legitimate outlets while simultaneously failing to keep dangerous conspiracy theories and misinformation from running amok...”
The second reference to a classmate from Ukiah derives from my high school golf teammate Paul Weyland. Paul graduated two years behind myself and my fellow UC Davis alumna referenced above. Golf was serious business in Ukiah. Teammates like Paul, Mark Sparso, Verl Steppe, Mike Gulyash, Bo Strong, Dave Kucz and others played the sport as close to 365 days a year as weather allowed. Bo along with his older and younger brothers received college scholarships based on their golf playing abilities. Mark, Verl, Mike, and I went on to win a junior college championship.
Paul Weyland's post college career led him into a long stint as a federal agent, often working in an undercover capacity. Though he has been retired from such endeavors for some time it's probably best not to reveal too much detail about Paul's undercover efforts. The fact that guns were often involved should tell you enough. Anyone who ever watched Paul ram a three foot, steeply downhill putt into the back of the cup against an archrival Napa High golfer knows his fearlessness. I should add for full disclosure, having been his playing partner when I was a high school senior and he was a sophomore, and having witnessed one of those “ram job” three foot downhill putts pop out of the cup and trickle four feet or more farther downhill, I chided Paul on more than one occasion for being foolish. In hindsight I'd have to say that sometimes it takes a combination of a little foolishness and a lot of fearlessness to survive figuratively on the golf course and as an undercover agent.
Paul retired from that life to become a teaching golf professional in Idaho. More specifically, Paul can be described as a performance coach for golf. He does this in Boise. Retired undercover agent, golf pro as second career, doesn't really sound like someone who would publicly post the following:
“Since 2019 the FBI has designated conspiracy theories like QAnon and Pizzagate a serious domestic-terrorist threat to our country. In addition, the FBI and Homeland Security have designated hate groups, neo-nazis and white supremacists as domestic terrorist groups that currently pose a greater threat to our country than any foreign terrorists.
“Recently the FBI in cooperation with local and state law enforcement in Michigan indicted at least 14 people belonging to these white supremacy, anti government, para-military, fascist groups on federal and state charges who were planning and training to kidnap and kill the governors of Michigan and Virginia. Luckily the great people of the FBI working undercover and using informants were able to thwart their plan and make arrests.
“Yet we have a President who retweets these conspiracy theories from QAnon and will not clearly and specifically denounce white supremacists and these dangerous extremist groups, because they all clearly support him. He continues to criticize governors, even calling for the Governor of Michigan to be “Locked Up.” This rhetoric is encouraging this type of behavior from these extremists, and he is encouraging domestic terrorism in the US.
“As a former Federal Agent I find this disgusting, appalling, and unacceptable on every level. No matter who is doing this Democratic, Republican, or independent, the people of this country need to fix it at the polls and go vote now.
“People who support these groups and agree with their ideology are not American. They are psycho maniacs. I hope none of you on my social media accounts believe in QAnon or support extremists. If you do, unfriend me now, because you are not my friend, and I want no association with you.”
Given that Paul lives and works in Idaho there may be a business backlash for making this statement publicly. I asked Paul if he'd mind having his words republished here. His response, “I'd be honored.”
Anyone interested in what Paul is all about should check out paulweylandgolf.com and scroll down to the “About Paul Weyland” video and watch it all the way through to the end to understand the person, his character, and his sense of humor. Watch and listen all the way to the “Romeo, it's a gust from the gods,” line and you'll get a bit of the flavor of what he was like as a teenager and the man he is today. You may end up wanting to revisit the film Tin Cup as well.
(To find out more about the author, consult malcolmmacdonaldoutlawford.com.)