NOW and the alleged Gibbons assault

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Friday October 20, 2006.

An interesting set of discussions have been taking place at both INP and No Gibbons that I, naturally, can not seem to get myself out of. At issue are the actions of gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons after an evening at a restaurant and a few glasses of wine. I’ll spare everyone the backstory. Go read it (that’s just the latest) if you need to know what’s being reported.

I want to get a few things out in the clear right away. This story, at this point, is not about domestic violence. It is not about treatment of women. It is about what a candidate for governor might have done to a specific woman at a specific time. But that seems to be what is leading the discussion at INP right now. That has to stop.

A new commenter named “IJ” has popped up with an agenda at INP. That agenda is to spread the word and philosophy of NOW. Almost immediately, IJ was on the comment board telling all of us that Gibbons was sent a series of questions about domestic violence issues by NOW and refused to answer them. That led to several comments back and forth by myself and IJ. IJ now seems interested in making sure I am aware of all the issues of domestic violence in Nevada. The latest of those pointed me to an article about a candlelight vigil to remember victims of domestic violence. That’s great, but what’s the point? I tried to leave a comment last night, and for whatever reason (Blogger) it didn’t post. My comment said something to this effect:

I see that you have an issue that you want to see in the limelight. There’s a place for you. It’s called Blogger. Check it out. Unfortunately, my thoughts on domestic violence are completely irrelevant to this conversation. This is not about domestic violence. It’s about the actions of Jim Gibbons, a candidate for governor, and an assault that may or may not have taken place. My position is that there are people on this site (you) using that event to attack him on an issue that you find important, but is actually not a part of the conversation. I also feel like people (you) are using this event to score points for his opponent. That’s disingenuous and irresponsible. If you’d like to continue discussing the matter of his run for the office of governor and how his actions might affect that, I’d be happy to engage. But if you’d like to continue to show your lack of understanding on the issue by continuing to talk about domestic violence, I’m done.

Here’s the actual comment:

You’re obviously not interested in real conversation about the race here. You’ve got an issue that is important to you. I get that. My feelings on domestic violence are of no consequence, and that’s not at all what I’m talking about, as I’ve stated already. There’s a place for people with an issue to discuss. It’s called Blogger. Check it out. It appears you have an opinon on what Gibbons didn’t do to address a possibly fake incident. I think you’re wrong. At issue here is not domestic violence, but Jim Gibbons’ handling of his campaign. Your comments continue to show you do not understand that.

This is a bit new for me. Normally, I’d have at least left it with an inflammatory remark. I didn’t. Everything I said in the comment was factual. Using an alleged assault to score political points worries me. Especially when we don’t even know the outcome. We’ll never know what happened, as is almost always the case. And since charges were not filed, it makes me think there is less to the story than people want there to be. You may not like that, but it’s true. It’s true that there may be less to it than you want. I address this point over at No Gibbons. I asked the good man JWH if he was posting about it because, as his blog’s title states, he’s against Gibbons anyway. If he wants to use the incident to score points, he should admit that. He may not be using it for points, as he tells me in a comment, but he may also never admit it, either.

This incident could mark an ugly moment in politics in Nevada. If Gibbons did in fact assault this woman, he belongs in jail for a little while, just like the rest of us would be. If he did not, and his story is true, his name has been tainted forever. And the cycle of using women as victims continues. It’s irresponsible and ugly. Either way. What seems to be the biggest obstacle to an honest discussion is the inability of this IJ person to admit there may be nothing to it. Instead, she (for some reason, I think it’s a woman) insists on keeping the domestic violence thing going, which might lead readers to think the assault is a given. Not so. I’m willing to admit that this may be far worse than we can imagine. But there won’t ever be a conclusion if nobody will openly discuss it. Insisting that the candidate’s response to the accusation be to answer NOW’s questionaire about domestic violence is a cheap ploy to take a possibly non-existent event and make the candidate look worse.

Also, let’s not forget that this is yet another attack on a candidate being perpetrated by an anonymous commenter. If anyone in the media and in politics in this state will ever take blogs seriously, this stuff has to be shut down.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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