The Old Man On The Mountain

A View From the Backwoods of NH

Cyber Bullies – They’re Not Just Kids

(The information contained here was garnered from an article written by Paul Hayes, the Editor of our local free paper, The Record, part of the Caladonian Record).

Here in the Great White North, we have a large variety of nostalgia proudly displayed all over. Some for sale, some just for appreciation, mostly because this is a high tourist area and that’s what tourists want – nostalgia. And so is the case of a local antique store, Chic and Unique, located in Littleton NH, owned and operated by Nicole Guida. Like the many antique stores and stops, you never know what treasure or surprise you’ll find until you look. Unfortunately for Nicole, not everyone appreciates nostalgia.

When Katherine Ferrier came to look, what she saw offended her – a century-old “Lucky Flour” sack – the offensive part – it was labeled with a swastika. That the sack was hung toward the back, by the register, not prominently displayed in the front window was of no concern to Ferrier. Apparently neither were the rights of store owner Guida. And thus ensued a heated discussion, the end result being that Guida asked Ferrier to leave her shop.

Well (according to the Record) the next thing you know, Ferrier’s hopped on Facebook to rant. Concerned over all the hate crimes executed since the presidential election that have involved swastikas (nearly 900 according to the watchdog group Southern Poverty Law Center), she lets loose with her opinion –

“This is a blatantly racist and super charged symbol, now more than ever, and I’m shocked and bummed out that you think it’s an appropriate thing to hang in your store.”

Racist? Now more than ever (even more than WWII)? And it’s inappropriate? Now I’m confused.

From everything I’ve read, I never once saw ANYTHING that led me to believe that Guida was racist, or that she had this symbol freshly printed to hang prominently in her front window. All she did was to have a piece of history that contained an image – an image associated with hate and human destruction, that was old, in an antique store – in the back.

Well, the backlash that befell Guida from Ferrier’s post was enough to have her initially close her store. The hate messages she received, the “I’ll never shop there again” messages and negative reviews on her business page took their toll. She re-opened a few days later, but The Bully had left her mark.

Katherine Ferrier is entitled to her opinion, even protected by the first amendment – freedom of speech – as is Guida. And as long as the item in question was not displayed as a hate sign (which it wasn’t), then Guida had every legal right to display it. The problem here is that Ferrier targeted one individual, and that’s what a bully does.

I saw nothing to indicate that Ferrier had written to any of the Hollywood Studios, requesting removal of these symbols from any and all movies, or any other publications, libraries, etc. that have this symbol in their possession. If this were the case, if she were an “equal opportunity” symbol hater, then I’d have a different opinion.

It appears that Katherine Ferrier was right – this is a “super charged symbol”, and it led her to attack a store owner in a hateful manner. To me, she’s a bully that used the internet to disparage someone’s business because she disagreed – and because she could. I wonder if this could be considered a “hate crime”, since it was driven by a swastika, the exact thing that Ferrier supposedly objected to.

In the end, if Ferrier has any integrity at all, she’ll post an apology to Guida, in the same manner that she disparaged her, and ask that all who read her post respect the rights of others and not let emotions cloud their judgement – otherwise the swastika (and the hate it can represent) wins.