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OPINION | ARTHUR PAUL BOWEN: Free at last

Time in Facebook jail enlightening by ARTHUR PAUL BOWEN SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE | October 22, 2021 at 2:52 a.m.

It's time to come clean. I have a record.

About a month or so ago I spent a week in Facebook jail after it was adjudged that one of my postings violated its "standards." This may surprise some of you. It surprised me. I am not a man who is known for intemperate speech. Nor do I have a reputation or propensity for violence. If anything, I have a well-earned reputation for utter cowardice which precedes me by a country mile.

Here's what happened. My friend David, during the usual witless back and forth online that guys engage in, made the mistake of referring to me as "elderly." Despite my gentlemanly ways, this effrontery was intolerable. High words were exchanged at this point and I made the mistake of offering--on my friend's page--to come over to his place of residence to teach him a lesson he would not soon forget. And to kick his posterior in the process, as it were.

This was deemed by the pearl-clutchers at Facebook to be a "threat of violence" which was undoubtedly news to David. And off to the slam I went to serve my time with all of the other cranks, stalkers and lunatics whose posts were deemed offensive by Mark Zuckerberg's bots and algorithms.

Of course, this was ridiculous. My "threat" was taken out of context, not that any human capable of discerning context ever looked at it. Furthermore, David's bank holds the mortgage on my house. Threatening him would be imprudent in the extreme, tactically speaking.

And besides, my faux pas ain't nothing compared to two-thirds of the feet-in-the-air crazy posts that one may routinely partake of on Facebook at any given hour on any given day. Why, I could point you to any of a number of keyboard Robespierres on there who routinely engage in bad religious ideation and crypto-science while tiptoeing ever so close to advocating violent overthrow of the government, which they typically couch in terms of exercising their rights under the Second Amendment. And they're coming down hard on me?

But hey! Mark's site, Mark's rules. Now that I am on Facebook parole, I think that I will be sure that my next major post checks all the boxes, based on what I routinely see pass evident muster out there. Here goes:

"I hereby exercise my personal choice as a Sovereign Citizen not to take the vaccine for any of a number of reasons that I am free, in my sole judgment, to choose. After all, I have done my own research. Here are a few of my reasons. I refuse to take a medicine that is experimental or to which I "don't know what's in it." The fact that I don't require such metaphysical certitude with anything else I ingest, or that I have never looked at the ingredient list on a can of beans, is irrelevant. And the millions of doses given worldwide without serious side effects? Sheer luck.

"I have other reasons. I refuse to take the vaccine because it will render me magnetic. Or radioactive. I forget just which. The shot will implant a tracking device that will allow the National Security Agency to record my every movement. Not only that, but the Society of Jesus will be able to read my thoughts and I really want no part of those guys. Speaking of the Jesuits, a TV preacher I like says if I take the vaccine it will alter my DNA such that one baptism for the remission of sins will no longer apply to me. No can do.

"Also, I have read a report, when doing my research, that said that the vaccine would impair my higher cortical functioning to where I would no longer believe that the Supreme Court will actually restore Donald Trump to the presidency by a unanimous decision upon some kind of application by the My Pillow guy. And that it will really, really happen by Thanksgiving. Finally, I will not take the vaccine because the government will make me carry a 'card' without which I won't be allowed inside the local feed store for refills of my covid meds. For these and other reasons well-thought-out by me, I will not take the vaccine. I stand in stone. I shall not be moved."

On second thought, I probably won't write such a post. On the one hand, it would probably pass muster with the Facebook censors while burnishing my crackpot credentials. This might come in handy if I need another "get out of jail" card.

On the other hand, I don't need a bunch of "friend requests" from the Arkansas State Hospital. Besides, I got my booster shot recently. I'm fine. Just like 99 percent of everybody that takes it.

Forget the "get out of jail card." The next time I want to give David a piece of my mind, I'll just call him on his cell. But I'll make sure I'm current on my house note before I do.


Arthur Paul Bowen is a writer and lawyer living in Little Rock.

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