Woman face consequences after shutting down event

Published 11:26 am Friday, October 27, 2023

Last week, a woman called Isothermal Community College, which has campuses in Polk and Rutherford counties, and threatened violence unless the school canceled its event titled “Paint The Campus Blue.” ICC’s school color is blue. 

The purpose of the event on the main campus in Spindale was–and I don’t know any other way to say this–to let the community have some fun.

Among the planned activities were a fun run, face painting, story time in the library, food trucks, a dunking tank, fishing in the school’s lake, and information tables about the school. The lineup for dunk tank victims included top officials from the area.

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One week later, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office told the public that its investigators, as well as those from the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation, had learned the identity of the caller through an intensive investigation. An arrest was expected by this weekend.

“My guys have done some really, really good police work. You’ll see that coming out,” said Sheriff Aaron Ellenburg.

We know that this person’s threats successfully shut down a good event to provide the community with some fun. I mean, let’s face it. Who wouldn’t want to knock the seat out from under one or two local officials and see them get wet?

Despite widespread speculation in the community that the caller had an ax to grind with one of the public officials scheduled for the dunk tank, that was not the case.

So I suppose it’s possible that the caller was forced by her mama to use blue crayons when she really preferred red. Or she was upset that her favorite food truck wasn’t going to be there. Or maybe she just doesn’t want anyone to have fun. Or maybe the reason was so dumb that when we hear it we will say, “Get out of town.”

Who can say what motivates a person to do something like this? Nonetheless, the act has serious consequences.

We all know that she was successful. She coerced a major institution to cancel a community event that would have attracted hundreds of people. And for that, this person should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Only that will send a clear message to others that there will be zero tolerance for attacks on our community institutions and events.

Otherwise, we should expect more instances of this sort of thing to happen.

Meanwhile, “Go Blue.”

Larry McDermott is a local retired farmer/journalist. Reach him at hardscrabblehollow@gmail.com