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Behold the Last Democratic Medium


Perhaps it's not too surprising that an angry homeowner called Kootenai County Assessor Michael McDowell at home last week to complain about rising property taxes. The content of the call, according to McDowell's recollection in the Coeur D'Alene Press, is also far from revelatory.

"He said, 'Is this Mike?" McDowell told the paper. McDowell told him it was, and the man on the line supposedly loosed a profanity-laced hissy fit concerning property taxes at McDowell before blurting out, "You belong in a hole on the ground" and hanging up. McDowell retrieved the man's number from his phone's caller ID, but said he was not interested in pressing charges.

As telling as the call, however, are the comments made on the Coeur D'Alene Press Web site after the story was published. Here are the three of the choicest numbers, with the original spelling and punctuation left intact for extra cyber-flavor.

Said "Steve," at 7:38 a.m. on June 9, "I think people are over reacting just a tad. 'you belong in a hole in the ground' is hardly a death threat, 'Im going to kill you' is a death threat. If this upset man gets charged with anything our system is seriously flawed. Last I heard it wasnt against the law to voice ones opinions."

"EC" added at 5:16 p.m. that day, "all politicians, assessors tax collectors can go to hel- as far as I am concerned, and that is a deeeeep hole to go into, so I am told ... As for the country club police department looking into what a over taxed citizen has to sound off about seems to be a lot of wasted time(our tax dollars at work) they should spend there time more on real issues."

Not to be outdone, Steve piped in again later that afternoon, "Im certainly no lawyer, but I really don't think it matters who it is, in this country its not illegal (yet anyway) to call someone and tell them how you feel. As far as we know, he did not mention anything about doing harm, just where he thought Mr. McDowell belongs. He could have been relating him to a gopher for all we know. Now if he calls every day then I believe this would fall under some kind of harassment/stalking law. Regardless, I do agree is wasnt a very smart or mature thing to do."