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Understanding the Differences Between Public Figures and Private Citizens in Today's World
A Look into the Rights and Responsibilities of Public Figures and Private Citizens in the Age of Social Media
In today's world of social media and instant access to information, the line between public figures and private citizens can often become blurred. Therefore, it's essential to understand the differences between the two and how they can impact an individual's rights and responsibilities.
Recently Rebecca Hindman, who never misses an opportunity to jam her circular illogical "two cents" into any controversy, real or imagined, stated to a person online, "you might want to tread carefully. This can be construed as slander." when she was confronted about the cyber harassment of Saugus High student/s for being part of the Young American Foundation (YAF) club. Oh, and to add to the awfulness, she attacks the Saugus YAF club for their 9/11 display, where they placed 2977 American flags on campus. What little monsters!
The mother of the doxxed Student wrote, "Another mom of YAF student is the one who sent an email to several people at Saugus, the district, and YAF itself because she feared for our kids." When Hindman was confronted with violating privacy and possibly even doxing, both the Student and sponsoring teacher of the YAF club proclaimed, "I am no longer a public figure." and "You need to learn more about how the law works." It is laughable that a person whose entire campaign is just posting screenshots of things that offend her is suddenly immune to being held accountable for her own bigotry.
A public figure is someone who has achieved fame or notoriety in the eyes of the public. This includes politicians or people seeking public office, unelected bureaucrats, celebrities, athletes, and others who have gained significant public attention. As a result, public figures are held to a higher standard of scrutiny and are subject to more public criticism than private citizens.
One of the most significant differences between public figures and private citizens is defamation. Defamation is making false statements about someone that damages their reputation. Private citizens can sue for defamation if they can prove that the statements made about them were false and caused harm. However, public figures have a higher burden of proof. To sue for defamation, a public figure must prove that the false statements were made with actual malice, meaning the person making the statement knew it was false or had a reckless disregard for the truth.
Another difference between public figures and private citizens concerns the invasion of privacy. Private citizens have a greater expectation of privacy than public figures. This means that private citizens can sue for invasion of privacy if their privacy is invaded in a way that would be considered highly offensive to a reasonable person. On the other hand, public figures have a more limited right to privacy. In general, the media can report on matters of public concern, even if they involve private details about a public figure's life.
Okay, so if Hindman isn't a public figure, why is she still posting on campaign social media Hindman for Hart? All her social media states that she is running for the Hart school board. You don't have to be a declared candidate to be campaigning; why did Gavin Newsom travel the country blathering on about "the California way” it is because he is campaigning for president. Hindman can't both have a private citizen's right to privacy and use her campaign platform to spread her dangerous rhetoric.
Hindman defends herself when questioned by stating that the student and teacher's name was on the Saugus High Club website and therefore are not private information, so there is nothing to see here. Not so fast California Penal Code § 653.2 PC outlines electronic Cyber Harassment "as a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that a reasonable person would consider as seriously alarming, seriously annoying, seriously tormenting, or seriously terrorizing the person and that serves no legitimate purpose."
Hindman continues calling out the students involved with YAF as a "hate platform" and claims they are an armed militia because this kind of rhetoric won't get anyone hurt. For example, on Feb 12, she wrote, "The weaponization of Christianity is real. Here is a clear picture of the difference." Then on Feb 18 wrote, "Student clubs should be inclusive, not hate groups that inspire violence." and posted screenshots from one of Turning Point founders, Charlie Kirk, of a rainbow gun about to execute a Christian. You would think she would have pulled her post with the violent rhetoric when 38 days later, a Trans person walked into a school and executed 6 Christians.
A sensible person would have distanced themselves from these types of dangerous comments, but Hindman is not a sensible, rational person; she is a nihilistic wingnut who can't see how dangerous it is to keep telling a group of young people that they are oppressed and that their oppressors are literally preparing to kill them. Unfortunately, all bigoted rhetoric includes a justification just like this; we have to get them before they get us.
Is it reasonable for the families of the students involved to feel they could be dangerous? For years we have seen the authoritarian left justify assault after assault because of their justification formula, which boils down to labeling everyone they can't debate with as hateful nazis and then saying it is okay to punch a nazi. If it is okay to punch a nazi, it must also be okay to shoot a nazi.
YAF is no longer on Saugus High, and when asked about her bullying of High School students that made that happen, she dodged responsibility by saying, "YAF isn't shut down; no student stepped forward to run it." So it can't possibly be that students don't want to be bullied by a public figure's violent rhetoric.
Adding to the hypocrisy that is Rebecca Hindman, we have her showing up to the Mar 28 Saugus Union School Board meeting to lecture people about civility, and we are not making this up attempted to shame Anna Griese for reading a redacted letter of a situation that happened at North Park elementary that never gave the child's name because she thinks it violated the child's privacy. She then lectures Mrs. Griese that "when you are elected to a board, you must represent all constituents and their children." Again, you can't make this stuff up.
Having a board member who believes that you are planning to harm your fellow students would be a terrifying experience for any student. Rebecca Hindman's use of violent rhetoric should disqualify her from ever holding a position of power over students. She lacks the ability to represent all constituents and their children and appears to be a one-issue candidate with a poor grasp of reality and common sense.
Hindman should resign immediately as Treasure of Saugus High School PTSO since she clearly doesn’t represent all constituents and their children. We don’t make the rules.