July 25, 2012
To the Editor:
I am writing to share some observations with regard to my protest activities against the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament last Saturday afternoon. Between the hours of 2 and 4 pm, I paddled my kayak with attached non‑confrontational signs throughout the harbor. My goal was to present the shark fishermen and spectators with the reality that shark populations worldwide have decreased by 90 percent over the past 40 years and that this tournament should become a catch and release event. Throughout my harbor protest, I remained respectful and courteous to all people I encountered.
Regretfully, this experience was reminiscent of my return from Vietnam some 40 years ago. Back then I was greeted with taunts and ridicule from a small group of protesters at the Oakland, California, airport. Yesterday, however, the good citizens of Oak Bluffs took taunting and disrespect to another level indeed.
During this two-hour exercise of my constitutional duty, I was subjected to the following: beer bottles thrown at me on three occasions, jet skiers attempting to capsize my kayak, verbal threats upon my life, being spat at, water ballooned, shot at with a water rifle, a constant barrage of profanities and expletives, called a “fat, unpatriotic slob” who should go to China, told that I have no right to be here and that I should be arrested. On the brighter side of this spectacle of decaying humanity, one kind boater offered his encouragement and a bottle of much needed water.
These verbal and physical assaults have been reported to the Oak Bluffs police and harbormaster. If anyone has video of these events, please contact the Oak Bluffs Police Department, as it will facilitate the prosecution of these individuals.
I’ve been to MV for the Shark Tournament, and if you live on the island, you know what to expect. If you’re kayaking around telling people on yachts how to live their life, find something better to do. Maybe go for a swim off Monomoy and see if the sharks catch and release you.