To the Thief Who Has Stolen My Sign

[Next week’s election includes an amendment to the Wisconsin state consitiution. The amendment excludes homosexuals from whatever protection they might otherwise have, in that it prohibits the legislature from granting any civil union or other benefits except for couples defined on the basis of gender. Specifically, each couple is prescribed to be one man and one woman.

A friend asked me to put up a small sign that reads “A fair Wisconsin votes No …on the civil union ban.” Two days later, the sign had been stolen from my lawn on a non-through street.

I’ve replaced the sign, and attached the following letter.

I welcome comments and improvements, as I think I might share this letter with others, the local papers, etc.]

You have chosen to break the sanctity of my home, and impose your twisted view by destroying or taking away my property.

Presumably, you are doing this because you feel that any action is justified in order to have the government impose your twisted view on all the citizens of this state.

I have chosen to display this sign because I was taught that the foundation of this country, the one thing that has made it unique in the world, is that our laws protect each individual’s rights from interference by others. The proposed amendment throws away 230 years of conservative liberty so that one group of people can single out another group and tell them how who they may love.

That’s more than just mean. It is what the Taliban and Al Qaeda do and that our sons and daughters have died to stop.

Why are you selling them out? There are spineless politicians (on both sides) who are fomenting this issue in the hopes that you will be enraged enough to give them money and vote for them. Don’t be duped.

Who do you have for whom you try to act your best? A spouse, child, parent, or religious leader? Look them in the eye and explain to them why you think your actions in stealing this sign are right, and explain how you are better than the terrorists.

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.


  1. I’d drop “twisted view” from the beginning and move it to the end. Suck the casual, possibly undecided, reader in. Remember your audience is not the actual person who took the sign, but everyone else.

    So I would move “twisted view” to the part after the Taliban and Al Qeda. something like:

    “Look what you have become. Would you normally say you can trespass and steal something from someone else’s lawn? But you’ve become twisted by your hate and the feeling that your cause justifies committing crimes. Now you want to impose this twisted view on your neighbors the same way insurgents and religious fanatics in Baghdad impose their view ever day on their neighbors.”

    “How can that be right? If your cause can turn an honest man into a thief, what does it say about your cause?”

  2. That’s excellent. Thank you.

  3. FYI, piece this morning on NPR about the debate in VA. Apparently, both sides have been stealing and defacing signs.

  4. This is a test

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