David Sloan Deserves An Apology
how did we go from "love thy neighbor" to salem witch hunts?
David Sloan, former president of my town’s Volunteer Rescue Squad was the first real “cancelling” I witnessed firsthand. Or at least the first one I recognized.
It started with seeing a flyer promoting a “March Against Human Trafficking” as I walked through Westfield’s beautiful Mindowaskin Park. I remember being surprised. Human trafficking wasn’t something I heard people talk about in Westfield and I wondered how much interest there would be.
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Not much it turns out. From my local paper:
About a dozen supporters, most of them holding signs protesting human trafficking, walked from the Westfield Rescue Squad up East Broad Street and into Mindowaskin Park on Sunday while people dining outdoors cheered them on.
While ostensibly held in protest of a heinous crime — human trafficking — the march and subsequent rally lacked the size of other recent demonstrations held in Westfield and the presence of local elected officials, who typically have turned out at such events.
The event was a nothing burger from an attendance perspective. I remembered seeing a handful of people listening to someone standing in a gazebo as I walked my dog one afternoon. And yes, Westfield hosts some big protests and Governor Murphy, Congressman Malinowski and others make regular appearances at them.
Mindowaskin Park’s gazebo had seen better attendance for local tai ji classes.
So it was odd that our local paper felt that Sloan’s tiny, inconsequential event, warranted an exposé.
I first came across the article in a local Facebook group. Before I’d even had a chance to read it, I was seeing comments from neighbors calling for Sloan’s removal.
And then I read the article.
In an interview afterward, Sloan said that because the majority of attendees at the rally already are familiar with the theories he follows, he omitted some of what he had intended to discuss, including certain portions of QAnon — what The New York Times this week described as a “viral pro-Trump conspiracy theory.”
“The worst parts of this delve into what I referenced as ‘elite human trafficking,’” Sloan said. “QAnon has certainly referenced this. QAnon delves into a certain satanic element within our power structure.”
According to Sloan, traffickers in some cases drink the blood of their victims.
“They scare the victims to the point of right before they kill them,” he said. “So, the blood is adrenalized because they’re in a fear-based state.”
This is a modern take on the classic antisemitic trope, known as blood libel which, according to the anti-Defamation League, comes from the false notion of Jews sacrificing Christian children to use their blood for ritual purposes. (Sloan said he does not believe any one religion is responsible, but that traditional religion serves as a cover for the extreme practices.)
At the rally, Sloan handed out flyers showing a “Child Trafficking Watch List and Warning Signs,” along with tip lines for the FBI and National Human Trafficking Resources Center.
Some extreme and disturbing stuff, to be sure.
And then the article digressed… and became an article about misinformation. Our local reporter went as far as to interview “experts”…
Rosario V. Sanchez, a forensic nurse, lecturer, and finishing doctoral student at Rutgers University School has focused her research on human trafficking.
“Misinformation that uses shocking stories, images and language to grab public attention at the expense of accuracy is truly detrimental to both the movement against this horrific inhumane crime and the victims/survivors of human trafficking,” Sanchez said. “Unfortunately, it is common practice in the representation of human trafficking and its victims/survivors. Though at times, it may be done often with good intentions to attempt to entice public involvement, it should be handled with extreme caution.”
But the article had virtually nothing do with the actual event. To me, it had hit piece and ulterior motive written all over it. So, even though I had never met David Sloan, I reached out to check in on him.
Not surprisingly, he was warm, thoughtful and deeply committed to protecting the very real children being impacted by human trafficking. He thanked me for my concern and shared with me the response he hoped to publish.
Good evening, I was the sole organizer of the human trafficking march/rally. I did not intend for the message to be politicized or skewed toward controversial conspiracy groups. The purpose behind the march and rally against human trafficking was to specifically raise awareness (as my posters emphasized) at how pervasive and ubiquitous the deplorable crime has become as well as ways to educate and train the public on what signs to look for to spot victims of human trafficking and what steps to take afterwards (I appreciate Matt sharing this point in the article). I specifically mentioned the organizations Vets4childrescue.org and ourrescue.org, headed by former Navy Seal Craig Sawyer and former DHS special agent Timothy Ballard, respectively. I purposely did not politicize or entertain any conspiracy information during the march and rally, so the issue of human trafficking would not be tainted in any way. I was subsequently asked to clarify my views, specifically regarding Qanon, the next day by co-editor, Matt Kadosh, from Tapinto Westfield, and so I provided a brief statement on Qanon being military intelligence as well as some darker and extreme elements of human trafficking that I firmly believe are accurate, i.e. satanic ritual abuse. I doubt any morally righteous person would be a proponent of continuing ANY aspect of human trafficking even if said aspect involved incredible claims. Unfortunately, much of my relevant views were omitted, resulting in an under-cited article that presented very little dialogue of a 50-minute long phone conversation, which again took place the day after the march. I believe the discourse surrounding human trafficking should cover all degrees of the atrocity, not just the well-known and more believable parts. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the matter, but I highly doubt anyone would be against exposing the darkest corners of this egregious crime to help prevent them from happening. I've researched the disturbing issue of human trafficking for roughly 7-8 years, so well before it became headline news from the Epsteins or Qanons of the world. My intelligence sources recognize how deep and dark this sinister crime goes, and luckily, there are courageous whistleblowers and survivors who have spoken out. Feel free to seek out the same information I provided Matt Kadosh that he neglected to mention in the article above. Survivor Anneke Lucas, who presented her disturbing ordeal as a child sex slave for the elites in a TED talk from 2017. Also, the International Tribunal for Natural Justice and its judicial commission presented several survivor and whistleblower testimonies during their inquiry back in 2018. I highly recommend viewing those interviews, namely testimony from Ronald Bernard, Kristy Allen, Jay Parker, and Jon Wedger, which you can find on their YouTube channel. You may also view the book/online publication "Pedophilia and Empire" by Joachim Hagopian for free, which has thousands of references, on former CIA officer and Marine Corps intelligence officer Robert David Steele's website. There are also a number of documentaries, e.g. Out of Shadows, Pedogate 2020, etc., that reference the systemic human trafficking/pedophilia issue. I provided all of these sources to Matt, and he regrettably neglected to mention them in the article. I certainly could have referenced Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell much more than a passing acknowledgement during my rally (or the countless other elites, e.g. Dennis Hastert, Sir Edward Heath, Jimmy Savile, Bill Clinton, etc., involved in human trafficking, pedophilia, or child sex abuse), but I predominantly focused on the goal of unifying the public, raising awareness, and providing useful training outlets on how to identify victims of trafficking. My hope is that people focus on the best ways to prevent and stop these crimes from happening. From my perspective, this can only happen if we galvanize behind this issue in one unified voice instead of staying silent and divided, i.e. taking a political stance. As I stated at the human trafficking march and rally, I believe what matters most is being a voice for those who are too afraid to speak out themselves. More victims/survivors will speak out if they see a caring, compassionate, and unified public. If you feel as compelled as I do about this issue, please join me in this effort. Thank you.
I can’t speak to his assertions - I’m not well versed on the subject - but Sloan’s response indicates that he withheld his more controversial beliefs at the rally. It was the reporter who specifically pursued that aspect of the story the following day.
Why stir the pot like that? I wondered.
And then I discovered this.
And this. (Here’s the link to the QAnon forum mentioned)
Congressman Malinowski’s press release even mentions Sloan’s march:
The FBI has assessed with high confidence that "fringe political conspiracy theories," including QAnon, "very likely motivate some domestic extremists, wholly or in part, to engage in criminal or violent activity," and that these conspiracy theories "very likely encourage the targeting of specific people, places and organizations, thereby increasing the likelihood of violence against these targets."
The influence of these groups has been felt recently in our own community with QAnon supporters marching in Westfield two weeks ago, and a Berkley Heights resident identified last week as the principal developer for a QAnon organizing platform that has since been shut down.
"Conspiracy movements and political extremists that just a few years ago organized largely online are spilling over into the real world and putting our communities at risk," said Malinowski. "It's time to pull back the curtain and expose the white supremacists, anti-Semites, and extremists from the left and right leveraging misinformation to undermine our democracy, and spread fear in our communities."
And then came a SECOND article maligning Sloan, doubling as yet another opportunity to peddle prevailing narrative.
In the past few weeks, David Sloan, who heads the all-volunteer squad, twice shared a since-debunkedclaim that only 6 percent of the people whom the CDC announced as coronavirus-related fatalities have actually died as a result of the virus…
…Sloan's remarks also come as US Rep. Thomas Malinowski, D-Union, whose district includes Westfield, Berkeley Heights, Cranford, Millburn, and Summit, held a Zoom forum on Friday with residents who've become concerned about local conspiracy theories, including related to coronavirus and QAnon. The forum included a representative from the ADL and drew more than 200 residents.
Sloan ultimately resigned. But, let’s be honest, he was forced out… cancelled for his “thought crimes.” Here’s what he wrote to his peers…
Hey All, I'm officially resigning as President of the Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad tonight. Many of you may be aware of the headline stories about my controversial beliefs on human trafficking and the current health crisis from TAPintoWestfield and The Westfield Patch. Both publications interviewed me for their stories and I made sure to acknowledge that the WVRS had no affiliation with my specific beliefs. Unfortunately, both publications omitted much of what I provided them, e.g. a six page, heavily-cited response to Westfield Patch. While there has been some intense backlash and harsh criticism towards me from the public (some of it even directed at the Rescue Squad), there has also been an equal amount of encouraging support. In order for me to continue to stand by my convictions, i.e. speak my truth, and not adversely impact the Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad, it is best I step down as President. To lead a volunteer organization takes much sacrifice; however, I do not regret any of the time and energy I've put forth at the squad over the last couple of years, and it was my wish to have positively impacted many of you during that time. I am certainly proud of our members for their commitment to volunteerism, and I hope this altruism continues without my presence as a WVRS administrator. I will continue to stay on as an active riding member and strive to help the Westfield community when they need it the most. David
What happened to David Sloan was not ok. He clearly has way more important roles to play than political pawn and collateral damage.
This is not how we treat people who don’t share our beliefs (that’s part of how REAL diversity works). And despite all of the assertions that Sloan and his beliefs are dangerous, I never saw anyone present any evidence to counter his claims.
So why am I talking about this now?
Part of the reason I can’t forget what happened to Sloan is because I continue to see it happening to just about anyone who speaks outside the lines. Doctors are losing their licenses. Other brave voices are losing their platforms, and even having to walk away from their careers.
And I really want it to stop.
Can we please go back to “love thy neighbor”, “agree to disagree” and “live and let live”?
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