Law and Order: SBU (Special Butthurt Unit)

7 mins read

Butthurt-Gate — in which the SBU (Special Butthurt Unit) of the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office investigated and recommended for charges a county woman for trolling a couple anti-maskers who spread false information at a school board meeting — has gone viral.

It’s a fascinating story, and with good reason: Butthurt-Gate has it all: political intrigue; trolling the conservatives; owning the libs; good ole Republican snowflakes; and, of course, the pandemic.

Before we go any further, you might be asking yourself what “butthurt” means. I first came across the term several weeks ago, and to be honest, I thought it meant something dirty (which probably says a lot more about me than it does the word). But I did what any curious wordie would do: I Googled it and learned that it is actually a pretty descriptive term.
This case is also the perfect metaphor for where this country is with its efforts to stamp out COVID. On one side are those who back up masks and vaccines and social distancing with scientific data; on the other are those who view wearing masks, getting vaccinated, and keeping their distance as denying them their Constitutional right to freedom, and back up their stance with feelings and internet memes.

So, what is Livingston County’s Butthurt-Gate all about?

1. Is it a case of Livingston County anti-maskers versus an outspoken critic?

2. Is it a case of the Livingston County GOP elite going after an outspoken critic?

Or …

3. Is it a case of the squeaky anti-mask wheels getting all the grease?

I am voting for all three, and — lest I be charged with voter fraud — in the interest of full transparency, I am admitting to casting a couple extra ballots for No. 2.

Butthurt-Gate involves Kasey Helton of Marion Township, a very loud-and-proud Democrat who is as fierce as she is down-right blunt.

In the interest of full transparency, I know Helton pretty well: she was a reporter at the local newspaper for a number of years, and I was her editor.

Helton committed the grave offense of calling out on social media some anti-maskers for spreading misinformation at a recent meeting of the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education. After that meeting, some anti-maskers complained to Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy that they felt harassed and intimidated by Helton’s tweets; I maintain that all they were was butthurt.

But you can make up your mind for yourself: read Helton’s thread to understand what the controversy is about.

Know, too, that this isn’t just some penny-ante case: If Helton is found guilty of the charge — a felony — she can face up to FIVE YEARS behind bars.

FIVE YEARS! For what?

All Helton did was call out anti-maskers for standing up to spread false information at a public meeting. They spoke AT A PUBLIC MEETING, DURING A CALL TO THE PUBLIC, and Helton dared to correct and criticize what they said.

Helton didn’t yell at anyone at a meeting. Helton didn’t spread any disinformation, or follow any elected officials out to their cars, or picket outside anybody’s business. Had she done any of that, her speech would be protected under the First Amendment.

What else didn’t Helton do?

She didn’t purposely cough on an anti-mask advocate at a meeting (the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office declined to issue a charge on that case). She didn’t cause a meeting to be adjourned. And she also didn’t tweet that Howell should burn (no charges there yet, either).

All Helton did was speak her mind, something she’s never been afraid to do. She doesn’t hesitate to call out those with whom she doesn’t agree; she’s a skilled social media user; and she’s totally unconcerned about who gets butthurt in the process.

If she were a Republican, she’d be running the Livingston County Board of Commissioners.

But she’s not, and for that, the equally butthurt Livingston County Republican elite — all of whom I imagine have been called out by Helton at one time or another — seem eager to either exact a pound or two of flesh, or pander to its base.

Maybe both.

This whole thing started when Helton ran against now state Rep. Bob Bezotte in 2018 for a seat on the Livingston County Board of Commissioners.

It was a wild race — and while there wasn’t a chance in hell that Helton would come anywhere close to beating Bezotte, the county GOP did something unheard of in spending some bucks to put out a mail piece in an attempt to excoriate Helton.

Why would the Livingston GOP do that? You can read all about it by clicking here.

This whole thing smacks of a political takedown at taxpayer expense. Will Livingston County Prosecutor David Reader issue a charge in this case?

I’ll cast all my ballots — every single one of them — that he won’t.

And in the meantime, Butthurt-Gate has gone viral. News outlets across the country are picking up on the story, it’s making the rounds on social media, and it’s playing just like I suspected it would: as an attempt to quash the free speech of someone speaking out against the misinformation of the anti-maskers.

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