So I was invited to a dinner event of the Columbia, Missouri Dinner Train on Facebook. I remember the Dinner Train from a small protest that the Columbia Missourian reported on last year:
A line of 14 people formed at the opening of the Columbia Star Dinner Train Friday night – with no intention to ride.
The Columbia Star’s inaugural run was met by protesters from the disabilities community wielding signs with phrases such as “I would rather be on the dinner train” and “I have wheels, will you subsidize me?”
Protesters began arriving around 5 p.m. to protest the train’s first ride. At the demonstration, many protesters voiced their disapproval of the council’s use of public funding and resources to support the business coming to Columbia.
Last year, the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau approved $45,000 to help move the train to Columbia from Denver, Iowa. About $20,000 more in public money was used to upgrade the exisiting train station’s facilities and prepare them for use. The Columbia Star also uses the city’s rail line, which runs between Columbia and Centralia and the city-owned train station at 6501 Brown Station Road.
“Our biggest problem is that the government gave $65,000 to the business,” Allison Reinhart, one of the protesters, said. “The business being inaccessible is bad, but them giving the train tax dollars is what we’re mad about.”
Anyway, so when I received the unsolicited Facebook invite to the Dinner Train event I left a comment about how the Dinner Train shouldn’t be taking public money to support its business. That’s my view, and I don’t apologize for it, although I recognize that other people disagree with me, sometimes profoundly. I do respect other viewpoints and take them seriously and civilly in the public discourse. Anyway, my comments led an employee of the Columbia Dinner Train, Kyle Brandon Blaeuer, to send me a rather nasty private message:
Hey i just wanted to let you know i’m a Columbia resident and i personally work on this train. I am a college student and I make more money in one day on the train than I make working full time at my other job. You are a stupid fucking sand nigger from Colorado. why dont you waste your time trying to bitch on peoples sites that abuse unemployment or do other things instead of employing people in this town, bringing tax revenue, and helping college students get by. How pathetic are you? go back to your fucking country and stay out of ours! you are nothing but a brown worthless nigger. If our country had more people like you trying to ruin everyone else business then we would be more like your worthless sand-ridden mess of an area you and your worthless bloodline descended. Die and shut the fuck up. Give other people jobs because without this job i’d be in a much worse place. Your pathetic. enjoy ranting about something that happened 18 months ago, and cant be changed, and has helped our community since the first day. I hope you get to give the same for your community. A bunch of stoners and worthless fucks just like you. Enjoy.
I am a natural born citizen (Houston, Texas, 1984). I lived in Columbia for 9 years and put myself through school working in the wine and restaurant industries. I don’t care to disclose my income or charity but I have made substantial investments in the community during my time in Columbia. I now work in Denver as a political consultant though I hope to return to Columbia at some point in the next few years as it is a great place to raise a family. Anyway, I hope Mr. Blaeuer can learn how to disagree civilly over politics and economics and not stoop t0 calling me “sand-nigger” and spewing racist vitriol in the future; otherwise he will remain a discredit to his company and his community.