I got to know Kirby and Renee Kester. In only a few days I know they will be friends for life. I can't wait to visit them again.
Kirby is the President Elect of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, a group representing the interests of several agricultural companies on the island of Kauai. I've posted much about the situation there. In short, residents believe the companies are poisoning the island with GM crops and pesticides, the companies say that they are doing everything in strict accordance to regulation and with sensitivity to the island. HCIA is their united organization.
The discussion has become personal and contentious. While I was there, a Facebook page emerged---
A malicious smear on a scientist and all-around good guy.
The smear on Kirby does not really fit the topic of identify theft per se, but it is parody with an intent to harm and defame. Personally, this made my skin crawl. Even worse, look at the items they post there. Here's a for instance:
When you can't fight the science, fight the scientist. Typical tactics of anti-GMO.
I got to know Kirby pretty well. He's soft-spoken, kind and warm. His interest is in breeding improved crops to help farmers produce more with fewer expensive and environmentally-impacting inputs. He was a little bit of a fish out of water in the public forums as he honestly answered questions from concerned citizens. He didn't speak to avoid the gotchas that his critics quickly grabbed onto. He cares deeply about the Island, the people and the industry that shares the space. He's a community leader and gives his time to the schools, is a football coach and actively participates in his church.
That's why I took this Facebook impersonation a little bit personally-- because he doesn't.
Why Anton? I can only think that the devilish persona was best amplified by reference to Anton LeVey, a dead guy that was the author of the Satanic Bible. Again, nothing further from the truth.
THE POINT. The reason to make this post is to show you how this movement operates. Here is a solid citizen, a good guy and an excellent scientist that simply has the audacity to work for a company that some people hate. They don't like his company, so they try to smear him personally.
THE OTHER POINT. Kirby shrugs it off. In fact, he never mentioned it. He's got a job to do, a family to raise, and people on an island he cares about.
He has bigger things to worry about.