Some of you may have read the story in the Oakland Press about Andrea McNinch, who had her electricity cut off by DTE. She took her case to court--without a lawyer-- and lost.
This Is Not a Setback for Our Cause
On the face of it, it might appear that all is lost. That is hardly the case. There was in fact no legal merit to the claims submitted by McNinch. When you take a case to court, you have to provide arguments that have legal merit. Andrea did not. She made assertions that were not backed up by facts, and she did not provide the appropriate case law to support her claims. Instead, her method involved legal theories that no judge could or would find valid.
The fact that the judge ruled against her does not mean that these meters are either legal or safe. It means that McNinch did not adequately defend her actions. If you go to court, no matter how right you are, you have to be able to support your arguments. Assertions are not fact. They are assertions. The method McNinch and Take Back Your Power producer Josh del Sol advocate would be like you going into court and saying to the judge, “So-and-so owes me money. Because they owe me money, I’m entitled to it.” And that would be pretty much your whole argument, with a few choice quotes to the Federalist papers or the Bible thrown in because you agree with what they say. But just because we believe something, or something is morally right, doesn’t mean it will hold water legally. You might believe a company sold you something under false pretenses, but you would have to prove it in court, not just say they did you wrong. You would also have to cite the law that said stealing was a crime, not just reference the immorality of theft.
What happened to McNinch does not in any way reflect what would happen to others. If that person asserted the legal arguments you can find on our website and at Michigan Stop Smart Meters, that person would have a good shot at winning, provided they had a competent lawyer. To win your case, you have to have the right arguments. Click here to see the arguments we have made in our court of appeals case.You will see from that the care that must be taken, the detail that must be used, and also that you have to choose your arguments. You can't just assert any old thing. Your arguments depend on context, and if you are smart, you will choose the arguments that will work best in a given situation.
Action for Everyone to Take
DTE and the press need to see how many people are appalled at this. Right now, the majority of comments are by trolls who denigrate people who are electrosensitve. Comment!! If you are reading this, you can take the time to write even a simple comment like, "I support what Andrea McNinch did. People are harmed by smart meters." Also "like" others' comments.
Please be sure to comment on the Oakland Press website, Macomb Daily, and the Channel 7 Facebook page. Keep us posted of other places this story appears. We only know of media stories if you send them to us. Please counteract both the people who say smart meters aren’t dangerous and also let people know that McNinch did not adequately support her claims, so the judge's ruling does not set a precedent. TThe Macomb Daily comments are horrible, so please be sure to post there. Also see Channel 7 website.
More on Why McNinch’s and Take Back Your Power’s
Tactics Will Not Work
Tactics Will Not Work
What Take Back Your Power and McNinch claim is that you can force a self-executing contract on DTE. You can’t. There are a few rules in almost every agreement which provide that when a given circumstance occurs, certain specific results must automatically follow. That is self-executing. But you cannot unilaterally tell someone they must do something. That is what the Take Back Your Power documents do. Read more about this and related tactics at Michigan Stop Smart Meters.
Take Back Your Power advises people to send to DTE a series of documents. This is what Andrea McNinch sent in to DTE. They are full of assertions and Biblical quotations. It did not work, and with good reason. (BTW, their governmental immunity claims would never hold up in court, even if they were backed up by facts.)
Nonetheless, even though their attempts at working in the courts did not work, it is important to note that Josh del Sol has done our cause a great service with his powerful movie about the smart grid, and Andrea McNinch by bringing that movie to many in Michigan and by courageously standing up to DTE.