Texas woman makes dumb choice to stop smart meter installation
Thelma Taormina isn't exactly keen on smart meters. So when a utility worker arrived at her Houston home to install one of the devices, she did what any totally rational homeowner would do: She grabbed her gun.
As I’ve reported before, not all homeowners are entirely jazzed about the possibility of having a smart meter installed by a local utility company on their property, and it’s usually for reasons of Big Brotherly paranoia privacy along with health concerns surrounding exposure to the radio waves emitted by the wireless devices (you’d have to be constantly exposed to a household smart meter for more than 1,000 years to reach the same level of radio wave exposure experienced by the typical cellphone user in a single month, apparently). Anti-smart meter sentiment is especially strong in California where statewide opt-out programs — want to keep your analog meter? Fine, but you’ll have to pay for it — have been enacted by utilities and some activist groups have turned to somewhat drastic measures in an effort to keep utilities from installing the devices in their communities.
And then there’s Thelma Taormina, an anti-smart meter activist who was wearing her finest pair of crazypants on the day when a CenterPoint Energy employee showed up at her Houston area home and attempted to install one of the devices. After the worker arrived and defied the "no smart meters" signs plastered around the property, the 55-year-old homeowner made it clear to him that she was packing heat. I guess screaming bloody murder or unleashing the attack dogs wasn't an option that day. Obviously, once Taormina brandished her firearm the utility worker got the hell out of there.
“He just kept pushing me away. He saw (the gun), and went back the other way,” Taormina told KHOUGH 11 News. Taormina, who is licensed to carry a weapon, continues: “Our constitution allows us not to have that kind of intrusion on our personal privacy. They’ll be able to tell if you are running your computer, air conditioner, whatever it is."
Oy vey. CenterPoint Energy is perturbed by the incident to say the least. Says a company spokesperson:
We are deeply troubled by anyone who would pull a gun on another person performing their job. CenterPoint will be taking additional steps — including court actions — because what happened is dangerous, illegal and unwarranted.
As for Taormina's husband, a fellow who shares his wife's feelings towards smart meters (together, they founded a local anti-smart meter group called "We the People"), he tells KHOUGH11: "I am very upset with it."
The comments section over at KHOUGH 11 provides plenty of insight into what local folks think about the incident. Some commenters applaud Taormina's actions, labeling her as some sort of anti-"spying device" heroine. Others think she's simply a paranoid wackjob who stepped way over the line. Others fall somewhere into the middle. And then some commenters, such as one Steve Settles, is using the smart meter showdown as an excuse to flex his comedic chops: "See here Thelma, all ya gots to do is get ya one a 'em alimeenum colanders for strainin' greens and put it right top your head. That way them durn commie power folks can't read your thoughts! Furthamore, Thelma, as long as ur air conditioner and coffee pot are runnin' that there 256-bit AES encryption algorithm betwixt it 'n' yur access point, them pinko b***ds can't crack your temperature preferences or inclination towards Maxwell House!"
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