Apr 9, 2017

A Death in Iowa—Bullied by Pro-Factory Farm Trolls, Mason City Councilman Kills Himself

Mason City Globe Gazette obituary for Alex Kuhn.
(Photo: Special to The Des Monies Register)
"There won’t be any bullies to burden your way. No words that cut like a knife at the end of the day."
— verse from a poem to Alex Kuhn from his father, Mark, after his son's death, (Basu, Des Monies Register)

It's not just community and family that are betrayed by factory farm corporations befouling and depleting water.

A young man in Iowa is now part of the carnage.

Extraordinary reporting by Rekha Basu of the Des Monies Register tells the story of a brilliant, socially conscious 34-year-old man driven to suicide last year by people with no conscience.

Trolls and bullies drove Alex Kuhn to suicide for successfully standing up for clean water in his capacity as a Mason City councilman. Basu wrote the feature-length piece because the Mason City paper, the Mason City Globe Gazette, ignored the harassment that Kuhn's father substantiated.

Alex Kuhn served his community in Mason City, Iowa
Kuhn opposed the siting of a 10,000-swine, pork-processing plant in Mason City, Iowa by the Prestige Foods of Iowa corporation, (Prestage Farms). The Prestige Foods siting was killed on May 3, 2016 after a 3-3 vote Mason City Council vote.

"Two months later, Kuhn shot and killed himself, after his friends and family say he was pressured and blamed for the outcome," reports Rekha Basu of the Register.

Writes Basu:

Once heralded by people from both parties as destined to go far in politics, praised for his compassion and commitment to the underrepresented as well as to economic development, Kuhn now found himself an outcast among the city's powerful. He became a casualty of the divisive, high-pressured, back-biting political environment.

His father, Mark Kuhn, is blunt: 'Alex was being bullied.' ...

The failure of the Prestage deal inflamed politicians, agribusinesses, local business boosters and government economic development folks, the father, Mark Kuhn says. But it was the wrath of those Alex considered his friends, particularly the mayor, that really hurt him. 

Is this where Wisconsin is headed? Illinois?

From Rekha Basu:

With his youthful good looks, intelligence, political pedigree and knack for getting along with everyone, Alex Kuhn was often likened to a young John Kennedy. He grew up around both politics and farming, having clerked for his father, a former Democratic state representative now on the Floyd County Board of Supervisors, and helped on the family's 850-acre farm in Charles City, southeast of Mason City. After graduating from high school there in 2000 and Iowa State University in 2004, he went to Houston, Texas, to student-teach. But when his father was injured the following year in a farming accident, Alex returned to help. 

What is wrong with people who harass a man to death for defending water?

Water is life. Not everyone understands or cares, though.

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