(Oops Bob posted while I was busy in my wp. I agree with what he says too)
As you know in the past I haven't always seen eye to eye with Ron, especially on this "censorship" issue. I have come to realise two things:
Firstly, that in the public forum we often only see part of the story.
Secondly, that forum life, while mirroring real life in some ways, differs from it in at least one important respect: someone with a dubious agenda always has a platform within a close knit restricted community.
In the present case I had the doubtful "pleasure" of having hours of spare time this last week to spend reading all the relevant posts and to do a little bit of further research, and I have no hesitation in saying that in this instance Ron was extremely forbearing.
We can all be pompous and egotistical, dictatorial and impatient - I know I certainly am, but it's practically impossible for the owner of a site like this, if he takes an active role like Ron does, to avoid such a charge. I mean Ron has irritated the hell out of me at times with what comes over occasionally as his condescending attitude, and I know I have given him a few of the same moments, but at the end of the day he's the guy who has to carry the can for the smooth running of the site. And, given the level of freedom of expression that's allowed here, that's no easy responsibility.
You make the point that VB only had a week, and that Ron didn't give him as much time as other difficult members. In point of fact I think the reverse of what you were implying should be the norm. New members should actually be given far less time and rope than established members. Look at it this way: an established member who has behaved ok and suddenly goes off the rails, or alternates good and bad behaviour has at least perhaps earned a little leeway for his good contributions. In this case a new member pretty much opened the batting with replies often dressed up as "poetry" which were little more than attacks on members' beliefs. He was asked to refrain from disrespectful comments on many occasions (including by you) and showed absolutely no intention of doing so, preferring instead to make the disrespectful comments and then pretend he was "only kidding" or "playing the thread for a laugh" as well as playing other members off against each other. If somebody is going out of his way to show disrespect, and at the same time making only superficial attempts to engage in any exchange of ideas, you begin to suspect that the disrespect or the "having fun" is the main part of the agenda, at which point, if you are like me (which you and Stephen aren't), and have a fairly short fuse for that type of behaviour, you begin to play him at his own game, and then the whole fabric of the community relationships starts to unravel. Ron could no doubt see the probability of that happening, and in my view, wisely called a halt.
Yes, it's sad to see someone as intelligent, and occasionally witty, as that banned, and in everyday life it would have doubtless have been possible to isolate him from being able to cause trouble to a whole community, and to work through the issues he clearly has. But that's not possible here. You either let well alone and risk the mayhem escalating, or you spend hours and hours as Ron no doubt did, clearing up and firefighting. After a while that becomes mentally and physically impractical - so if the problem is continuing, showing no sign of abating after 150 posts, you reluctantly remove the problem. And VB did have problems. By his own admission, a mental illness which must have caused him a major challenge. But, as I eventually realised, this is no environment in which to try and give someone in that frame of mind the help he needs.
Finally, on the "family" thing. What did you expect? A ballot of members as to whether he should go or stay? Which members? A special committee? How about the problem of dissemination of all the information they would have needed to make a fair decision? I've never liked power without responsibility, and apart from being totally impractical, consulting members would be precisely that. No, Ron (and maybe some mods) has the responsibility, he should also have the power imo. That way we can blame him when things go wrong . In this case though I think he got it right.