I will not use my blog to incite others

Edit: I wanted to leave a little not here. Some comments I have not approved and I don’t feel comfortable approving. I wrote this post in support of Anne, who got more than just the one death threat in relation to my post. She also got comments and emails and a tireless parade of douchebags, and guys, no matter how much I want to say those people are just crazy, not everyone is. My post had a direct involvement on making people look harshly at Anne, and that is my main concern. I influenced people to look harshly at a very nice person. No matter what you think of me or her personally it is obvious that I am the one in the wrong here and I do have something to atone for.

That should be a given right? And we all know Pam jumps up on her soap box now and then the keyboard gnash about the latest dramz and give an opinion, even though Pam hasn’t done that in a long time because Pam decided to stop doing that but yeah from time to time Pam has done that. Pam will also stop talking about herself in the third person now.

I realized I haven’t always researched things fully before posting, and 99% of the time I have had things right. But last night I learned of something that I had caused, and never knew anything about, something I would never condone. Something I couldn’t even believe could ever happen after someone reading one of my gnashing posts in the crude style I favor.

Someone read my blog and sent a death threat to the person I blogged about complete with a picture of the person’s house.

I wrote this post back in November. It was a topic that hit the tweetosphere quickly and I felt a desire to post. I went with my smart-assed, gnashing style, and I really felt the author’s comments on my post were helpful to me understanding what she meant by her post.

You see we both used style in our writings for that day. She went with fun and witty for grandma’s. I went with parody of an asshole. I didn’t get any death threats though.

I’ve been going over this all night in my head. I caused someone to actually fear for their life and it involved the police. I made this woman worry about meeting me later in the year, because having one dealing with my blog and I acted like a douchecanoodle.

What makes me feel even worse is I never even knew about this until last night when a mutual friend of ours told me about it. A million sorrys will not make this better, and I am only writing this for three reasons.
To give a public apology.
To own my mistake.
And to tell you guys that this can happen. There are sick fucks online. I never want to be the cause of someone else’s fear again, and I will do my damnedest not to be.

13 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    Wow…that’s about the only way I can start this.

    I’m not entirely sure this is fair.

    Someone that’s so crazy as to make a death threat because of your words, was about to slip off the edge of sanity regardless. Of course I understand why you feel the way you do, but I don’t think you’re the soul reason for this happening. If it was, indeed, your post that was this persons’ turning point, I have a feeling that switch would have been flipped, with, or without you. Maybe they just would’ve gone in a different direction.

    I’m really sorry you had to experience this. And to the person who was on the receiving end. I hope whoever sent that threat was dealt with accordingly.

    Someone needs to design a filter to take the cray cray out of the water. To the Matt Cave!

  2. Gravatar

    Holy cr*p. Some idjit thought a threat was a ‘good’/appropriate response? _Seriously_ scary stuff. I’m sorry the author had to go through that, I cannot imagine. CAN NOT. Hugs to her, because no one ever deserves to be tracked down and threatened.

    And you! OI! It’s clear you’d never, ever condone such an action, and with your blog being the starting point for the insanity…you must be beating yourself up. (((hugs))) That person’s irrationality is NOT your fault, as bad as you feel about the whole thing.

  3. Gravatar

    As heartfelt and honest as this post is, I have to agree with Merrick. I read the entire original post, your responsive post, AND all 196 comments in the original post. At no point did you write anything I perceived as inciting violence. If someone followed links from your blog to the other blog, and behaved like a lunatic, *you* are not responsible for said lunatics behavior.

    Frankly, I think less of the other blogger for holding you at all responsible for that lunatic’s actions. In fact, I now want to write a blog about how crazy people are responsible for their own crazy and if I write a blog or a magazine article or a book that, coincidentally, an insane person decides is written directly to them as gospel for some insidious destructiveness I refuse to be held responsible.

    I am compelled to apologize to you that you were treated as though anything you said somewhere implied that death threats should be delivered. You didn’t, it wasn’t, and you are obviously a very professional and dignified person to write a wonderfully insightful apology post.

  4. Gravatar

    I agree with the first comment. You are not responsible for the actions of others, nor do your words constitute the legal definition of “incitement” which is a direct request for action or language of sufficient emotional charge so as to be construed as a request. You did not ask for someone to kill this person and you did not say “I wish someone would kill them” after feaongering and and attempting to convince others that your argument is action-worthy.

    I get that you’re worried and sickened, but that’s just proof of your real nature.

    You’re great Pam, and sometimes the rhetorical devices are what’s necessary to make the point. Trust me. I’m actually frankly surprised this hasn’t happened to me given how often I e ranted on my blog.

  5. Gravatar

    I don’t see anything in your original post that was particularly “inciting,” though. The woman wrote a public post asking people to help her game the system, and you responded that no, it was not okay (in your eyes) to game the system and that as an agent it turned you off.

    There are sick fucks online. There are sick fucks offline. Do churches close up shop when sick fucks do crazy things in the name of religion? Do preachers keep preaching? No.

    I’m sorry this happened to you. I still think your points in that post–that gaming the system is wrong–were valid.

  6. Gravatar

    I agree with M.R. I doubt your blog was the cause of the threat. If it wasn’t your blog, it would’ve been something else. THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. It sounds like the person doing the death threats needs to seek professional help and lets hope they are getting it.

  7. Gravatar

    Holy….I don’t think I have an epithet worthy of the crazy.

    *blink* *blink, blink*

    *hugs x 1000* It’s not your fault that some whackjob fell off the sane-train but you’ve got a big heart so I know you feel like it is. We all know that you just wanted to open discussion on a topic. Nothing more. *more hugs*

  8. Gravatar

    I don’t even know what to say.

    I guess, okay, first off, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think the blame lies with your blog post. That would be like me going out and shooting something and blaming it on a violent video game or a song I heard, when truly the issue goes much deeper than that.

    So yeah. I don’t know. I was going to write a longer comment, but am a little bit speechless. It just sucks that you feel this way and some nutcase used your post as an excuse to be insane.

  9. Gravatar

    I guess I’m in a unique position, because I know both the people involved. I like Pam a lot and consider her a friend, but the woman who got the death threats has been a close friend of mine for probably 15 years or more. I feel like I’m learning something from being a spectator in this situation, but exactly what there is for a lesson is still coming together in my head. I think what’s clearest to me now is that it’s so much easier to have empathy for someone we know. And everyone who has spent time on the Internet knows that some pretty disturbing situations can arise from a lack of empathy because the object of our displeasure seems so distant, so less-than-real. But we are all very real, and I happen to know this was a very stressful and difficult situation for her. So I particularly want to thank Ellie Heller for expressing empathy to her. It’s nice that someone put herself in this woman’s shoes and made the statement that nobody deserves such treatment.

    I was hoping there would be more comments than there are so far. It’s causing me to wonder if it feels much easier and more natural for us to pile on in disgruntlement than to be part of a genuine re-examination of how we operate online. If you want to make a liar out of me by filling up this thread, please do.

    For myself, I know that I will never again join an Internet dogpile without thinking of this and taking a much closer look, if not two or three. Or maybe just assuming I probably don’t know all there is to know.

    I’m hoping this process is going to be healing and helpful for my friend. Still can be, and I would appreciate any thoughts on what I’ve just shared.

    Meanwhile, thanks, Pam, for getting the healing started.

  10. Gravatar

    Thanks for this Pam, and please don’t beat yourself up any more. This is a lesson for all of us. I actually did a similar thing once, jumping on an Internet meme and perpetuating misinformation that caused an innocent person distress.

    It’s so easy to go along with the crowd instead of checking facts.

    But as Catherine says, this wasn’t just a case of one nutjob, but many dozens of people high on self-righteous rage. They saw your post–and similar posts by others: you’re not alone–as a call to jihad.

    It’s a phenomenon of the Interwebz, unfortunately, that once a person has been named an “enemy” by a particular subculture, we get “dogpile” bullying. My Amazon buy pages were attacked, reviewers everywhere were told to refuse my books. My inbox was jammed with threatening email (the one with the photo of my house was the only one I could go to the police with because it mentioned a gun.) I didn’t go to Facebook for months. The Kindleboards, AW, and Goodreads are still minefields for me. Even the kind people who defended me were intimidated.

    And it’s still going on. I got a nasty comment on a blog just last week from a regular commenter here, who mentioned your blogpost.

    I’m not blaming you. This is a wake-up call to all of us bloggers to weigh every word. On the Interwebz a small spark can set off a major conflagration, so we need to check our facts.

    It brings to mind the UK urban myth of the US foot doctor who moved to a English country town and set up shop as a “podiatrist”. The whole town got together and murdered him–because in England, a foot doctor is called a “chiropodist” and they got it mixed up with the word “pederast” which means child molester.

    Unfortunately, the Internet is full of sad and angry people looking for a focus for that kind of self-righteous cruelty.

    But that doesn’t mean you have to be cruel to yourself. You learned something–and so did I. I look forward to getting to know you when we meet in person in the fall. :-)

  11. Gravatar

    And Ellie–Thanks a whole bunch for those hugs. Sometimes hugs are the best solution. I look forward to giving Pam a hug when we meet in person. :-)

  12. Gravatar

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  13. Gravatar

    Hi Pam!

    Okay, that truly sucks that someone would take an opinion and go BatCrapCrazy with it. (<- technical term)

    I hope you're not too hard on yourself, though. Just like you can't control what other folks think of your book, or your outfit, or your ScreamingKidInTheMiddleOfaNiceResteraunt, you also can't control when they go psycho over a blogpost.
    (Going out on a limb here, but they MAY have been psycho long before they got to your blog.)

    And to Anne: Good on you for riding this out. I can't imagine how scary that is, but I hope it doesn't stop you from speaking your mind.

    Peace and Love!

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