Be Nice Or Leave

It has been almost a week since that piece in the paper yet the trolls aren’t done with me.

To my lovely friends who have tried to silence them with reason, I ask you this.

Please stop. You are only feeding the beast. Ignore them and they will move on to fresh meat.

I can see why teenagers commit suicide from being bullied on the internet. Bully isn’t even the right word. Torment, abuse, violate, and slander is more like it.

Internet anonymity is the scourge of modern society. Every morning I tell myself to just make it through another day and eventually it will blow over.

Lonny has been on the Daily Camera’s website flagging inappropriate material. This is hard on him, too.

It’s amazing the amount of time and energy our anonymous tormenter(s) has for digging into our records. He/she has published our address and the details of our house purchase and drawn many conclusions from them.

He/she has called for us to be reported to the IRS for not reporting our income (I’m not sure how that conclusion was reached, of course we report our income) reporting us to our insurance company (they know what we do, of course) and the city for breaking the law, because that’s what criminals do.

They get on the front page of the newspaper and tell everyone what they are doing.

It’s such a head scratcher.

Then there are the personal attacks which are too many to list.

I’d had enough so I wrote this letter to Kevin Kaufman at Daily Camera. He has administrative control over the comment section.

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His response was this:

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In other words, I deserved it. Wow.

Yes, my address is a public record but isn’t publishing someone’s address on a hateful string of comments threatening? Unless it is so people can deliver hot soup and flowers, it’s a threat.

Get ’em.

No, my short-term rental isn’t a public business, at least as far as the city is concerned, which is why we are not required to charge an additional sales tax. That might change, but his claim is false.

Most of all, could he be a human being for one second?

Could he respond to the deep distress of someone who agreed to be interviewed by his paper so he can sell copies and reap advertising rewards? If people like me refuse to be interviewed, where does that land the paper? Reporting the weather and Dear Abby?

For the record, I brought this up with Erica Meltzer, the reporter whom I worked with. She was very sympathetic. Even though she couldn’t change the paper’s policy, she had the decency to respond with compassion.

This is what I said in a letter to the Daily Camera:

I know what happens to people when they are in the news, they immediately become targets. Even the most innocuous local portrait piece could put the subject in the crosshairs of merciless critics. No one is safe.

I have tried to steer clear of the comment section but people can’t help but tell me about the lies, vitriol and threats directed at me and my husband.

I realize that I signed up for this when I agreed to speak on the record, but I feel that you as a news source must bear some responsibility for allowing this type of behavior to take place on your forum by allowing anonymous comments.

I can say with absolute authority that I will never agree to be interviewed by anyone who allows unmoderated and anonymous comments. I realize the best thing I can do is ignore the comments, but I have been called a tax evader, trust-funder, criminal, etc. without any onus on the accuser to be accountable for his/her claims. 

I have been threatened on your site to be turned into the IRS, reported to my insurance company, etc., and all I hope is that they find someone else (someone running a charity, perhaps an orphanage or a horse rescue?) to kick around.

I am done speaking up. It has taken an enormous toll on me and my family. I can see how this could be devastating to people who do not have the emotional resources to deal with this kind of treatment.

I hope you will consider curtailing this kind of commentary in the future. Only a fool would open themselves up for it. I guess it says what kind of person I am.

So I’ll wait this thing out, but incase you have been reading the comments and want to know about how we came about this house here it is.

Lonny’s brother bought it in 1988 with the help of their father, ergo it is under his father’s name, but David made the payments. Then David died. It was tragic.

The house was put into a trust and Lonny took over in 1991 or thereabouts. Same deal, he got housemates, paid the mortgage and took care of it. In other words, he bought the house.

Over the years we’ve made it what it is now, in part with the income we make from renting it out, short term or otherwise.

The house is still in a trust, it’s how Lonny’s family handled the property when David died, but that doesn’t make us trust-funders. It doesn’t mean we don’t pay 100% of the taxes, mortgage, expenses, etc. ourselves. It doesn’t mean that we are independently wealthy and don’t work.

We live in a great house in a wonderful town. It was purchased for under $200K 25 years ago because that’s what houses went for back then. It was a lot of money back then.

We’ve remodeled, rebuilt it after the fire (no, insurance did not pay for it entirely, we took out a second mortgage) and it has increased in value due to our hard work and the market, but we are still the same people.

We are doing what Americans are supposed to do, make the most out of what we’ve got.

My long-time readers know how hard Lonny works. He works every single day of the week and late into the night. Even on vacation we are working, just ask my kids.

Me? I clean toilets for a living. I wash people’s dishes, make their beds, I allow them under my roof even though it is stressful for me. It’s not what rich people do.

If I suddenly became fantastically rich do you know what would be the first thing I would do?

I’d stop renting out my house because it’s a job and who needs that when you’ve got millions?

Anyway, there. I’ve said my peace.

I have a lot of new followers due to the piece in the paper. I don’t know why but hey, welcome to my world. It’s usually not this heavy.

This is my personal blog and I don’t give a shit how many followers I have. I write for myself. I write for my dad. I write for my friends who want to keep up with me.

I only have one rule.

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19 thoughts on “Be Nice Or Leave

  1. Ugh, it is disgusting how much time some people put into antagonizing others online. How do they have so much free time? And why so much hate? Sorry you’re going through this. I’m all for open discussion, but not when people get so ugly. Hang in there and fuck the haters. You’re a good person and Jeff, Lily and I love you!

  2. These unmonitored comment spaces hosted by organizations that profit from generous contributors and then allow them to be anonymously trashed are unconscionable. At some point, the paper will run out of contributors willing to provide news to print, at which point it will be nothing more than an unmonitored chat room. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. I know how much you’ve put into trying to make a difference. L, D

  3. Just had a nice read through the comments section. I am very disappointed with the Daily Camera. Oh, wait…no I’m not because I know that they are paid per click on articles with ads on. Therefore, the comments earn them money. Anonymous commenting means that peeps comment and argue a lot more than the would otherwise. That means more $$ for the good old Camera.

    So yeah, I should have known better than to think they would moderate vile creatures that like to post narky comments.

  4. I just want to say you are very brave and that Kevin guy is not. It really sucks when you are in the middle of such nastiness.
    When I find people are doing all of this passive-aggressive shit it makes me wonder how many of them would be so “bold” if they had to sign their names to the comments.
    I can’t wait for you to have all of this under the bridge and have all of the those nasty shitheads move on to something/someone else.

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