Poisoning the Well [link fixed]
So where are we now? Have we finally turned the final corner into complete corruption and chaos? Is there nothing for readers to do but evacuate the community completely, leaving it to those who refuse to do something to keep reading safe? As I said initially, I have always been a fighter, but I am at a loss at this point. I do know that our book community still has many important voices, and it wasn’t too long ago that we saw a powerful communal stand against the silencing of book bloggers. As inspiring and awesome as that was, we’re clearly dealing with something that manifests destruction in myriad ways and from multiple directions at once. Just yesterday a UK reader reported being physically assaulted by an author. How many more have been threatened, stalked, harassed, or even assaulted?
And the attack: What Really Happened
ROB lives in London. I live in the East of Scotland (not Glasgow as everyone seems to think – I’m North of Edinburgh). There was no way he would come all the way from London to hit me and leave.
I went home, and another officer came out to see me that night to read me my statements and ask if I wanted to add anything. I mentioned ROB and showed her pictures of him. Immediately, she called her boss and investigations into him went underway immediately. The next day, as I was preparing for my holiday to Zakynthos (still went and had fun, despite my sore head) when two detectives came to confirm for me it was indeed ROB who had hit me. They explained that he had come from London on Thursday, and arrived in my town on Friday morning. He came into my place of work to look for me, but couldn’t find me, so left and came back later when I was working. He hit me, and went back to London shortly after.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
And people have wondered why I won’t give out my address? Why I even avoid entering most online contests?
Worst of all, it was HarperCollins — the very publisher that betrayed a reader in the Hale story — that I wouldn’t give my address to several years ago. And judging from the shit I got in Comments from an innocuous post I did about that book, I was right not to trust that publisher. What shit might I have faced in person had I disclosed my address?
There is something very, very wrong with many people on the Net. It seems too many don’t have experience in real life with people. Because if they pulled any of the shit they do online in real life, they’d quickly learn that’s not something you do, period.
I have a record of screaming loudly at people. But it’s never a personal attack. It’s an attack on ideas I disagree with. And I’m always willing to be shown to be wrong (just ask Jane Litte of Dear Author how she changed my mind — or, stated more plainly: educated me — about the entire field of Romance publishing!). Stupidity, greed, corruption, smugness are my enemies — not people. It just so happens people embody those traits.
But the idea of tracking someone down because they hurt my feelings is something I just can’t imagine. What kind of person stews like that? What kind of person is so driven to get at somebody that they would spend that amount of time online in such an obsession?
A sick person is the kind of person.
And there are plenty of those on the Internet — and all around us in the real life.
We live in a world in which we have metal detectors at entrances and anti-shoplifting detectors at exits. And, in between, surveillance cameras. If that’s not enough to tell you we’re surrounded by people who can’t be trusted, then I don’t know where you’ve been all this time.
So give up my address online? Accept your silly suggestion in email that we meet?
To that poor young woman who was bashed on the skull with a wine bottle by that sick guy, here’s a newsflash: Be glad you live in a country where he couldn’t easily get a gun.
Same-day update: I’d forgotten something I posted back in 2012: Literary Agent Attacked By Rejected Writer Who Stalked Her Online. I’d forgotten about it because who expects this kind of shit? And if you don’t understand the kind of damage getting hit on the head with a wine bottle can do, see here.