Don responds

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, a friend of mine, Donald W. Larson, began to air his war rhetoric on his web site. If you go there and start reading his site at 9/11 (link corrected) you'll see what I mean. Don was and still is very angry, and with good reason.

At the same time I was very very scared about what was going on, and afraid for the safety of my family. What I read on his site disturbed me, and then he started to reply to my feelings on my site with a very agressive tone.

Eventually he said this, and it (along with what had already been said) really upset me.

Don: RE: It's not over yet

Take care my friend. Some enemy agents may yet crash a plane into the buildings near or at where you work or do worse things.

I chatted a with another great friend, Seth, that week. He knew from 9/11 forward how scared I was and how I was feeling. I hadn't said anything to Don privately or publicly about having him stop speaking to me online, because I really hate censorship and I didn't want to hurt my friend, even though he was hurting me.

Seth replied to Don, in my defense (because I wasn't defending myself, apparently):

Seth: Re: It's not over yet

I know how much this is bothering Jim (not just your comments), and I'm surprised he hasn't already asked you to stop.

Don replied... he rightly referred to Seth's asking him to stop as censorship.

Don: Re: It's not over yet

As for censorship, because I'm not a pacifist, Jim can decide it's his site.

Don was right. It is my site. Asking him to stop posting here wouldn't be removing his right to speak his mind, because he has his own site to do that on, and many other public spaces he can share his opinion. I would only be revoking his PRIVILEGE to do that on my site which I pay for and represent. I had already unsubscribed from his site's mailing list, and decided that not hearing from him on my site would rid me of his negative vibes while we both heal from the events of 9/11.

Jim: Re: It's not over yet

I didn't ask you to stop posting on my list but unfortunately now I think it's time to do that. You have your own site to spread your opinion on. I suggest you do that.

Don respects my request (this was September 14th... wow, what a flurry of thoughts and fear in only 4 days):

Don: Re: It's not over yet

Okay, I will abide by your request to stop posting.

Then on November 18th, he appeared on my site again. I had not given him permission to post on my web site again, but I also hadn't revoked his ABILITY to by disabling his account, because I thought he would respect my request and disabling his account was further than I was comfortable going.

RE: Fantasy Politics


We Americans know and understand that others, especially foreigners, may be unhappy about what we do here in our own country. No need to worry, we are in control. It would be a really sad day when we Americans worry about what outsiders think we should do.

I have spoken a lot in the past about my opinion that some Americans don't care about how the world perceives them, and that some of these external perceptions lead to a hatred for their country in many regions. Don decided to disrepect my request by offering such obvious flame bait, pushing my buttons and at the same time invalidating my opinion, because he considers me a foreigner/outsider.

Then on American Thanksgiving I explained why I had been upset about the lack of American response to their quickly eroding civil liberties. Don decided to respond (on my site again, instead of his own) with his boxing gloves on. Screw my request, he was in control and didn't need to worry about my opinion. My space was his space, he believes, and says so here...

Don: RE: Happy Thanksgiving USA

Until weblogs or other sites become restrictive, to private only, I will follow my right to give my opinions for views aired in public spaces.

First of all he's mistaken to think he has any right to post on my site. He's also mistaken to think he can slap me in the face and get away with it. Again, I bite my lip and respond as politely as possible.

Jim: Re: Happy Thanksgiving USA

This time I am asking you not to post because by continuing to post and ignore my requests, you are showing me an unacceptable level of disrespect. If you respected me you would respect my request.

I also said it has been suggested I simply disable his account, but that I didn't want to do have to do that.

Yesterday, Don responded to to my last message to him on his site. That's great!

Here's my response to particular parts of his response. I suggest you read the whole thing first so, I'm not trying to taint his message by not including it in full here. This is getting long enough, so the link above gives you access to his full thoughts.

When Friends Collide

I am a proud American. If you come to my country and put it down. I will find a way to make it uncomfortable to you.

This clearly shows how distant our friendship is now. He wants to find ways to make it uncomfortable for me. I don't think there are many proud Americans that think it's right to make people feel uncomfortable to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave just because their beliefs differ. Don is intolerant of my opinion.

When Friends Collide

But you know what, I couldn't find any law supporting the right to prohibit Free Speech on a public website just because the Administrator doesn't like me. So when people make that claim that they will shut me off, they are going against the law.

Don is spinning things, presenting me to his readers as something I'm not. He says "the Administrator doesn't like me", but, I do like Don. Don was a gentle spirit before 9/11, and cared for others' feelings. I am concerned for his spirit right now, I'm worried about how far he'd be willing to take his intolerance and his spite for my right to be comfortable. I hold hope that some day Don will return to caring about everyone's feelings, not just those of people who agree with him unconditionally.

Don tries to suggest asking him not to post here is illegal. I am not a lawyer but I'm 99.999% sure that he has no legal right to post on my web site if I don't want him to. He has no more right to speak here as he does to B&E into my house and shout at me.

I've shown Don the door and closed it behind him. I haven't locked the door. If he reenters this house then he is breaking and entering and shouting at me, and I would have to think that might be illegal, or, if not, quite unethical.

When Friends Collide

Some people make comments that I take personally but I am not allowed to respond with personal comments in return.

He is allowed to. He can respond on his site. In fact I don't know why he wouldn't prefer that because he controls that space and can preach to his own choir there, so to speak.

When Friends Collide

He claims it public except to people, like me, who challenge him on his views. Does that sound public or private to you?

I welcome people to offer their views even if they differ with mine. This happens just about every day, thankfully. It'd be dull if everyone agreed with me. Brian Carnell disagrees and fills the gaps in my knowledge all the time. I've emailed him privately and told him how much I respect him, and I've never asked him not to post here. Or anyone else, if I remember correctly.

Ironicly, only Don, the gentle man, my ex co-worker who never had a bad thing to say about anyone before 9/11. It truly saddens me to close the door on him. I've re-read the stuff he wrote the week of 9/10-9/14, and it doesn't offend me nearly as much now as it did then. But after 9/11 I was in a different frame of mind. I wrote on my site how scared I was. What he wrote to me offended me and scared me and I asked him to stop at that time. What I take offense to now is his repeated disrespect for my request to have him stop.

What really bothers me is that he if he had emailed me first and asked my persmission to post I would have given him permission, because I am not in the same frame of mind as I was on 9/14. But instead of treating me and my site with respect he just walked in and started ranting.

If in future, next year at the earliest unless I say otherwise, he asks me for permission to re-enter this discussion, I'll probably say yes. But in the mean time, I hope he decides to start respecting people's feelings and opinions again, even if they offend him. He used to do this, and we were friends despite our secret disagreements.

Don has posted some emails from people who read his response to me. Some of these people don't appear to know anything about me except for what they're read in that one piece, and perhaps from the Happy Thanksgiving USA thread that he pointed to, and are reacting from that narrow view of the situation. He didn't point to the things he said in the past that led to the current situation. This redirection makes it seem as though I'm trying to ban him just because of that one response, which would be ludicrous, and isn't the truth.

If Don really wants to make this a balanced discussion, he'll point to this message in my discussion group so people can see my view of the situation and see my true feelings.

You an also search the discussion database on this site if you want more context than this message has provided.

Written on November 25, 2001