Several years ago, I got involved with a group of folks who were either graduates of or former students from Bob Jones University, in Greenville, South Carolina. It’s a fairly small segment of the population but BJU has a way of injecting itself and its religion into its students and the scars last a very long time.
Discord developed, as discord often does in groups, and there were a couple of women who were particularly successful and cruel in their attempts to manipulate the dialog.
They had a Facebook page, which one of them still runs, although it’s a shadow now of its former self.
Somebody started another Facebook page in opposition to them, and the result was a Facebook war. Multiple pages were started. People began slinging mud everywhere. Most of the claims were simply “she said/she said” kind of things. Everyone tried to get everyone else taken down, or put in Facebook timeout.
I watched all this unfold and figured that there was only one avenue to success.
First, it had to get off Facebook. If you play on Facebook, you’re subject to Facebook’s rules.
Second, it had stop being about “she said/she said.” Facts were all that mattered. Nothing else. And mostly, it needed to consist of the words of the other side.
So, I started a website, called Romancing the Victims. In the beginning, it was simply a static website, and it stayed that way for about a year. I finally added a blog section and began writing relatively frequently, allowing comments.
It reached a good many people, considering the extremely limited audience. And it was successful in doing what I wanted to do, which was to counteract the malicious crap being spewed by these two particular women (and a third who was added later). My goal was to have a place where, if somebody said “Who is Cathy Harris?” or “Who is Camille Lewis?” one could say, “Go here.”
When this Naugler thing caught my eye, and after Joe dragged me into it by reacting to a comment that I made by coming over to my Facebook page and threatening me with a lawsuit, I realized that I was seeing the same sort of situation develop, only on steroids because the story reaches a much wider audience.
There were a zillion pages, pro and con, most of them beyond silly. Sharing photos of the Naugler kids and discussing their bug bites or fantasizing over their imagined illnesses is just ridiculous. They made accusations that were clearly not grounded in any sort of fact, and many of them (on both sides) were either libelous or very, very close to being libel. I only made a few (less than five) comments on any of those pages, and was banned from the one run by Teresa Frogue for pointing out that her accusations against Nicole were not founded in fact.
So, I did what I’d done before. I started a website. Only this time, I made it a blog right from the start.
I thought it would serve as a way to get all the shit off Facebook, to eliminate most of the bogus, ridiculous claims (on both sides) and to publish nothing that wasn’t based in fact. I grant you that I offer up my opinions here, but it’s quite clear when I’m writing factual stuff and when I’m stating an opinion. Nobody has trouble telling the difference.
And I made all sorts of relatively strict rules about not only my commentary but also the comments.
Nothing about the children. No names, no faces, no inspection of bug bites, no speculation about the likelihood of jail time for any of them. Nothing.
Nothing about Nicole’s business. Not the name of the business, no speculation about its perceived success or failure. Nothing.
I think for the most part, I have managed to keep this blog focused on factual data combined with my personal snarky opinion. I’ve also managed to make nearly everyone mad at me at one time or another.
But the pages – those godawful, stupid, idiotic Facebook pages – remain. Not only do they remain, they are just as bad as they ever were.
Nicole asserts over and over again that people are stalking her online, that they are monitoring her every move and criticizing her every word. And she’s right. Yes, she fans the fire. I understand that. But the pages contribute to this by giving her firewood and often kerosene.
As an example, and perhaps the most egregious one, Nancy Furman is the person who very conveniently let Viv Smith know that Nicole had posted a video of her shop with the dog tied out front. Viv wouldn’t have known this, folks, if that person hadn’t taken it upon herself to make sure Viv knew about it.
The result of that has been that both Viv and Eric and Lisa, whose services were volunteered to Viv and Eric by Nancy, are in court over and over again. Nancy isn’t paying any of their legal fees. She’s not dealing with her business being placed in jeopardy. She doesn’t have the aggravation of one court appearance after another. She’s just sitting back enjoying the whole scene.
I feel very much like I am fighting a war on two fronts. One side is the enemy. The other front is the allies. When I attempt to move forward and gain ground, I have people grabbing my ankles and pulling me back, over and over again.
I know that legally I am on solid ground. I know that Nicole cannot file a civil suit against me and win. I am totally aware of that. I know that I have nothing to do with any of those stupid pages, that I have never participated on any of them (except for a few comments a very long time ago) and that my sole participation in any of this has been restricted to this blog and a very brief time on Free Jinger. There is no co-author here.
But Nicole and Joe lump me together with all of it. They insist that we’re all one monolithic thing.
I’m tired of dealing with it, frankly.
I have shit to do. Real life stuff. And I am going to do some of it.
You guys who run all those pages – have at it. You insist that you have a right to free speech just like I do, and you are right. You do.