Monday, May 18, 2009

Goodbye For Now

After watching the video that TPD posted (which has been removed) on my blog, which I feel is a serious threat, I am going to stop blogging for the time being until I can figure out what I want to do.

It's a sad day for me. Over the past 2 years I have received so many emails from people who have been helped by this blog. I have made some wonderful friends as a direct result of this blog as well.

It took one jerk to ruin it all.

Thank you to everyone who has been with me through it all.

Helen, I am so very sorry that this happened to you! Thank you for all that you've done for us parents over the years!

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

TPD. Stacy hopefully you'll reconsider, I will not comment here anymore because it was not my intent with that post (which as I thought would be very clear, was an illustration of how the bizarre things I was being accused of made *me* feel, not a threat that I was making!)

So you do have my word that I won't post here anymore, and I apologize to you for the disruption. Above all, this is your blog, and as such you make the rules.

Nancy Brown said...

How horrible for TPD to do such a thing. If you didn't like what she was saying then don't come by. Some of us have had to deal with our "issue" And there isn't many who understand. Stacy was one of those who has been there through thick and thin. Who are you anyway? You post in anonymous masks... how horrible of you. Karma

Cora said...

I have no idea what has recently occured with "TPD" or Helen. BUT, I do know that stopping/removing your blog would be sad on so many levels. Parents find honestly here, and it's so refreshing. It is also a great place to get started on research.

And that whole "Catch up by age 2" thing...the docs I work with are still saying it. So, I would argue your work is far from done.

Take a break, but please come back. The preemie community needs your voice.

Anonymous said...

Oh honestly, I completely "got" where TPD was coming from with that post and didn't perceive it as a threat e but this isn't my blog either. She was one of the few who could eloquently and accurately refute many of the distorted comments posted on Stacy's blog. Helen is obviously a bright person with a great deal of experience, both personal and professional but not everything she writes is the "gospel" nor is she a physician. Stacy, I'm sorry your site, which helped so many, including myself has become vitriolic and distressing to you and others.

MKN

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison to Cora:

I will be glad to email you TPD's post if you contact me at
Helen1144@aol.com

It involved my daughter and it was violent.

Helen

Sheila said...

To Anon 4:50 who wrote:
Oh honestly, I completely "got" where TPD was coming from with that post and didn't perceive it as a threat


I'm sorry, whether you "got"it or not, doesn't change the fact that it was completely and totally over the line. To mention a persons child coming home and attaching a video of a mother and her child being terrorized by a mindles psychotic killer (perhaps you're unfamiliar with the film or novel ? but Mr Nicholson plays one of the most heinous violent serial killers in cinematic history). I cannot think of a rationale human being who would not find that kind of posting frightening - particularly when it's coming from someone who wishes to hide their identity behind the shield of anonymity.

I sincerely believe that the anonymous posters on Stacy's blog have borne out the long held internet equation

Normal Person + Anonymity + An Audience = A huge asshole.

Pathetic.

When intellect and reason fail, only cowards lower themselves to hurling personal insults and threats. I am sorry that Stacy feels the need to step away from her own blog - but I completely understand why someone who is spending every single day dealing with the *real* problems of prematurity along with the overwhelming joy of raising her two amazing kids. Why should she feel as though she's riding rough-shod over a bunch of bickering adults acting more like children than the ones they are arguing about.

23wktwinsmommy said...

TPD,

I'm pretty surprised and disappointed you took it to this level. From what I've read from you in the past I believe on many levels you and I agree with respect to how we see our *personal* lives and outcomes for our children, and on the moral dilemma with where to draw the resuscitation line...where parents get to chose (when survival odds are very low and profound to severe disability is great) and where we have a responsibility to protect life (when survival is very likely and profound to severe disabilities low.)
I'm just upset that it got to this level with the arguing between you and Helen. I can see how you felt attacked, but the Shining really creeps me out in general, and to pair a quote of Helen to her daughter to that clip was overboard.

I for one have learned a lot through this blog..specifically and generally speaking....specifically from research and generally with learning to understand and respect the opinions of others. It has been a growing experience, and while I have not waivered from my core beliefs, I can say I have learned a lot about tolerance of others and having more empathy for their feelings and situations.
Stacy, you and I have had some great conversations, and I hope that you will consider brainstorming a potential nonprofit organization with me, or at least an outlet that Edwin and I can invest his potential noteriety (and hopefully his one-day millions in.)
I hope you will consider keeping the blog up, but I know this whole situation has really upset and freaked you out.
And to Helen, I'm sorry that you had to see that clip associated with what you said to your daughter. I'm sure it was pretty freaky.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison to 23 wtm:

Thank you.

The hardest part is my daughter's seeing this.

I sincerely hope that Stacy can keep the blog going. It is really important to all of us.

Helen

Anonymous said...

Yes I'm sure your daughter, the precious flower who is now what- 30(?) is falling apart. Give me a break. Gotta love that the dramatics you put into skewing the research goes into your personal life as well.

As for PE, your blog your rules. I get it. Still, (a little ot), doesn't this make you think about a little more anonymity regarding your own kid?

Anonymous said...

Stacy, I'm so distressed to hear that you are discontinuing the blog. I didn't see the post/video but I know that it must have been horrific. You just have never struck me as being easily frightened. Having been threatened via e-mail by a student, I know the feeling. I hope after some time has passed that you will reconsider. I have learned so much here and our preemie daughters are the same age. Take care, Tammie from preemie-child

Anonymous said...

Don't go Stacy!

Yes, I did find that post creepy, but this blog provides a much needed forum for those affected by prematurity. Don't let one ridiculous post shut down such a valuable community.

Besides, both my husband and I are very strong, and we are skilled in self defense, even against an axe-wielding maniac. ;-)

Amy Harrison
(not quite 30 yet, thank you.)

Sheila said...

To Anon 7:19
As for PE, your blog your rules. I get it. Still, (a little ot), doesn't this make you think about a little more anonymity regarding your own kid?



So ... now your threatening Stacy's children ? Holy Cow. What could possibly twist a mind like this ? Veiled threats to an emotionally disabled elementary school child. You need help. Please consider finding local resources that could help you to understand why it is inappropriate to threaten children or by extension their parents, who are merely writing their honest thoughts on their own internet blog. This whole day has brought a new low to troll-dom.

Susie Korbel said...

Stacy, I have absolutely no idea what happened but I hope you will choose to remain with us after taking whatever time you need. Your blog is such a valuable resource and it would be a shame for it to end here.

Whatever you choose to do, I am sure it will be the right decision for you and your family, and I hope we can still stay in touch. (Come join me on Livejournal if you need a screened outlet for your thoughts and feelings!).

Helen, I saw you offered to send Cora a copy of the clip and I'd be interested in seeing what happened as well, so I sent you an email too.

Anonymous said...

Stacy
I will be waiting for your return to blogging when and if you are ready. Even though my dd has no were near the problems of yours or many others that comment often I have gotten invaulable help and encouragement from your blog.

I did not really follow the comments of the last few posts as I try to stay away from that type of drama but I am so very sorry that it has caused such trouble. I hope to see you back again when you are ready.
JoDee from p-l and p-c

Anonymous said...

Sheila,

She never threatened Stacy's daughter. Really...that's stretching.

MKN

3 good eggs said...

Stacy,
I am sorry to hear that you are no longer going to post to your blog. I find your thoughts interesting and relevant. Do not let the squable between HH and TPD get the better of you expressing your thoughts and experiences on your blog. I did not see the threat so I cant comment on that. I put you in my Google Reader and cant wait for you to post again sometime soon.

Some advice for HH. Please dont take this the wrong way...but maybe you should start a blog of your own where you can talk of your experiences and what you know about prematurity. I am being serious. I think you are a voice that needs to have her own forum. You have a lot of knowledge and are relevant. Please, it was meant as a compliment. Sometimes I dont like what you say but I know that most of the time you are on the right track. People dont want to hear bad things when it comes to their children. No one, including me, wants to believe that their children will grow up with disablities and will never be "normal". I have three that were born at 27 weeks and only one is behind in speech. In fact he was diagnosed as having a severe speech delay. They are now three years old and know that the catching up by age 2 was a joke and cant believe that Neo's still quote that to parents. My boys were are on the right track in terms of growth and maturity but I know that being premature they are at risk for many things down the road. I just dont want to think about those things right now or hear about them. That's where you come in having your own blog or website. Someone who is looking for info can go through your site and learn from your valuable knowledge. Its something to consider.

Sheila said...

I disagree MKN. The reply was specifically about the post that Stacy removed because she viewed it as threatening and inappropriate to Helen's daughter ... and the anon's post to Stacy was "maybe you should think about more anonymity for your daughter" ... to me (and probably to most sane readers), The meaning was clear - that the internet is full of predators who might harm her daughter). There's really no acceptable excuse for that kind of slimy behavior. This is Stacy's blog. She doesn't need to explain or garner permission from anyone to write about her own kids. I've never understood the critics who've written to say that what she writes here may be someday "harmful" to Paige. It's incomprehensible to me, Paige already knows the problems she has ..and she KNOWS her mother knows too and she (unlike some of the children who post here who clearly will NOT have the cognitive ability to cruise the internet) would not be shocked or surprised or upset that her mother wanted the best possible future for her, that Stacy suffered every single step and moment along with her. What Paige will have is a priceless legacy - a tangible record that her mother was her constant and complete defender and protector. She will never have to wonder "did my mother really love me" or "did my mother understand me". She has also set a brilliant example for her daughter that honest, sincere people aren't afraid to stand behind their beliefs and words. I'll say it again, this is a low, low day in the sometimes dubious history of cyberspace.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, are you serious? ALL of that can be done privately! There's one thing- her daughter knowing that her mom was there for her and her issues, and another thing, the fact that...WE KNOW HER ISSUES!

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison to 3 Good Eggs who wrote:

"Some advice for HH. Please dont take this the wrong way...but maybe you should start a blog of your own where you can talk of your experiences and what you know about prematurity. I am being serious. I think you are a voice that needs to have her own forum. You have a lot of knowledge and are relevant. Please, it was meant as a compliment. Sometimes I dont like what you say but I know that most of the time you are on the right track. People dont want to hear bad things when it comes to their children. No one, including me, wants to believe that their children will grow up with disablities and will never be "normal". "
***

Thank you. I do not take this in the "wrong way" and have strongly considered getting my own blog or website, however, my life of the past 5 years (in fact the past 33 years) has been so tumultuous that I have not been able to commit to minding a website or blog, but it is always on my mind and may soon happen.

In the meantime, Stacy has invited me to her blog and welcomed me here. She is clear that hers is not a "sweetness and light" blog. So caveat lector.

Of course no one wants to hear the bad things that could happen to their children, but most of us on this blog already *know* the bad things that *have* happened, and we need a forum in which to discuss them.

I should emphasize that no one here, including me, has ever said that your child(ren) will never be normal. but most of our children aren't, and it helps to talk about it candidly.

If you are not having problems with your children, then come here, read what we have to say, and rejoice that you are not among us.

If that is not possible for you, there are other blogs that may be more appropriate for the time being.

Helen

Anonymous said...

Quelle dommage that you don't mean that. Let's remember the statement you made to Shannon (miracles they do happen blog) regarding her cp micropreemie son Ashton. The one in which you told her not to be positive about her son (after he already had been fully diagonsed). One part of the comment was wait until a few years and once she was "broken" she could join you guys for support. Odious.

To some this many sound quasi supportive but again, anyone can look this up (neonatal doc) and see the sickness behind the actual way this was written for themselves.

Agenda driven pernicious manipulation of new parents. Its what you do.

Kyrsten said...

Wow. This is a real shame.

I enjoyed the discussions --differing opinions and all-- and *need* a place where I can read information and look to find that balance between "rejoicing in my miracle" and "waiting for the other shoe to drop...!"

I think that's what TPE was meant to be!

Kate K. said...

Stacy,

I'm disappointed that you will not be blogging, but I do wish you and your family the very best in whatever you do. This was one of the few websites where people could candidly talk about the issues of prematurity from different perspectives. It was bound to get heated b/c of some of the fundamental assumptions we hold about life, when humanity begins, what a good "quality" of life is, etc. are so very different.

I didn't see TPD's video, so I do not fully understand what transpired. It sounds like it was out of bounds for civil discourse though.

I haven't come across a similar forum anywhere else. Some of the preemie discussion boards aren't appropriate for discussing the macro issues of prematurity b/c the users/audience aren't really in a place to think big. They are usually just parents trying to make it through the day. On such boards, even discussions like the benefits of breast feeding get heated and people get offended.

I certainly don't want to pressure you to continue blogging if your talents are needed elsewhere (e.g. with your children more now with the homeschooling), but your website does get a fair amount of traffic and it is unique. One problem with discontinuing it for stint is that it would lose some of its loyal fan base and then you'd have to work to rebuild.

From time to time, you post entries from other people. Would you perhaps consider doing that as a replacement for you posting entries about you and Paige for awhile until you feel rejuvenated? It is just a thought.

Again, I wish you the very best in whatever you choose to do.

Sincerely,
Kate K.

stockingup99 said...

Thanks for putting thoughts into my head. Before reading your blog I wouldn't have considered protecting a very premature infant from medical experiments. Now, preg with my fourth, I've already discussed refusing care with my doctor. Thanks for opening my eyes to an issue I'd never considered.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison to anonymous 10:27who writes:

"Let's remember the statement you made to Shannon (miracles they do happen blog) regarding her cp micropreemie son Ashton. The one in which you told her not to be positive about her son (after he already had been fully diagonsed). One part of the comment was wait until a few years and once she was "broken" she could join you guys for support. "

***
I don't remember that particular statement and it doesn't sound like anything I would say, but perhaps you have the original statement and can reprint it here for us all to look at in context.

My memory of a child named Ashton is from a recent video showing him having seizures, or some kind of spells, that his incredibly distraught mother sent to this blog so that we could help her figure out what was going on after the hospital was unable to identify the problem.

Is this the same Shannon and Ashton?

Helen

Anonymous said...

In October of 2007, I went searching the internet for something, anything really to help me not feel so alone in all of this. At the time, I was overwhelmed by some issues my son was going through. My anxiety and PTSD was at an all time high. Why was my son’s premature birth still haunting us? After all, he was 5 and his pediatrician kept telling me to just treat him like a normal child. But we were battling sinus infections; blood work had just revealed some immune deficiencies and his eyesight seemed to be getting worse and he had just been referred to an occupational therapist because he wasn’t writing. That was just to name a few things. I felt like a bad parent because I couldn’t keep my child healthy and why couldn’t I teach him to write. I tried so hard to teach him and all the while I was suppressing that gut feeling that something was wrong. I would swallow those feelings in and thought it was just the PTSD. I wouldn’t look up because I couldn’t face another shoe falling. It was as if his NICU survival put me on a 24/7 vigilance to keep him alive. But I not only had the responsibility to keep death from taking him but for him to thrive. As if I have that much control. I felt so very alone.

That is when I found Stacy and The Preemie Experiment. I never imagined that it would change my life but it did. Her website was a Godsend. Her ability to be so forthcoming and share their experiences about the obstacles they face after the NICU was and has been very vital to the people affected by prematurity. Stacy, I just want you to know that your voice is significant and essential to our community. I am so sorry for all the strain you are going through right now and want to thank you for helping me. Sincerely, Thank you. In whatever you do, I wish you and your family all the best. I like many others, hope you continue to share your life with us. I was eagerly awaiting a blog on homeschooling. Anyways, just know that you have made a difference.
-Tammy

Dee said...

Hi Stacy,

Long time reader, seldom commenter.

Rather than shut down the blog, why don't you move it to a site/provider where only registered members are allowed to comment, but anyone can read? This will allow you more control over who can participate in the comments, while still providing info to the public.

I think you've been doing great work here. It would be a real shame to end it because of some small-minded trolls.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

I want to thank everyone who has written to me personally to express their outrage at the "TPD" axe-murder post.

I want you all, and "TPD," to know that the entire matter is now in the hands of the authorities. We have a case number and a "person of interest." The FBI and the police take these matters quite seriously.

I would also like the "person of interest" to know that I bear *him* no ill will -- and yes, the person who sent that post is a man, not a preemie mom -- but this has been going on for several years now. Enough is enough.

This individual is indeed sick, as several of you have suggested, and, I believe, it is his illness that is driving this bizarre and threatening behavior.

I hope we can all soon return to the free, civil exchange of ideas, experiences, and evidence that has made this blog such an interesting and supportive presence in our lives.

Helen

Anonymous said...

Will you stop at nothing??? FBI my ass. Yes, Helen, they will stop investigating domestic terrorist threats in order to make someone who posted a clip from the shining, a "person of interest".

First TPE was a bully cabal and now you've switched it to a man. The more you go on, the bigger hole you dig for yourself. You sound ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison to "anonymous"/"TPD" who wrote:

A man sent the axe-murder post. He is supported by friends/groupies who take turns posting.

Helen

medrecgal said...

Stacy,

I second the suggestion of the person who wrote that perhaps you should consider making this a blog where only registered members can post but anyone can read. That way you could still be an information source for those who are seeking it and still have a greater chance of avoiding things like trolls or nasty comments, and other random junk that makes it at times troublesome to blog. I, for one, have been a long time reader and have enjoyed the discourse between the various perspectives on prematurity. It would be a shame to lose that permanently.

23wktwinsmommy said...

Oh boy this is getting even crazier!
As I said, I think the clip to the movie was overboard, but am pretty sure it doesn't constitute a criminal threat (read the statute, or call your favorite police officer like I did.) There has to be basic respect and I think TPD violated the respect of Stacy and her blog and Helen for basically making fun of her/his (?) opionion of Helen's "craziness" but I certainly can't see how it would be interpreted as a criminal threat...as creepy as it was...by that I mean the movie itself is creepy.
I just think we have to be careful what we accuse people of, as there are laws that govern us, one of which is freedom of speech (with its limitations.) If something else occured that met the criteria for criminal threat then ok, but calling the youtube link a "threat [that] was *so clear*, *immediate*, *unconditional*, and *specific* that it communicated to (insert name of complaining witness) a *serious intention* and the *immediate prospect* that the threat *would be carried out*"???

If "TPD" has been harrassing and stalking Helen, then my apologies, but in this isolated incident I'm not sure why the FBI is involved?

Yikes!

Stacy, I hope you're having fun on your night out because this is really crazy...

23wktwinsmommy said...

Oh, and I really should say that I didn't actually see the clip, but from what I gathered it was from the movie The Shining, when Jack Nickelson is being crazy (It's been a long time, and I didn't enjoy the movie, it was too creepy.)
So I probably should see the clip, because it's very possible I'm missing the threatening aspect of it.

Kathy said...

It's pretty easy to set Blogger blogs to only allow comments from those with Google accounts, or those signed into an OpenID account (AIM, Wordpress, LiveJournal, Google, etc.).

Stacy--FYI, it's under Settings/Comments/Who Can Comment?

Of course, it wouldn't prevent people from making up aliases to stay anonymous, or sharing the password to an identity with others. But it would help provide some consistency from posters, helping everyone keep better track of who's who, and helping to sort out the many Anonymouses.

Anonymous said...

Ready to fess up Helen that the FBI is not involved?

terri w/2 said...

I haven't liked the idea of registered accounts - personally, if I go to visit a blog and it requires a sign up, I almost always opt out. HOWEVER, in this case, I think it is warranted. Because TPD's threatening actions against Helen (perhaps this is the second time - Neonatal Doc being first), I think that really, Stacy, you might want to consider this as an option.

PLEASE DON'T GO! DON'T LET HIM WIN!

Why should we let our collective preemie parent voices be silenced by this one whack-job? I like the idea of registering, but if not registering, you can still read all of the comments. It would still be a valuable voice for preemie parents and professionals searching for this kind of reality.

I for one have found such solace in this blog, and I've been at the preemie parent thing for over 23 years now, hard to believe.

Terri, RN - mom to twin former 25ish weekers, one severely, profoundly disabled and VERY medically fragile d/t grade IV IVH, hydrocephalus and neonatal induced trauma/experimentation. Second twin, severely disabled without any IVH (blew through the NICU w/o major issues) - once expected to be "normal" - now has co-morbidities including CP (diagnosed at age 3) high-functioning autism, Non-verbal learning disorder, diagnosed at age 16. Will never live independently (either.)

terri w/2 said...

"TPD. Stacy hopefully you'll reconsider, I will not comment here anymore because it was not my intent with that post (which as I thought would be very clear, was an illustration of how the bizarre things I was being accused of made *me* feel, not a threat that I was making!)

So you do have my word that I won't post here anymore, and I apologize to you for the disruption. Above all, this is your blog, and as such you make the rules."

WHAT HAPPENED TO "YOU DO HAVE MY WORD THAT I WON'T POST HERE ANYMORE?"

This is typical bullying/abusive behavior. You attack and then when others defend, you cry foul, and "oh poor me."

Sheila said...

It is amazing to me that the majority of American's have no real understanding of the first amendment. I'm not sure if I blame our piss poor public education system, or human nature's love of willful ignorance. The first amendment does not give anyone the right to say anything they think. The first amendment instilled in our constitution a safeguard for the citizens against governmental infringement on free speech, so that dissent against the government was not a crime (as it had been in the home countries of most of the framers). In fact, you cannot say whatever you want without being willing to defend yourself in civil court. Slander and libel case law fills *libraries* of law books.

It is astonishing that after Stacy clearly and plainly and emotionally stated her case that she didn't want to have to see her blog destroyed by individuals who cannot stay on topic of each blog, and in every case resort to hostility and demoralizing personal insults. Rather than closing the blog, or requiring registration, I'd suggest a more effective strategy of deleting any post which in any way contains personal insults or strays from the topic she has placed for discussion. The thing about internet trolls is that they aren't spurred by some true zeal for a cause, they are driven by the infantile need to garner attention and control the conversation of an entire group of people, and if you remove one component of the troll equation "the audience", the invariably lose all interest. If they were truly passionate about their point of view rather than their clawing need for attention, they would email their positions privately. Stacy cannot even try to step away from her blog without 33 posts, half of which are *continuing* the SPECIFIC behavior that she stated was causing her to step away from her blog. I think the entire problem could be solved by a simple enforcement of the rule, post on the subject matter without overt or underhanded personal jabs/insults or your post will be deleted. This way, the goal and focus of the blog - discussion of the impact of prematurity can be forwarded, and the completely disgusting events of the last 4 days would never occur again.

If anyone is interested in what our Federal government is doing about patterned internet attacks, that information is available with very basic searches. Unfortunately, instead of doing real work, our government now has to act in the role of cyber-elementary school principal to locate and educate people who think free speech means you are free to say anything you want.

While the actions that have occurred on Stacy's blog over the past few days are reprehensible, the pale in comparison to the full metal jacket offenses that occur on political blogs, trolls there make these look like illiterate pollywogs.

We are responsible for our own language. Stacy is kind enough to supply us with engaging topics worthy of intellectual discussion and debate, but any topic that *really* deals with prematurity, can almost be guaranteed to create childish mudslinging.

For those who seem skeptical that the federal government gets involved in internet misdeeds, I can only say - that is also in easily accessible public records. As a simple for instance, in the case of the teen who committed suicide because a deranged adult created a false internet persona to taunt her, local authorities were unable to do anything, but federal authorities were able to prosecute the woman in California.

This is not a threat to anyone here. It is merely to underscore that the first amendment doesn't allow individuals to say anything they want. We should be able to conduct ourselves as adults and Stacy's blog should not have become so onerous to her that she felt the need to back away. The whole problem could be solved by having adults communicating in a respectful way, sticking to the subject and venting personal disagreements in private.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
23wktwinsmommy said...

Sheila,

I understand where the first ammendment originated from. But it protects more than just criticism of government. Of course you can't just anything you want. I also fully noted that freedom of speech has limitations. I didn't think I needed to highlight what those were, pretty sure most people reading know. I also didn't dispute there are laws that protect against "internet misdeeds." I was simply pointing out that what was posted here by TPD did not meet my understanding of the statute of a criminal threat.
If we're arguing libel, then we are talking a civil issue not a criminal one.
No people shouldn't be disrespectful and go completely off topic with insults, but there's a difference between being a disrespectful poster and someone who is criminally threatening. Should TPD have posted that they think Helen is just as crazy as Jack Nickelson in The Shining? No. But was it a criminal threat? I don't think so.

When t"TPD's" arrest is made public record then maybe I'll understand the criminal nature of the post.

Anonymous said...

There is none.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison quotes from Federal Law:

"Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet...without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

Sheila said...

23wkstwinsmommy, I wasn't trying to disagree or argue with anything you had posted here. I'll admit I do wonder if everyone who reads and posts here actually does understand the intents and limits of the first amendment, but I will absolutely concede that I'm wrong on that point. My intent with my post (complete with it's errors of the word the instead of they in many places among other errors of haste), was to offer my alternative to closing the blog to registered users. I think Stacy intended the blog to be for open debate from all points of the compass, and that could be easily achieved in its current state, if anyone posting here understood that any entries which stray from the topic or contain insulting/sarcastic language or personal attacks would be deleted. A democratic and simple solution.

Take care

Anonymous said...

regarding threats, internet, criminal

Hi,

For those of you out of touch with what goes on in the world of our nation's youth's, there has been for several years, very strict policy against any internet threats, harassment, abuse. It is taken very seriously.

Case in point, there have been several cases in my county of high school students, minors, arrested and placed in custody in juvenile detention for making comments on public websites, including face book etc, that can be interpreted as threats, harassment, etc.

The cases of which I am aware involved adolescents who made stupid mistakes, essentially, opened their mouths in bravado, or joking that didn't get interpreted with an accompanying laugh track on the internet.

One case in point, a youth, otherwise a good kid, spent over a month in juvenile detention, and his parents went through hell trying to get him out. Once in the clutches of the system, they tried to diagnose him with a mental illness, tried to put him on meds, which he and his family successfully refused.

So my question is, IF the lives of minors and their families can be torn apart due to a comment on the internet that was interpreted as harassment or threat, and tenth graders spend a month in juvenile detention THEN isn't it to be expected that a responsible adult should be held even more accountable for his her words/actions?

This is, in one sense, a rhetorical question. On the other hand, there is a legal reality.

Joan

Kathy said...

Sheila said:

"The whole problem could be solved by having adults communicating in a respectful way, sticking to the subject and venting personal disagreements in private."

Venting personal disagreements in PRIVATE? What fun would THAT be?

Just kidding.

23wktwinsmommy said...

For anyone interested, Helen is quoting from a law that amends 47 U.S.C. 223, the telecommunications harassment statute that goes back to the Communications Act of 1934. Section 223, before this ammendment, prohibited annoymous harrassing speech using a telephone; this ammendment broadened that to include the internet.
The important thing to understand is the statute can only be used when prohibiting the speech would NOT violate the First Ammendment. If the speech is protected under the First Ammendment then the statute is deemed unconstitutional. This is evidenced in cases like U.S. v Popa. The defendent in that case decided to call a U.S. Attorney by telephone several times and each time hurl insults at him without identifying who he was. His conviction was overturned by the US Supreme Court.
So even though the law sounds "scary" and seems to encompass a whole lot... anonymously "annoy" is a criminal offense punishable by fines and jail time(!)...remember that it's only applicable if the speech is NOT protected under the First Ammendment.
Just making sure the anonymous posters weren't worried about going to jail for being "annoying." ::humor::

As for bringing up juvenile cases involving places like facebook and myspace, it doesn't "prove" anything. In order for these juveniles to be convicted, they had to commit a crime. Their act had to meet legal guidelines related to things like harrassment, libel, or threating. People don't just go to jail because someone didn't like what the other person said. There is a legal process to be followed. This is the case in juvenile and adult law.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison responds:

The key word in the law is "anonymous" -- people can be as "annoying" as they want as long as they do it honestly, honorably, up front.

What they cannot do, legally, is threaten, harass, and libel in a hidden, cowardly, anonymous way.

I would suggest to anyone reading this blog with concerns that, perhaps, he/she might have crossed that line -- consult a real lawyer before engaging in such behavior again.

Helen

Anonymous said...

To anyone (except Helen) who has suffered, I'm sorry. TPD never posted again, I did. Helen you are still a liar as can be proven by contradictory statements in neonatal doc vs. here, but I think I've done my job of exposing that and am not going to perseverate (Sheila that means go on and on- thought I'd save you the time).

Anyway, what occurred to me is that you ladies are in this space and need it or you wouldn't be here, but hopefully now you'll keep one eye open re: "truth". I'm sorry for your individual sufferings.

Now I have a girly crush on 23 week mom- you're 10,000 kinds of cool. Peace out y'all (except Helen, who can't. Who won't).

Anonymous said...

Gotta clarify. After TPD never said SHE would post again, she didn't.

Anonymous said...

23 weeks mommy said

As for bringing up juvenile cases involving places like facebook and myspace, it doesn't "prove" anything. In order for these juveniles to be convicted, they had to commit a crime.

Hi,

They weren't convicted. They just sat in juvenile detention a month at the mercy of the system.

Joan

23wktwinsmommy said...

Anyone who is worried about posting anonymously can certainly consult a lawyer, but please also know that it is JUST as illegal to harrass, libel, threaten while NOT anonymous. You can thank me for that, my name is Mrs. Obvious.

The wording in this ammendment of the law changes NOTHING with respect to First Ammendment rights in terms of what the law said prior to adding language including the internet. This goes back to anonymous harrassing telephone calls; now we include the internet. You have to keep the wording of the law within context. How does this ammendment effect us? This is not going to change much...ESPECIALLY in blogs were peeople freely CHOSE to read and engage.
Now, if Helen, or anyone (Stacy this could apply to you) was getting anonymous personal EMAILS (go back to caselaw with respect to telephones...person to person contact..can't avoid the annoyance...it's ringing at your home) that were "annoying, threatening, harrasssing," etc, then you MIGHT have a chance at using this staute. But you would have JUST as much right if the person sending the emails was not anonymous. Harrassment, when it meets the legal definition, is harrassment...you can't do it. But other things would have to ensue prior to. Like you asking them to stop emailing you. Then if they refused, you could argue it was annoying and harrassing.
I'm not trying to be an a**hole about this, but seriously, you can't just read the written law, you have to see how it is interpreted and understood by prior case law and within contexts.
You CAN post here anonymously and say what you want WITHIN the parameters of your First Ammendment Rights. However, if you are asked NOT to post by Stacy, the operator of this blog, and you continue to do so in an annoying, harrasing way, etc, then STACY could petition for your identity to be revealed. Which is no esay task. Check out Mobilisa v. Doe.

You DO NOT have to reveal your real name online, and it is perfectly legitmate to use a handle. And if someone "outs" your identity with knowledge that you didn't want it revealed, then you may be able to seek legal recourse.

But if you don't believe me you can contact an attorney, or you can read the law WITHIN its context and with support from appellate court decisions.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

Stacy has already stated that she considers the axe-murder post a "serious threat."

The language I quoted was from a 2006 addition to the law 23 wtm refers to, please do check it out. Also check with an attorney if you think you may have something to worry about.

I have now posted all that the authorities have asked me to post here -- which was to let "TPD" know that law enforcement is involved, that there is a case number, and that we have a person of interest and are asking that individual to stop.

Having done so, I will not be posting any more on this thread.

Helen

Sheila said...

An open apology to Stacy

Every coin has two sides and every story has many interpretations. What seems clear is that regardless of what reasons I may have deluded myself with, I have certainly fueled the utterly childish behavior that has taken your blog from a place of interesting discussion and debate to a kindergarten classroom filled with folks who think they have a Clarence Darrow role in the law and a Chaucer command of the English language. Rather than focusing on the interesting and relevant topics, it is sniping about the perceptions of others beliefs, correcting incidental spelling errors and in general doing everything possible to disrespect and discredit other posters. Stacy, we’ve known each other since Paige was an infant and consider you a cyber-friend. I commend your desire and commitment to help preemie families and which to make a full, complete and sincere apology for writing things here which no intelligent, rational adult should ever write in a public venue. I cannot be responsible for what others say, think and do - but I am totally accountable for my words. I hope that you will consider coming back to your blog when the wounds of this latest debacle have healed. I will certainly read what you post with interest. We've had many offline discussions that I am just not blog-o-sphere material, I didn't like play ground bullies when I went to school, still hated them when my children were going to school, but at this point in my life, I DO have a choice to completely avoid things which seem to me to be cyber-bullying. I think you've assembled a great bunch of posters who view the preemie experience from vastly different point of views and that has been extremely illuminating to me. I may not share individual’s beliefs, but when they make their case with passion and respect, it adds to my knowledge base on this topic.

Via con Dios my friend