After being removed from this blogging network for using violent threatening language towards me, Greg Laden posted a reply to me on his website. It’s entirely indicative of his manipulative and coercive pattern of bullying.
Justin Griffith is the Military Director for American Atheists. He and I had a strong difference of opinion, and it turns out he was wrong and I was right, mostly. But in the process of having this argument, I made some mistakes and he exploited the situation, so I ended up getting the short end of the stick. Good job, Soldier. You won the battle. Sometimes the bad guys win, it turns out.
Greg, under what circumstances is it okay to use violent threatening language? How am I the bad guy for exposing your pattern of bullying? I didn’t make any threats towards you, violent or otherwise. How are you the good guy in this scenario?
I noticed Greg tried to spin his threat and change it to say “kick you in the ass” – as if it was innocent and obvious rhetoric. You’re being incredibly dishonest to the public.
Incoherent drunken babbling?
He had continued to be belligerent in the group setting for an entire week, refusing to ‘talk it out’ up until an hour before I publicly posted his threats two days ago.
Greg now says this is the reason why he didn’t call me:
Embedded in what could only be described as incoherent drunken babbling were phrases like “You’d like me, man, if you just called me, man. Just call me.” and so on and so forth.
Bullshit. Absolute bullshit.
For clarity, here is the initial threat:
What I said in a public comment (that you should grow up) is the ultra mild version. What I said on the mailing list is still the mild version. Here’s the real version and it is the last thing you are ever going to hear from me until you have issued a fully adequate and very public apology to everyone you’ve offended. I say that fully knowing that you do not have to issue such an apology. All you get if you do is that I recognize that you exist. You certainly don’t need me thinking of you as a human being.
Justin, have you ever killed anyone? By that, I mean, in your tours of duty, did you ever have someone you know die and that happened because you failed to do something, or worse, because you DID do something? I’m thinking not. I’m thinking you probably are a good soldier. You probably didn’t do that.
But, Justin, if you were me, and Abbie Smith’s slimepit was after you like they’ve been after me, that is what it would say on the internet, dude. It would say that you were responsible for the death of fellow soldiers. It would say that all over Abbies blog. Why? Because that is how they could hurt you, both personally and professionally.
I have to live with the fact that when my son gets old enough to surf the web he is going to see horrific things, terrible accusations and horrible insults, about his daddy. It does not matter if they are accurate or not. (They’re not, in case you were wondering).
Think about that. You fucking shit.
Now, get forever out of my life. Do not turn back. You do not deserve to even know the people you’ve insulted in that idiotic post you wrote. Don’t ever, ever find yourself in my presence or think you deserve to breath the air that I, and Jen, and Stephanie, and Gret and Ophelia and PZ and the rest of us breath, because you do not.
If you do make that apology it better be from laying face down in the mud.
Have a nice day and kiss my ass.
PS, don’t you dare ask, ever again, for an upvote or any other support from your colleagues. I’ll kick your fucking ass if you do. You will regret it. (Unless that apology is forthcoming.)
An hour or so after he sent me that threatening email, I replied with this. This is what he describes as incoherent drunken babbling.
Please, this is hurtful man. Let’s talk on the phone tomorrow. I am apologizing, and I think you should realize that I am making rookie mistakes. I didn’t read the backchannel yet, though I assumed that it was okay to be stupid sometimes and then learn from mistakes.
You ask if I ever killed anyone or if my actions ever lead anyone to their deaths. The answer is YES. Several people have died at my hands. I have almost killed myself from the guilt several times. I feel like a goddamned serial killer. And the blood on my hands is from well before my entry into the military.
I was a heroin addict for several years. I introduced many people to heroin, people that are dead now. I was with people the day they died, I’ve shared needles with people that died. I joined the military to get away from this. “I’d be safer in Afghanistan,” I figured. I even gave a soldier their first hit when I relapsed during training (AIT). The last real friend I ever made was a soldier in 2008 that I unknowingly gave his first stamp of heroin. He’s now a junkie on the streets. He will die or go to jail that way, and I did that to him – a fellow soldier. All my friends are art-damaged punk rock junkies and I’m the one who fought back. I feel like a fucking serial killer with the clarity of sobriety. I refuse to make friends with people anymore.
How about you help me with the apology. Start compiling names, and I’ll do it. Those slimers fucked it up worse than anything you could lob at me could. They are retarded. I was naïve.
By the way, my infant daughter has been threatened by Christians. I get death threats quite regularly. I’m in the news more than most of you, and I open myself up to this stuff. I got a message saying “YOU LOST YOUR SOUL IT WILL BE PAINFUL!!! GOD BLESS YOUR FAMILY IN SPITE OF WHAT I’LL DO!!!”
Lets talk tomorrow, brother. Please call me.
*[slightly edited for accuracy... only one soldier was a first timer, the 2 others were relapsing on a terrible weekend binge. Actually I didn't exactly 'give' John his first hit, I introduced him to the soldier who was making the runs to get it when he asked me for some. It's still a source of crushing guilt.]*
Greg is calling that incoherent drunken babbling. That was a heartfelt plea for him to simply pick up the phone and talk it over. Instead of picking up the phone, he continued to bully and harass for several days. He’s continuing to bully now over on his website. The movement needs to cut the cord with this Greg Laden.
I refused to keep it secret that we had a snake in the grass, because others deserve to know. People should not act like that even towards their rivals, much less their allies. What about his future victims? What about any potential past victims that he successfully rolled over?
Greg Laden also now says that I’m dangerous to the Atheist community in that post. The guy who issues direct violent threats doesn’t get to say who is or who is not dangerous.
Maybe this admission of long ago nightmares will affect my career, maybe not. I’ve learned in the military that you have to have the integrity to make the ‘hard right’ rather than choose the ‘easy wrong’. I love the military, and I’m forever grateful for the chance to grow it provided me. Joining the Army saved my life, and I am quite proud of overcoming addiction.
I tried AA / NA but found the overwhelming ‘higher power’ business to be insurmountable. I know it worked for other atheists, but I simply couldn’t tolerate 7 of the 12 steps that reference a higher power with the typical workarounds (‘the group is your higher power’ or ‘higher power can be anything, even your shoe!’)
It actually feels good to finally admit that I’ve had this struggle. That crushing guilt… maybe I can start working some of it off.
**I’m going to try this with comments on, but I will delete comments that derail, threaten, or otherwise try to turn this into another mess. Don’t start the same old arguments, and don’t respond to them. Both types of comments will be deleted.**