We get letters through Tumblr: You’re an asshole

The real and forgotten victims of the WM3

The real and forgotten victims of the WM3

I received this message through my Tumblr page the other day…

You’re an asshole leave Damien Echols alone wtf

Normally I would have dismissed this as just being from another chalupa. (Side note: Thrice convicted child killer Damien Echols refers to his fans as chupacabras so I call them chalupas which I’ve been told is an insult to chalupas but I digress.) But before I clicked on the delete icon I curiously clicked on this person’s Tumblr name. Now I’m not going to divulge the account in question because I don’t want to invite harassment on someone who is obviously a confused child.

Turns out this girl was not just a fan of Echols but also Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes, Columbine cowards Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and non-repentant school shooter T.J. Lane. I was greeted by animated gifs of school shooters while a lot of the posts were doe eyes tributes to Damian Echols. This girl feels about mass murderers like most girls would gush on about their favorite group or celebrity.

What you’re doing is not normal, not even by counter-culture standards. It is an indication of a deeper-rooted mental illness and you should get help. I’m telling you this because it’s obvious your parent(s) either don’t know or don’t care or both. If this kind of activity carries into adulthood you could end up being one of those women who end up marrying death row inmates, also not normal by any standard. Not to mention that by idolizing these mass killers you’re enabling future killers.

Be an individual, don’t let yourself be defined by a Tumblr hashtag.

We get letters: Please help a family in need

Jaime and her kids

Jaime and her kids

I received the following e-mail the other day from a reader in need of assistance…

Hi Trench,

I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for well over a year now, albeit a silent reader. I know you’re a busy guy, and this request is a little out of your norm, but I’m really hoping you can help. My family is facing a serious situation, due to the fact that I’ve been medically forced to stop working. My husband is a disabled Army vet,who cannot work, and due to the severity of my condition, I truly cannot work until I recover from a spinal surgery which will be taking place sometime in the next 6-8 weeks.

We are facing eviction and homelessness if we cannot find a way to earn extra income during this time. To that end, I’ve set up a donation page on GoFundMe, explaining things more in detail. I’m hoping you would be willing to post the link to the GoFundMe page on your blog.

Please help us. We’ve been reaching out on Twitter, Facebook, etc and we’re getting a little desperate. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments, thank you for reading this.

-Jaime & Family

As most of my avid readers know I’ve been in similar situations so I can understand where Jaime and her family are coming from. Please donate whatever you can afford to Jaime’s family. I’ve posted the GoFundMe link below and on the donations page

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Remembrance of e-mails past

Late 90s me.

Late 90s me.

Today I was closing a paid e-mail account that I’ve used for the past 12 years. FastMail if you’re curious, I highly recommend it. It can do all the things G-Mail can without the specter of Google hanging over you. Right now it’s just not financially feasible for me, but I digress.

While I was cleaning out the account I came across some e-mails that I had saved from my previous e-mail account at Yahoo. These e-mails were from 1999, April of 1999 to be precise. If you’re not familiar with what happened then and what happened to me you can catch up on the About page.

Now this is in no way meant to imply what I went through was anywhere near the amount of tragedy and loss of what the victims and their families and friends went through. I just thought it would be an interesting story to share.

Anyway, it seems that I saved some of the e-mails that I received from journalists and those not deserving of the title. This was back before I even started blogging and I was not used to being thrust into any kind of spotlight. I’m not posting their names so the mutants don’t give them any grief.

This first one was from a writer at TIME magazine…

Subject: Trenhcoat Mafia?

Hi, my name is [redacted]. I’m a reporter at Time magazine, and I’m writing a story this week about the school shooting outside of Denver. Some students have said that the shooters are members of something called the Trenchcoat Mafia. Can you tell me what that is? It could well be a local group, but I found your site and thought I would “summon” you for an answer. Thanks for any help you can provide.

Feel free to e-mail me, or call 212-[redacted]. Thanks much.

Now we know how wrong that information was. I never did call him.

This next one was from a guy at the New York Post. He sent this after I had posted the disclaimer that my website at the time had nothing to do with the shootings…

Subject: Goth

Hey:

I realize I stumbled onto your site because I’m doing a story for the New York Post about kids who are into Goth and Gothic characters.

I understand that you are not in any way involved in the shooting in Colorado, but I do have some questions for you:

In your new home page, you wrote, “Yes I have problems. But instead of acting out violently I write.” What do you mean by that? What kind of problems? Are these “problems” shared by other people in your school? Are there people you know who consider themselves outcasts because they feel excluded from the traditional school cliques (athletes, science geeks, cheerleader types, brains, etc)?

Why “dark poetry,” as you call it? What attracts you to these types of lyrics?

Please, if you get a chance, email me back with your phone number and I’ll call you to discuss this further.

Thanks for your time.

[REDACTED]
NY POST REPORTER

At least he had more tact than the guy from TIME but still off base as it turned out that goths weren’t involved in the shooting either. I also like how he assumed I was school age. I’ll admit that my writing back then was pretty juvenile but there was also a stereotype back then that only kids knew how to use the internet, but it was probably my writing.

I actually responded to this one…

Actually I’m a 30-year-old man from the east coast. I have the same problems as everyone else. Money. Job stress. Family problems.

I call it dark poetry because it’s not very positive. I’ve always been a negative person. Everyone has a violent side in them, but those who choose to act on it have even bigger problems. Mentally and emotionally.

Thanks for checking with me first. Unlike The Washington Post who automatically assumed I was part of that organization.

Yeah, I was still pretty bitter at the Washington Post at the time and you have to remember I was suffering from severe depression and was not being treated for it at the time. However as John Astin once said, “I’m feeling much better now.” I eventually did do some interviews with the Post but it was about MySpace stuff if I remember correctly and it wasn’t with that particular ‘reporter’. I believe his actual title was ‘style editor’ back then, whatever the hell that means.

The next one was from a Canadian reporter. I don’t recall what his questions were to me. I guess they’ve been lost to the ages but I felt his response to me was special enough for me to save for 15 years.

Dear T.C.:

Thank you for the disclaimer. It’s important for a reporter to know whether he or she is on the right – or wrong – track when researching a story. And when one media outlet errs, the mistake is easily compounded because we sometimes rely on each other for leads. Hang in there.

[Redacted]
Reporter
The Windsor Star
Windsor, Ont.
Canada

Now that I think about it he may not have even asked me a question. He may have just been thanking me for not sending him on a wild goose chase that so many other news agencies pursued in the days following the tragedy. The Canadian media has always treated me well and fairly. They’re much better than the American media but they are hampered by law in what they can report when it comes to crime stories, but I’m digressing again.

That’s all I’ve got from back then. All the hate mail I received I deleted but I regret doing that now, except for the goatse one. If you don’t know what that is you’re better off not knowing. Oh, I still have the one from the Washington Post guy but I’ve discussed that one to death.

In a strange coincidence the paid e-mail account I mentioned before was due to expire this coming Sunday, April the 20th.

We get letters: This still isn’t Perverted Justice

pedobearbusted

I received three separate e-mails from the same person in regards to the recent debate about Florida predator stings and their worth. Again if you’re just joining us I think they’re awesome and they put bad guys behind bars. The bad guys think they’re a money grab and are putting ‘innocent’ men behind bars. On to the e-mails.

E-mail #1:

I read your article in which you tried to shame a person who tried to tell you about the corruption with Perverted Justice. What that person wrote to you is indeed true. In fact, many of the Perverted Justice members have criminal backgrounds. Eventually, this is going to come back on you trench and I know for a fact Perverted Justice is under investigation right now. You are not telling the full story about situations. You are lying to people. Why don’t you actually investigate instead of writing opinions. If you are Irish-Catholic, then you know that you will be held responsible for what you tell people. Then again, maybe you are part of Perverted Justice yourself.

You got me. You saw through my clever ruse. I am actually Xavier Von Erck, founder of PJ. Except, I’m not. I was about to say we don’t even look alike but it appears that we do dress alike.

Xavier Von Erck

Xavier Von Erck

Back to the matter at hand. If this guy actually read what I wrote he would be able to tell that I am actually not a fan of PJ. While I think their intention is good I’m not a fan of internet vigilantism. It’s usually only fueled by knee-jerk outrage. Also now that it’s 2014 I now haven’t written about PJ in seven years.

Is PJ even relevant anymore. Their bread and butter used to be the Yahoo chat rooms and now that they’re gone and To Catch A Predator has been cancelled I don’t see why they’re even still around.

Also I’d rather go to hell for exposing the habits of online predators than being a kiddie toucher.

On to e-mail #2:

By the way, I just read your post from today about catching real predators. That person is exactly right. Real predators aren’t using the internet and children are most certainly not pursuing predators online for months and in some cases years. If you can name me a victim, any victim, who pursued their attacker, I will retract my statement.

Ok, I have to interrupt here because some of what he says is so ludicrous it demands immediate attention. So ‘real’ predators aren’t using the internet? Then for the past 8 years I’ve been writing about fictitious predators all that time. Huh. Who knew. Also there’s needs to be some kind of universal sarcasm font.

Also his challenge for me to name a victim is specious because they don’t release the names of underage sexual abuse victims. Not to mention I doubt he would retract anything he said anyway. Zealots come from all walks of life.

He continues…

There is a reason why you get letters telling you to catch the real predators. It is because the real predators are not being caught and setting people up is not the answer. In fact, if you look into the finances of those stings, you quickly realize stings are being done for money and money alone. Those stings are making things infinitely more dangerous because they are not catching threats at all. Victims don’t pursue and they most certainly don’t invite multiple times. The convictions are only coming because people are forced to plead guilty. You haven’t once reported on the hundreds of those cases that have been thrown out of court or the entrapment verdicts levied against groups such as Perverted Justice.

Again with the PJ obsession. Anyway police don’t even really need to set up these stings because a lot of times the predators themselves are stupid enough to post ads on craigslist themselves. How many stories have I posted about craigslist creepers that post ads that say things like ‘the younger the better’. You’re absolutely delusional if you think that there are no predators on the internet. You also leave out this thing called grooming which is like a sort of Stockholm Syndrome for the victims of online predators. Again, even if police did initiate talks about sex and you drive somewhere with the thoughts of meeting a minor for sex you get what you deserve.

This argument kind of reminds me of the guys who signed up for the military then tried to quit when they realized they might actually have to go fight a war. They claimed that the recruiters talked them in to enlisting. Well, not only did you go down to the recruitment office but, just like most online predators, you could have walked away at any time. When I was graduating high school I would get tons of calls for recruiters. I would tell them that I’m not interested and hung up the phone. Subsequently if I got an e-mail from a 14-year-old girl wanting to have sex I would delete it and then filter my e-mail so any subsequent e-mails would go straight to the trash. Really, it’s not that hard. Police do not have some kind of special Jedi mind trick or thought control rays. We are responsible for our own actions.

And if any case is thrown out of court or the charges are dropped all someone needs to do is send me an e-mail and I’ll remove the post.

And finally e-mail #3:

Why don’t you publish your full name? What are you hiding “Trench.” I see a couple of lawsuits in your future. In fact, I know they are coming.

Says the guy who signed his e-mail ‘Anonymous’. I do it to have some form of insulation between me and butthurt sex offenders. Also the threat of lawsuit after 14 years is still funny to me. If I had a dollar for anytime someone threatened to sue me I’d have enough to pay off a lawsuit settlement.

So in conclusion save yourself the keystrokes Junior. You’ll never convince me that what you claim is even remotely true.

We get letters: Let’s catch the ‘real’ predators

The discussion about Florida child predator stings continues. For those of you who haven’t been following there seems to be a small but vocal minority of people in Florida who believe the craigslist and social networking stings that many Florida law enforcement agencies employ are nothing more than entrapment and money grabs for federal grants. I received an e-mail from one of those people. Since he sent me the e-mail with no snark or attitude I will reply to him in kind.

First the e-mail…

trench, if these stings were about trying to catch real predators, it would be one thing, but when it becomes more about the number of arrests they need to make to continue to let the money flowing then it is fraud. Catch the predators, hell yea, society will not tolerate those who prey upon children, but during these stings they need to ensure that they are catching the right people! They are not and that is the problem and the information we have proves this. I would like to work with you on things if you’d give it a shot. I think you have a lot of information that is useful. Let’s catch the real bad guys. Give it a chance!

I can appreciate someone who is willing to discuss any topic in a calm and rational matter. However the e-mail, in my opinion, omits one glaring detail.

For the sake of argument let’s say that police posing as minors on craigslist did initiate conversations of a sexual nature with potential suspects on craigslist, or whatever website. While that possibly can be construed as entrapment the alleged perpetrators are still going to the meeting places with the intent of having sex with minors. Police are not ripping these guys out of their homes and none of them are going to the meeting place to rescue, lecture, or hang out with their potential victims.

While they may have legal recourse in regards to entrapment in my opinion they are morally still predators.

We get letters: You are the leader of a sick colte

boc

Received another lovely e-mail singing my virtues…

To “trench” You are a embellishing, twisted person who has a sick fascination with child related crimes. You are a known distortionist who many people hate. You are the leader of a sick colte. You are the biggest troll of them all and I have nothing but the worst wishes for you. I hope you burn in hell with the real monsters and they take advantage of you. Enjoy the pitiful thing you call a life you hypocritical douchebag.

What is a colte and how do you know if one is sick? Do you have to shoot it at that point? Oh, he meant a cult. Yeah, I don’t get the comparison either. It’s not like I force people to read my site.

Also this is just another ploy in the pedo-defenders bag of tricks, accusing someone who frowns on the practice of pedophiles of being a pedophile. I believe that’s called the “I know you are but what am I” axiom. Since they’re so preoccupied with the thoughts of children they begin to act like them.

While I may be going to hell my conscience will be clear knowing that I didn’t get there by being a kiddie toucher.

We get letters: You know this isn’t Perverted Justice right?

pedobearbusted

I received the following e-mail from someone who is obviously confused about what website this is…

I have been reading your posts. Much of what you write about is so generic and lacks details. Some of it is outright wrong. You are simply not telling the full story. For example, a sting you wrote about involved Perverted Justice. What you failed to tell people was that one of the PJ decoys went after the guy for a year and invited him 5 different times to meet. She was also connected to the Enron fraud scandal in California and has a history of mental illness. In real cases of abuse, the victim does not pursue someone for a year and invite the attacker five times to meet. You also failed to mention that not one of the people entrapped had a previous record. You also failed to tell the public that the town who set the men up only had 1,000 people in it and prior to that never had an incident of abuse. Now, why would a town that small, want to attract predators? Could their be other motives?

Sorry, I had to interrupt here for a second. I mean talk about generic and lacking details. Maybe I should have used the Irony Police graphic.

You often write about your own mental illness. You try to act like you are concerned for people. I understand that you are trying to make yourself feel better by your blogs and tweets. Trying to undo some wrong done to you. But you are actually doing more harm than good. Don’t you realize that you are now the one causing damage to people? Don’t you see the common thread in Perverted Justice, yourself, and those who follow you? All of you have mental illnesses. Unchecked mental illnesses. Just look at your comments!! All of you have mental illnesses.

Don’t you even wonder why all these internet stings are becoming more prevalent? It is because they are cheap, easy, and really nothing has to be proved. You don’t have to prove a single thing. You are just setting people up. Meanwhile, real cases of abuse involving real people are getting ignored. In fact, people like Perverted Justice are the real predators. Why do you think they refuse to turn over their computer equipment and only give the police chat transcripts in MS Word? Why do you think they are so secretive? It is because they are using their activities to cover up what they are doing. Do you even know the backgrounds of the people in that group? Their connection to crime and abuse? The fact the founder himself was brought up on sex charges?

You want to stop child abuse? Motivate your local cop to go down to a women’s shelter and start researching real cases of abuse. Real victims of abuse don’t pursue their attackers. They don’t invite their attackers to meet.

What you are writing is going to get an innocent person killed. In fact, by looking at some of the names you write about, I think you might have already done that. Stop writing about suicide. What you have written in your poorly researched and biased articles has driven people to suicide. The very thing you claim to abhor.

I hope you can live with other people’s suicides on your conscious.

For those of you who may not remember Perverted Justice is/was (are they still around?) a band of internet vigilantes trying to rid the internet of pedophiles and predators. By now you should know how I feel about internet vigilantes but occasionally PJ not only worked with law enforcement as the e-mail writer mentions above but they also worked with the one and only Chris Hansen during the “To Catch a Predator” series of reports on NBC.

But just like he accuses me of being his accusations are not only lacking details but also lacking any proof. I at least link to media reports from which I make my commentary.

Here’s the punchline though. I checked the archives and I haven’t even mentioned PJ in six years. It sounds like to me that someone got busted and rather than taking responsibility blames their problems on PJ.

By the way nice try in trying to guilt me but I had an Irish-Catholic mother. Your guilt trips mean nothing to me.

This e-mail probably stems from all the other pedo-defenders that have shown up recently.

We get letters: Why do you mock the dead?

watchlist

I received the following from my ask.fm account

I know I might sound like a “mutant”, but I personally don’t feel like disrespecting dead people (even if they are bad) very kind. Why do you spend so much time mocking someone that’s already dead and defenseless?

My response

It’s not just the dead ones, I mock and disrespect the school shooters that lived too. And the reason I do it is because they’re deserving of disrespect and mockery. From Kip Kinkel to Adam Lanza they are losers who couldn’t overcome their own inadequacies without resorting to violence. Do you know who else is dead and defenseless? Their victims.

We get letters: You were either molested or abused

Polk County (Fla.)Sheriff Grady Judd

Polk County (Fla.)Sheriff Grady Judd

I received the following e-mail not too long ago. Since in this country people are innocent until proven guilty I will keep the e-mailer’s name anonymous.

I would like to know if you truly believe all CL stings are 100% accurate. I am bipolar and during a tough time could not control my mania. I never asked for sex but looking for someone to hang with to mellow me out. Ground me. Eventually I agreed to whatever they want because I was not allowed over unless I agreed.

I never thought agreeing to somethingon internet means you actually have to do it.

My craiglist experience is that 20% percent of the time I meet someone off CL we have sex and most not the same day.

I know I am not a pedophile.
SHould my life be ruined cause the police convinced a mental health manic person to agree to commit a crime he was never looking for. With no child porn, no coaching or any activities with children.

You support and stereotype but isnt each case different

You should write a story with my case, and when writing a story you should put both sides, thats your responsibility in sharing information.

In the article they put out, they said I wanted to teach a 15 yr old to have sex. Yet I never said that, text it or emailed it. Thats just what they want you to believe.

I find your page ignorant and full of anger.
You were either molested or abused or something to have this much hate.

Its a sad day when a lonely adult cant go to an adult website to try to find a friend without being entraped for a crime.

Why cant an american go to plenty of fish, or match or craigslist to meet someone without being a criminal.

Through a little research I was able to determine that I believe that the e-mailer was arrested in one of the many craigslist stings conducted by Polk County, Florida Sheriff Grady Judd. Sheriff Judd must have arrested dozens if not hundreds of alleged predators in his infamous stings by now. But I digress.

Please allow me now to address the e-mailer’s concerns.

Do I believe that all craigslist stings are 100% accurate? The law of averages would say no. I’m sure in at least a minority of cases entrapment may have been involved but I don’t think your case is one of them. If your charges have been dropped or reduced I would be more than happy to post a correction or have your name removed. However in my research I noticed that you have been allegedly arrested two more times since then for probation violations.

It’s no secret that I am also bi-polar but never once in my worst times have I ever thought about ‘hanging out’ with someone who was underage. As I’ve said in the past the ‘hanging out’ line it was the guys on To Catch A Predator always use. If you need someone to hang out with go to a strip club. As long as you keep tipping the dancers they’ll be your best friends and best of all they’re of legal age.

If you’re getting laid legally 20% of the time on craigslist you’re playing a deadly game of Russian Roulette where you could end up being robbed or killed. See, I care about your well-being.

None of the articles I linked to said specifically that you wanted to teach a 15-year-old about sex. Odd that you would say that.

I was neither molested or abused and considering I was a Catholic altar boy until I was 17 that’s really saying something. I just happen to have a problem with people who try to allegedly take advantage of a child sexually and the websites that allow it.

Did the police solicit you for sex, did they message you first, did they come to your house? If not you probably weren’t entrapped.

You can go to any website you choose to someone. That is your right. However if the someone in question is below the age of consent then you might be considered a criminal.

Personally I think you need to not only get better help for your bi-polar disorder but it sounds like you may have a sex addiction problem to work out as well. I hope you can get help.

We get letters: Craigslist Creeper Ray

Raymond Boden

Raymond Boden

So the other day I received an e-mail about Raymond Boden who I dubbed a craigslist creeper. Go read what he did. I’ll wait.

You’re back? Ok, here’s the e-mail…

You dub him “Craigslist Creeper”. I am all for the first amendment, but seriously you have NO IDEA who this man REALLY is or what he stands for. No, I don’t agree with his choices, but he was NOT looking for a 12 year old. In fact he asked on several occasions how old the daughter was! Why is it that law enforcement is never looked at as a possible problem? Does anyone ever think that showers like To Catch a Predator can make police set people up?

And really? Craigslist Creeper? A bit harsh don’t you think? Yes, it may get you readers but at who’s expense? I know that when Ray gets out my kids or my grandchildren will be with him ALONE and they will love him as much, if not more than I always have – and ALWAYS WILL!!

First off you act like I dubbed him THE craigslist creeper. Take a look around. He’s just A craigslist creeper. Unfortunately only one of many. He wasn’t the first and he isn’t the last.

Secondly I’m really sure he was set up. That’s why he pleaded guilty. I hear that all the time. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that I’d at least be able to take my family out for a nice dinner.

Speaking of family if you really want to leave your kids or grandkids around him that’s your prerogative. Not only is blood thicker than water it’s dumber than water too. I’d hate to see any child get molested but I’m not the one that will have to pay for therapy if Uncle Ray ever had his way.

Oh and don’t flatter your friend Ray. He’s not going to get me any more readers.