Archives for January 2011

Internet Anonymity

The Internet is a wonderful resource.  It offers a worldwide database of instantaneous information, available at the click of a mouse.

Of course, there are drawbacks to using the Internet as a primary source of information.  Anyone can post virtually anything they wish with impunity.  As hard as some people work to research a subject and publish useful and pertinent information into this ethereal database of knowledge, it can be deliberately polluted by false information by a few insidious individuals acting with malicious intent.

For example, my writing as the Atlanta Creationism Examiner has inspired comments by brave readers who call themselves names like “Pastafarian” and “Blackout”.

Using the cloak of an alias, these self-professed intellectuals regularly call me a liar or idiot for daring to write material expressing an opinion critical of evolution have no effect on my self-esteem.   Their remarks might be intended to hurt my feelings, but I’ve become immune because I’ve learned to ignore them.

Their mode of critical analysis seems a bit cowardly, but so what?  The comments appear to reflect more on the source than their subject.

The best way to deal with a childish insult is to simply ignore it.  I’ve stopped responding to the large majority of the comments from people who routinely insult me, unless someone says something clever….

I’ve learned to stop simply reading after the first insult and skip ahead.  Why waste my time and energy?  I have books to write.

Any human being on the planet may pose as a reliable source of information (or, as it turns out, several for that matter) and say virtually anything they wish.

Or so they think…

Sybil Denise Bellew learned the hard way that malicious gossip posted under a number of different alias could in fact be traced back to her.

After Gene Cooley’s fiancee Paulette Harper was brutally murdered in the small town of Blairsville by her ex-husband in 2008, Bellew began a one-woman campaign to destroy his life.

On the community website Topix.com, she posed as a variety of characters called Mouth, Bugs, Yuck, Slim, and Rebel, sometimes having fake conversations with herself discussing Cooley’s guilt.

She claimed that Cooley was a former convict, pedophile, drug addict and a murderer.

He lost his job after a woman matching Bellew’s description walked into the salon where he worked.  She announced, “If Gene Cooley’s here, I’ll never come back in here again.”

Bellew literally drove Cooley out of town.  He relocated to Augusta.

He also hired an attorney, got a subpoena, tracked down Bellew and dragged her into court to account for her malicious and unwarranted character assassination of him.

The article at ajc.com reported,

When asked in court why she wrote those things about Cooley, Ballew answered, “I watched him and I can tell a pervert. Every time a pretty girl walked by, he would look at them. I get a feeling.

The jury got a different feeling about Ms. Bellew’s intuition, awarding Cooley over $400,000 in damages.

Cooley’s attorney Russell Stookey said that he hopes to recover some of the awarded damages for his client, but doubted Bellew had sufficient assets.

We know she owns a computer she shouldn’t have, Mr. Stookey.

He is working with the local district attorney and a legislator to make this kind of libel a criminal offense, not just a civil case.

Stookey said. “Mean and dumb is a bad combination. I will catch them and I will put them into bankruptcy.”