Monday, July 6

Anonymous

All right. Most of you readers are also bloggers. So I know you've probably had to deal with bad attitudes and people misinterpreting what you write.

But today it happened to me in full force for the first time, and it threw me for a loop. I commented on Married to the Law on a post about how some LE officers think they shouldn't be ticketed if they're pulled over for speeding or other types of moving violations.

My first comment:
My view is that if an ordinary citizen shouldn't be doing it, then neither should an off-duty cop. The "professional courtesy" notion definitely gives an above-the-law vibe. The only way to keep the community's level of trust in LE officers high is for LE officers to be law-abiding, and accept the consequences like anyone else when they goof up.

I got into a car wreck a few months ago—I hit another cop's wife, incidentally, who I'm friends with—and the trooper was totally friendly. He was even friendly when he handed my the citation. But. It was my fault. I wasn't paying attention. Anyone else would have been ticketed.
And then, out of left field, this happened:
Anonymous:
Erin,

You wrote "Anyone else would have been ticketed."

You are anyone else,
you ARE just an ordinary citizen. You are not insinuating you are different because you are a police wife are you?
And THEN...
Anonymous:
Erin, even in your profile you write you are the wife of a police officer, what does his profession have to do with you? If he has a profile does his say husband of a professional writer and editor, an amateur seamstress, and an aspiring storyteller? I doubt it.
Um. Wow. First of all, a person who won't identify themselves is attacking and belittling me, and why? Because I imply that my life and role as wife is altered by the fact that Noah's a cop? Because I'm apparently putting on airs because Noah wears a badge?

If you would like to take this moment to review my first comment, please note that I said cops should be treated like ordinary citizens when they're off-duty, and that the trooper gave me a ticket despite the fact that I'm a cop's wife, because he would have given one to anyone else.

I HATE when commenters turn a blogger's post into a forum for arguing, but I couldn't let this go without explaining myself, so I responded with this:
Erin:
I'm not insinuating anything. I'm saying that based on the attitudes of some of the police officers who believe that "professional courtesy" should be extended to them also believe it should be extended to their spouses. And I don't think that special treatment should be given to police or their spouses when they break laws.

That being said, being the spouse of a police officer doesn't make me *just* an ordinary citizen. I don't have any rights or privileges granted to me because I'm a cop's wife that other people don't have, but I *am* affected by my husband's career. When my hubs puts on the uniform and goes to work, I have to worry about his life being on the line. The risks my husband takes because of his job could change our family forever. Most ordinary citizens don't have to do that.

And by the way, if he did have a profile, he would mention me and my career. Because he supports me, as I support him. Sorry, copswife. I didn't think my original comment would turn this into an Erin-defends-herself forum.
I thought that would have been the end of it, but no. It got worse:
Anonymous:
You are JUST an ordinary citizen. People in all types of trades put their lives on the line everyday. All spouses worry about their spouses. My friends husband was just killed and he works for the park district. Watch the news, most people killed are not officers. You just don't want to admit you do think you are different than lets say a plumbers wife. I agree that officers put their life on the line everyday but so do high rise window washers, electricians, etc. You don't have to defend yourself Erin, just answer why you are not an ordinary citizen without including your husbands profession.
I vowed to myself that I would respond one more time, and if this person kept at it, I'd invite him or her to email me. This was my final response:
Erin:
I'm not sure I understand why I've made you so upset. Is it the word "ordinary"? Because if that's the reason, I take it back. How about "typical"? Does that sound better?

It upsets me that you, who are writing anonymously and don't know anything about the sacrifices I've had to make for my husband's career, feel the need to belittle me and my assertion that being the spouse of a cop does somehow change things for me. That people don't treat me differently, for better or worse.

In case you hadn't noticed, you're reading a blog called "Married to the law" which is run by someone who calls herself "copswife." Obviously, being part of the law enforcement community is a life-changing kind of thing, and it changes everyone's life who loves someone who becomes a cop.

I can't describe myself as anything but ordinary. My husband is extraordinary, and because of him and his profession, some people think I should be granted certain privileges—like leniency when being pulled over or in a car wreck. And, if you had read my first comment clearly, you would have understood that I think the trooper did the right thing by giving me the citation, because I was in the wrong and I'm just like everyone else.

I AM ORDINARY. Are you happy?
My question is, Why? What was the point of that? Why would someone who isn't ballsy enough to share even their online pseudo-identity go to such lengths to antagonize me? Someone who, for all I know, is a total stranger?

I have all the respect in the world for plumbers' wives. Heck, even Joe the Plumber's wife, if he happens to be married. And I acknowledge that there are dangers in many other careers. But until your spouse comes home after having a crazed teenager shoot rifle rounds over his head, you have no right to tell me that my husband's profession has nothing to do with me. The commitment of marriage inextricably intertwines your life with someone else's.

And when you're married to someone who must wear a bullet-proof vest to work, things change.

17 comments:

Deputy's Queen said...

Ok I see nothing wrong with what you posted.. My thought is that this "anonymous" person is probably a fellow PW that thinks she SHOULD get out of tickets just because she is married to the Law.

Its sad that people have to trash talk in another persons blog... Pathetic actually. But you Dear Erin i dont feel you said ANYTHING wrong to warrant being talked to like that.

People suck sometimes

Sal said...

Ugh. There is so much misguided vitriol floating around out there.

I wish I knew why people do this ... the dreaded Anonymous Attack. Since it is a form of bullying, my policy is not to respond at all. Or, as you did, give yourself a limit and then stop responding once you've said what you need to. After all, if the person on the other end doesn't understand you initially, it's unlikely that any amount of back-and-forth is gonna clear it up for 'em. They WANT to argue and be upset, and will do so as long as you engage.

I'm sorry this happened to you, E. It is a very specific kind of aggravating to be misinterpreted and insulted by someone who seems determined to dislike you, despite knowing virtually NOTHING about you. And for what it's worth, I found your initial comment perfectly clear.

Erin said...

Thanks guys. And I didn't post this to form some kind of anti Anonymous Poster Who Insulted Me alliance. It just stings to be judged.

Meadowlark said...

I'm already "anti-anonymous" whoever they are. It drives me batty!!!! :)

And besides, as a plumber's wife, I think my husband has the shittiest job (no pun intended, even if it was funny). As a banker's wife I think that people just don't understand how hard it is to be a banking family. Don't get me started on doctor's wives.

We ARE all different and affected by what our spouse does.

Although I wonder if anonymous could even get a spouse with such a "we're all the same and I demand you know it" mentality.

Who knows. We have your back girlfriend. And that something that NOBODY'S anonymous spouse does.

Anonymous said...

Hi Erin,
It's your dad. Good job on handling "Anonymous". They obviously don't have a clue. You are an ordinary citizen and at the same time you are not an ordinary citizen. Anyone who has a family member who puts their life ahead of others as someone who protects the community does the extraordinary. They know very few people in the community besides their own family and friends and yet they choose to protect them and give them a better quality of life. We all know life is very precious and as we have seen recently on the news, it doesn't matter who you are. Life is short.And just because you are a police wife, doesn't mean you get freebies from the law. If there were such a thing, I'm sure the Chief of Police would've mentioned it in the commencement speech or at least provided a handout with all the things LEO's and their families are exempt from. Thank Noah for me for being a selfless person who thinks of the safety of his community and not what he or you could get away with.

Again this is DAD!

Slamdunk said...

I had no idea you were an entrepeneur as well. Visiting other blogs, and posting comments to stir up controversy--thereby increasing website traffic is simply brilliant.

Ok, seriously, I don't see anything wrong with your comment, and I think the unnamed poster simply misread your initial thoughts (as you wrote in the follow-up).

Unfortunately, I think many times these angry no-namers are fueled by jealousy and simply waiting for any opportunity to lash out. That is my 50 cent psych eval.

Tina said...

Wow, Erin. Well said. And sorry, but "Anonymous" is a douchebag way to post an argument. They need to grow a pair and be up front with it. Eeks. Sorry this happened to you. Take heart in knowing that you have bloggy friends who've got your back. =)

The Naked Redhead said...

Anonymous lurks everywhere. There's an Anonymous on Michael Ian Black's blog that regularly spews insults about how much he hates the comedian's humor. I don't even get why a person would even visit a blog that they hate, but sometimes, I guess people just don't have any friends.

I actually talked about the P.O.W. status to my friend at work, who is also a P.O.W. She said that she DOES feel different having a partner in that line of work, because every day that they spend together could quite literally be their last. While of course this statement is true of all jobs, it is rarely true because of the NATURE of the job. She says she worries all the time that her spouse will be doing a routine check and things will get crazy.

Partners and spouses are intertwined with each other's lives. I get that...but I think your Anonymous Dad nailed it on the head. Your husband, and my friend's partner willingly go to work everyday with the expectation that if it comes down to saving their own life or someone else's, they will do their duty and sacrifice themselves. That's part of the ACTUAL JOB DESCRIPTION... unlike my job, where I have to try not to get too fat by sitting on my ass all day.

Go get 'em, Erin, and don't sweat the jerks.

mrs. fuzz said...

I posted on Married to the Law that I thought your responses were good. It is silly when people post anonymously. On the internet they feel bold enough to attack. Some people just do it because they can. They like to make it a hobby. Going around terrorizing people.

Costume Diva said...

Grr, thats so frustrating! I had a similar thing happen to me years ago when I responded to a post about 9-11. You handled it perfectly!

copswife said...

I'm just catching up here. I only read the sneak attack comments on my blog this morning and immediately changed things so people can no longer comment anonymously. If you have something to say, at least have the guts to attach a name to your thoughts.

Course, now anonymous dad can't comment on my blog and he's so witty and insightful. Doh.

Erin, there was nothing wrong with what you said and anony has a serious problem.

Erin said...

Costume Diva—I remember reading your post about that. I think what it all comes down to is that people see and hear what they want to see and hear, not what's actually being presented.

copswife—I can always tell my dad to create a profile. Perhaps "Anonymous Dad" would be an appropriate pseudonym!

And to Everyone—Thank you all for the encouragement. Ultimately, that's why I posted this. I really don't like rehashing conflict, but sometimes you just need to know that your friends have your back. And you all came through! Once again, this was NOT an attack on "anonymous" as a person, but a narrative on what I see as one of the problems with Internet relationships—anonymity often grants people license to attack a community without consequence. And that SUCKS.

Natalie said...

I'm actually glad that you mentioned it here because as I was on copswife blog getting ready to post, I could NOT believe the hurtful remarks!

A friend of mine had that happen to her last year and now she has all of her comments withheld until they've been approved, but it still hurt.

You handled yourself beautifully and I'm impressed how collected and composed you were when Anonymous was out of control. Nice work (and thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting!)

Stephanie said...

Hi Erin,
I have never got a chance to visit your blog before (which is great by the way..) but after all the drama on Married2thelaw, I had to come over and tell you that you handled yourself very well! I agreeded with everything that you said, and I am so sorry that you were attacked like that. I have had comments made on my blog before, but never after commenting on someone elses. That is not fair at all!

Just wanted to back you up as another NC police wife!

Catherine said...

wow, what an eegit anon is! They ought to at least have had the courtesy to admit that they read you totally wrong in the first place...

G+D said...

Wow. I'd like to say I'm speechless, but I'm not. I have a hell of an opinion, but I think I better keep my mouth shut on this one. I will, however, just say that I'm sorry you had to deal with that and I agree with you 100%.

Sandra G. said...

I'm chiming in a few weeks late, but I've just found your blog.

Someone actually called you to task about being an officer's wife? The gall!

I, for one, know how incredibly important a supportive spouse is as I'm the officer in my marriage.

Grr...anon's comments are infuriating!

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