An open letter to Mr. Rick Carufel:
Y'know what, Mr. Carufel? You owe some of us one big fat fuckin' apology.
Some of us, many of us, most of us, maybe even all of us.
We didn't stalk you, Mr. Carufel. We didn't stalk your buddy Carroll Bryant either. Did we read your blogs? Of course we did. Isn't that why you wrote them? Since when does reading a blog constitute "stalking"?
We didn't threaten you, Mr. Carufel. We didn't threaten anyone. The very worst thing we did was to give your books low ratings because we either didn't like the books, or we didn't like you. Did we also sometimes give low ratings to people who associated with and/or supported you? Yes, we did. Maybe because we didn't like their books either. Or we didn't like them. You know what, Mr. Carufel? It's not a crime, not in Virginia, not in Minnesota, not in any of these 50 states or in most civilized countries to not like someone.
Did we "hide" behind made-up screen names? Yeah, some of us did. Some of us still do. And that's not a crime either, no, not even in Virginia. But most of us operated pretty much with only one name at a time, and either through our avatars or the variations on the main name you knew who we were. Joking around with a screen name isn't quite the same as having a bunch of sock puppet names, like "Mary Shelly" and "Squa Tront" and "Spa Font" and "Charles Richter," especially when those sock puppet names are slapped on sock puppet accounts to try to avoid the ban hammer after verbally abusive behavior.
Most of us never attacked you personally, Mr. Carufel. We may have criticized your behavior, we may even have drawn attention to the public records of your past criminal behavior, but we sure as fuck didn't go whining to a local TV station and accuse a bunch of people we didn't know of being out to get us. But you did that, Mr. Carufel. You did it to us. And you did it when most of us had never done anything to you more vicious than not like your damn books.
So now, all these long months later, you found out Melissa Douthit was lying to you, stabbing you in the back, playing you for a fool, using you and then casting you aside. Aw, as my late husband would have said, my heart pumps purple panther piss for you, Mr. Carufel. What about the reviewers you threatened with arrest and incarceration because all they did was not like your books? What about the doxxing and the threats of lawsuits? What about the total denial of facts, facts, facts, that were put in front of your face in black and white (or whatever colors your computer monitor displays in) over and over and over? What about the bordering-on-libelous posts you threw up at every fucking blog you could find?
You never cared about the truth, and you never cared about anyone else but yourself, Mr. Carufel. You didn't care who you hurt, whose reputation as a reviewer you maligned, whose membership at GoodReads you undermined, whose privacy you invaded (or tacitly encouraged others to invade). You never gave a rat's ass about anyone but yourself.
So is this latest bullshit some kind of play for sympathy? Are we supposed to pat you on your little coke head and say, "It's okay, Ricky. We're sorry Melissa hurt your precious feelings and suckered you into her little circle of jerks. We know you didn't mean anything by all your hateful words toward us."? Don't expect that kind of bullshit from me, Mr. Carufel.
If anything, I dislike you even more now than I did before.
We kept putting the truth out there in front of you and you just flat out refused to believe it. You were so right and we were so wrong. We were the bullies and the trolls, the jealous haters and liars. And then Melissa dumped you, shit on you, discarded you like a used condom, and finally you see her for what she is, what we saw her as well over a year ago. What took you so long, Mr. Carufel?
And you're still calling us bullies. You're still refusing to understand that we never bullied anyone. Not you, not Melissa Douthit, not Carroll Bryant, not Peggy Holloway or M.T. Dismuke or Sharon Desruisseaux or Steve Nedelton or Eve Thomas or Lauren Howard or Lloyd Lofthouse or Jac Wright or Victor Bertolaccini. We reviewed, or maybe only "shelved" your books, but we never did anything to you personally. We never threatened you with arrest; we never contacted your employer or hunted for and posted your not previously public personally identifying information online.
You owe us an apology, and then you owe us your silence. You, along with Carroll Bryant and Jaq D. Hawkins and V.L. Dreyer and Tony McFadden and all the other butthurt STGRB "minions" who just could not bear the thought that, to paraphrase H. L. Mencken, someone, somewhere, didn't like their books.