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How to Discourage Women from Cartooning

I am a professional woman cartoonist, or female cartoonist. I sort of loathe using such terms to describe myself. I identify more as “a cartoonist” and nothing else. “Just one of the guys.” I feel confident in my abilities as a comic book author. My work stands on its own. I don’t feel the need to defend it. I dislike being made a fuss over only because I am a lady. I dislike having people underline my gender. Still, I am happy to call myself a feminist. I have no problem with that.

I don’t normally feel like being a woman in this field is enough to justify having to answer questions about it all the time, most frequently: “What is it like to be a woman cartoonist?” Let’s face it, this is not dangerous work. This is not even physically demanding. I am not a police officer, I am not a fireman, I am not in the army. I don’t put my life on the line every day. Hell, I don’t even work in an office where some asshole could potentially pinch my butt. I work from home! I am practically a housewife. So please, stop asking that question.

Even though I view cartooning as a pretty smooth ride compared to other occupations, I am driven. I get absorbed by my projects, I stress out over deadlines, I argue with my spouse about whose turn it is to make dinner. I take up my space, I do my thing, I believe in it.

And there are struggles. I would be a fool to deny that. I face the same anxieties as many of my male counterparts, but the difference is that once in a while something kind of gross happens: a weird pass is made, a sexist comment is said, someone checks me out, or some creep corners me at an art opening. Those are the real challenges of being a woman doing ANYTHING.

This morning I received a fan letter that crossed the Atlantic Ocean just to bum me out. Here’s how the letter starts:

slimer1

While I acknowledge that this guy (let’s call him “Slimer”) is probably just clumsy, I really wish he hadn’t started his letter that way. If you call me “Baby-Girl” and you are a total stranger, you’ve lost me. Whatever else you may have to say afterwards is tainted.

But the letter gets worse, maybe he is just drunk:

slimer2slimer3

Slimer admits that he has yet to read my book and that my comics are not the reason for his fan letter. He also includes a photograph of himself at his desk, and the package everything came in reeks of cologne.

It isn’t clear if he is hitting on me, but I still don’t like it. Slimer talking about seeing a picture of me online makes me feel like never including a portrait in my interviews again. I don’t want European dudes to treat pictures of me like they are reason enough to get in touch, as though we were both members of the same dating service. His disregard for my actual work is upsetting. I wish he had the decency to read my book first and write the letter after. It would still be a bit creepy, but at least I would feel like something more than a face. Am I being checked out from half a world away?

Upon reading the letter for the first time I threw the envelope across the room. I don’t feel like having this guy’s SMELL, this guy’s FACE in my house. I know this is a strong reaction but I don’t have time for this shit. I don’t care what he does. He brags about being published by a well-reputed (fancy-ass) art book publisher and I can only think, “Screw you. You made me re-consider my profession today. You made me feel guilty for having any kind of presence online. You made me feel bad about being born a girl.”

This might seem pretty tame to a lot of people. But it is still very wrong. We have to learn better ways to talk to women, to talk about what they do for a living. The conversation should never be about what a cartoonist herself (or himself) looks like, but rather about what their WORK looks like. Their SKILLS. Let’s stop being insulting. And while I admit there is a strong possibility that Slimer was just a little tipsy, a little awkward, a little nervous — it is not an excuse. He should have thought it over before sending me that envelope.

I have photographic evidence for this one, but I don’t have any proof of the other sleazy “real life” encounters I have had in my career. Every woman I know has had them. They add up, and combined together they go far beyond frustration. While some people might enjoy this type of attention, my beliefs are that:

-This benign-seeming, flirty yet slimy type of talk is how you discourage women from putting themselves out there.

-This type of behavior is how you make women wary of men who show an interest.

-Most of all this type of nonsense is how you discourage women from doing the things they feel most passionate about.


60 Responses to How to Discourage Women from Cartooning

  1. Stuart says:

    He’s obviously ill, there’s a fair number of social misfits out there, just chuck it in the bin/ burn it and move on. Don’t spread the misery or dwell on it.

    • Derik Badman says:

      I’m no psychologist (maybe you are), but he doesn’t sound “ill.” Sounds like a dude who made a fantasy woman in his head who he’s going to write to and hit on.

      “Don’t spread the misery or dwell on it.”

      So the answer is stay quiet? Maybe I misunderstand “don’t spread the misery”, but I think it’s important stories like this are being spread, so men reading this can think about the issue at hand. Maybe this dude didn’t think what he was doing was creepy and insulting to this artist, and maybe he’ll see this now and rethink a bit. Maybe other guys will see this and give some thought to how they think about/treat/talk about women in the industry/scene/world.

      • Stuart says:

        I’m not a psychologist either. It is sad, bizarre and disheartening in light of recent issues. Sure talk about it, let’s see all the weird letters anyone has ever received from anyone ever, hopefully it will help educate others. Maybe someone will even be able to identify him. Depressing isn’t the word. Urgh.

      • squirtlekin says:

        I don’t think he had any uncertainty as to how his letter would be received unless he has a mental deficiency.

        And it’s good to know that “other guys” can be lumped in with this guy, maybe you want to rethink that attitude?

      • Salgood Sam says:

        This is for squirtlekin, the anon.

        “And it’s good to know that “other guys” can be lumped in with this guy, maybe you want to rethink that attitude?”

        Maybe you want to reread that for context? He said “Maybe other guys will see this and give some thought to how they think about/treat/talk about women in the industry/scene/world.”

        Context is relevant: In this usage “other guys” is not ALL other guys.

        It’s only any “other guy” who specifically happens to read it and sees what it looks like to do that thing they might have thought of doing, and how the recipient will feel.

        We abbreviate for ease of reading but when someone generalizes in that way it does not mean ALL THE GUYS, just the one’s for whom the lesson would be relevant.

        Now if you’re one of the specific “other guys” who might have been thinking that, then you’re free to take umbrage.

        But otherwise, you’re basically mistaking yourself for the generalized “other guys”, who may, and now we all look at you like, yeah, so you’re one of them eh? Hmmm.

        Don’t make this about you dude. It’s not, unless it is. In which case, stop sending the creepy letters.

    • Ayo says:

      “Don’t spread the misery,” he says.

      Stuart, the misery is already spread. You’re complaining about *reading about* what women have to *actually experience* continually? The absolute nerve of you. You can’t even be one percent as exhausted by learning about harassment as women are exhausted by being subjected to harassment.

    • Alexa says:

      Stuart, do you know how often women are told “just to let it go” when they get harassed? If you guessed every fucking time it happens, congratulations! There’s always some reason why this instance wasn’t so bad– and most of the time, as you just did, they also absolve the harasser. “He’s just awkward.” “He’s clearly not right in the head.” “He just misread the situation.” “He was drunk.”

      Awkward, poorly socialized, drunk, and mentally ill men can still rape. In this instance he’s across an ocean, but this woman is going to be on her guard at every con she’s at in case he makes the journey, maybe even specifically to stalk her. This guy clearly has some kind delusions of a blossoming relationship with this woman, do you really think he should be allowed within five miles of her? (And before you object to my mind “jumping” from “mere” harassment to rape, this is literally every woman’s thought process. This is what we must do, because, as you have so well illustrated, we know we can’t depend on other people taking our fears and discomfort seriously, so we must prepare for the worst.)

      Not to mention the constant, nagging feeling that no matter what you accomplish, as a woman, you will never truly be seen as anything more than some guy’s sex toy. And there are loads of creeps out there who want to be that guy and will let you know it on no uncertain terms.

  2. john campbell says:

    hey stuart, we have to keep talking about these things and showing them to each other. it seems important that we understand what people, women especially, have been putting up with when they allow themselves to become public figures (even in a tiny subculture). if we don’t, how will any of this behavior change?

    i’ve been harassed and stalked because i had a wider online presence for a time, and EVERY female i’ve EVER known in a similar position has had it MUCH worse

  3. Sam Alden says:

    I hate that shit like this isn’t more anomalous. And I agree that it’s really important to bring it up, and put it in the open. Like the author says, this is a rare moment when the slime can be photographed and put out in the open; there’s a ton of harassment out there that’s less explicit and much harder to document.

  4. Stuart says:

    So name and shame him.

    • Ayo says:

      Shame on YOU, Stuart.

      A name and a shame.

      • Martin Wisse says:

        No, I agree with Stuart in this case, this sort of guy should be named and shamed and it should be made clear that the comics community doesn’t tolerate sexism and harassment. One of the problems with harassment like this is actually that people don’t talk about the missing stairs in our communities and every victim has to found for themselves who the harassers are. Therefore, if and when somebody can be named and shamed, that should be done

        But I also understand why the anonymous author doesn’t want to do that because of course it would mean naming herself as well, as well as having to deal with the inevitable backlash.

      • Stuart says:

        I’ve been following the Brian Wood shambles very closely all the way down the timeline and it’s horrible reading. And having said that , I don’t know about you but I’m pretty pleased that it was brought out into the light and mostly with how it shook out (could have been better, but better than nothing). Everyone is going to be watching him now and anyone else who might have done something similar is going to think twice now. It was a good thing that Brian Wood was named and shamed. It did more for bringing this issue to the centre of the culture where it needs to be. Before that no-one (frankly) gave a shit. It is a man’s responsibility to behave himself, but if not, then it’s a woman’s responsibility to other women to identify him. Aren’t you glad Brian Wood was named and shamed? I am. Makes the conventions and industry as a whole safer for women.

    • Sarah Oleksyk says:

      Thanks for clarifying what an abuse victim’s “responsibilities” toward other women are, Stuart. I’m learning more about women’s place in society from you every moment!

  5. john campbell says:

    hey moderators these are the kinds of people you could stop from communicating on your site. stuart seems unable to do any of his own creative empathetic thinking, and no amount of input from anyone else will improve that. these are the kinds of people that what you call “comics culture” aids and abets every day. fuck you moderators for approving as stupid and ill-informed a response to the wider problems of sexual harassment online with “so name and shame him”

    • Stuart says:

      I think the moderators, are mostly in favour of free speech, unless they could be held responsible for what others say on their website e.g. libel.

    • Tim Hodler says:

      We have a commenting policy in place. Stuart’s comments, however regrettable, don’t violate that policy. As long as commenters stay fairly civil, and don’t engage in abusive language or ad hominem attacks (your comment right here is borderline, for example, and if it was aimed at another commenter, I would probably delete it), they are allowed to voice their opinions. If you think we are making the wrong call on any comments, please feel to reach me by e-mail and we can discuss it. Thanks.

    • Stuart says:

      Dear John, sorry I don’t meet your exacting high levels of intelligence and empathy required for public comment.

      I’m thinking of all the other women, who up until a few months ago had no idea to watch out for a ‘female friendly’ creator like Brian Wood, until he got publicly called out.

      But let’s all just GUESS who to watch out for, that’s much more helpful.

      • Tim Hodler says:

        You’ve made your point, Stuart. Don’t escalate.

      • Tim Hodler says:

        And I don’t think it’s helpful, either, to derail the conversation into an attack on the writer of the post.

  6. Ian Harker says:

    That’s odd, Shia LaBeouf sent me the same letter…

  7. Scott Grammel says:

    I’m sorry, but this is much ado about not all that very much. Maybe I grew up with a generally tougher breed of woman, but this comes awful close to the supposedly pernicious idea of women as oh-so-fragile vessels popularized in the Victorian era.

    Yes, a writer who starts out with “Dear baby girl” is not only clearly an ass, but also pointedly and intentionally an ass. Still, I’d place a very large bet that if she showed this to any long-time successful female writer or cartoonist, and offered it as an example of a horribly, terribly, outrageously sexual fan response, said long-time successful female writer or cartoonist would promptly laugh in her face and offer to show her a real example of scary, squirm-inducing fan letters.

    • Jacob C. says:

      Great point Scott! Women sweat the little things too much, RITE FELLAZ? Since things might have been worse in the past, why should we expect anyone to treat women like human beings now????? Women these days are TOO FRAGILE, that is a GOOD POINT. This comment is WORTHWHILE.

    • Sophie Yanow says:

      I love how you write this post assuming this person, just because she is anonymous, is not a “long-time successful female writer or cartoonist” and therefore would need to defer to one to get some idea of what that’s like.

      I won’t even comment on the rest of the drivel you’re spewing.

      • Jennifer LeBlanc says:

        THIS. A million times THIS. Such assumptions about an anonymous person. CLEARLY she’s not successful because if she was, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Also, this isn’t about comparing who’s got it worse, it’s about why it’s “worse” in the first place. I think the original commenter missed the point. ***Dealing with sexism is not a damn badge of honor.***

      • Scott Grammel says:

        My quick calculation of best-selling, female graphic novelists of an autobiographical bent who live in America with a husband came to exactly zero. For whatever reason, the person I was actually thinking of as a contrast was Patricia Cornwell, both because her literary success has been so longstanding and sustained and because her work, if my memory is correct, often deals with issues of violence against women, sexual and otherwise. I think it’s safe to hazard the guess that the correspondence she’s received over the years would most likely dwarf that of almost any cartoonist working today, male or female.

        And, yes, I still think that Anonymous’ self-described reactions of questioning her chosen cartoonist profession and feeling “bad about being born a girl” in response to the letter are borderline hysterical.

    • Melissa Mendes says:

      Wow. Good job bringing home the point of misguided male feminism, dude.

    • Ayo says:

      Scott, you obviously haven’t grown up with any women in your life. Have a seat and pay attention when women are telling their story.

    • Alexa says:

      Or maybe the women you grew up with felt they had no option but to suffer in silence. Maybe this generation of women have decided we’re not going to put up with this shit. Maybe this generation of women have decided that men are no longer going to get away with being creepy objectifying assholes.

  8. Jason Michelitch says:

    Scott,

    Life is not a comparison of chambers of horrors. The whole point is that this letter ISN’T an extreme example, but is indicative of exactly the kind of behavior too many men assume is their right to inflict upon women. And your dismissing it as “not all that very much” is part of why they keep assuming that.

  9. Leigh Walton says:

    The point is not this particular creep. The point is that this is par for the course:
    “I have photographic evidence for this one, but I don’t have any proof of the other sleazy ‘real life’ encounters I have had in my career. Every woman I know has had them. They add up, and combined together they go far beyond frustration.”

    Next time you’re about to say some “jokey” condescending/dehumanizing bullshit to a creator, either online or in person, keep in mind that your incoming message is accompanied by dozens of other messages from douchebags like this, and think about how funny your joke is likely to seem.

  10. George Steinke says:

    Maybe you white knights should take a stroll around the block or something while until some actual WOMEN show up to venture their opinions.

    • It’s important for men to tell other guys when they’re being dense and sexist. Sexism is offensive to, and shouldn’t be tolerated by, anyone of any gender. And standing up, as a guy, to tell other guys to stop condemning sexism is not either helpful or a way to make sure that women’s voices are heard.

      • george steinke says:

        What’s even less helpful is jumping the stage to strike a pose before the aggrieved party can respond. And if you don’t think women are perfectly capable of defending themselves against this sort of bullshit, you’re pretty sexist in your own right.

  11. Katie says:

    My sense of the letter is that it’s only so tame because he thought he could get away with it if he only dropped (bad) hints here and there. Hesse the “ops” (sp?) and other “haha, see I’m just kidding” tones. Personally, this is the kind of harassment that burns me up the most because it’s clear the person is trying to push Anon as far as he can without her calling him out on it. It’s the definition of gross.

    • Dirk Grundy says:

      I’ve received my fair share of this style of comment or letter and god, seriously, this is definitely the worst. Just toeing the line. You can’t tell if they mean to come across this creepy or not. Makes you really doubt yourself, drives you nuts, and it’s the sort of thing that’s hard to stop ruminating over. It’s insidious.

      These are also the sort of ‘fans’ who will eagerly mix in subtle insults. They tend to get very entitled and demanding if you put up with them for too long. Having to tell them to get lost sucks, I think we all worry too much about looking like jerks. The internet eats creators alive when it perceives them as being jerks somehow. Even more so with female creators.

      There’s definitely a pressure to just put up with creeps and continue to be silent on the subject. Boys will be boys and don’t feed the trolls, right?

  12. Sarah Oleksyk says:

    I’m so relieved that there are male voices here to remind us women to put up and shut up. If there’s one thing in life that reassures me, it’s hearing on a near-daily basis that we should happily, silently accept the trash thrown our way.

  13. Bill says:

    I’m glad that he didn’t set the bar too high in case I ever do send a fan letter to a female artist that I admire (such as Marie Severin, Jelena Djurdjevic and Stephanie Hans)

  14. Before Indians became “ubiquitous” in North America, I got a few similar letters from lecherous men who assumed I was a woman from my name. The one that really stood out in my memory was from a major Washington DC periodical of the 1980s where the editor suggested that if I wasn’t open to his charms, it was probably because my people were into animal sex. Inventive thinking on his part.

    About 15 years later I interviewed that guy for an AD position at another periodical … he did not remember my name (I think he thought I was Mexican, they usually do in the USA) but I did remember his.

    Best of luck, Ms Anonymous. Man is a bad animal.

  15. Korey says:

    It is precisely this sort of misogynistic entitlement that men need to be aware of and constantly disrupt. These micro-aggressions enforce the patriarch, and perpetuate the idea that women are not individuals with their exclusive perspectives and directives, but simply function as objects for men to engage, i.e., “Women are here to acknowledge men. If they don’t like it, then they should hide themselves or be coerced.” Subtle acts which so many struggle to call-out or acknowledge as real issues are exactly the sort which enforce bigotry and indirect reverence for inequality.

    Women are not beholden to men. Get over it.

  16. Zack Soto says:

    Clearly this person is twice damned: a creep AND a built to spill fan.
    also: “I thought you had a nice dog-blouse going good together with your hairdo”?????

  17. Christian LeBlanc says:

    That letter makes me uncomfortable, and I hope the writer of it has some epiphany some time about treating human beings as human beings. That would be cool. In the meantime, it also makes me uncomfortable that there are people defending the writer of that letter and not Anonymous. That is really weird. Why would you be hostile towards someone who is basically saying that she wants to be corresponded with based on her character traits and skill set, as opposed to simply (and *only*) her gender? Does it make you that angry that someone wants to be acknowledged as a human being? Why? What exactly is triggering the ‘rage’ part of your brain about this?

    Now, I am an introverted comic book fan *and* an accountant, so social interaction isn’t really my forte, but even *I* know this much: nobody wants to be treated like they are nothing more than their race and/or gender. This is very, very simple, very basic stuff. From what I’ve observed, I think you’re allowed to *acknowledge* these things, but when you make these things the sole basis upon which you interact with a person, this makes you a bad person. I’m very sorry, that’s just how it works.

    Nothing I’ve written above adds anything new to this discussion, by the way; it’s common knowledge. All I want is to speak up and lend support in my own small way, instead of saying absolutely nothing and appearing not to care.

  18. Gerry Mooney says:

    I think you’ve done exactly what you should have done. I’m just sorry you couldn’t actually identify him by name and photo without aggravating the situation. This kind of behavior needs to be outed. I hope posting it here brings you some moral and/or actual support.

  19. I’ll say dirty things meant to be silly to someone I feel I know, but this is far different. I think if guys like this can’t afford a lawyer, expose them by name and shame them.

  20. Pingback: Cartoonist sexually harassed on a panel in front of a room full of people — The Beat

  21. First Orson Scott Card, now Scott Lobdell. Does this mean the Duck Dynasty guy will be the next Superman writer?

  22. Volker Stieber says:

    As a man, I think it’s ludicrous to state that “man is a bad animal”. As the father of a daughter, I’m appalled at this idiot and want to recommend you buy a taser. Having personally been hit on in very inappropriate ways by the opposite sex, I understand your discomfort.

    The fact is, the world is full of sociopaths and crazies. You cannot change them, and you do not have to tolerate them.

    Personally, I’d expose the guy on principle.

  23. Yeah, as a white guy, I’ve known enough white guys to know that we’re mostly just giant man-toddlers thundering across the countryside with little regard or comprehension of the trail of social destruction we leave behind. There are few consequences to our actions in general society. This not only means there are plenty of assholes doing horrible things and getting away with it because they can, but also a lot of well-meaning guys who JUST DON’T KNOW how they affect those who have to live around them.

    I think anonymous articles like this can work in conjunction with the actual naming of names to continue stoking the conversation; both in general terms of how we can better ourselves as well as specific terms of who should be boycotted or otherwise avoided in an effort to improve the comics industry.

  24. Ann Ominous says:

    I am the author of this article. Just to clarify: my decision to keep both my name and the name of my secret admirer private was based on the fact that I believe this letter could have been received by pretty much any woman and written by pretty much any man. The feminist boys I know say they could “never have written such a thing”. They’d be surprised. In my opinion nice guys, and even nice ladies, can say terrible things to women sometimes. Especially when they are drunk enough.

    I also wish to point out that I am not traumatized by this letter, mearely annoyed. Like really annoyed and frustrated because I know that male cartoonists don’t have to deal with getting creeped out, with having their butt pinched by a “mentor” or their breast fondled by a stranger as much as I or any other woman will have to (yes, it all happened to me) . Which is why I am made to question a profession involving being in the public eye, even for a second. I obviously love this job enough to stick around (by the way for that one guy asking: I have been in the biz for over fifteen years, I hope that’s long enough for you — I beg you not to try to figure out who I am, that’s annoying as well and it misses any important point I am trying to make).

    I just think the conversation needs to continue and if one or two people reading these words are made to reconsider their own behavior, that will be an improvement.

  25. george says:

    Of course, older comics guys like Julius Schwartz set an example for later generations to follow. Since Julie died, long-whispered accounts of his behavior with female employees (groping, kissing, etc.) have become public.

    Here’s something I’ve wondered about:

    During his last decade as a DC editor, Schwartz’s boss was a woman: Jenette Kahn. And after retirement, he traveled the convention circuit for years as a “goodwill ambassador” for DC.

    What did Kahn think about the stories of Schwartz’s behavior? Did she investigate them? Was she even aware of them? Or did she — like many other people — just look the other way?

    From what I’ve gathered, Schwartz was such a revered figure with fans and pros, a lot of people didn’t want to believe the rumors of serial sexual harassment. Or, as one blogger sacrastically put it: “Who are ya gonna believe — the beloved co-creator of the Silver Age Flash, Green Lantern and Hawkman, or a bunch of chicks?”

  26. Patrice Chevraulaix says:

    Maybe Nancy Silberkleit can start a new comics company and hire no one but these obnoxious clowns, what a line that would be.

  27. Diamonddulius says:

    Fanboys will be fanboys!!

  28. Cynthia Sonier says:

    Cynthia, here, and I have a cartoon on Comics Sherpa called Sooky Rottweiler.

    First of all, that guy acted like an absolute idiot. I can tell what he is when he is not writing, but I hope for him that he’s not like that for real. Just looks like he had a few drinks, a lots of brain farts on top of each other (at this stage, it’s called brain-runs, okay? Unless it’s something else) and too much time on his hands. I don’t agree with everything that was said in the letter. If you were upset when you wrote this, well, who the heck would not?

    That being said, the “shame him!” crowd worries me. Keep your distance from them. We will never know what that guy was thinking and who he is and we will probably never know. It is possible that the author is a stalker (the scary one, the attention grabber, doesn’t mean it’s the most likely) but there are also other possibilities. We know a letter, not the author of it. If the person who wrote that was drunk , they probably don’t remember it by now (not that it’s an excuse). What if it was a woman who wrote the letter (for whatever reason). What if it was written by someone who was not even thirteen!

    And what if it was one of those thousands and thousands of non-dangerous, but non-autonomous mental patients that live free in nursing homes and at their parent’s? those people are even more oppressed than women! I have known a few mental patients (schizophrenes, bipolar people) personally and what I see in this letter reminds me of them; they would never hurt you on purpose, but they just don’t know how to act around women and it’s the kind of stuff that tends to come out of their mouths. I’m not saying that’s what it is, but I’m saying that considering the general IQ of this letter, it is a possibility.

    In internet vigilantism, there is no such thing as “criminally responsible” or “old enough to stand trial”. There are just people having their lives torn apart for the entertainment of the masses. We’ve seen viral videos making fun of school children, parents…(and of course, we all think they had it coming! Isn’t that what the internet says?).
    Mentally ill people are so excluded that every time you read the words “mentally ill”, you probably think Heath Ledger as The Joker and not Lennie from Of Mice and Men. Those people will have to take pills all their life, will not be able to have their own families (or lost them), are either avoided or made fun of when they go in public. They go through even more trouble than women! I’m asking for one of the “shame him!” crowd to volunteer to give a good punishing punishing lecture to the mental patient/culprit about the social exclusion of women and how women have it tough if the trail of bread crumbs lead us to a psychiatric ward…(Come on, I don’t see any hands up!).

    If the stalker hypothesis concerns you (and you’d be right, you have the right to protect yourself!), I suggest that you go to the police. Some will say “the police will do nothing!The police will shame you”. That’s just the chant of every “don’t thread on me, I stand my ground” gun-nut militia adapted for the internet. There is room for improvement but the police is still the best, most sane option. Punishing someone you don’t know is just dangerous.

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