Comment thread emerged in response to Oct. 19 column by Mike Christopherson in the Times
Mr. Chris Huffman (letter to the editor: The dangers of false allegations, Crookston Daily Times, Oct. 25):
I happen to have read the entire online exchange between you and said woman regarding Mike Christopherson's recent editorial. Yes, she did insult you crudely and liken you to a rapist, which was an inappropriate, dangerous, hurtful thing to say.
Yet, early in that particular conversation, the woman pointedly asked you to stop talking to her. But you did not stop. Clearly agitated, she told you again multiple times to leave her alone. You persisted, stating that you liked "getting a reaction" from her. You made a sarcastic, slightly graphic comment about rape. You mocked her opinions, calling them stupid. Two of your friends joined in, making fun of the woman and talking about her "behind her back" in full public view. You deliberately antagonized her when she was obviously already angry and upset. I read the entire thread several times, shocked at what I was seeing. That was not "healthy conversation" whatsoever, nor was it debating and arguing opposing viewpoints in an adult-like manner.
You are more to blame for that embarrassing, ugly exchange than the woman on whom you place all the blame here, Mr. Huffman. You say you went into "full out offensive mode" after she pulled out the "rapist card." What you should have done was stop replying specifically to her posts the first time she asked you to, which was before your actions were compared to those of a rapist. That would've been the mature, respectful thing to do.
I'm not excusing her terrible choice of words for which she alone is responsible. To carelessly throw around the label of "rapist" is wrong. But if a woman asks you to leave her alone, including during an online conversation, then you had better immediately back off. The whole awful thing could've been avoided if you'd just chosen to walk away. She wouldn't have resorted to likening you to a rapist if you'd stopped talking to her as soon as she requested you refrain from doing so.
No, you are not a rapist, Mr. Huffman, but your unwillingness to respect the woman's request that you not speak to her, along with your subsequent disrespectful commentary toward her, are forms of harassment. False allegations of any kind are dangerous, I wholeheartedly agree. I hope, however, that you will own up to your mistake and admit you chose to ignore her repeated demands that you leave her alone; either that, or risk being called out as a hypocrite.