cathy,

I do not think I said they were "abominably evil," did I? If they ever calm down (which I rather doubt, they do not seem to be that sort of people), I would be happy to exchange posts with them in the future, learn from their experiences, etc. Simply because I finally spoke frankly to them, after their repeated frank and insulting posts to me, does not mean that I hate or despise them. Quite the contrary, in fact: I like almost all of the people that I meet, and I still rather like these three women, although I do not much like their recent behavior.

Each of them did behave in a remarkably insulting and rude way towards me, even though I had in no way insulted or attacked them. Incogneato, specifically, launched into vicious personal attacks on me when she had not even been part of the conversation at all.

By normal standards of human behavior, all three surely owe me an apology. I do not demand (or expect) such an apology, of course, but even those us of who do not constantly whine about our feelings, do, after all, have feelings.

Furthermore, all three of these kind women lectured on me on how I should behave – even though it was they who were throwing around the insults! – and I refrained for a long time from lecturing them on their ill manners.

Please note that I said nothing critical about Lorel at all until she chose to, in her own words, offer some very “blunt” criticism of me. However, since she did feel the need to be so “blunt” in addressing me, I felt I finally had an obligation to speak my opinions frankly and openly. I felt this particularly strongly because of her execrable sliming of her own son – implying that there was something wrong with me because I reminded her of her son!

I am indeed deeply, profoundly, and unspeakably offended by this, not so much because of any insult to me, but more because of the horrifying attitude it reveals that she holds towards her own son! Yes, it may be difficult for me to forgive her for that. She should be profoundly ashamed.

I have spoken elsewhere on this board about a friend of mine in college who started graduate school in mathematics at age 15: he was the Terence Tao of my generation. He was not only stunningly brilliant, he was also an amazingly nice guy, far more compassionate and sensitive to other’s feelings than most “normal” people I know. Like Lorel’s son, he would surely have been labeled “Asperger’s” had people back then been inclined to do such labeling.

Yes, that behavior by Lorel does outrage me and offend me very deeply. I think it is evil.

But, no, that does not mean I am labelling Lorel “evil.” As historical experience indicates, it is far too easy for basically decent people to slip into evil, when that evil is endorsed by the group of which they are members. That was the larger issue I was trying to discuss vis a vis socialization with Kriston, before Kriston chose to become verbally abusive.

Are Lorel, Kriston, and incogneato, to use your words, “abominably evil”? No, I do not think they are, and I do not believe that I said they were. I do think they have let themselves be drawn into some unethical patterns of behavior that are, sadly, all too widespread in our society. And those patterns of behavior not only have negative effects for personal interaction, as they have so clearly shown in their insulting treatment of me, those patterns of behavior have also enabled Americans to engage in mass murder around the world.

These three women have gratuitously and viciously insulted me for no legitimate reason. In response, I have repeatedly said that I sincerely wish all three of them all the best; they sincerely have my good wishes. I have been more than willing to “turn the other cheek.” I do not demand nor expect an apology, nor do I think nor claim that they are “evil.”

I do think, though, that in response to their behavior, I am entitled to express my own thoughts and feelings about their behavior. Do you think I was obligated to simply remain silent forever in the face of their nasty viciousness?

All the best,

Dave