There’s always something to howl about

You want to get someone’s attention? Try ‘pardon me’. Even a shoe toss is more civil than spitting in one’s face.

It takes some chutzpah to have such an opinion about things and become as successful as Michael Arrington has with TechCrunch.  Yesterday he posted about how he’s going off the grid, after the abuse from his peers and critics becomes threatening to his family’s safety.

TechCrunch – ‘Some things need to change’

Luckily my tolerance level for verbal abuse has risen proportionately to our growth, so I can handle most of the verbal abuse thrown our way. I can even handle it when my so called friends decide it’s in their best interest to spread negative rumors about us privately. I believe that it has changed me as a person to the point where I generally don’t trust people until they’ve earned it. Before TechCrunch I assumed most people were essentially good, and assumed that an individual was trustworthy until proven otherwise. Today, its exactly the opposite.

But like I said, I draw the line at being spat on. It’s one step away from something far more violent.

Something very few people know: last year over the summer an off balance individual threatened to kill me and my family. He wasn’t very stealthy about it – he called our office number, sent me emails and even posted threats on his blog, so it wasn’t hard to determine who he was. The threats were, in the opinion of security experts we consulted, serious. The individual has a felony record and owns a gun. Police in three states became involved and we hired a personal security team to protect me, my family and TechCrunch employees.

At over $2,000 a day we couldn’t keep paying for security indefinitely. And the police were helpful but couldn’t do much based on the threats until he acted. We had the option of getting a restraining order but that just tells the person exactly where you are (the places they can’t go). So for a week I was literally in hiding with my parents at their home. The TechCrunch office was empty, and the police made regular checks to see if things were ok. One evening they almost arrested one of our employees who stopped by the office to pick up something.

Seeing my parents fear for their lives and not understand how or why their son was in this position changed me, made me a much less forgiving person in general.

I write about technology startups and news. In any sane world that shouldn’t make me someone who has to deal with death threats and being spat on. It shouldn’t require me to absorb more verbal abuse than a human being can realistically deal with.    read the whole article here.

This is unfortunate because it deals with some pretty fundamental values that allow us to be civil to one another.  What we have to offer one another when we blog is a personal passion.   An opinion.  Yes, it’s business and strategy as well, but blogging and new media has offered individuals to thrive in ways we could not thrive before.   An individuals voice can be heard with more reach than ever before.   It’s a gift we all share, this freedom.  A gift that can be accepted of denied, but should never be threatened to extinguish.

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