Enough is enough

Enough is enough

I am upset. If you write quite a bit, you learn a rule: you must never, ever write when you are upset. In such a state, clarity simply goes out the window and what you think is a masterpiece turns out to be... a pile of incomprehensible, misspelled crap.

I am doing it anyway. A disclaimer: I'm publishing this article "as is" - no spell check, no Dave Guard turning my atrocious English into... well, English.

(Actually, this article has had minor editing after publication - D.G.)

I am deeply upset and saddened by O'Gara's article on Pamela Jones of GrokLaw.

I don't share O'Gara's ways nor approach. She seems to hate Groklaw, and the secrecy around the web site. Hatred is not a nice nor constructive feeling; it doesn't help anybody, and in fact it often goes against you (as it's going against Maureen right now). Unfortunately, we all experience it and we all act out our anger sometimes.

This "entry" is here for two reasons. The first one, is to ask you to forgive Maureen O'Gara. What she did was vile; but it must have been out of frustration and anger. She is a human being; she has made a great mistake, and she will pay for it. I ask you to forgive her even though what she has done is unforgivable, and it's right now that we all have to bring out the best in ourselves and try to see even the unforgivable as... well, forgivable.

The second, more important reason that I am writing this (dangerously) unedited "entry", is to ask the question: why is Maureen's article unforgivable? I asked this question of myself. In a way, you can even see where she is coming from: there is this wonderful site which is helping the demolition of SCO's absurd case, and it seems unlikely that a single individual could possibly run it all on her own. It is also true that if Groklaw were run by a bunch of IBM's lawyers, well, it would lose at least some of its credibility. I think I have reasons to believe that this is exactly what Maureen wanted to find out. Again, then: why is Maureen's article unforgivable?

Because there is a chance (and for a lot of us it's a strong chance) that Groklaw is run by a wonderful woman who could be a Christian or a Jehovah's Witness or a Buddhist, and who believes in what she does to the point that she is willing to put herself in a dangerous position in doing so. Yes, I said dangerous, and I mean dangerous. Chances are that PJ is in fact a person who lives her everyday life, has a job, does what she has to do, and runs Groklaw thanks to the support of the whole Free Software and Open Source Community. And she wants to keep her identity secret to protect her family from possible threats and retaliation, and to be able to stay unbiased.

This paragraph is for you, Maureen: if the above was the case, Maureen, you have hurt somebody beyond belief. You have hurt somebody so much, that I can only hope you will never find out quite how bad the damage has been. Because if you did find out, you would never be able to forgive yourself.

Well, that's a big weight off my chest. But I'm not quite finished yet. I want to talk about myself for a minute.

I am an ex-cracker born in Italy and living in Australia. When I was 18 and 19, I cracked quite a few computers and nearly went to jail for it. My phones were tapped, and only an amazing series of coincidences saved me. I didn't have to go through a trial, but a lot of people around me did. I never destroyed a system, but I did read files I shouldn't have read. If one day I made somebody very powerful really angry, I can see how they would be able to dig into my past and find all sorts of things that I would find "embarrassing" in the least, compromising at worst. They could pick on my past as a cracker, on my religion (I am a Buddhist), on the way I live my life, or on another million things.

Maureen, this is another paragraph for you. I am sure you haven't been a cracker, but if I were to look very, very thoroughly into your past, would I not find all sorts of potentially embarrassing or compromising facts? Would I not find things that I don't agree with? If so, would I have a right to publish your home address, your phone number, and your religion on the internet, if you had expressed your desire to stay anonymous? Finally, now that you have discovered that Pamela Jones actually exists and is not a bunch of lawyers, don't you think that you should at least consider the chance that she is a just a normal person who is using anonymity just to protect herself and her family from threatening characters and from people like you, who are willing to publish her home address on the internet?

Again, this is my plea to the community to forgive Maureen and to do our best to act in a civil manner in regard to this issue.

And to Pamela Jones... good luck. I won't ask you to forgive Maureen for what she's done - not yet - but I hope this "pill" helps you somehow.




admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

From: Prough
Url: [email protected]
Date: 2005-05-13
Subject: No good forgiving her

I don't think Maureen deserves your forgiveness or anyone elses. I think what she has done is deplorable and I would love it if the same happened to her some day so she would understand what it means to be threatened and be unable to hide.


From: Anon
Date: 2005-05-13
Subject: Why Forgive?

O'Gara has shown no form of remorse for the actions that you list as vile. She still has the article up at her G2 site and it still contains the byline "to be continued". She has not given anyone any reason to forgive her.

Forgiveness without remorse on the part of the transgressor would indicate acceptance of the behavior. There is no way that she deserves to be forgiven without showing remorse, appologizing and asking to be forgiven. anything else condones her behavior.

Your article needs work anyway. There is no secrecy to be seen at Groklaw. Only publicly available material with comments and facts are posted there. Who publishes it makes no difference.

If O'Gara does not like Groklaw, she could try refuting what is posted there. Since she apparently was unable to do so, she went into personal attack mode.

The one thing you say is right, "enough is enough". So please ask O'Gara to stop now.


From: Tony Mobily
Url: http://www.mobily.com
Date: 2005-05-13
Subject: Maybe but...


I don't think that it would make any difference, if I asked Maureen to stop publishing her stories on Pamela.

ALSO, I think Maureen is doing what she is doing out of anger, and doesn't fully realise what she is doing.

Now... I have to ask you a question. Could you say, about yourself, that you never ever did *anything* regrettable, out of anger, without realising the damage you were causing?

Do you not deserve forgiveness? Have you not changed since then?

The only thing we can do to help the situation, is 1) Firgive Maureen 2) Help her understand what is going on. Bashing her will only cause more anger, and more damage.


Editor In Chief


From: ruurd
Date: 2005-05-13
Subject: Fogiving requires repenting

I'd be most happy to. Provided that Maureen O'Gara repents and repairs the harm she has done. In public. Just as public as the way she inflicted the damage in the first place.


From: Tony Mobily
Url: http://www.mobily.com
Date: 2005-05-13
Subject: Forgiveness doesn't require anything!

Hi Ruurd,

I know what you mean. But... well, it's easy to forgive if you are given something in exchange! That's sort-of barter, isn't it?

If you forgive somebody, you do it inconditionally. You forgive her even if she continues to write what she writes. If anything, you feel for her because she is living a life that leeds her to harm other people - and therefore herself - over and over again.

You know what? I would like to go further. I would like to be able to _love_ Maureen O'Gara, regardless of her actions. Love her as a living being who was born, who grew up, had close friends, laughed, ate, loved, and so on. Maureen - just like PJ - is not just a name of a web page. And is not a person able to *just* harm PJ - she does a lot more things, and a lot of them are probably full of love and beauty.

Maureen suffers every time somebody threatens her, just like any of us do. And the argument "she deserves it" doesn't work, because nobody should have the power to decide who deserves what.

Besides... if I knew the _worst_ things you have done, what would I think of you? What would you deserve, to my eyes?

Just as Maureen didn't (doesn't?) know how much damage she inflicted to PJ, those people writing death threats to Maureen didn't (don't?) know how much suffering they were causing to Maureen.

Do you thing it's easy to forgive them, for Maureen?



From: Bruce McGee
Date: 2005-05-13
Subject: Forgiveness

Fair enough. Everyone deserves this, don't they?

But this doesn't affect her accountability. Whatever her motivations, Maureen was clearly in the wrong. She is solely responsible for and fully deserving of any business, legal and personal repercussions she experiences. And depending on the fallout, "criminal" might be added to that list.

Forgiveness? Sure. Sympathy? None.


From: cooluke
Date: 2005-05-13
Subject: Forgive MOG?

I suspect PJ will forgive mog; based on having read her blog for a couple of years, and what mog revealed about her. I suspect that that is just PJ. Having her (mog's) bylines pulled is the minimum deserved punishment. You ask others to forgive, and I am sympathetic to that request. However, you have to remember: 1) PJ's opposition doesn't understand the 'new' ground rules: they are playing 'hard-ball' with someone not in the game. 2) Given the uneven landscape of the 'conflict' ('powerful' type A personalities used to winning at any cost utilizing any means vs. a quiet, unassumming blogger simply putting forth facts (and correcting mistakes quickly to maintain a fact-based blog), with a community of similarly-oriented followers). With out Groklaw, SCO's ploy (whatever it was) may have worked; certainly no one outside the legal system would know what was going on. MOG tried to influence the 'debate' by attempting to destroy the blog's creator and maintainer. She put forth no facts relating to the SCO case; merely a character-assination attempt. From her superior and arrogant (and let's face it - just dead wrong) vantage has tried to manipulate the 'news'.

As I said earlier, she is lucky that PJ was her target - I suspect that forgiveness will (or has) follow(ed). I withhold that forgiveness, however, until her punishment is complete: the beginning of which requires a heart-felt apology. How about it mog? Do you have the decency to apologize? Do you have the character to admit that what you did was wrong? I may not be alone, and I'm waiting.

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Tony is the founder and the Editor In Chief of Free Software Magazine