27 September 2018

Lies and threats -- a personal note

In assessing the drama around Brett Kavanaugh, the key question is whether one believes his accusers are telling the truth or not.  In my two postings on the topic this week, I've said that while I recognize that it's impossible to know for certain, I tend to find the accusations credible.  More importantly, I've said why.  Others may reach a different conclusion, of course.  But having expressed that judgment, it's perhaps relevant -- maybe even obligatory -- to mention that I myself was once the target, not of an actual false accusation, but a threat of one.

This happened in 2000 or 2001 -- I can't narrow it down any further -- and involved a woman I'll call LL who lived across the street from me.  She was also a co-worker at the company where I worked at the time.  I had gotten to know her fairly well, and when she asked to borrow $150 from me because she needed to buy some stuff for her kids, I loaned it to her without much hesitation.  (Yes, there had been a number of "red flag" clues about her actual character which I had ignored.  I've had something of a history of being na├»ve in my judgments of people -- which is why I don't trust people easily now.)

After some weeks went by without LL paying me back or saying anything about doing so, I started asking her about it.  Her reactions were evasive and rapidly became aggressively hostile.  Eventually, she told me that if I didn't stop asking me about the money, she would call the police and tell them that I had been "peeping" at her through her windows.

To be clear here, I had never done anything that she could even remotely have honestly mistaken for such behavior.  She was flatly threatening to tell an out-and-out lie.

Needless to say, I stopped asking about the money.  For $150, it wasn't worth the risk.  I avoided any contact with LL and even stopped going out in the street unless necessary, to minimize the risk of running into her unexpectedly.  I do remember that some time later, when the company got into financial trouble (she was no longer working there, but I was), she gloated that I was going to lose my job and get evicted.  I can't remember the circumstances under which I heard her say this, since we were no longer on speaking terms, but it definitely happened.  In any case, I didn't get evicted, and it was she who moved out soon after -- whether voluntarily or by eviction, I have no idea.

After LL was gone, one day I was talking to another neighbor and mentioned this incident, and the neighbor said, "Oh, she borrowed money from everybody on this street and never paid it back."

In hindsight, I doubt that LL's threat to call the cops on me as a "peeping tom" would have done me much harm even if she had carried it out.  I had never been accused of any such thing before -- because I've never done any such thing -- and since she had ripped off other neighbors (though I didn't know that at the time), the police might have found my explanation more credible.  But at the time, the threat was quite frightening.  And what if she had conveyed the same accusation to the company where we both worked?

The point is, I'm not blind to the reality of false accusations being made by malignant people for whatever reason.  I know from experience that it's a real possibility.  I don't approach a story like the Kavanaugh saga with a fixed idea that accusations of sexual aggression by a man are always true and must be believed without question.

In such a case, all we can do is look at whatever other evidence is available, and how logically plausible it is that someone would lie.  In this case, accusations by multiple people are more credible than just one person; the accusers have a great deal to lose by coming forward, in the form of threats and disruption of their lives; Ford's testimony has been judged credible even by people ideologically inclined to side with Kavanaugh; and in the case of Swetnick, Avenatti potentially has even more to lose by putting the full weight of his reputation behind such serious charges against a powerful man with powerful allies.  So I tentatively judge it most likely that the accusers are telling the truth.  I'm certainly open to new evidence to the contrary, of course.  But I don't believe I'm biased in the accusers' favor.

10 Comments:

Blogger Professor Chaos said...

I would think it would be possible to tell if any of these women were the kind of nuts that make false accusations (as you say, there were a number of red flags with your neighbor). I haven't seen much of the other accusers, but Dr. Ford seems completely sane, rational, and honest. I believe her 100%.

27 September, 2018 17:10  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Kavanaugh was and is an entitled little brat. Did you see his tantrum? But I get your point. Like the person you were talking about, some people lie: pathologically and by inertia (like Cheeto and the GOP). The thing is, these women speaking about Kavanaugh's abuse have much more to lose than him. He wants the cushy life appointment. They want justice.

27 September, 2018 18:05  
Blogger Green Eagle said...

I think it pretty much shows who is telling the truth here. One person wants a full investigation, one took and passed a polygraph test, one wants all relevant witnesses to testify, and the other doesn't. One fully answered all questions put to her, the other filibustered, refused to answer, insulted questioners, threw fits of rage and claimed to believe in nearly schizophrenic conspiracy theories against him.

Too bad the concept of truth has been officially blackballed by the Republican party.

27 September, 2018 22:14  
Blogger Martha said...

I'm sorry you experienced that. There are definitely people like that out there. But I don't believe Dr. Ford is one of them. I believe her story.

28 September, 2018 05:11  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Actually I read this yesterday, but had to run before I could comment on it. I believe that you mentioned this incident you had quite awhile back as far as this "LL" person you had dealings with. Probably you done the best thing, however, you were out $150 bux, not much use in crying over over spilt milk though, shit happens. I knew a few dudes that went through some stuff with chicks pulling scams on them. Believe me, I been ripped off probably more times than you over the years, especially when I was young ... guess that is how I learned, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh {:-) I havent been in that situation as you were on that incident, but hustled plenty o' times, mostly (99%) by guys, where I just got the hustle pulled on me. On LL, you could have probably brought it to the atencion of local cops/ law, before she did and explained what is up with the gal, cops know the game well too, they see this shit all the time. You could have exposed her at your company too, but this way you took, it only puts you out $150 ... and as the other person told you ... she has put the bite on others too ... I mean, a person who puts the bite on lots of folks, get made in the community and word travels quick, or in the jail house.

As far as Kavanaugh/ Ford ... I was in a dentist office waiting room (a friend broke her tooth, I took her in) and I caught Ford's testimony on the tele, she sounded convincing to me ... but what do I know. I later in the day caught some clips/ segments online off PBS, Kavanaugh was mad, I dont know how sincere he is, I kind of think he may have been one of those jock guys though in school ... I never went to high school or college, so I missed that whole side of life, I was in the streets dealing with folks older than me as a kid, but heard alot about those types in high school and college, the keg parties and such. I cant say who is telling truth or not ... but considering the circumstances, I think it would be best to have an investigation,FBI or whoever, that is credible, to at least try to get some of this ironed out with solid evidence, if possible. Geez, I was also in a tire store waiting area yesterday getting a tire balance/ rotation, and it was like on 4 tele channels in there too ... like everybody was glued to this.

28 September, 2018 06:33  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

I'm sorry that you went through that. It's sad that some people are just that malicious.

28 September, 2018 12:07  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Professor: I agree. If even the Fox panel thought Ford was credible, it's hard to argue that she wasn't.

Sixpence: I didn't actually watch any of it, except a few clips posted here and there. It does sound like Kavanaugh acted pretty bizarrely, though to be fair, a falsely-accused person might also act that way just out of outrage.

Green: True. When only one side wants the full truth to be exposed, it's a safe bet that that's the side telling the truth.

Martha: Certainly the circumstances are completely different.

Ranch: That's what I tell myself in such cases. A person who is vicious towards me is probably vicious towards a lot of people. Eventually they'll do it to the wrong person.

This fight has certainly riveted the country. And that's a good thing, so close to the election. I was worried before because the "bombshells" we were getting with Manafort and Cohen were so boring. What normal person could stay awake through a discussion of why exactly Cohen paying off Daniels was a violation of campaign finance law? I can barely stay awake through the phrase "campaign finance law". But the Kavanaugh thing is full of visceral nastiness anybody can understand, and it's giving the Republicans plenty of opportunity to show off what clueless assholes they are.

Mary: If I had an "Apartment Hell / Life" series, this would definitely be an entry in it.

29 September, 2018 09:40  
Blogger Rational Nation USA said...

Those who are being truthful will welcome an indecent investigation precisely because they have nothing to fear. Those who are lying will do any and everything possible to prevent an independent investigation. This one simple truth weighs heavily in Dr. Ford's favor.

That aside, Kavanaugh's Thursday screed in and of itself disqualifies Kavanaugh from the High Court. For two primary reasons, 1) emotional instability, 2) Extreme bias making maintaining impartiality impossible.

01 October, 2018 07:45  
Blogger Rational Nation USA said...

Independent investigation, not indecent. Damn auto spell correct!

01 October, 2018 16:55  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Rational: It's amazing, though, how the right-wing sites are treating Kavanaugh's rant as heroically speaking truth to power and all that rot. They're doggedly constructing their own reality to justify confirming him.

The investigation may not be indecent, but much of what it discovers may well be.

02 October, 2018 04:07  

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