SecpThose who bring our own misconduct and mistakes to our attention, so that we can quickly correct it, are our real friends
There’s been a good deal of behind the scenes turmoil since I posted Part 1., where I documented my attempts to bring what, in my opinion, is ethically unacceptable behavior by Andy Vrbicek, a law student at ASU, to the attention of his professors and school. To some this was viewed as a strange, even frivolous thing to do, i.e. to actually address such conduct to the school, etc.
I grew up in a time when even some high schools, let alone universities, cared about how the conduct of their students could reflect on them. With such old-fashioned notions as bringing shame to the school’s reputation, it wasn’t uncommon that a student would have to answer to the principle, etc., for behavior that crossed the line.
These days, things are obviously quite different, with rare exceptions such as the concerns about civility expressed by the CEO of Starbucks. So I wasn’t completely surprised by the lack of response to my own concerns by ASU, the deans, etc. While they admitted they were aware of my complaint, and my request that they assist in acting upon it, to me the lack of further communication reflected a cynical perspective endemic to our times.
I imagine that there was a quick assessment that my communications didn’t constitute any kind of legal and financial threat to the school. That being the case, the matter was essentially viewed as not worth their time. Universities are businesses, first and foremost, nonetheless I wanted to go on record and seek their assistance in encouraging Andy to retract his libelous remarks.
The behind the scenes turmoil, therefore, didn’t pertain to ASU but more to the communication between Andy and me. In fact, after the blog came out Andy asked if I’d Skype with him, which I did for an hour and twenty minutes. From my perspective it proved to be a fruitless waste of my time. Trying to explain what constitutes ethical conduct and “proof” to a law student didn’t succeed.
You’ll Be Hearing from my Lawyer!
In fact, the email responses from Andy that followed were remarkable for how he now presented himself as the real “victim” of defamation. Sparing you, for now, the actual texts suffice it to say that not only was he portraying himself as the victim, he was suddenly citing excerpts from various legal texts in an attempt to intimidate me. I was reminded of the old one-liner, epitomizing hubris, about a man who killed his parents and then threw himself at the mercy of the court because now he was an…orphan.
Andy didn’t stop with citing chapter and verse. He began sending a series of increasingly angry emails to me, and FIGU, threatening an international law suit which, he stated, would bankrupt and ruin me, FIGU, Billy Meier, etc., if I didn’t take down the blog. Apparently unfamiliar with the First Amendment, and with my openly stated, ever present statement here that “all opinions expressed here are just that, the opinions of this writer and those who comment on the blog”, Andy says he’s ready to mount a full-blown, free speech lawsuit, as early as Friday, April 15.
Or We Could Do This
Let me pause for a moment and show you what I had suggested to Andy that would end the controversy, contentiousness, bickering, etc.:
I misspoke when I claimed that I had proved that Billy Meier is a liar, hoaxer, con man, thief, philanderer, cult leader, etc. I therefore retract those claims and extend an apology for my mistake. I of course reserve the right to hold and express such opinions if I choose to, in accordance with my right of free speech.
I told him that not only would this suffice but that I’d take down Part 1 of the blog and not post this one, Part 2, and I’d also immediately notify everyone to whom I’ve sent emails pertaining to the issue of his gracious act of self-responsibility. While I didn’t have occasion to tell him – since he went on the attack instead of even discussing the retraction, writing his own version, etc. – I’d also drop the need for an apology, since I know full well that you can’t force anyone to apologize.
If Andy holds those opinions, that’s fine, he’s entitled to them. He’s entitled to call Meier and me all sorts of names – I’ve called him a whole bunch of less vulgar ones too. All of that is covered as…free speech.
If Andy thinks he’s “proved” all of the otherwise libelous accusations against Billy Meier, then he also has to do what he and his skeptical associates have continuously refused to do. They have to begin by credibly establishing the actual, verifiable means, motive and opportunity for each of their accusations. This – as an aspiring attorney should know – isn’t satisfied simply by saying that they view something as “evidence”.
When people present a case and the evidence they have, it’s argued, questioned and challenged. Then where there are differences in opinion, perspectives, etc., it’s up to the the “jury”, the people, to decide for themselves how convincing and compelling the arguments, etc., are.
Andy’s statements were libelous because he claimed – and continues to claim – that he’s already “proved” his case – and also that he doesn’t care if he really has! – when all that he’s done is made arguments, accusations, etc., to which there are ample rebuttals, whether he likes them or not. And his claims and those arguments can be presented, debated, heard, etc., which is an entirely different matter than claiming that “proof” has been established.
It’s actually beyond ironic that a law student would make such defamatory, unsubstantiated attacks, claims, etc., and call it “proof”, when the crux of the matter is that he and his skeptical associates attack the Billy Meier UFO case as a hoax…and have never debunked even one of Meier’s independently authenticated UFO photos.
Kiss It and Make It All Go Away
Andy’s said that I posted my blog about this issue to “embarrass” him, to “hurt his family”, etc. No, I posted it because he had continued to post unsubstantiated, defamatory accusations, feeling immune to the repercussions, and to someone openly holding him responsible for his actions. It is his own conduct that may embarrass, hurt, or…elevate and ennoble him.
Those who bring our own misconduct and mistakes to our attention, so that we can quickly correct it, are our real friends.
If necessary, a Part 3 will be posted. My hope though is that instead of a Part 3, I’ll be posting Andy’s retraction as a stand alone item and also remove Part 1 and Part 2, so that no trace of them will any longer be a part of this blog.