Nicole O’shea is a modern Vigilante Mom. When’s she’s not chicken farming, cooking up kickass food or collecting good times, she’s out on the internet, hunting prey under the incongruous Twitter handle @lovemultiplies.
As jarring as this might seem, it’s a relatively common phenomenon. Some of the meanest people on Twitter are the self-proclaimed moms and, more recently, their proud Dad allies.
Nicole’s current project is sleuthing out Don, an innocent man accused of being a suspected murderer, stalking his family’s social media, and talking trash about him with her like-minded mean Mom friends including Rhonda Franklin aka @.
Needless to say, Nicole’s doing this in the name of a good cause, freeing Adnan Syed, the murderer made famous last year by the hit podcast Serial. I’ve written before about why Syed is clearly guilty of killing Hae Min Lee so I won’t bore you with it again.
This blog post is about something different, the weird phenomenon of airhead Moms defending the guy who murdered a schoolgirl, their bully tactics, and their complete and utter lack of self awareness. Nicole O’Shea and her friends make a perfect case study so let’s watch them in action.
Step 1: Inspired by the Truth and Justice podcast formerly known as Serial Dynasty, Nicole and Rhonda tweet and google away a lazy Sunday afternoon while someone else minds the children and chickens, and collects the good times:
Step 2: Finding that Don’s Facebook account is private, Nicole and Rhonda move on to his wife. Nicole posts her photo and Don’s daughter’s photo too.
Step 3: Nicole and Rhonda yuck it up because Don doesn’t look like they expected. Nic Wiseman aka @, who describes himself as “Dad of a girl and husband to a woman (big advocate of their rights),” crashes the Mom party:
Step 4: Nicole praises Bob Ruff, the fireman and podcaster who’s deluded himself into thinking Don needs to be investigated, and doing it on the internet is the way to go:
Step 5: Nicole takes time out from persecuting an innocent man to think happy thoughts about innocent babies:
Step 6: Fireman Bob airs a new podcast about innocent Don. Vigilante Moms Nicole and Rhonda return to the job:
Step 7: Fireman Bob devotes still more airtime to his unsubstantiated and discredited theory that Don forged a timecard to give himself an alibi. According to Bob’s nuttery, Don did this with the help of his mom and her partner, who worked for the same company he did. (The part about Don and his family working at the same company is actually true.) Meanwhile, Nicole discovers during a Twitter break that she forgot to mail her letter to that nice murderer, Adnan Syed:
Step 8: Nicole returns to Twitter where a whole bunch of Moms — including Kaitlin Armerding — are clamouring for pictures of Don.
Step 9: Nicole obliges and pictures of innocent Don spread. When Don’s father takes to Twitter to try and stop the gawking, Nicole tells him in her passive aggressive Vigilante Mom way: “I don’t envy your position. Also I don’t believe you. This must be hard 4 U to go thru.” An anonymous Twitter user with a better understanding of human decency intervenes.
Step 10: Not surprisingly, Nicole and Rhonda don’t get it.
Step 11: Inevitably, the foul mouthed mother of all Adnan Syed advocates, Rabia Chaudry, is asked to comment:
Step 12: Unable to think through a thorny issue, Nicole communes once again with Twitter friends, who betray that this whole Don thing might be more about entertaining their bored mom selves than a fight for truth and justice:
My mind’s blown too, Nicole, but for completely different reasons.
Postscript: Two things could happen to this blog post. It could go ignored. Or it could cause hell to rain down on me.
In the event of the latter, let me say in advance that I am aware that by writing about Don — and I want to stress that Don is completely innocent and I don’t think Fireman Bob has a shred of proof of any malfeasance at all — people will accuse me of fanning the flames. That’s a valid point of view and why I’ve pretty much steered clear of writing about Don up until now. However, that said, this has been going on for weeks and things have not gotten better. Instead, they’ve gotten worse. So I think it’s time to really talk about why this is wrong, fix it, apologize and move on. Don and his family deserve that.
I’m also prepared that I will be accused of doing unto others what I don’t want them to do unto Don, and I want to point out why this is not the case.
Please understand that I don’t have a problem with people being named and critiqued for things they have actually done. For example, Vigilante Moms deserve to be taken to task for their unthinking and perhaps unintentionally cruel actions. You can also criticize me while you’re at it and if you’re so inclined.
But you can’t attack Don and say he should be a murder suspect, because he has done exactly nothing wrong. He had the tragic misfortune to be dating a young woman who was murdered. He was thoroughly investigated at the time and was found to be innocent. He was a witness for the prosecution at the trial. That’s it, that’s all.
In 16 years, nothing has changed. There is zero proof that anything funky went on with Don and his time cards as Bob Ruff wishfully maintains. And it’s beyond bizarre to see people, who claim to be fighting for the rights of a man they believe to be wrongly accused, celebrate the unconscionable smearing of Don:
Sadly, Chaudry’s tactics and this type of character assassination work. More recently, the smearing has started spreading well beyond the Vigilante Moms, who, like Nicole, need to conjure up villains for their #FreeAdnan world.
If only Nicole would stop for a moment and spare a thought for Don’s actual mama who, when Don was grown, adopted a child with special needs and cared for him for years, until he was returned to health. Is this really the type of person who would conspire with her son and spouse to concoct an alibi and remain silent while a wrongfully convicted man was sent to prison for life?
Because if you are foolish enough to put your faith in the people who lead the #FreeAdnan movement, that is what you are being asked to believe.
Full Disclosure: I appeared on Fireman Bob’s podcast. It was an amicable enough discussion but a few weeks later, Bob called me disgusting, and some of his supporters falsely accused me of hijacking his old @serialdynasty Twitter handle. This is, after all, a crowd that’s big on false accusations.
I have said that I find it strange and uncaring that neither Don nor Adnan Syed tried to contact Hae Min Lee after she went missing.