In 1985, a New York woman named Roseanne decided to leave her marriage to start a new life.
Her husband didn’t like that idea too much. Divorce was wrong.
He told her he wouldn’t let her leave. He told her he wouldn’t let her divorce him. He told her she could run, but he would always find her, and they would stay married, like they should be.
She left anyway. She went to stay with her mom in Florida. She could only bring two of the kids, so the others stayed with her husband.
Her husband came to find her and drag her back to the family.
She left again.
Her husband came to find her and drag her back to her family.
She left again.
All this driving back and forth from Florida to New York was starting to impact her husband’s work schedule, and she wasn’t seeing sense anyway.
He hired someone to go down to Florida and kill her.
They tried. Botched the job.
He hired someone ELSE to go down to Florida and kill her.
They tried. Botched the job.
He hired ANOTHER person to go down to Florida and kill her.
The police knew about it before she did. They warned her that she was being targeted. She tried to lay low.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, a regional Florida newspaper:
Roseanne’s 11-year-old daughter, Christine, wrapped her arms around her mother and held her while she died.
Anthony Navarro Sr. was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. He is serving a life sentence in Greenhaven Correctional Facility in the state of New York.
Flash forward to November 2010.
My best friend, Dave Navarro, decides to leave his marriage.
His brother, Anthony Navarro Jr., gets wind of it and leaves a solemn voicemail on Dave’s answering machine. “I’ve heard some very disturbing news”, he says.
Dave is distraught. He doesn’t want to talk to his brother. He needs space. He needs time to think. He comes from a Christian home. He lives in the Bible belt. Divorce scares him.
Anthony is angry. He says that as the elder of the family, he cannot permit Dave to get divorced. He calls it generational sin. He says Dave’s soul is in jeopardy. He must save it.
Anthony sends Dave a couple of texts:
“If you choose not to be part of the conversation, the battle for your soul, and the future of your family begins tonight.”
“At midnight www.letterstodavenavarro.com will launch with all the SEO force I can muster. As I said last night, the ball is in your court. Love you.”
Dave tries to ignore it. He calls a lawyer who specializes in collaborative divorce. He thinks they can keep it nice. He thinks maybe Anthony will go away.
Dave goes to pick up his oldest son for a Tae Kwon Do lesson and Anthony is hiding behind the corner. Blocks Dave’s car in. Tells him he’s not allowed to get divorced. It’s wrong, and he won’t allow it. He is the elder, and he will be respected. Finally, Anthony’s wife tells him to let Dave leave, and he does.
Two weeks later, Dave drops off the two younger boys after a dinner visit. Waiting for him around the corner are Anthony and four police officers. They tell Dave his brother has filed to have him involuntarily committed. He is handcuffed and put into a police car and taken to a mental institution, where they explain that Anthony has said he’s on drugs and a danger to himself and others.
After a few hours of paperwork and a medical exam, Dave is released. A police officer hands Dave the cap to his back tire, says Anthony gave it to an employee at the mall where Dave had been picked up. Says Anthony was telling people he was going to let the air out of Dave’s tires.
When Dave got out of the institution, his tires would be deflated, it would be dark, and he would be completely alone.
The officer gives him a ride back with apologies and suggests a restraining order against Anthony.
Anthony gets in touch with Dave to tell him he’s only just begun. If he comes home now, all the madness will stop. Dave can still be forgiven, he says.
Dave is scared. Anthony Jr. has always looked up to his father. He has always maintained that his father was either completely innocent, or completely justified.
Dave figures he should leave town for a while and let the dust settle.
Anthony starts getting in touch with Dave’s business contacts, directing them to the website, beseeching them to tell him to be a man and go back home. Dave tries to lay low.
One of our colleagues, Nathan Hangen, tweets about Anthony’s website and sends him his first real burst of traffic.
Anthony is finally getting traffic and steps up his game. He publishes post after post, accusing Dave – and letting others accuse in the comments – of leaving the family penniless. Of racketeering. Of fraud. Of tax evasion. Of drug addiction. Of soliciting prostitutes.
Dave and I run a promotion together. Anthony concludes Dave and I are having an affair. He puts this on his website and starts getting in touch with MY business contacts. He emails my husband, Jamie, with his sympathy. He tells Jamie they must all stand together and support one another during this painful time.
Nathan and a few other people Dave and I saw at BlogWorld chime in and tell Anthony that based on what they saw at the conference, they can all but guarantee we are having an affair.
Then, on February 17th, 2011, Anthony sends this email. The words are Anthony’s. The emphasis is mine.
O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”
Brother, no matter how fast you run, you cannot run from your sin, nor its penalty. Come back to the light, come back into the circle of blessing. You need not continue to live like a fugitive… Like a coward.
Adultery is the greatest sin addressed in the bible. Realize, Dave, that you are committing adultery… Against your wife, Alison; against your children, and against God. You are guilty of the same sin as our mother and it cost her her life in the end… It cost her her soul. Her selfishness was her downfall. Do not fall into the same trap… The same spiral… The same death… The same eternity.
Why do you not even talk? Are you so ashamed? You can turn back to the right path, and you can be forgiven.
It’s not too late. Yet.
Dave’s lawyer gets involved. Anthony doesn’t post for a while. Anthony’s wife assures Dave, and Dave’s lawyer, that Anthony is done now.
Dave thinks it’s safe to come back to town.
Anthony starts again. A commentator on his website says they’re “waiting in ambush” for us. Anthony wants to meet them in person to find out more about their plans.
Another commentator on his website suggests Anthony get in touch with saltydroid.info, a website devoted to taking down internet scammers.
“Salty” takes the case.
He posts about Dave. He posts about me.
And then the death threats started coming.
I had stolen another woman’s husband. That was adultery. I have to die.
The products I sell are scams. That is lying. I have to die.
I hang out with other scammers. That is collusion. I have to die, and so do they.
To answer your questions
We’ve received over 100,000 visitors over the last 48 hours and an outpouring of support that defies my imagination. Thank you. For everything. You know who you are.
I thank those of you with 5 followers and 500,000 followers. I thank those of you who forwarded my post to your mothers and sisters and daughters. I thank movie director Kevin Smith for tweeting about this and giving Jamie a very bright spot in an otherwise very dark day.
I thank Lyndsy in rural Arkansas who offered his spare room and the use of his many rifles.
I thank my friends and colleagues who told me they knew about this all along but didn’t want to bother me with internet smut.
I thank my friends and colleagues who told me they knew about this all along but couldn’t defend Dave and me because they didn’t want to get the perpetrators angry at them.
Thank you to all of you. I have never felt so blessed.
A few answers:
Yes, I have contacted the police.
No, I don’t have a handgun because they’re not legal in Canada.
No, I cannot get a restraining order because there is nobody to restrain and nothing to restrain them from.
No, I can’t sue anybody because nothing that has been done publicly is in violation of any enforceable law.
Yes, I know death threats don’t qualify under the First Amendment. (The death threats did not come from the owners of the websites, but from their fans.)
Yes, I have heard that you shouldn’t name names or feed the trolls.
Yes, I have heard that if I don’t name names, nobody will believe me.
Yes, I have heard that this is nobody’s business but mine.
Yes, I have heard that this is everybody’s business.
Yes, I have heard that I should have talked about this months ago.
Yes, I have heard that I should have laid low and waited for it to pass.
My point, and I do have one.
Many of Dave’s colleagues and customers saw Anthony’s website, saw that Dave never responded, and took that to mean he was guilty.
I don’t know if it ever occurred to them that Dave’s sons are old enough to read, and he didn’t want to add anything more to the pile of hatred and vitriol already out there for anyone with a computer to see. I don’t know if it ever occurred to them that the only advice we give to people in situations like this is, “Don’t feed the trolls.”
I guess the more honest advice is, “Don’t feed the trolls unless *I’m* really interested in the gossip.”
Dave has been vilified. He has been crucified in the court of public opinion. Every move he makes gets him attacked more and more. His customers have abandoned him because they think he is as evil as his brother makes him out to be.
He will probably never do any real business in this industry again.
There is no way for him to win. It’s not safe to go back to Raleigh. He may never see his boys again. They will likely be brainwashed to believe that it was his fault, just like his father and brother brainwashed HIM to believe that his mother simply didn’t love him enough to stay.
The last time Dave spoke to his mother, he was rude to her. Both Anthony Sr. and Anthony Jr. had told him to be as mean as he could. They told him she didn’t love him, and that’s why she left. Dave was nine years old.
Sometimes you can win, and sometimes you can’t. Sometimes life has clear cut answers, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you don’t feed the trolls, but they feed themselves anyway.
I don’t know if Roseanne Navarro contacted the police. I know they contacted her, though.
I don’t know if she had a restraining order.
I don’t know if she tried to sue.
I don’t know if she bought a handgun.
I’d love to ask her, but she’s dead.
What I DO know is that Roseanne Navarro laid low and waited for it to pass.
She didn’t feed the trolls.