By Phil  |  01-31-2018   News
Photo credit: Dreamstime

We covered the story of the Haglers recently. The Haglers were arrested with the legal herbal supplement kratom in Tennessee. When we published the story it was quickly riddled with intensely vitriolic comments from a coordinated group of anonymous trolls. The trolls went on to attack Emily (and myself) at Twitter. They ran through all my public social media profiles (even my comments). They managed to find what they hoped was a wedge to stick me hard where it hurts claiming I was an "unfit parent" who had lost custody of my children. In fact, the messages they saw on my public Facebook profile were related to the two girls who called me daddy in my last relationship. For three years I raised my ex's daughters as my own and haven't seen or heard from them in three years. They were never mine by blood or on paper, so there was no way to lose custody. You can't lose what was never yours to begin with. I was called a "POS" and several of the trolls dogpiled me expressing how glad they were that I had lost my girls. Real class act, huh?

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I have the feeling that because he lost custody of his own children, he will believe any sob story that comes along that he feels is similar to his own, no matter how untrue it is.</p>&mdash; Payton Blake (@PaytonKB) <a href="">January 11, 2018</a></blockquote>

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I only mention this to give a cross-section of the lengths to which these trolls were willing to go to beat down not only the Haglers but anyone who came to their defense. The trolls made multiple false claims that Emily was a drug dealer, that she and her husband were arrested with heroin, that their cleaning business was a cover for their purported heroin dealings. I kept asking for evidence of their ridiculous claims, but the trolls were more interested in spreading gossip through Twitter and <a href="">the Goldwater comment section</a> than they were in offering any evidence to support their claims.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Send your evidence to [email protected] or keep making baseless claims. It&#39;s your choice. I&#39;m here all week.</p>&mdash; Philip (@kafkaguy) <a href="">January 11, 2018</a></blockquote>

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A handful of the trolls finally decided their best bet would be to "go ghost" as they put it. From that point on much of the cruelest tweets disappeared without a trace as the anonymous trolls made their profiles private and blocked anyone who even took a moment to consider any claims or evidence I offered. Speaking of claims, this story has unfortunately become more a study of the trolls than a defense of Emily and her husband.

I was blasted for only accepting Emily as a source, but my sources were, in fact, investigative documents from the Montgomery County Sherriff's Department claiming they were in possession of a Schedule 1 drug. Since then the District Attorney's office noted the mistake they made and announced they intended to "further research the matter."

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Since then, attorneys have noted that they are still corresponding with the assistant district attorney prosecuting and are awaiting "his reply regarding a dismissal."

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I'd just like to take this time, by the way, to thank all the trolls for driving engagement and sharing our stories. I hope the few that went into hiding ("going ghost" they called it, escaping embarrassment I call it) for driving engagement here at the Goldwater. We will continue to closely cover the Hagler's case and, at the request of a couple of Twitter users, may revisit the latest from the gang of trolls. Or at least those left who haven't already made their profiles private to protect themselves from imminent embarrassment.

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