A History of BoyChat by Alexis (tradj affair)
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tradj -- I owe an explanation
Posted by Wu-k'ung on March 24, 1997 at 23:56:28:
I'm sorry I haven't been posting for some time. It has been a combination of stresses. However the recent series of posts on tradj, and Dennis2's comment 'He has complained of receiving abusive mail, and especially from a certain "Wy_kung" or something like that', demands an explanation from me; or at least the most I can give.
I should start by saying that I think Dennis2's strong support of tradj is entirely to his credit. If he is brusque, it is a consequence of a spirit that sees a need to fight for a boy's protection. I should also say that in e-mails to me Dennis2 (who is undoubtedly a very real person, with all the knobbly bits that that implies) has been nothing but polite and kind.
tradj has been an enigma, and a bone of contention, from when he first posted on December 01, 1996 at 23:34:48. tagar first posted Dec 2; the flight from Thunder Bay took place late on Dec 4. There was much discussion at the time of the reality of this, with some claiming that tradj's spelling was too poor and his vocabulary too good; others, including (later) myself, argued that people's existence should not be publicly doubted and it should be given the benefit of the doubt. I still hold to that view, and this discussion does not come easily to me. I hold it because I think doubt of his existence is not something someone in distress should have to bear. I held also that if I were later proven wrong, the worst that would happen is I would appear a fool; which I ought to get used to. I do not, however, believe that it doesn't matter. Truth matters to me. I care about real people, and there is always a real person typing the words in, but I need to be able to have some trust in that person. I, myself, find I can't do that with a fiction.
On Dec 6 a post appeared signed "a sickend law enforcement officer gs-1811". On Dec 10 two posts appeared under tradj's nick, identifying himself as gs-1811. These posts were not disavowed, but that does not mean they were necessarily genuine. Since then tradj has posted off and on, always (or nearly always) as a boy, in sixth grade at school according to one e-mail to me. On the other hand, the language (and, indeed, sentiments) of many posts have not seemed to me at all typical of a 12-year-old boy; but then, we are none of us 'typical'. Neither his posts, however, nor any e-mails to me, have given much insight into his thinking, his hopes and fears, or really what he is like. Until now, there have been no posts from tagar for a long time.
Much more recently tradj presented his home page to us. Part of this is taken up with a dog breeding business; the part labelled "Tradj's homepage" is largely dedicated to trains. A page on trains leads to another, which includes a link to a long page of links to more train material. At the bottom of this long page, however, there was, for a few days only, a link as follows:
Something that I find real disturbing, and cant seem to figure out what happened. I know all of you have heard of this, but if you have any clues as to what happened, please email me and tell me what you think. I know this dont have anything to do with trains but it is very important to me, because something like this might of happened to me when I was a kid. Thanks !!! :-)
Click here to enter my personal X-files
The link led to pages of material on Johnny Gosch, in which tradj gave "personal experience" as one of his sources. This section has since been removed.
I had been uncertain for some time about tradj's true identity, and it appeared to me that in this comment buried in his homepage he was making a sort of confession. A 12 year old to whom it had just happened would surely not say "might of happened to me when I was a kid". It appeared that tradj had in December been "acting out" an earlier memory. But even if he were not a 12 year old boy, he surely was in need of support.
Unfortunately, soon after tradj did something which involved what I considered to be a breach of trust. To explain what it was would unfortunately be to compound the matter, and I cannot. I wanted to write tradj a supportive letter, but I also felt I had to explain my disappointment with what he had done. In retrospect, trying to do both, at a time when I was feeling stressed, I stuffed up badly. I started with my disappointment and moved on to support, without making any specific allegations about not being 12. (I sent Dennis2 at this time - March 17 - an e-mail checking whether they had met or spoken on the phone.) I tried, rather, to tell him that he need not be ashamed about his real self.
tradj's short reply suggested (as I should have known) that he had only taken in the first bit of the letter; and his reply didn't make much sense, but made a denial that I knew to be untrue. Again I did the wrong thing. I should have seen the warning signs. I sent a reply (March 20) which disproved his denial, and stated the importance I attached to truth.
I got a quick reply; it was in an angry tone. Some was weird; he then accused me of being a cop; but he then again claimed to be himself a law enforcement officer, reverting to the tone of the gs-1811 posts. He became quite aggressive. I was very upset. A couple of hours later he posted a generally conciliatory post on BC, though not addressed to me in particular.
I am sorry for the length of this post. I do not want to justify myself, since I feel I have done the wrong thing by someone who is obviously very emotionally fragile. I feel tradj very much needs support, but the kind of support he needs is more than this forum can provide. I believe he is a very disturbed young man who feels a need to pretend. I am sorry I hurt him; at the same time I feel I can do little more for him. That's not easy for me to say.
Dennis2, I'm butting out.