Mob Response

Let me get this out of the way, Paul Christoforo acted like a self-important jerk in his correspondence with a customer about delivery of an Avenger controller accessory. His self-congratulatory, imperious, dismissive explosion of barely literate correspondence to a customer asking a completely legitimate question touched as much a raw nerve with me as anyone else who has ever had to endure what passes for customer service these days. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that every single person who read the e-mail chain that began with the customer and ended with Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade took vehement exception with virtually everything Paul said.

Though contrite now and quick to talk about how he was having a bad day —- despite the fact the e-mail conversation stretched over the better part of 2 weeks — he presented the gold-standard example of the worst kind of service. But this article is not about Paul. This article is about the response, and how deeply disquieting the sanctioned retribution of the online hit-mob has become.

The people of the internet know no limits to their charity, but neither do they seem to know limits to their bloodlust for abuse, revenge and humiliation. Even a small corner of the virtual universe can focus into unimaginable pressure — just ask GoDaddy, which has been under siege for more than a week after coming out publicly in favor of the Stop Online Piracy Act. Now, like Paul, GoDaddy isn’t exactly a sympathetic figure, but they are a cautionary tale that when the Sauron Eye of an organized internet mob turns to put your indiscretions under the microscope, the results can be devastating.

In truth, what I have taken away from both these incidents is that there is good reason to fear the tyranny and unrestrained animosity of a virtual lynching, for there is no compassion to be had in its almost random punishment.

At times like this my thoughts always turn to Micah Whipple. He was the unfortunate Blizzard employee caught in the storm of angst associated with the company’s quickly discarded idea to require the use of RealID on Battle.net. Micah made the unenviable decision to prove that using your real name on the internet is safe, and the internet seemed to turn as one to squeeze Mr. Whipple and show him the deep error of his ways. Within minutes his private information became the plaything of hundreds of thousands. How his world must have turned upside down for a day. Or a week? Or even a month?

Unlike Paul or GoDaddy, it’s hard to find much reprehensible fault with Micah. Yes, it was probably naive of him to throw himself into the middle of a brewing storm, but the result must have been terrifying not only to him but all those near to him. The level of harassment brought to bear on him is the kind of thing that will wake you up at night in a cold sweat.

In moments like this, here on the safe periphery, it all looks pretty entertaining. Heck, I’ve laughed at a few of the more clever pokes delivered to Paul Christoforo over the past day or two. But, spare a moment to imagine what it must be like to be the focal point of the laser beam. Suddenly you are completely vulnerable, exposed for an angry world with malicious intent to see. For all the good that internet communities are capable of, they have equal capacity for nothing short of unfiltered hate.

Did Paul deserve an angry rebuttal? Yes. Did he deserve to get fired? Yeah, probably. Did he deserve to get inundated with thousands of e-mails, harassing phone calls, public rebuke from hundreds of thousands and even threats of violence against himself and his family — including his two-month-old infant? Does that punishment really fit the crime?

The truth is, I’m frightened of the internet. I’m really troubled by the thought that someday I will write the wrong thing and somehow it will be the thing that locks into focus at just the right place. I have sometimes specifically considered stopping this writing endeavor and getting out while the getting is good. I’ve had as many as a few hundred people really annoyed with me before over things I have written, and that is unsettling enough on its own. I can’t begin to imagine what the pressure of hundreds of thousands or millions must feel like. And, I don’t want to know.

There is a hypocrisy at work here that villanizes people like Paul but takes no issue with the almost criminal response. Yeah, the guy was a complete tool to a customer, but you can’t tell me that’s worse than threatening the guy’s 2-month-old baby. How is that OK? How is it that we didn’t all stop at exactly that minute and turn our holier-than-thou scorn on the people that decided the best response to a guy who provided crappy service is a death threat? Sanctimonious rage, unrestrained abuse and impotent threats of violence are far more troubling to me than that someone acted inappropriately in a communication with a customer.

This is a mob, as sure and as dangerous as if it had formed in the street to throw garbage cans through windows and topple police cars, and now that it's done with Paul it's looking for the next target. And the mob mentality in its virtual form is as terrifying a thing to witness as it would be in the real world. It is remorseless, relentless and without compassion, and to me it is the real story of the past few days.

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The truth is, I’m frightened of the internet. I’m really troubled by the thought that someday I will write the wrong thing and somehow it will be the thing that locks into focus at just the right place. I have sometimes specifically considered stopping this writing endeavor and getting out while the getting is good. I’ve had as many as a few hundred people really annoyed with me before over things I have written, and that is unsettling enough on its own. I can’t begin to imagine what the pressure of hundreds of thousands or millions must feel like. And, I don’t want to know.

Why "the internet", and not people in general? I'll grant you that the internet gives people powerful tools to access information and communicate for good or bad uses, but it's people using it. These kinds of thing are still possible in 'meatspace' just as in cyberspace if someone wants to humiliate someone. Wrapping it all up in "the internet" dehumanises what is a human problem.

Existing forum thread for more opinions.

I'm with you Sean, it's quite disquieting.

P.S. We don't need to mob up against you, we have Aaron Moe for that.

Scratched wrote:
The truth is, I’m frightened of the internet. I’m really troubled by the thought that someday I will write the wrong thing and somehow it will be the thing that locks into focus at just the right place. I have sometimes specifically considered stopping this writing endeavor and getting out while the getting is good. I’ve had as many as a few hundred people really annoyed with me before over things I have written, and that is unsettling enough on its own. I can’t begin to imagine what the pressure of hundreds of thousands or millions must feel like. And, I don’t want to know.

Why "the internet", and not people in general? I'll grant you that the internet gives people powerful tools to access information and communicate for good or bad uses, but it's people using it. These kinds of thing are still possible in 'meatspace' just as in cyberspace if someone wants to humiliate someone. Wrapping it all up in "the internet" dehumanises what is a human problem.

Breadth and speed. In the meatspace world, getting a mob together and going after someone takes time and resources, a tangible sense of rage that lasts beyond the time needed to organize them, and a willingness to face resistance -- up to and including lethal force, if the mob gets that out of control.

Online, though, this kind of thing can happen in an hour or two, there's little to no risk of being arrested or shot, and it doesn't take more than some words on a website to get thousands of enraged people deep.

Scratched wrote:
The truth is, I’m frightened of the internet. I’m really troubled by the thought that someday I will write the wrong thing and somehow it will be the thing that locks into focus at just the right place. I have sometimes specifically considered stopping this writing endeavor and getting out while the getting is good. I’ve had as many as a few hundred people really annoyed with me before over things I have written, and that is unsettling enough on its own. I can’t begin to imagine what the pressure of hundreds of thousands or millions must feel like. And, I don’t want to know.

Why "the internet", and not people in general? I'll grant you that the internet gives people powerful tools to access information and communicate for good or bad uses, but it's people using it. These kinds of thing are still possible in 'meatspace' just as in cyberspace if someone wants to humiliate someone. Wrapping it all up in "the internet" dehumanises what is a human problem.

Probably because the activation energy necessary to get people to act is lower when they can do it wrapped in the comfortable anonymity of the Internet.

Not only that but the threshold is lower. If I send some angry thoughts to some guy I feel like is out of line, then that's probably not that big of a deal. But if I do it at the same time that 10,000 other people the effect on the target is different, even though I've specifically done nothing worse.

Taking the people who sent threats out of the equation, probably very little of what any one person did as an individual would be noteworth. It's the scale that's the problem, the coordinated action of thousands is a very different thing.

Scratched wrote:

Why "the internet", and not people in general? I'll grant you that the internet gives people powerful tools to access information and communicate for good or bad uses, but it's people using it. These kinds of thing are still possible in 'meatspace' just as in cyberspace if someone wants to humiliate someone. Wrapping it all up in "the internet" dehumanises what is a human problem.

Guns don't kill people, people kill people — eh?

I think the bigger issue here is the gleeful abandon with which people rushed to crucify this guy. I very much doubt that would have happened in a real-life setting, where righteous indignation tends to fade in the face of actual human contact. Have you ever seen white-knighting in person? In my experience it's at best uncomfortable (even if justified), and at worst psychotic.

The ability to express anger, disapproval, etc. with dignity, in a way that will actually help resolve conflict or improve conditions rather than simply unburden the wronged individual of his outrage, is all too rare these days — and even rarer online.

That's why Mike's response, which in my mind was borderline pathological especially given his at best tangential connection between this situation and his childhood trauma, unnerved me. And Kotaku's subsequent "investigative reporting," which was conducted with all the smirking savagery of a high school witch hunt, was ever more unsettling. Both outlets knew they were fanning the flames of a conflict that, while justifiably aggravating, was ultimately pretty insignificant. A possibly-literate amateur PR guy was a jerk. That's it.

I might be in the minority here but I think he got everything he deserve. He threatened, with his false name dropping, to bring the Who's Who of the gaming world down upon ALL the parties involved, and let us not forget he had the Mayor of Boston in his camp too.

Yes the internet has a Dark Side. None of the information that was obtained about him was "hacked" it was all out there. Be it the link to his reported steroid use, or the police report against him for domestic violence. We all leave a trail in this digital age, it's a fact of life. His just happens to show that he has an existing anger management issues.

I also do not believe for one second that he is sorry for his actions, or that his family is being threatened.

Wil Wheaton summed it up best.

"This guy sounds like a sociopath. I'm speechless."

Bad Chris wrote:

I might be in the minority here but I think he got everything he deserve. He threatened, with his false name dropping, to bring the Who's Who of the gaming world down upon ALL the parties involved, and let us not forget he had the Mayor of Boston in his camp too.

Yes the internet has a Dark Side. None of the information that was obtained about him was "hacked" it was all out there. Be it the link to his reported steroid use, or the police report against him for domestic violence. We all leave a trail in this digital age, it's a fact of life. His just happens to show that he has an existing anger management issues.

I also do not believe for one second that he is sorry for his actions, or that his family is being threatened.

Wil Wheaton summed it up best.

"This guy sounds like a sociopath. I'm speechless."

The response to sociopathy shouldn't be more of the same. This guy was an upended asshat, but that doesn't mean that the way to resolve the problems he created was with uber-asshattery.

Nothing revelatory here, but I think it's the anonymity (superficial as that may be at a technical level) that is the key - both in Mike's original response and in the internet mob's reaction. The rampant homophobia that dominates any FPS game space is another example of this kind of thing.

Just like in face to face mobs of old (lynchings, etc.), there is something in group anonymity, made especially easy on the web, that magnifies peoples' own insecurities and fears and makes it easier for those people to focus their own unrelated frustrations into hatred at someone or something they have no real connection to.

Just my 3 cents.

It's hard for me to imagine people threatening his family. The man's career is (rightfully) in ruins, so his family has already been harmed by his reduced capacity for him to support them. That plus the wife and innocent baby are stuck with this jackass. Seems like punishment enough.

It's the mindlessness of the hate, not the intensity, which disturbs me.
With that many people in the mob I guess the least common denominator is pretty low.

I agree wholeheartedly. He should have been fired and his poor customer service should be known, but the threats and harassment is just stupid.

Bad Chris wrote:

Wil Wheaton summed it up best.

"This guy sounds like a sociopath. I'm speechless."

I have a real problem with bullies. I spent my childhood moving from school to school and I got made fun of everyplace I landed. I feel like Paul is a bully and maybe that’s why I have no sympathy here. Someday every bully meets and even bigger bully and maybe that’s me in this case. It’s the same thing that happened with Jack Thompson. It might not always make the most business sense and it is a policy that has caused us some legal problems, but I really don’t give a sh*t about that. When these assholes threaten me or Penny Arcade I just laugh. I will personally burn everything I’ve made to the f*cking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames.
The comic today is 100% true. I was grinning all night as Paul sent me each new email. I am absolutely an unapologetic asshole, but I try as best I can to be your asshole.

Man, Wil is right. This guy does sound like a sociopath.

Yeah I'm actually on the team that says he deserved it. Not because he sent a sh*tty email (or 8) but because he only stopped being an abusive psychopath when it became apparent that the person he was dealing with was famous.

If this hadn't been posted to Penny Arcade's front page the guy would've continued to be abusive and taken this guy's money away from him with no consequences, then spit in his face for having to take time out of his day to abuse him.

You want to know why Mike escalated it? Because they guy shows no remorse at his actions. If he met Mike in an alley we'd be lucky if he stopped at just saying terrible sh*t to him. He only feels sorry he got caught.

And to be clear, nobody actually went after this guy in real life. This is a real life bully being cowed by a bunch of bad press. It'll blow over in a month, he'll get on with his life. And yeah, the second anybody even gets within 100 yards of his house because of this I take it all back, nobody deserves to be physically hurt over this. But the guy was willing to steal someone's money and treat them like sh*t for the privilege. He couldn't do that working at an Apple Store in the mall, they'd call the cops. It's precisely because it's the internet that it even got to this point.

An e-mob is not a mob because at the end of the day, nothing is hurt but this guy's reputation. Which he fully deserves.

Threatening his family is completely out of line, though. But again, the second it goes from "angry guy tweets" to actually someone showing up at his house it all flips. I just don't see alot of that with this e-mob stuff. It's all fun and games till somebody gets hurt. But if it all exists on Twitter, then I say he had it coming.

If this hadn't been posted to Penny Arcade's front page the guy would've continued to be abusive and taken this guy's money away from him with no consequences, then spit in his face for having to take time out of his day to abuse him.

I get it, but this to me sounds like saying, "Look if we hadn't shot him with a cannon and lit him on fire, he'd have gotten away with being a douchebag."

I'm going to play the "I'm a dad" card with apologies. It's hard to say just how violent an assault it is to have someone threaten your kid. Even if it's just a tweet, it's really really different. There are a lot of physical pains I'd far rather have than even a vague fear that someone has targeted my son.

Elysium wrote:
If this hadn't been posted to Penny Arcade's front page the guy would've continued to be abusive and taken this guy's money away from him with no consequences, then spit in his face for having to take time out of his day to abuse him.

I get it, but this to me sounds like saying, "Look if we hadn't shot him with a cannon and lit him on fire, he'd have gotten away with being a douchebag."

I'm going to play the "I'm a dad" card with apologies. It's hard to say just how violent an assault it is to have someone threaten your kid. Even if it's just a tweet, it's really really different. There are a lot of physical pains I'd far rather have than even a vague fear that someone has targeted my son.

I know that's pretty sickening, I just feel like that's the territory you get into when you participate with the mass-anonymity of the internet. I'm sure it's shocking, but I'm also sure every time anybody pisses someone off online there's about a 1% chance of reading that. Kids should be off-limits, but to immature teenagers, it's just another way to score points. I don't think it's that different in real life, honestly. It's heinous, but teenagers are on average just terrible people and the internet is full of them.

It's not just "being a douchebag" when you start taking someone's money. I just completely disagree there. If I hand you my credit card and then you go "psych! We don't have any products and you're probably not going to get one" that's far more damage than a bunch of angry tweets.

The kid thing is out of line, but I also don't think that the possibility that some immature jerk somewhere is going to get personal means we let psychopaths treat people like sh*t. "Well don't point it out, because someone on Twitter somewhere might say something about his kids"

kincher skolfax wrote:

That's why Mike's response, which in my mind was borderline pathological especially given his at best tangential connection between this situation and his childhood trauma, unnerved me. And Kotaku's subsequent "investigative reporting," which was conducted with all the smirking savagery of a high school witch hunt, was ever more unsettling. Both outlets knew they were fanning the flames of a conflict that, while justifiably aggravating, was ultimately pretty insignificant. A possibly-literate amateur PR guy was a jerk. That's it.

For a social group that's notoriously picked on and humiliated, I'm disquieted by how much nerds on the internet love a good public shaming.

We can debate what, if any, reprisals were warranted, but this whole thing smacks of "nerd revenge" to me. I think that aside from the Penny Arcade influence, one reason this situation went viral so quickly is because it was a ready-made revenge fantasy: a douchebag jock bullies an innocent gamer, so nerds unite to give the bully what-for.

Okay. But I can only speak for myself here: I'm in a place in my life where I do not want to engage with this kind of thing. And frankly, I'm wary of people who do. As the situation unfolded, I went from thinking, "wow, this guy Paul is a real douchebag" to "wow, this guy Paul may very well have mental illness or addiction problems." In either case his behavior had nothing to do with me, my personal history or people I know. I felt no need, imagined, or real, to enact or witness some measure of retribution, not because I'm above those feelings — God knows! — but because to me, revenge always ends up disturbing rather than satisfying. Revenge says more about the person enacting it than about the wrong committed by the other.

I'm going to play the "I'm a dad" card with apologies. It's hard to say just how violent an assault it is to have someone threaten your kid.

I think that points at the real point here, Sean -- on some level, this guy is still a human being, with a kid and a wife, the capacity to worry about them, and a basic right to be treated as such. He ALSO has a mountain of issues, but while I think he was a prick, I can't imagine he's a happy dude if he acts like this. Bullies are usually pretty broken people. Recognizing that doesn't mean letting them intimidate you, but bullying them back like Mike K. did isn't cool, either.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

I think stuff like this happening at placed like Reddit and 4chan goes too far sometimes but I also think it doesn't happen that often and it's usually only the most egregious cases where it comes it. Not to say that justifies it because it doesn't but I don't think this is a case of people having to watch what they say lest the mob take revenge. This was a guy being abusive, not simply disagreeing. I'm not sure how we solve this problem but I also don't think it's that big a problem, at least not yet.

I really wish I could agree. Unfortunately, I've seen far too many colleagues and friends suffer worse treatment for the unforgivable offense of expressing an opinion while also being female.

But I have one question with regards to Sean's asking of "How is that OK?" Assuming you're addressing this community when you said that, has anyone here advocated that as a proper course of action?

No, this really wasn't about this community. I'm not saying "how is this OK specifically with GWJ."

I guess my problem remains that because Paul is a bad guy, then suddenly people aren't to be held to some kind of reasonable measure of social expectation? Because he is a jerk or even a thief, it's ok for a few thousand people to go do whatever they can to destroy the guy's life for a few days? It's vigilantism, not justice.

I'm pretty much 100% with Pyroman. I have no sympathy for the guy himself or for the fact that his career has been deservedly ruined. And yes, I unapologetically say that some of that sentiment is a result of my upbringing having been severely altered by constant bullying (both at school and at home) and the unwillingness of those with authority to do anything about it. Bullies are evil and I will make no apologies for seeing them get it thrown back at them. He had the power to stop this or prevent it entirely, he chose not to exercise that until he got pushed back. Cry me a river Paul. That said, I didn't take part in this "Internet revenge" at all beyond observing it and commenting.

I also agree that threatening his wife and kid was completely out of line. Going after the guy is one thing, going after the people who had nothing to do with it beyond the misfortune of association is not cool. Back in high school when I was even stupider, I pissed off a demoscene IRC channel by defending a friend who ended up plagiarising someone else's work. He swore he didn't so I stuck up for him without checking facts first. I got things like voice mails left threatening to kill my family and a web site I ran at the time was vandalised. It was terrifying and evil of them to do. On the flipside, I was also wrong and could have avoided it all by not acting like an idiot.

I have one question with regards to Sean's asking of "How is that OK?" Assuming you're addressing this community when you said that, has anyone here advocated that as a proper course of action? I don't think so. For that matter, has this become a rampant epidemic of a problem that I haven't heard about? What happened to the Blizzard guy wasn't cool but few things are as big a deal to such a large group as World of Warcraft. If Gabe posted every poor customer experience on Penny Arcade's site, would every one of those people get this level of wrath? I doubt it. I think having to fear what you write because you or your family might incur the "wrath of the Internet" is overstating the scope of this problem.

I think stuff like this happening at placed like Reddit and 4chan goes too far sometimes but I also think it doesn't happen that often and it's usually only the most egregious cases where it comes it. Not to say that justifies it because it doesn't but I don't think this is a case of people having to watch what they say lest the mob take revenge. This was a guy being abusive, not simply disagreeing. I'm not sure how we solve this problem but I also don't think it's that big a problem, at least not yet.

kincher skolfax wrote:

We can debate what, if any, reprisals were warranted, but this whole thing smacks of "nerd revenge" to me. I think that aside from the Penny Arcade influence, one reason this situation went viral so quickly is because it was a ready-made revenge fantasy: a douchebag jock bullies an innocent gamer, so nerds unite to give the bully what-for.

Okay. But I can only speak for myself here: I'm in a place in my life where I do not want to engage with this kind of thing. And frankly, I'm wary of people who do. As the situation unfolded, I went from thinking, "wow, this guy Paul is a real douchebag" to "wow, this guy Paul may very well have mental illness or addiction problems." In either case his behavior had nothing to do with me, my personal history or people I know. I felt no need, imagined, or real, to enact or witness some measure of retribution, not because I'm above those feelings — God knows! — but because to me, revenge always ends up disturbing rather than satisfying. Revenge says more about the person enacting it than about the wrong committed by the other.

+1 Mr. Grant is a wise man.

Elysium wrote:
But I have one question with regards to Sean's asking of "How is that OK?" Assuming you're addressing this community when you said that, has anyone here advocated that as a proper course of action?

No, this really wasn't about this community. I'm not saying "how is this OK specifically with GWJ."

I guess my problem remains that because Paul is a bad guy, then suddenly people aren't to be held to some kind of reasonable measure of social expectation? Because he is a jerk or even a thief, it's ok for a few thousand people to go do whatever they can to destroy the guy's life for a few days? It's vigilantism, not justice.

I don't really disagree there. I think it's perfectly reasonable for people to express their opinions and to see that his career suffers for this. He has no business working in PR and I think everyone was right to make that abundantly clear. He deserved all the professional consequences he got. As I said, going after his family is not right. What he did they did not have a say in. At the same time, as with all major Internet trends, he could have stopped this in its tracks by just shutting down his Twitter account and shutting up for a few days. The Internet has no attention span, things like this die quick when those involved stop stoking the fires. Instead, he went on MSNBC and came across like an even bigger idiot. Again, I'm not advocating the more severe actions taken but there is personal responsibility on his end here too. If he wants this to end, he needs to stop talking. If he does, in a month no one will remember it.

Thanks, Clocky, but I'd be lying if I said there wasn't some part of me that wants to go all Arkham Asylum on this fool.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

At the same time, as with all major Internet trends, he could have stopped this in its tracks by just shutting down his Twitter account and shutting up for a few days. The Internet has no attention span, things like this die quick when those involved stop stoking the fires. Instead, he went on MSNBC and came across like an even bigger idiot. Again, I'm not advocating the more severe actions taken but there is personal responsibility on his end here too. If he wants this to end, he needs to stop talking. If he does, in a month no one will remember it.

Totally agreed. Maybe another reason this fiasco is so popular is because this guy's an absolute trainwreck when it comes to his supposed specialty.

Still, I wish the Internet wouldn't let go of these types of "outrages" just because people are short on attention or some new meme comes along — but because letting go is better for everyone's sanity.

kincher skolfax wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

... If he wants this to end, he needs to stop talking. If he does, in a month no one will remember it.

Totally agreed. Maybe another reason this fiasco is so popular is because this guy's an absolute trainwreck when it comes to his supposed specialty.

Still, I wish the Internet wouldn't let go of these types of "outrages" just because people are short on attention or some new meme comes along — but because letting go is better for everyone's sanity.

I know you guys don't mean it this way, but I'm really uncomfortable with the solution to this being "shut up and take it until the pitch-forkers are bored".

There needs to be limits, and it needs to have an end. Not for everyone's sanity, but because anything that could be construed as appropriate is done now and it's time for everyone involved to move on.

momgamer wrote:

I know you guys don't mean it this way, but I'm really uncomfortable with the solution to this being "shut up and take it until the pitch-forkers are bored".

There needs to be limits, and it needs to have an end. Not for everyone's sanity, but because anything that could be construed as appropriate is done now and it's time for everyone involved to move on.

I came here to post this, but instead +1 Momgamer is a wise woman.

momgamer wrote:
kincher skolfax wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

... If he wants this to end, he needs to stop talking. If he does, in a month no one will remember it.

Totally agreed. Maybe another reason this fiasco is so popular is because this guy's an absolute trainwreck when it comes to his supposed specialty.

Still, I wish the Internet wouldn't let go of these types of "outrages" just because people are short on attention or some new meme comes along — but because letting go is better for everyone's sanity.

I know you guys don't mean it this way, but I'm really uncomfortable with the solution to this being "shut up and take it until the pitch-forkers are bored".

There needs to be limits, and it needs to have an end. Not for everyone's sanity, but because anything that could be construed as appropriate is done now and it's time for everyone involved to move on.

I agree but like you said, I didn't mean it in that way. Regardless of whether or not this situation should have escalated to this point, it has and Cristofo has a solution to end it relatively quickly right in front of him. If he chooses not to make use of it, whose fault is that but his?

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