Chronicle on askjohnlott.org

Scott Carlson at The Chronicle of Higher Education has a story (subscription required) about askjohnlott. He quotes Lott:

“Someone called me up a couple of weeks ago, very angry, claiming that they got an e-mail from me, telling them that I was advising them to do illegal things,” like buy guns illegally, he says. “I just thought the person was joking. After I was done talking to them, I found this crazy Web site.”

This doesn’t make sense. If the person believed that the email was from Lott, the natural thing would be to reply to it, not phone Lott. If they thought that it was from a fake on-line persona, then they wouldn’t have accused the real Lott of giving the advice.

I also get quoted:

Tim Lambert, a lecturer in computer science and engineering at the University of New South Wales, is one of Mr. Lott’s most persistent critics. He says the site was a “pretty silly attempt to bait Lott.”

“He rose to the bait, getting his friends at The Washington Times and CNSNews to publicize it,” Mr. Lambert says. “If Lott would have ignored the site, it would have gone away.”

While I was over at the Chronicle I came across a March 21 letter from Lott responding to a February article in the Chronicle. Lott writes:

Given the space that the article devoted to my use of a pseudonym in Internet chat rooms, I should note that I stopped using my own name because discussions often turned personal and resulted in people calling me at my office with threatening or obnoxious remarks. In retrospect, either I should not have participated in chat rooms or I should have continued to do so under my own name.

Unfortunately for Lott’s story, Google has archives of the discussions he was in and they never turned personal—everybody was polite to Lott. Indeed, in one of his postings Lott even complains about getting threatening phone calls, but not about phone calls from other Internet posters:

“You ought to see what happens to my telephone calls when someone like a Charles Schumer or Josh Sugarmann or Sara Brady makes this charge. I get lots of threatening telephone calls and letters. These calls don’t bother me, though they do greatly upset my wife.”