Search This Site
Opinion :: What's in a name? Why our Mr. X is not the Mr. X of any other state
· 12:33pm November 16th, 2012
“Please do not make me take legal action.”
We received this menacing message via our Vinton Today comment page this week from a man I will call MR. X.
MR. X saw his name in Vinton Today, and did not like what he read.
I do not blame him.
Another man with a virtually identical name was sentenced to many years in jail for doing something incredibly horrible.
MR. X – whom I do not know but am quite certain lives in another state – apparently Googled his name and found it here.
He wants us to take his name off our web site.
But we can’t.
Because it’s not his name.
The story that MR. X read mentions another MR. X, but it very specifically tells the reader about MR. X’s middle name, age, and where he has lived.
Unless MR. X2 has the same middle name, and is the same age, as MR. X1; and unless he lives in the same small town in eastern Iowa, it’s unmistakably obvious that MR. X2 is NOT MR. X1.
But just for fun, I Googled MR. X.
MR. X’s name is not very common, so I was a bit surprised to find out how many MR. Xs there are in the U.S.
MR. X is a professor in one of the largest universities in Arkansas. He is also a security architect at one of the nation’s largest computer companies.
But that’s not all.
MR. X is also the name of an author of crime novels, as well as a free-lance author who offers his services for a variety of business services. One of those, authors, however, uses MR. X as a pseudonym.
There is also a MR. X who is a member of the Newt 360 conservative social media page. His photo looks very similar to that of one of the authors mentioned in the previous paragraph. But maybe faces are like names – two completely different people could have faces that look similar.
There is also a police officer in Michigan, in a suburb of Detroit, named MR. X; his name was in the paper – and on the Internet – after he was accused of beating his wife.
Another MR. X sells ADT home security systems in New Jersey.
There are also MR. X’s in San Francisco, Calif.; and Roscommon, Mich. (which claims to be the home of Michigan’s only monument to firefighters). Other men named like MR. X live in Maryland, Massachusetts and Arizona; another died in Toronto in 2009.
I do not know if the MR. X who wrote to us is any of the men mentioned above, although it would be extraordinarily frightening to discover that he was the dude from Toronto.
But I do now that he is not the MR. X whose name we put on Vinton Today for that horrible crime.
He knows it, too.
And if the MR. X who is threatening to sue me wants to expunge that similar name from every media site on the Internet, he’s going to be very busy.
I counted at least 20 media web pages that mention the local MR. X and his crime. He is also on the official Justice Department web site.
Nobody who knows MR. X. 2 could possibly think he is MR. X. 1.
But I know how he feels. I grew up in a city where relatives with my same last name were known all too well for their not-so-good deeds. And even when I went to another county to work, my boss saw a newspaper article about another relative with my last name – a child abuser. I was once introduced to a counselor at a facility for troubled juveniles. Upon hearing my last name, he laughed and said, “Another one?”
I figured it would be no use trying to explain that I was not like the people with my last name that he had already known so well.
So, to MR. X, I say: Dude, I feel your pain.
Or rather, I would, if you actually had one.
People are smart. They know that a man who lives in another state is not the same man from Iowa who is living in federal prison. You ain’t the man in our story. Neither is any of the other men named MR. X. that I mentioned above.
To the Editor: A good definition of political correctness
Many reasons to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week