Intimidation of conservative bloggers
There has been some very scary things going on lately as more bloggers take on the story of Brett Kimberlin. Our own Kevin Boyd reported on this last Friday, pointing out the ties Kimberlin has with the State Department, a different angle that most have taken when exposing the convicted bomber.
But Conor Friedersdorf notes that some conservative bloggers willing to report on Kimberlin have been harassed thanks to a new phenomenon called “SWATing,” which has put people in very real danger:
In recent days, the conservative blogosphere has been abuzz about an apparently coordinated attempt to intimidate some of its own. Patrick “Patterico” Frey, an L.A. area blogger, Erick Erickson of Red State, and Robert Stacy McCain, a conservative journalist based near Washington, D.C., all report being subject to threats and harassment as a result of posts they’ve written.
The most serious incident occurred last summer, though it has only recently come to light. Frey, a prosecutor by profession, was at home after midnight when someone started pounding on his front door. When he opened it, he found several police officers with guns drawn ordering him out of the house. “I had a cell phone in my hand,” he writes. “Fortunately, they did not mistake it for a gun.” They were at the house because someone had called 911, spoofed Frey’s home phone number, impersonated him, and spoke as if he was confessing to having shot and killed his wife. Police arrived on scene poised to confront an armed killer. Frey was cuffed in front of his neighbors. His wife was awoken, taken outside, and frisked. His children were awoken by police going into their bedrooms to make sure that they were okay. It was a nightmare.
Erickson got a milder form of the same tactic. “Tonight, my family was sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner when sheriffs deputies pulled up in the driveway,” he wrote Sunday at Red State. “Someone called 911 from my address claiming there had been an accidental shooting.”
Writing about this matter is made slightly awkward by the fact that all these writers are persuaded that they know who is behind these attacks against them, having amassed what they call circumstantial evidence. I’m refraining from mentioning the name of the accused because “circumstantial” is insufficient to my way of thinking; I haven’t the time to investigate the matter myself; and I have no idea whether or not they are right. In any case, the perpetrator’s identity is also irrelevant to my purpose, which is to note and lament that this sort of intimidation is happening, whoever is behind it. As blogger Radley Balko put it, “It’s an attempt to terrorize political opponents into silence … The sociopaths who are harassing Patterico and the other bloggers involved need to be arrested and charged with about a dozen different crimes.”
Over the last six years that I’ve been blogging, I can think of a handful of instances where I’ve been threatened with some sort of retaliation. Only once have I been threatened with a lawsuit. But this sort of intimidation is nuts. Erickson is a friend and I can only imagine how he and his family felt when cops showed up on his front door. I’ll be the first person to tell you that I don’t care for Stacy McCain, but no one should have to go through what he and his family are dealing with right now.
This is about the stifling of speech, something the Left says they care so much about. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen many call for an end to these intimidating tactics, which is truly sad.