For many (and by that I mean many) bloggers, the only question is whether someone is friend or foe. It’s all about partisanship, fellow travelers in the cause, whatever that cause may be. Sides are chosen because someone else shares your ideology, loves the people you love or hates the people you hate. We’re on teams, and our team is against their team.
At Popehat, Ken made the point, that we defend free speech because it’s speech, not because we agree with the speaker. It’s not a novel point, by any stretch, but it needs to be repeated and reinforced constantly. It seems that whenever an interest clashes with free speech, the latter is always the first to go.
Some of you may be familiar with blog called Patterico’s Pontifications, written by a Los Angeles County prosecutor named Patrick Frey. He’s a good guy with a great sense of humor, despite the fact the we tend to view things pretty differently. Because he took up arms against a fellow named Brett Kimberlin, he was SWAT-ed.
At 12:35 a.m. on July 1, 2011, sheriff’s deputies pounded on my front door and rang my doorbell. They shouted for me to open the door and come out with my hands up.
When I opened the door, deputies pointed guns at me and ordered me to put my hands in the air. I had a cell phone in my hand. Fortunately, they did not mistake it for a gun.
They ordered me to turn around and put my hands behind my back. They handcuffed me. They shouted questions at me: IS THERE ANYONE ELSE IN THE HOUSE? and WHERE ARE THEY? and ARE THEY ALIVE?
I told them: Yes, my wife and my children are in the house. They’re upstairs in their bedrooms, sleeping. Of course they’re alive.
Deputies led me down the street to a patrol car parked about 2-3 houses away. At least one neighbor was watching out of her window as I was placed, handcuffed, in the back of the patrol car. I saw numerous patrol cars on my quiet street. There was a police helicopter flying overhead, shining a spotlight down on us as I walked towards the patrol car. Several neighbors later told us the helicopter woke them up. I saw a fire engine and an ambulance. A neighbor later told me they had a HazMat vehicle out on the street as well.
Meanwhile, police rushed into my home. They woke up my wife, led her downstairs and to the front porch, frisked her, and asked her where the children were. Then police ordered her to stand on the front porch with her hands against the wall while they entered my children’s bedrooms to make sure they were alive.
The call that sent deputies to my home was a hoax. Someone had pretended to be me. They called the police to say I had shot my wife.
This is beyond any pale. This is sick stuff. This happened because Patrick wrote something on his blog that the other team didn’t like.
At Popehat, Ken (who has become perhaps the most active participant in the war against online censorship by his willingness to stand up for bloggers pro bono against threats and intimidation) has been writing about Aaron Worthing’s battle against a false prosecution designed to not merely shut up his criticism, but destroy his life. It’s not because Ken is on Worthing’s political team. He’s not. But speech isn’t free for anyone if it isn’t free for everyone. That’s just how rights work.
I may share very little ideology with Patrick or Aaron, but I most certainly share one belief: they have the right to express their views without fear of being gunned down because some sick, malicious individual on the other end of the political spectrum disagrees with their views.
A blogger named Lee Stranahan declared today, May 25th, to be Blog about Brett Kimberlin Day, as I learned from Ken and Patrick, as Kimberlin has become the poster boy for this diseased approach to shutting down speech through the use of the most vile and outrageous means. I lend my voice and bandwidth to support those, like Ken, who champion free speech and denounce anyone, whether Brett Kimberlin or anyone else, who would do harm to their enemies to stifle their voice, regardless of what they have to say.