If the name isn’t familiar from twitter, it should be from his writing as a founding contributor to Marcy Wheeler’s brilliant burden of bureaucracy, Empty Wheel. Bmaz is a criminal defense lawyer, a friend and a person I know in real life.
Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona.
Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007.
Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
And @bmaz has been suspended from twitter, though suspended in this instance means expelled, as twitter, in its anonymous algorithmic wisdom, has informed him that his suspension is permanent.
I digress for a moment to make a few tangential, but necessary, points. Twitter, as a private enterprise, has the right to throw someone out arbitrarily and capriciously. It’s under no duty to be fair or even remotely rational in its decisions. That it has the authority to do this isn’t the question. It does.
Bmaz is a passionate guy. He can be pigheaded and profane, as can we all. He regularly goes far deeper into the weeds on the left than I do, and will not hesitate to take me to task when he disagrees with me, and that happens regularly. And he will often end his dalliance with someone he deems a fool with a blithe “fuck off.” I prefer “bite me,” but to each his own.
You don’t have to agree with @bmaz. Not just sometimes, but at all. You don’t even have to agree that he brings a worthy perspective to an issue on which you stand firmly against his position. Disagreement is the lifeblood of ideas, without which we are limited to the soft tones of validation in our echo chambers.
On a platform like twitter, as opposed to, say, SJ, which is not a platform that exists solely as an open medium of communication, disagreement is rife, except for those who shut out any noise that harshes their mellow. And in reaction to cries of the fragile that mean twits are violence and deny them their right to be wrong and threatening, twitter has created a pseudo-systematic means of pretending to vet its medium along the lines favored by the woke.
Naturally, the exceptionally unwoke have seized upon it as a weapon to game in return. This is one, but only one, reason why the inanity of the scolds and censors must fail, as they assume that their weapons will only be available to them. As @bmaz’s situation demonstrates, that’s not at all how it’s going to happen. Whether it’s because the alt-right is as fragile as the SJWs, or they’re just flipping the script back on them, is irrelevant. It’s mutually assured censorship. Twitter has made @bmaz its victim.
Why? Because if you believe in free speech as a concept, and not merely a right protected by the Constitution against the government, then his speech should be as free as, say, NRA shill Dana Loesch. An odd choice for juxtaposition, you say? Well, no. This is why twitter expelled @bmaz from its midst.
The underlying discussion was about school shootings. When @bmaz wrote, “Own the death, you piece of crap,” he was clearly referring to the students who died from gunshots. Perhaps a poorly tuned algorithm would latch onto the word “death,” but certainly human eyes would see more clearly. As for the second twit, he called someone “a fucking idiot asshole,” which is about as banal a twit as possible. Yet, the troll account, which appears to exist for no reason other than the create the impression of support for Dana Loesch and appeared not to have suffered undue trauma for the hurty words, did what he/she/it said and reported @bmaz.
So @bmaz appealed his expulsion. And the response was curious.
Your account has been suspended and will not be restored because it was found to be violating Twitter’s Terms of Service, specifically the Twitter Rules against hateful conduct.
It is against our rules to promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.
Perhaps the AI is smarter than the human eyeballs, though this response suggests no intelligent life exists in the boiler room of twitter.
Disagree with what @bmaz thinks of guns all you want. Disagree with @bmaz’s way of expressing himself. Or agree with him. It doesn’t matter. There was no violation of the terms of service, no targeted harassment, no “attempt to silence” someone else’s voice. There was certainly no violation on the basis of race, etc., unless the mere hint that a woman (and just because the handle says it’s a woman, does that make it so?) was on the receiving end converts all make speech into a sexual assault.
Fight for @bmaz. Fight for free speech. Fight for Jack Dorsey to end the hypocrisy of pretending to be woke while censoring views over nothing. Like it or not, these private platforms are where the disagreements happen. If either side gets to silence the other by inane complaint, with the mindless support of alogos or dolts. All of our ability to express our views will be subject to the irrational discretion of the twitter gods. If they frown upon us, even without reason, we will be eradicated from the conversation. And for the woke, they will take you down using your weapon just as you would do the same to them.
Free @bmaz. Do it for him. Do it for yourself. Do it for free speech. Free @bmaz. Tell @jack Dorsey to step in, end this irrational charade, and free @bmaz.