The War of the Words
At least it's been words so far. Those who have been following the exploits of left wing activist Brett Kimberlin should read Robert Stacy McCain's account of the in-court arrest of his victim -- yes his victim -- at a Maryland court.
Aaron Walker, whose complaint against convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin became a conservative cause célèbre this past week, was reportedly taken into custody today after a court hearing in Rockville, Maryland.
Basically Kimberlin is an ex-convict and bomber who has turned left-wing activist. While in jail he studied the law and has used that knowledge to file over a 100 lawsuits against whoever gets in his way. Walker is one. Somehow he got the judge to arrest Walker at the hearing itself apparently alleging that Walker had threatened Kimberlin with death in "countless numbers of blogs".
Misfortune apparently befalls anyone and everyone on the hitlist of Kimberlin and his Democratic Party associates. The blogger Patterico, himself a lawyer, found himself staring at armed police after they received a call, purportedly from him, asking them to come to his address because he had shot and killed his wife. The police arrived not knowing what they would find and ready for anything.
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? ...
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. The sheriff’s deputies who arrived at my front door believed they were about to confront an armed man who had just shot his wife. I don’t blame the police for any of their actions. But I blame the person who made the call.
Because I could have been killed.
Naturally Patterico took a dim view of the proceedings. With the help of voice identification analysts, the voice calling to the police was determined to sound very similar to someone closely associated with Kimberlin. Some days later, another of Kimberlin's critics, Erick Erickson found himself the victim of a similar hoax. Fortunately Erickson, suspecting that he might next be given the Patterico "swatting" treatment, took the precaution of warning the sheriff to expect a hoax call. Sure enough the sheriff got such a call but forewarned, sent a team to check out the bogus report when it came without arriving like gangbusters.
To make matters even more interesting, a voice very similar to that of hoaxer called a radio program, boasting he pulled the swatting stunt. Moreover the voice "mocked Michelle Malkin [who had devoted posts to the Kimberlin affair] for the situation where her cousin is missing." Malkin's female cousin has been missing for some time and may be a victim of foul play. While the caller's taunt is probably unrelated to her disappearance, it underscores the classy behavior one has come to expect of these mysterious individuals.
Kimberlin has a lot of juice or perceived juice. Where he gets it, who can say? Glenn Reynolds notes that Kimbelin's Wikipedia page reappeared after disappearing, as if reflecting a tug of war among unseen forces. My own guess is that Kimberlin's tactics have shown how easy it is to create a whole of lot of trouble for opposition voices once one is prepared to do act "by any means necessary". Intimidating people is fun and easy. Perhaps some people are torn between secretly supporting him or putting a decent distance between.
Alas greed and ambition are often stronger than decency, if ever it was in the running.
The fact that Kimberlin is essentially disposable means his associates have the perfect vehicle for this kind of harassment. If it goes wrong Kimberlin's secret admirers can always throw him to the dogs. Kimberlin apparently doesn't give a damn and is not afraid of the hoosegow, unlike most individuals who, let us face it, are not eager to make its acquaintance.
That means this dust-up is either going to get bigger until Kimberlin and his cohorts are stopped, or people decide it is not worth the trouble and shut up. It's become zero sum. Stacy McCain is already living at an undisclosed location so for him things are definitely win or lose. Things are very probably going to get worse before they get any better because this is one fight nobody can afford to lose.
So how much worse will it get? Well how does one bound actions like this? Things take on a life of their own at some point, a factor their initiators so often forget. The real significance of the Kimberlin saga is that it suggests that in some quarters at least, the gloves are off. Anything goes. Anything.