SWATing Bloggers Must Stop
I’ve been remiss in not writing about this previously, but there is a disturbing new phenomena that has cropped up in the blogging world. It’s called SWATing, which consists of a crank phone call to law enforcement (usually made through an internet calling service so it can’t be tracked) reporting a violent crime at somebody’s home. This, obviously, results in cops showing up in force and scaring the bejesus out of the target.
The “prank” (if you can call something as seriously wrong as this a “prank”) has been around for a while, but of late someone or some group has been targeting conservative bloggers with it. Here’s a Fox News report from a few days ago about it:
This has been going on for some time now, and Robert Stacy McCain (himself a victim of the tactic) is venting some frustration at just how slow law enforcement has been to respond to this problem. Not only is it a dirty and unforgivable political tactic, it’s a serious waste of law enforcement resources that puts cops and first responders in danger as well.
Perhaps the most visible justification for this frustration was the arrest of blogger Aaron Walker who, after being the victim of a SWATing himself, filed a complaint against Soros-funded liberal blogger (and convicted terrorist) Brett Kimberlin. Kimberlin had filed a “peace order” (restraining order) against Walker before Walker’s complaint, and then alleged that Walker had violated that order by writing about Kimberlin on his blog.
A judge bought it, and Walker went to jail.
Free speech requires more than just the ability to communicate. Free speech also requires protections against intimidation for voicing your opinion, which is one of the valid functions of government. I am not an anarchist because I realize that civilized society requires government to enforce certain basic rights, among them the right to free speech.
The left has been quick to use the politics of intimidation of late, whether it’s President Obama singling out conservative donors for scorn, union protesters showing up at the homes of banking executives or the Occupy Wall Street movement basically behaving like a bunch of unwashed, violent thugs.
It’s not easy to be outspoken about politics on the internet, and it gets less easier the more popular you get. Back before I blogged as a day job I had people post where I worked on the internet in an effort to get me fired. I’ve had people post pictures of my home on the internet. I’ve gotten all manner of threats over the years, via email (which I don’t take so seriously) and via the mail (which was extremely disconcerting).
There are days when I’ve seriously considered stopping all this, because the ridicule and scorn just wasn’t worth it. But we can’t give in to that sort of intimidation. It doesn’t matter if the target is conservatives or liberals or any other ideological persuasion, free speech should be free.Tags: free speech, swating