I know what it’s like to find out that you’ve been targeted for violence — real violence, as in being targeted for death by an extremist who has picked out his target based on nothing more than writing about politics. My situation got resolved, fortunately, but my life has not been quite the same since. I had the good fortune of having friends who quietly made sure that my family had the security we needed for me to continue my work in American politics.
Looks like that time has come around for some of our friends in the blogosphere. Aaron Walker, Patterico, Liberty Chick, and Stacy McCain have written extensively about a man named Brett Kimberlin and connections to violent political action. I have only followed the story at a distance, and don’t hold myself out to be an expert on the subject. The result of their investigations has prompted a flurry of legal harassment in some cases, and worse in others. Today, the Boss Emeritus — who knows a thing or two about Unhinged reaction to free speech — rallies the blogosphere in defense of our friends:
Over the past year, Aaron Walker (who blogged as “Aaron Worthing”), Patterico, Liberty Chick, and now Stacy McCain have been targeted by convicted Speedway bomber Brett Kimberlin because they dared to mention his criminal past or assisted others who did. The late Andrew Breitbart warned about Kimberlin and company.
I have spoken directly with both Patterico and Aaron about their ongoing battles.
The mainstream press, not just the conservative blogosphere, needs to hear and report their stories.
This is a convoluted, ongoing nightmare that combines abuse of the court system, workplace intimidation, serial invasions of privacy, perjury, and harassment of family members. McCain was forced to move with his family out of his house this week, and has just gotten a small taste of what Aaron and Patterico have been enduring over the past year. Aaron and his wife were fired from their jobs after their employer feared the office would be targeted next. Convicted bomber Kimberlin has filed bogus “peace orders” against Aaron, when it is the Walkers who are the victims, not the perpetrators.
And Patterico’s plight will send chills up your spine when he is ready to tell it.
Institutional inertia, incompetence, and apathy among law enforcement officials on both coasts have exacerbated the victims’ suffering. It has moved far beyond a partisan or political story to a bottomless, Kafka-esque morass. And, via investigative journalist Matthew Vadum, it certainly doesn’t help that “progressive,” left-wing foundations that have funded Kimberlin continue to look the other way.
Ted Frank at Point of Law summed it up: “A scary tale of what can go wrong if one makes the wrong enemy of someone willing to persistently abuse the civil and criminal legal system, and how poorly the legal system protects those victims.”
Stacy has had to take his family out of their house in order to protect them, at least for a while. It’s no blogospheric secret that Stacy and I have had our differences, but I still count Stacy as a friend and hope he does the same, and no one should have to leave their home in fear simply for engaging in political debate. I hit his tip jar yesterday to help in some small way to defray his travel expenses, and I’d encourage everyone else to do the same.
What else can we do? First, read all of Michelle’s post to get a sense of what the story and its impact actually is. Write about it or don’t, depending on how much focus you believe the story deserves, but try to post something about what these bloggers are enduring — if not on a blog, then on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media channels. At some point, we all need our friends to have our backs. I’ve already been there, and believe me, it’s a lonely place until they arrive.