State Rep. Brian Sims protects his tweets

It was only a few weeks ago that State Rep. Brian Sims was harassing teens on the street in defense of Planned Parenthood. When he got some initial blowback to his behavior online his response was “bring it on, Bible Bullies!” Here’s a screencap:

A couple of days later Sims issues a pathetic non-apology for his behavior. And a couple of days after that he was invited to a pro-life rally in front of the same Planned Parenthood clinic where he’d filmed his videos trying to dox and harass teens and an elderly woman. Sims never did show up at the rally. Now he seems to be in hiding. He hadn’t tweeted for several days before making his entire account private. The photo above shows how it looks now.

Usually, I’m not a fan of ganging up on people online but Sims is an exception for a few reasons. One, his behavior was public and had been repeated at least twice if not more times. We’re not jumping into someone’s Twitter feed over a stray comment or a misunderstood joke here (Has Justine landed yet?). This was abusive public behavior which Sims posted online looking for plaudits. He needed to know not everyone approved.

Two, he’s a public representative (not an internet rando) which means hearing from people about his public positions is part of his job. And that’s doubly true in this case because he was insulting people who disagreed with him and literally invited a response from people who disagreed.

Third, Sims has passed up several opportunities to apologize or engage civilly on this issue. He apparently lives across the street from where the rally took place last week. He was invited by several of the speakers to show up and debate. He decided to hide, perhaps realizing his schtick wasn’t going to play well with an audience that didn’t already agree with him. Now he’s protected his tweets.

I sincerely hope people don’t cross a line from criticizing Sims to wishing him ill or making threats. That wouldn’t be helpful here. But he asked people to “bring it” and they did. Hundreds showed up in his neighborhood last week to respond to him and hundreds more donated to a fund supporting a local pro-life group in reaction to his behavior.

Hopefully, he’s learned something about showing a modicum of respect for people with differing views. I really do hope he has but frankly, I don’t think there’s much chance Sims is going to offer any kind of olive branch here. He could still surprise me but his views on this issue seem to be pretty fundamental to his self-image as a progressive crusader. I don’t get the impression Brian Sims is likely to change his mind about how super-righteous Brian Sims is anytime soon.