There are some weird people out there. Some funny weird, some scary weird. Bill Schmalfeldt of Elk Ridge, Maryland, a.k.a. “Liberal Grouch”, is the scary kind of weird. Weird as in cyberstalking, which is sick, and pathetic. Stacy McCain, and others have had to deal with some of these miscreants, and Stacy has filed a report on Bill Schmalfeldt being charged for his dastardly deeds
The charge is “electronic harassment” (Md. Code Crim. Law §3-805) according to Aaron Walker. The complainant is Lee Stranahan:
For the better part of a year, my family and I have have been under contestant siege from a small group of people who have worked together in a relentless attempt to humiliate, embarrass and inflict emotional stress on us in a clear attempt destroy my professional reputation and to silence my voice. Much of this appears to be related to stories I have written about such as Weinergate, Occupy Wall Street, the media’s handling of the Steubenville rape case and projects I’ve launched like Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day.
These attacks, however, have gone far beyond the realm of impassioned debate and into the realm of illegal harassment that serves no legitimate legal purpose.
Good luck getting to LeeStranahan.com tonight. Bill Schmalfeldt is evidently part of a troll crew organized by Neal Rauhauser to harass various individuals Neal hates, so we can expect the usual hacking/DOS tactics to be deployed against Lee’s site.
Two weeks ago, after yet another manifestation of Schmalfeldt’s obsessive harassment, I wrote:
When will law enforcement start taking this problem seriously? Will we have to wait until one of these cyberstalkers finally kills somebody?
What these people are doing is not “free speech.” In fact, it is theopposite of free speech: Harassment intended to silence (or, at least, distract, annoy and/or smear) bloggers and journalists whose work the cyberstalkers wish to suppress. Unless and until you’ve been targeted by this menacing kook-swarm, it’s very difficult for you to understand what they do and how they do it.
Point One: It’s not really about Lee Stranahan. That is to say, it doesn’t matter whether you like Lee Stranahan or don’t like Lee Stranahan or have never heard of Lee Stranahan. What is involved here is a pattern of harassing behavior systematically employed by certain people who are either (a) crazy, (b) evil, or quite possibly (c) both crazy and evil.
Point Two: It’s not really about politics. That is to say, it doesn’t matter whether you’re liberal or conservative or utterly indifferent to politics, the type of online stalking and harassment involved here cannot be tolerated and is, in fact, illegal.
Go read the rest. Sad that some people are sick in the head, as my granddad used to say, and cannot conduct themselves any better than these stalkers do. And the scary part is you do not know IF they are dangerous or not, Something has to be done about this type of crime.
Let me make clear my statement that something has to be done. Commentator Scott pointed out how dangerous those words can be. He is dead on correct. What we would need is likely not new laws, but better enforcement, maybe harsher punitive measures.