Dangerous Games and Free Speech

By Felicia Cravens, Contributor, US Daily Review.

Imagine you’re getting ready for bed.  You’re locking up for the night, making sure the lights are off, the dishes are put away, things are ready for the next day.  You pay special attention to the locks, because there have been reports of a home invasion or two in your town.  The neighbor’s dog is barking, and it gives you pause, but the dog does that occasionally, so you make a mental note to ask about it in the morning.

As you turn towards the bedroom, your world explodes.  The front and back doors are broken in simultaneously.  You are surrounded by men with guns trained on you, men shouting orders you barely hear as you try to process what is happening.  You are dragged to your front lawn, thrown on the ground, searched and handcuffed.  Men with guns are still in your house, subjecting the rest of your family to a rude awakening.

Think it can’t happen?  Think this is something out of a movie?  Think again; it HAS happened.  It’s a terror tactic used by fringe nuts, and it’s called SWATing.  Essentially, a person works some internet tricks to mimic a target’s called ID, then calls police claiming to have killed someone at the target’s address.  Police rush to the scene, often with SWAT teams, expecting to apprehend a violent murderer.  Instead they find a terrified, confused target who had no idea what was going on.

The tactic is part of a larger pattern of harassment most often aimed at conservative bloggers; John Hawkins offers a good list of attack types HERE and Jimmie Bise has a really good explanation HERE.  You can also learn about “Twitter Gulag” HERE.  Some of the targets have included:

Patrick Frey – Patterico

Erick Erickson Red State

Aaron Walker – Allergic2Bull

Rachel Alexander

Paul LemmenAn ExCon’s View

The stories continue to increase in number, and the threats get more frightening.  Much of this revolves around Brett Kimberlin, the convicted Speedway Bomber, who is now out, and running a nonprofit called Justice Through Music.  As I wrote on my own blog a few weeks ago when I first learned about all this:

A lefty political activist suing and harassing bloggers would have every bit the same effect in the long run as living under the harshest of despotic regimes.  When someone steals a blogger’s reputation, they steal his voice.  They marginalize and silence him.  But it doesn’t stop there.  It also silences others who write, others who speak, others who conduct in-depth research and provide information not available from traditional media, as they shy away from taking risks.  Then follow that to its natural conclusion; a state-directed narrative delivered by a lapdog media with no voices left to challenge it.  The only steps skipped in the mad dash to tyranny are a few state-sanctioned pogroms against the Blogging Class and a conspicuous disappearance of a high-profile blogger or two.

The reason this is important is that with the mainstream media ignoring significant political stories like the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal, bloggers are becoming more and more important to the news cycle.  In many cases, bloggers are the ONLY sources of information on a subject.  Tactics designed to silence or shut down bloggers are particularly pernicious; chilling free speech while cutting off the sole news sources on stories that challenge the mainstream media’s stranglehold on what constitutes news.

Check out the links above and start learning about the tactics being used to shut bloggers down across the political spectrum.  For more in-depth coverage, you can also try:

Liberty Chick Twitter Feed

Stacy McCain’s Research

Franklin Center

Human Events

Felicia Cravens walked away from her accounting degree over a decade ago to become a stay-at-home mom.  Since then, she has filled her “spare time” teaching drama in an after-school program and working in conservative politics.  She founded the Houston Tea Party Society in 2009, serves as a frequent media contact, and trains and equips people new to the political process, on topics such as Convention 101 and Twitter Basics.  She also serves as Vice-President of the organization that planned January’s Saddle Up Texas Straw Poll.  Her passion for social, media in politics has led her to launch Dialect Social Media this spring, a consulting firm for candidates, and she can be found on Facebook and Google+, and on Twitter as @somethingfishie and at LinkedIn.  She is a contributor at Own The Narrative and The Texas Conservative as well as a blogger in her own right at Something Fishie.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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