[NWPT42] This morning I received a phone call from Detective Melinda Wilson, of the Seattle Police Department’s Internet Crimes unit, investigating allegations that I have repeatedly made “online requests” to “engage in sex with minors.” Apparently, one or two individuals have anonymously made three separate complaints to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) CyberTipline.
I cannot tell you how deeply disappointed I was to receive that call.
But of course, I’ll try.
I understand that I piss people off, and have come to terms with the fact that if I am to continue to honestly, openly and passionately express my views, I am going to attract the occasional threatening phone call or antisemitic email. And since my lack of anonymity makes me an easy target, I am aware that there is always a risk, however slight, that some rhetorically hopped-up right wing wacko — unable to effectively combat my words with his words — may resort to a deadlier weapon.
But this… this is beyond the pale.
There are few crimes more heinous or despicable than molesting children. But it is not the false accusation that offends me most, but rather, that precious resources have been diverted from investigating real crimes against real children… all so that my anonymous accusers could enjoy some sort of petty, political retribution against me for having the gall to speak my mind. In their mad rush to crush dissent, these conscienceless, cowardly brownshirts were even willing to exploit the exploitation of children, making themselves accomplices to the worst sorts of sexual predators.
You want to fuck with me…? Use a little imagination! There are plenty of ways to do it without harming innocent children in the process. But this shameless harassment not only shows how little my accusers care for the lives of innocents — and how much they truly hate democracy, hate free speech, and hate America — it is also a sad illustration of how fat and lazy some righties have grown on their spoon-fed media diet of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.
What the fuck were they thinking? … “I don’t like what this guy writes on his blog, so I’ll just accuse him of being a pederast. After all, he’s a dirty, immoral liberal… everybody will believe it.”
Before I continue, I should take a moment to reassure my friends (and respectful enemies) that I am not under any criminal investigation, so I should suffer no repercussions from this incident beyond this morning’s disturbing phone call. The police have a responsibility to follow up on all such allegations — as they should — and I appreciate how informative and supportive Det. Wilson was in explaining the circumstances. I was relieved to learn that the NCMEC actually receives very few fraudulent complaints, and these, like mine, tend to clearly stand out as such. I did not ask Det. Wilson whether she would investigate my accusers for criminally making a false complaint — in truth, I’d prefer the police use their limited resources to investigate the types of crimes of which I was accused.
I do not know if these accusations were the work of one or two isolated wackos, or the dirty trick of one of the right-wing organizations I frequently skewer. But either way, we should not lightly dismiss this incident, as I think it is representative of the growing mass hysteria emanating from some on the hard right’s angry fringe. Listen to talk radio, or read the posts on the right-wing blogs, or even in the liberally moderated comment threads here, and you’ll see that there is no crime, no moral outrage of which some on the right believe their opponents are not capable. This demonization of “the other” not only provides the justification for attacks such as I have suffered, but I fear it also represents a kind of mass projection that gives us a disturbing glimpse into what these people are capable of themselves.
Still, I suppose I should be flattered by the attention… or even grateful. For while the likes of Michele Malkin and Matt Rosenberg apparently feel the need to manufacture outrage over alleged left-wing conspiracies, my accusers have obligingly provided an example of how low some on the right are willing to go to punish those who dare to disagree with them.
I suppose there’s a reason the right-wing blogs are so intolerant of anonymous trolls… if they don’t know who you are, they can’t get you.