Posted on | December 9, 2012 | 14 Comments
Bill Schmalfeldt is one of the strange characters in the troll army that has been harassing targets of the Kimberlin-Rauhauser Axis for the past several months. Schmalfeldt recently called attention to himself by cyberstalking me (see, “Pray for Ten Thousand Angels,” Nov. 23), but research shows that he has been at it since June.
His Twitter account has been suspended due to his abusive misbehavior. However, for reasons unknown, in July someone posted to Pastebin 2,800 of Schmalfeldt’s Twitter messages from May 29-July 2. From this cache, it is possible to learn how and when Schmalfeldt got involved:
2670. Sun Jun 03 19:55:53 +0000 2012, liberalgrouch, 209372854213558273,
@catsrimportant can someone point me to something written about this Aaron Walker case that was NOT written by some right wing shithead?
2669. Sun Jun 03 20:30:58 +0000 2012, liberalgrouch, 209381683034722305,
@AaronWorthing Are you really comparing yourself with MLK?
2668. Sun Jun 03 20:42:09 +0000 2012, liberalgrouch, 209384499425976320,
@AaronWorthing I know next to nothing about this case. What did Kimberlin say you allegedly said/tweeted/google that proved threating?
2667. Sun Jun 03 20:42:39 +0000 2012, liberalgrouch, 209384626899255296,
@AaronWorthing Forgive me for asking, but I have some strong views about the First Amendment and I’m researching this story for my blog.
2666. Sun Jun 03 20:42:54 +0000 2012, liberalgrouch, 209384689511841792,
@AaronWorthing I promise. No one will come to get you.
2665. Sun Jun 03 21:10:29 +0000 2012, liberalgrouch, 209391629881192448,
@AaronWorthing Well, certainly a new Twitter chum can recommend to another new Twitter chum a website he might find interesting, say wot?
This is important to understanding Schmalfeldt’s motives, methods and mental disposition. Schmalfeldt’s target was Aaron Walker who, on May 17, had published a 28,000-word account of his conflict with Brett Kimberlin. About the length of a 90-page book, Walker’s account was studded with links to original court documents and e-mails. Schmalfeldt wasn’t dealing with a story where there was any shortage of factual information available.
What was Schmalfeldt seeking? Some way to discredit Walker, to create a narrative in which Kimberlin could be portrayed as the victim.
This is the “accuse the accusers” motif that has added layers of unnecessary confusion to this story: By a sort of narrative ju-jitsu — minimizing the deliberate harmfulness of Kimberlin’s actions, while depicting his targets as unethical, selfish or motivated by purposes of political revenge — the “accuse the accusers” strategy creates a false equivalence between victim and victimizer. This method of online obfuscation is effective because few people (including law enforcement officials and judges) have the patience necessary to trace the conflict to its origins, nor do they seem willing to contextualize any particular aspect of the conflict by studying it as part of an overall pattern of behavior.
Schmalfeldt began his involvement by declaring to Melissa Brewer (@catsrimportant) — an ally of Kimberlin and Rauhauser — that he wanted coverage of the Walker case not written by “some right-wing shithead.” He then started to hector Walker, questioning whether the convicted bomber Kimberlin had done anything threatening. Schmalfeldt offered as his motive his “strong views about the First Amendment.”
Keep in mind that, on May 20, Schmalfeldt evidently got himself banned from Daily Kos, where he’d been a diarist less than six months. Schmalfeldt’s stint as a blogger at the Examiner was terminated May 2, after he was accused of abusive conduct toward fellow Examiner contributor Joe Newby. (Shmalfeldt resurfaced June 22 as Examiner columnist “Bill Matthews,” only to be terminated again Aug. 6 after his deception was discovered.) His “strong views about the First Amendment,” we may suppose, involve Schmalfeldt’s antisocial belief that he should be able to say anything to anyone in other people’s privately-owned online space, without regard for the proprietors’ rules or even basic human decency. (See “Bill Schmalfeldt: Too Disgusting For Daily Kos,” Nov. 25, by Lee Stranahan.)
“Troll Rights” may be an interesting legal concept, but it’s a lousy career strategy. Schmalfeldt entered early June with more than one burnt bridge behind him, and his apparent plan for redemption was to make himself the white knight who would slay the dreaded Aaron Walker dragon that was threatening that noble progressive, Brett Kimberlin.
“The Narcissist as Self-Imagined Hero” — Schmalfeldt isn’t the first such character we’ve encountered. Incapable of accepting responsibility for his own errors and misfortunes, the narcissist instead externalizes blame for his failures, demonizing and scapegoating others. Unwilling or unable to emulate successful people, the narcissist envies them. Viewing success as a zero-sum game, he convinces himself that the game is rigged against him, and that the success of others results from their unfairly taking advantage of the “system,” thus wrongly cheating him out of the rewards and admiration he believes he deserves.
All people naturally want to think well of themselves, and even people with healthy minds are susceptible to the psychological defense mechanisms involved in narcissism. The difference between normal self-regard and pathological narcissism, however, is the profound ego-damage that motivates the narcissist, and his inability to recognize or accept the reality of his situation. In its most extreme manifestation, narcissism becomes paranoid psychosis, as the demonized scapegoats used to explain failure are inflated into an all-powerful “Them.”
Most narcissists never slip over the edge into outright psychosis, but instead exhibit borderline antisocial traits, among them grandiosity — an irrationally exaggerated sense of self-importance — and a tendency to dehumanize others. You can see this, for example, in the grotesque Photoshop image of Sarah Palin that Schmalfeldt used to illustrate his July 26 Examiner post (written under his “Bill Matthews” alias):
Palin bleeding with a spike through her forehead? Coupled with an unfunny “joke” about nipple-piercing? And Bill Schmalfeldt created this image to illustrate a blog post about Chick-fil-A?
Here’s a simple mental health test: You might be dangerously crazy if you need an explanation of what’s wrong with that.
So, Bill Schmalfeldt, courageous defender of the First Amendment, about midway through the 33 days between his getting banned from Daily Kos and his re-emergence at the Examiner as “Bill Matthews,” chooses as a suitable target for destruction Aaron Walker.
Why Aaron Walker?
Well, on May 29 — the Tuesday before the Sunday on which Schmalfeldt began “researching” his anti-Walker attack — Walker had been briefly arrested following a court hearing in Montgomery County, Maryland. That incident was widely reported (see “IBD At Kimberlin Hearing: Walker Handcuffed, 1st Amendment Muzzled,” by David Hogberg, Investors Business Daily) and, for the second time in less than a week, the Kimberlin saga controlled the top seven threads at Memeorandum.
Bill Schmalfeldt, courageous defender of the First Amendment, couldn’t stand it: How dare “some right-wing shithead” claim that he had rights that were threatened by noble progressive Brett Kimberlin? Therefore the white-knight hero would ride forth to save the day by “exposing” Aaron Walker as the dastardly villain. The result of Schmalfeldt’s scheme was a June 6 blog post with this vicious headline:
Ah, yes! That’s it! Schmalfeldt hated Breitbart when he was alive, he heinously mocked Breitbart after he was dead, and he knew that the way to invoke the Left’s sympathy for Brett Kimberlin was to portray Kimberlin as the victim of a Breitbart-inspired “hoax,” just like the Breitbart “hoax” that had brought down Anthony Weiner.
What? You didn’t know that Weiner was the victim of a “hoax”?
Maybe you aren’t one of the “Weiner Truthers” who coalesced around a certain Web site that is now run by Bill Schmalfeldt.
Narcissists crave attention, and some people think that the best way to deal with Bill Schmalfeldt is to ignore him. Schmalfeldt started cyberstalking Aaron Walker in June, and I tried to ignore him. It wasn’t until September that his name was first mentioned on this blog.
We keep re-learning the same sad lesson:
“It is very easy to decide ‘this isn’t any of my trouble’ and permit vicious behavior. . . . Who wants to get involved? Easier, and surely safer, just to duck one’s head and hide, and hope the danger visits someone else.”
– Ace of Spades, May 22
Evil is persistent. Duck your head, shrug your shoulders — “Gosh, too bad what happened to Aaron Walker” — and never mind who will be visited next by this particular specimen of evil. Never mind what innocent person the monsters will choose to victimize, because nobody can be bothered to pay attention to what’s happening.
“Sociopathic sadism”? Am I an expert, to make such a judgment? No, but after more than six months of this craziness, I’m pretty damned familiar with it. Never mind what clinical label the diagnosticians might apply. You don’t need a Ph.D. to recognize evil.
Don’t let evil win. Go hit Aaron Walker’s tip jar.
And please, don’t stop praying now.