Posted on | February 14, 2013 | 26 Comments
Bill Schmalfeldt of Elk Ridge, Maryland, a.k.a. “Liberal Grouch”
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 the opposite 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.
It’s one thing to throw a few sharp Tweets at someone you dislike or with whom you disagree politically. It is another thing entirely to do to somebody what Bill Schmalfeldt has done to Lee Stranahan. And, in fact, Schmalfeldt has done it to several other people. (Last November, Schmalfeldt sent me more than 200 harassing messages in a single 48-hour span.) It just so happens that Stranahan has become Schmalfeldt’s latest idée fixe, and I guarantee you that Schmalfeldt can’t tell you how this sick obsession began.
That’s what it’s like with these “Monsters on the Internet”: Once they become obsessed with someone, the etiology of their obsession is lost amid their persistent harassment. Go ahead and ask Schmalfeldt, “Why are you so fixated on Lee Stranahan?”
The answer you’ll get won’t be a coherent, factual narrative about the history of a personal conflict, but rather a lunatic screed about what a terrible person Stranahan is. Then you’ll say, “So what? Stipulate that Lee Stranahan is not a nice person. Why is it so necessary for you to persistently harass him this way?”
And when Schmalfeldt stops his angry rant in reply to that inquiry, you’ll realize you are not dealing with a rational person, but rather someone in the throes of a profound emotional disturbance.
Normal people don’t do what Bill Schmalfeldt does.
Healthy minds do not succumb to such pathological obsessions.
John Tiessen ranting on YouTube: ‘I’m a f–king true freedom fighter!’
Schmalfeldt is like John Tiessen, another troll in the kook-swarm. Tiessen became obsessed with the anti-Anonymous hacker known as the Jester, and recorded a video intended to justify his outrageous false accusations against the Jester. But the character revealed by Tiessen’s YouTube rant was clearly deranged:
“I still have a hard time with what I did. I know I’m guilty. . . . The coke whore that I picked up promised me a blow job if I gave her coke and then she tried to renege on it, and I said, ‘No, you’re going to do it.’ . . .
“I’m a f–king true freedom fighter. I’m not one of these f–king wannabes. . . . You want to grow some f–king cojones and be a true freedom fighter? Stand up like Jesus did. Stand up to these kings and these so-called f–king religious leaders. . . [Tell them] ‘You’re not speaking for God.’ I don’t care who you are – Obama, Putin, on and on – I don’t care. You’re speaking for the Devil, man.
“You ain’t speaking for the people. You’re speaking for the Rothschilds and the J.P. Morgans and the f–king banks of this world.”
Yeah. Right. The Rothschilds. Thank you, True Freedom Fighter.
Trace the origins of online conflicts like this, identify who actually started it, and there is a very high likelihood:
a. That the person who started the feud exhibits symptoms of psychiatric abnormality; and
b. That this person is a serial online offender, who habitually causes trouble on the Internet.
People are creatures of habit, and if someone like Schmalfeldt or Tiessen starts harassing you, rest assured you’re probably not the first person they’ve harassed, nor will you be the last target of their harassment. This goes back to something Ace of Spades pointed out last year:
Who wants to get involved? Easier, and surely safer, just to duck one’s head and hide, and hope the danger visits someone else.
Perhaps the alligator will prefer to eat someone else first. Perhaps his belly will be full.
And why should you stick your neck out?
In other words, it’s easy enough to ignore these cyberstalkers when they’re bothering someone else, but this doesn’t mean you’re safe, and it sure as hell doesn’t make you a hero.
Now, I previously guaranteed you that Bill Schmalfeldt can’t tell you why he became obsessed with Lee Stranahan. Here’s a hint: Schmalfeldt first started cyberstalking Aaron Walker in June, during the height of the Kimberlin controversy.
Need another hint? Neal Rauhauser first took notice of Lee Stranahan during the WeinerGate controversy in 2011:
The person claiming to be “Jennifer George” who called Lee was a hoaxer.
There really was a person who threatened the real Jennifer George, and that person pretended to be Lee Stranahan.
That person hates Lee, and Breitbart.
I have been very busy and probably don’t know all the reasons why this couldn’t possibly be the case. So tell me.
UPDATE: Point #1 could be wrong, and the theory still holds.
UPDATE x2: I’m feeling better about the theory with each passing second.
That’s from Patterico, June 30, 2011. A few hours after he posted that, Patterico was SWATted.
Are these seemingly random dots beginning to form a pattern? Let me add a bit more context to the situation: A few weeks ago, an Anonymous supporter posted several files related to Neal Rauhauser, including recording of a phone call between Neal and Kelly Hallissey. Listening to that conversation, you recognize that Neal is an unusually skilled liar, adept at manipulation.
Now, another dot for the pattern: Ladd Ehlinger Jr. has pointed out “the uncanny quantity of people with a host of mental health issues that have been gathered together” by Rauhauser. It’s as if Neal were collecting these nutjobs, seeking out abnormal personalities who were susceptible to his manipulations, so that he could sic these trolls on his targets.
Rauhauser has actually bragged about doing this, about playing “conflict cupid” and using “synthetic presence” (i.e., sockpuppets) as part of his manipulative schemes. In his phone call with Kelly Hallissey, Rauhauser admits (as Patterico and I had both deduced) that he was “Carlito2000,” who had agitated Barrett Brown into the meltdown that got Brown arrested last September.
September 2012: Barrett Brown threatens an FBI agent in video
Barrett Brown is not stupid, but he is not smarter than Neal Rauhauser, who was able to sucker Barrett into believing the weird conspiracy theory (involving Jennifer Emick, HB Gary, etc.) that ultimately drove Barrett off the deep end.
Neal Rauhauser is quite cunning when it comes to inciting mentally unstable people to do his dirty work for him. Neal has been after Lee Stranahan since June 2011 and now — what a coincidence! — cyberstalker Bill Schmalfeldt has gotten himself charged with harassment for his incessant attacks against Lee Stranahan.
- Feb. 1: News Flash: Crazy People Are Dangerous
- Dec. 9: June 3: Bill Schmalfeldt Begins Cyberstalking Aaron Walker
- Dec. 8: They’re Still Hating Breitbart
- Nov. 25: The Dishonesty of Bill Schmalfeldt
- Nov. 24: Pray for Ten Thousand Angels
- Nov. 4: Monsters on the Internet: Sociopathic Sadism and Bill Schmalfeldt’s Madness