Posted on | October 29, 2013 | 42 Comments
Roger Shuler, Shelby County Jail inmate No. 288928
“Shuler is his own worst enemy. . . . He seems to enjoy being his own lawyer. He has given his only client some bad advice.”
– U.S. District Judge William Acker, Jan. 28, 2011
“At some point during the eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency, a substantial segment of the Democrat Party went nuts. Or maybe they were always nuts, but during the Bush years all these liberal kooks logged onto the Internet, and they have been plaguing America with their lunacy ever since.”
– “Crazy in Alabama,” The American Spectator
The weirdness of Roger Shuler is perhaps not a subject of general interest, as editors would say, and the Kook Rights Movement is still a fringe phenomenon, but as an example of a social trend, I think there’s something to see here that is worth contemplating.
Rather than to front-load this post with a lot of navel-gazing and pontification, however, let’s update you with some actual news:
A court injunction that led to the arrest of an Alabama blogger last week could imperil free speech rights, a national organization said Monday. “Legal Schnauzer” blogger Roger Shuler was arrested Wednesday and held without bond in the Shelby County, Ala., jail on a contempt of court charge after he refused to comply with a preliminary court injunction that prohibited him from continuing to repeat accusations against the son of former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley.
“Unfortunately for bloggers and free speech advocates, the injunction in the Shuler case could have a chilling effect,” Ali A. Akbar, president of the National Bloggers Club said in a press release Monday. “As a result, the National Bloggers Club believes the injunction, not the case itself, poses the real threat to bloggers.” . . .
Read the whole thing at Viral Read, and ask yourself this important question: Was Roger Shuler sane before he started blogging?
It’s a question I occasionally ask about myself. A certain minimal level of craziness is probably necessary for success in this racket, but as wildly gonzo as this trip sometimes gets — and hey, I’m being sued for RICO, along with Glenn Beck, Simon & Shuster and a deputy D.A. in Los Angeles County — you don’t want to spin out of control.
My remarkable success in monetizing insanity depends on keeping a close eye on the mental tachometer. If it ever goes beyond the sort of hypomanic range where the “good crazy” happens, it could turn into a full-blown psychotic meltdown and, fun as it may be to watch that kind of total freakout as a spectator, it’s never much fun for the performer.
Sept. 12, 2012: Barrett Brown rants about his plan to ‘destroy’ an FBI agent
But why bring up Barrett Brown at this point, really? There is a parallel between what happened to Barrett and what happened to Shuler. Both of them had underlying personal issues that, while obvious enough to the observer experienced in dealing with kooks, were not apparent to those who saw them as heroic crusaders for certain political causes.
Let’s face it: A lot of the people involved with Anonymous were (and are) dangerously crazy and among the hacker groupies, the fanboys and wannabes, there wasn’t a lot of the kind of objectivity that would lead them to ask, “Is Barrett Brown a lunatic?”
Glory days: Barrett Brown interviewed by Michael Isikoff, 2011
With his boyish appearance, his rumbling baritone “Take Me Seriously” voice and his innate penchant for pretentious bullshit — he loved to throw around SAT-prep words like “erudite” — Brown was able to convince a lot of unskeptical people that he knew what he was talking about and had it all under control. But he was a mentally disturbed junkie the whole time, cleverly faking his way through the media charade, hiding his personal grudges behind a lot of paranoid political gibberish and slowly sliding toward a state of complete desperation:
“I know what’s legal, because I know what’s been done to me and if it’s legal when it’s done to me it’s going to be legal when it’s done to f**king FBI Agent Robert Smith, who is a criminal, who is involved in a criminal conspiracy. . . . Uh, anyway, so that’s why Robert Smith’s life is over. And when I say his life is over I don’t say I’m gonna go kill him, but I am gonna ruin his life and look into his fuckin’ kids, because Aaron Barr did the same thing, and he didn’t get raided for it. How do ya like them apples?”
– Barrett Brown, Sept. 12, 2012
Maybe you’ve never watched that video, the third and final episode in the Barrett Brown YouTube Epic Meltdown Series (Part One and Part Two), and maybe you’ve never read the transcripts (Part One, Part Two, Part Three) to see just how insane he really was. The fact that his deluded admirers have tried to depict him as a First Amendment martyr doesn’t change the basic truth: Barrett Brown was crazy.
And something else to notice: There is nobody on the Right who is (a) as crazy as that, and (b) celebrated as a hero for being that crazy.
No, not even me.
If you ever go off the deep end and threaten to “destroy” an FBI agent, vowing to kill any cops who try to stop you, your only hope to be embraced as a hero is to do so in the name of a left-wing cause. There certainly are some dangerous kooks who could be politically categorized as “right wing,” but they’re not getting sympathetic write-ups in The Weekly Standard, whereas you can see Barrett Brown depicted as a sort of romantic renegade in Rolling Stone.
This creates an incentive for bad behavior on the Left that has no parallel on the Right, and it’s time we stop pretending that there is a moral equivalence, because there really isn’t. When you see a kook like Barrett Brown or Roger Shuler spin out of control and get himself arrested, there is a certain logic to them doing this in pursuit of a left-wing agenda, because the Left offers incentives to such behavior, especially the hope of becoming a Heroic Martyr for the Cause.
OK, enough with the pontification, for now at least, and let me get back to the serious business of pimping my latest column:
Roger Shuler runs a blog in Alabama called “Legal Schnauzer.” To be more accurate, Shuler was running that blog until he got arrested last week for violating a court order. As of Monday afternoon, Shuler was still being held without bail in the Shelby County Jail as inmate number 288928. The charge that landed Shuler in jail was contempt of court, to which was added a resisting arrest charge. Maybe he should change the name of his blog to “Illegal Schnauzer.”
The contempt of court charge against Shuler stemmed from a defamation suit brought against him by Robert R. “Rob” Riley Jr., a prominent Birmingham attorney whose father, former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, is a Republican. Shuler seems to believe all Republicans are “corrupt,” engaged in “fraud,” and conspiring against him. After getting fired from his university job in 2008, Shuler has spent the past several years clogging the courts with lawsuits — filed pro se, which is to say, with Shuler acting as his own attorney — and filling the Internet with accusations against those corrupt and fraudulent Republicans he insists are out to get him. What windmills were to Don Quixote, Republicans are to Roger Shuler. His weird obsession might be harmless, if it weren’t for the fact that he keeps publishing defamatory claims on his blog. . . .
Read the whole thing at The American Spectator, because I’m just crazy enough to explain this kind of insanity to normal people.
- Oct. 27: Roger Shuler: Another Kook Succumbs to ‘Investigative Blogger Syndrome’
- Oct. 26: Legal Woes Mount for Alabama Anti-GOP Conspiracy Theory Blogger Roger Shuler
- Oct. 26: The Going Gets Weird: Alabama Liberal Blogger Arrested on Contempt Charge