The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Jarrod Ramos Identified as Shooter in Maryland Newspaper Mass Murder

Posted on | June 29, 2018 | 2 Comments

 

When I went to sleep Thursday night, my post about the shooting at the offices of the Annapolis Capital had been updated six times, and the media had (incorrectly, as it turned out) reported that the gunman was “a white male in his 20s.” On Twitter, leftists were going crazy with speculation that somehow this atrocity was inspired by President Trump’s frequent criticism of the media’s “fake news.”

Having been through similar situations so many times — a bombing or shooting, watching people on the Internet engaging in baseless guesswork about the motive and perpetrators — I urged caution:

It is important to avoid speculation in the immediate aftermath of incidents like this. What was the gunman’s motive? We don’t know, because we don’t even know who the gunman is yet. Of course, it’s possible that the shooter had some sort of political motive, but so far we have no evidence to indicate what that motive might be.

Was it political terrorism and, if so, what kind of politics? Is the killer a radical Muslim? Or some kind of “right-winger”? That’s what such speculation is about — people trying to score political points from mass murder — and it’s distasteful, not to mention foolish.

Just wait, I always say when these things happen, and let’s get the facts first. Overnight, the facts finally emerged:

A Laurel man with a long-standing grudge against The Capital is being held as the suspect in the deadly shooting Thursday at the Annapolis newspaper, according to law enforcement sources.
Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, according to online court records. . . .
In 2012, Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper and a columnist over a July 2011 article that covered a criminal harassment charge against him.
He brought the suit against then-columnist Eric Hartley, naming Capital Gazette Communications and Thomas Marquardt, the paper’s former editor and publisher, as defendants. . . .
Marquardt said he wasn’t surprised to hear Ramos identified as the alleged gunman, saying he started harassing the paper and its staff shortly after the 2011 article. The harassment escalated for years with online threats, Marquardt said.
“I was seriously concerned he would threaten us with physical violence,” Marquardt said from his retirement home in Florida. “I even told my wife, ‘We have to be concerned. This guy could really hurt us.’ ”
Marquardt said he called the Anne Arundel County police about Ramos in 2013, but nothing came of it. He consulted the paper’s lawyers about filing a restraining order, but decided against it.
“I remember telling our attorneys, ‘This is a guy who is going to come in and shoot us,’ ” he said.
Ramos’ aunt Vielka Ramos, 59, said she couldn’t believe he was the suspected gunman. She said her nephew had a good childhood, growing up in Severn, and attended Arundel High School.
“He was very intelligent. He would try to communicate with people but he was a loner,” she said.
After his grandmother died several years ago, she said, he stopped attending family gatherings. She had not talked to him in several years, the aunt said.
“He was distant from the family. He just wasn’t close to anybody,” she said.
In the 2011 column about the harassment charge, Hartley identified Jarrod Ramos as a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employee with no previous criminal record and a degree in computer engineering.
The harassment case centered on an online relationship Ramos tried to kindle with a former high school classmate. Hartley’s column said Ramos sent a friend request on Facebook to the woman, and the experience turned into a “yearlong nightmare.” Ramos allegedly wrote the woman and said she was the only person who ever said hello to him or was nice to him in school.
Ramos then allegedly called her vulgar names and told her to kill herself, Hartley wrote. He allegedly emailed the bank where she worked to get her fired. Ramos pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge, receiving probation from a judge who called his behavior “rather bizarre,” the column said.
Ramos’ subsequent defamation suit against The Capital worked its way through the Maryland courts until 2015, when the state’s second-highest court upheld a ruling in favor of the newspaper.

This guy was a cliché, a stereotype of a deranged loner, and he should have been locked up in a lunatic asylum or a prison. Because I’ve had to deal with this kind of psycho — in 2013, I was one of the defendants in a baseless defamation suit, and in 2016, a guy who targeted my family for SWATting was sentenced to federal prison — I have repeatedly warned readers: Crazy People Are Dangerous.

Nothing is more dangerous than the delusion of victimhood which is so typical of sociopathic personalities. No matter how obvious it is that they are responsible for their own personal problems, sociopaths refuse to accept responsibility, instead engaging in rationalizations that shift the blame to their scapegoated “enemies” who, in reality, are just innocent law-abiding citizens who had the misfortune of attracting the sociopath’s attention. The former high-school classmate who became the object of Ramos’s fixated obsession was the first target of the sociopath’s dangerous craziness, and he might have continued stalking her forever, had Eric Hartley not distracted him by writing about the case:

The victim, who asked that her name not be printed, said she lived in fear for her safety for months. The emails started in late 2009 or early 2010 — she can’t remember exactly, because it was only a few months later that they grew disturbing and she started documenting things. At first, she felt bad for him, so she shared some personal information and offered advice.
“But when it seemed to me that it was turning into something that gave me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, that he seems to think there’s some sort of relationship here that does not exist … I tried to slowly back away from it, and he just started getting angry and vulgar to the point I had to tell him to stop,” she told the judge. “And he was not OK with that. He would send me things and basically tell me, ‘You’re going to need restraining order now.’ ‘You can’t make me stop. I know all these things about you.’ ‘I’m going to tell everyone about your life.'”

Crazy People Are Dangerous, and one of the things a sociopath can’t stand is for someone to tell the truth about their craziness. When you come to the defense of their victims — when you tell the story of the sociopath’s wrongdoing — you become the next scapegoated “enemy.”

Well, I’m sure John Hoge and I will discuss this case Saturday night on The Other Podcast. We have both had to suffer with the consequences of a notorious sociopath’s deranged pursuit of revenge.

 

UPDATE: Speaking of my friend John Hoge — great minds think alike — he quotes the judge who rejected Ramos’s defamation lawsuit:

“I think people who are the subject of newspaper articles, whoever they may be, feel that there is a requirement that they be placed in the best light, or they have an opportunity to have the story reported to their satisfaction, or have the opportunity to have however much input they believe is appropriate,” Judge Maureen M. Lamasney said when dismissing the case. “But that’s simply not true. There is nothing in those complaints that prove that anything that was published about you is, in fact, false.”

The truth is an ironclad defense against claims of libel, under U.S. law, where freedom of the press and freedom of speech always prevail over whatever “rights” the criminal sociopath imagines himself to possess. Some people (and Brett Kimberlin is a textbook example) seem to believe that they have a “right” to a good reputation, no matter what crimes they commit. Convicted in federal court of serious violent felonies, Kimberlin has spent decades thinking of himself as a victim, and demonizing anyone who tells the truth about him. Kimberlin has bragged about his pro se lawfare as a means of harassing anyone he targets as an enemy.

“I have filed over a hundred lawsuits and another
one will be no sweat for me. On the other hand,
it will cost you a lot of time and money . . .”

Kimberlin’s infamous reputation is well-deserved, and he should never be able to deceive any honest and intelligent person. Every American is entitled to their day in court, of course, but convicted criminals should not be allowed to use lawsuits as a weapon against people who tell the truth. Judges need to be able to impose harsh sanctions against criminals who file lawsuits like the one Ramos filed against the Annapolis Capital, or the various baseless lawsuits filed by Kimberlin. When I call someone a dangerous son of a bitch who ought to be in prison, this is defensible as the expression a personal opinion, my lawyer friends say, although I insist that I’m stating a neutral objective fact.


 

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