True Threats, True Incitement, Or Truly Crazy? The Rhetoric of Deranged Cyberstalker Bill Schmalfeldt

Law

This is the first in a multi-part series exploring the legal significance of violent online rhetoric by individuals including the vile Bill Schmalfeldt.

I defend some spectacularly awful speech here. I don't often defend it morally — I call out ugly speech all the time — but I routinely argue that hateful speech is protected by the First Amendment.

When I do, people occasionally ask me if I could so easily reach the same conclusion if I were the target of the speech. Would I so easily dismiss speech as mere rhetoric not satisfying the true threat doctrine if it gleefully imagined my murder? Would I snark about "butthurt in the first degree" if extreme words were directed at me?

On the one hand, I could argue that it's not an apt question. The essence of the rule of law is that we don't let the alleged victim decide whether the alleged perpetrator is charged or convicted or punished. Rather, we put the question before someone we hope to be a principled neutral to apply a predetermined set of rules.

But on the other hand, it's a fair question.

So. Let's see, shall we? Let's see how I analyze someone who publishes my address and phone number and fantasizes at length about me being brutalized and murdered.

My name is Ken, and I will be your potential victim of threats and/or incitements. Our special tonight is a disturbed self-styled journalist named Bill Schmalfeldt.

Who is Bill Schmalfeldt?

Schmalfelt's a guy who describes himself as a progressive and has written for various online venues, including the the Examiner. De gustibus non est disputandum, but to me his writing is banal, belabored, and unpersuasively angry. He leaves no sense of what values he promotes, only of what groups and individuals he hates. There's only one circumstance when you get a sense that he's enjoying what he does, that he has a craft or a calling. That's when he's describing someone being raped, murdered, or otherwise abused, or when he's pursuing the families of someone he hates.

This has led to trouble.

He describes himself as being "unceremoniously dumped from the Examiner's cadre of 60,000 or so independent contractors" by a letter that cited his using articles as personal attacks and being "antagonistic" in the comments section. In response he fulminated that the Examiner failed to grasp his journalist excellence or his devotion to Important Issues. The Ignatius J. Reilly reaction is a hallmark of Schmalfeldt's relationship to anyone who disagrees with him.

At Daily Kos — which is, quite reasonably, tolerant of strong words about conservatives — he found himself unwelcome after penning a thoroughly creepifying diary entry suggesting that social conservative opposition to gay marriage is rooted in fear that "gay sex" is too alluring. Schmalfeldt continued to demonstrate that he is closest to his sweaty-palmed Happy Place when he is describing degradation of others:

So, it's not anal sex (as a practice) to which these small, frightened men object.

Heck, if you're a man and you're honest with yourself, you LIKE being on the "doling it out" end of anal sex. How many heterosexual men reading this diary right now have never asked their wife or girlfriend to just take a deep breath, relax, "I'll just put in the tip and we'll see how it goes," and then you ram it home like Captain Kidd jamming his sword back into his scabbard while she hollers "takeitouttakeitouttakeitout" and you tell her to just relax and it won't hurt so bad and she starts kicking and screaming "takeitOUTtakeitOUTtakeitOUT youfuckingbastardpieceofshit" and you finally do (because the walls are thin and your neighbors just LOVE calling the cops) and you tell her she should have at least given herself a chance to relax and enjoy it and she (if she's your wife) doesn't let you anywhere near her with "that thing" for weeks and if she's your girlfriend she stops returning your calls?

Schmalfeldt thinks this is cutting satire. Most people see the gleeful enthusiasm as Schmalfeldt pulling back the mask a bit and showing who he is, and are repulsed. This led to criticism, which as reliably as the dawn led to Schmalfeldtian petulance in the form of a bitter, angry, and deeply embarrassing stop-reading-my-Daily-Kos-diaries-if-you-don't-savor-my-excellence post. Schmalfeldt was kicked out of Daily Kos, only to reappear recently under yet another name, this time portraying himself as a halplesss victim of a right-wing conspiracy and an insufficiently spineful Daily Kos: "As I am a hated enemy of the remaining Andrew Breitbart empire, I expect there will be much more of this nonsense in efforts to drive me out of here once again."

Schmalfeldt's ire was not restricted to relatively mainstream venues like the Examiner or Daily Kos. On his own various sites, internet radio shows, and twitter feeds, conducted under various handles and names and guises, he has railed at real and imagined enemies.

There are constant themes. The first is that, though he is nominally "progressive," he delights in using homoerotic imagery and insults normally associated with homophobes to attack people he doesn't like:

BillSchmalfeldtJizzInsult

Second, despite being nominally "progressive," he is perfectly willing to indulge in racism to revile people he doesn't like. In reference to an enemy whose wife is Asian:

BillSchmalfeldtRacist

That one also reveals a stinking streak of misogyny, another unpleasant attribute of Mr. Schmalfeldt.

Third, he's really, really into the rhetoric of violence and murder. Take, for instance, his outrage when conservative bloggers were writing about recent court proceedings in which the wife of convicted perjurer, drug dealer, and domestic terrorist Brett Kimberlin was seeking a restraining order:

BillSchmalfeldtViolentFantasy1

BillSchmalfeldtViolentFantasy2

Fourth, Schmalfeldt enjoys attacking the family of his political targets. He became incensed with blogger Lee Stranahan. Now, there are any number of really excellent reasons to oppose Lee Stranahan's political views on their merits, and people should continue to exercise free speech to do so. Most people accomplish this by writing about him and his actions and his words. Schmalfeldt has accomplished it by a grotesque campaign against Stranahan's wife and children. Schmalfeldt produced "satirical" radio ads about Stranahan pimping his teen daughters and responded to criticism with characteristic evasion, petulance, rage, and insults incorporating sexual imagery. Schmalfeldt became preoccupied with sexual discussions of Stranahan's wife. Schmalfeldt conducted a sick and obsessive "investigation" of the death of Stranahan's daughter, demanding proof of the circumstances of her death and even her existence. Schmalfeldt also reported Stranahan to the Dallas Police, the FBI, the District Attorney, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Texas Family Protective Services, apparently on the theory that Stranahan had once taken erotic potographs and (1) Stranahan wouldn't provide Schmalfeldt with releases and therefore must have taken pictures of underaged girls, and (2) Stranahan must be providing an unfit home for his family. Schmalfeldt now claims that he never mocked the Stranahans over the death of their daughter. But he's prone to dropping witticisms like this, referring to the home birth of their twins, one of whom died:

BillSchmalfeldtLikeACat

And yes, if you are keeping track, that's the same Bill Schmalfeldt who was inspired to violent imagery by other people "meddling" by reporting on a court proceeding, the same Bill Schmalfeldt who said this about reporting on restraining order proceedings:

BillSchmalfeldtClaimsMeddling

Does that seem inconsistent? It's easier to reconcile when you realize this: Bill Schmalfeldt doesn't have principles. Bill Schmalfeldt doesn't have values. Bill Schmalfeldt doesn't have beliefs. Bill Schmalfeldt has enemies, and then nothing, a black and dank and empty void of sullenness. That's how he can say things like this without recognizing the irony:

I think that's from Colossians.

I think that's from Colossians.

So Why Would Bill Schmalfeldt Be Angry At Me?

So why would the disturbed Mr. Schmalfeldt be angry at me?

There are a few reasons. First, he's incensed that I represented Patrick Frey pro bono in a vexatious and malicious lawsuit attacking him for blogging at Patterico.com.

Second, he's angry that I, like many others, have talked about the abuses and evils of the sociopathic perjurer, drug dealer, and domestic terrorist Brett Kimberlin. Kimberlin is some sort of hero and idol to Schmalfeldt and shares hosting with him; he and his ilk think that anyone who opposes Kimberlin must be a right-wing activist seeking to undermine left-wing causes. Personally I oppose Kimberlin because he abuses the legal system to suppress criticism and for many other purposes, is a jailhouse snitch, and has unrepentantly defied a civil judgment against him resulting from the death of one of his bombing victims. Schmalfeldt and his ilk support Kimberlin because they are gullible and credit Kimberlin's mouthing of progressive rhetoric. There are always fools like that; it's how Manson and Bundy and their like get followers.

Schmalfeldt has long made it clear that writing anything bad about Brett Kimberlin will have consequences:

ForgetKimberlin

So: onto the enemies list I go.

What Did Bill Schmalfeldt Say About Me?

Last year, between Christmas and New Years, Bill Schmalfeldt posted a fantasy about mob violence and murder, enthusiastically imagining the death of Patrick Frey and me.

He posted our office addresses and phone numbers, and then — using the rhetorical device of pretending that we had been "whining" about being "targeted" — said the following. I quote it rather extensively because the entire context is important and because he may memory-hole it.

I say that unless someone is dragging @Popehat……and Frey OUT OF THEIR OFFICES and BREAKING THEIR KNEES WITH BASEBALL BATS because of this, then there is nothing for them to worry about. Words are just words, and they cannot harm you. “Sticks and stones,” as they say.

Or, baseball bats.

And let it NOT be said that the Liberal Grouch advocates anyone using baseball bats to break the kneecaps of either Mr. White or Mr. Frey! Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if you have it in your mind that if Nadia Naffe were a friend of yours and some scumbag attorney used the powers of his office to dig up and use private information against her, whoever did it (or defends him) DESERVES to have their knees broken with baseball bats, let me dissuade you of that notion here and now.

That is not what baseball bats were made for.

For one thing, a wooden bat could break if it were used in such a reckless and lawless fashion. And if you think you can get around that by using an aluminum bat, guess again. An aluminum bat (unless it is reinforced with a lead center) would likely bend under such pressure. Now, I hear the crafty ones out there saying, “Yeah? Well, what if I drill out the center of a WOODEN baseball bat, fill IT with lead, cover the tip with Plastic Wood? Wouldn’t THAT do the job?”

Again, I say, you are wasting your time with all that effort. Tire irons are much more readily available.

And I am NOT saying that Patrick Frey and Kenneth White deserve to be dragged from their offices, out to the street in front of their offices, and thus have their knees broken by ANYTHING, be it a tire iron, or a lead pipe, or a lead-filled baseball bat. Nor should they be taken by a group of four or five strong men (or women) and thrown in front of a moving truck. You would have to consider the emotional damage that would be done to the innocent truck driver, unless the truck driver agrees to be part of your conspiracy in the first place. And a truck might swerve to miss Mr. Frey and/or Mr. White, the driver could lose control, jackknife his trailer and cause a lot of damage to people and property. And if it’s a truck with a hazardous payload, like sulfuric acid, I don’t think I need to tell YOU how severe the environmental damage would be.

So, NO! Do NOT hit Mr. Frey and/or Mr. White with baseball bats or lead pipes or tire irons on their knees, arms, elbows, shins, or any other parts of their bodies. It would be painful and degrading, moreso to you as an outraged, but otherwise law-abiding citizen. It would ruin your life. If the authorities caught you. And if they did, if they pressed charges. I understand in some communities, the authorities tend to turn a blind eye to bullies getting their deserved comeuppance. I don’t think Los Angeles is such a community.

So, let’s leave things as they are. Let Mr. Frey and Mr. White FEEL they are being retaliated against in a war of words they started and are being smeared with feces being hurled back at them after being first hurled BY them. Let yourself not be dragged down to the Neanderthal level of a Mr. Frey or a Mr. White (or a Mr. R. Stacy McCain or a Mr. Lee Stranahan or a Mr. Ali Akbar or a Mr. Aaron Worthing) and degrade yourself by using brute force to punish them for their many, many alleged (by me) crimes against nature and humanity.

Know that the sternest punishment one can legally employ against such blackguards is the sure and certain knowledge that when they awake in the morning, they will still be…

Them.

And let God deal with their sins. As He will. Probably with sores and painful boils. On their faces.

As usual, you can feel the subject of violence elevating Schmalfeldt's rhetoric out of its customary doldrums.

Is That A True Threat?

In determining whether Mr. Schmalfeldt's post is a "true threat" — that is, a threat of violence that can be prosecuted consistent with the First Amendment under, for instance, federal interstate threats statute, we're faced with a number of questions.

First, is it a threat at all, as opposed to an incitement for others to beat or murder Patrick and me? On the one hand, it seems as if Schmalfeldt is snidely suggesting that others use violence, not suggesting that he will himself. On the other hand, at least one federal court has recently blurred the line. I wrote about United States v. Hal Turner, in which the Second Circuit held that white supremacist Hal Turner had threatened federal judges by calling for their murder. (Turner, like Schmalfeldt, published the addresses of his targets as part of the exhortation.) There the court recognized that a threat can be cloaked in various types of rhetoric, and that a nominal call for action can actually be a threat: "[Turner's] argument, however, again relies overmuch on the literal denotation and syntax of Turner’s statements, refusing to acknowledge that threats—which may be prohibited, consistent with the First Amendment—need be neither explicit nor conveyed with the grammatical precision of an Oxford don." Therefore, to the extent Turner is good law, the fact that Schmalfeldt framed his murder fantasy as a call for action does not necessarily mean it's not a threat.

Second, is it a threat, as opposed to a rhetorical device? Schmalfeldt, if asked if this was a threat, would probably first resort to vaguely misogynistic mockery, as he did recently:

BillSchmalfeldtInsultsAboutThreats

But having indulged himself in that, Schmalfeldt would probably cry, "look! I said not to do those terrible things!" Once again, this argument isn't an absolute barrier, for the same reason articulated by the Turner court. Schmalfeldt is engaged in apophasis, the rhetorical device of saying something by asserting you are not saying it. The disclaimer at the end is tepid, like most of his writing — the meat and heat of it is in his fervid imaginings of violence against us. It's perfectly possible to frame a threat as a non-threat. What Schmalfeldt is doing is like me saying "I am not saying that you should go to the home of Political Enemy Paul at [address] and crouch in the hedge outside his front door and beat him with a pipe when he exits his house, because you could get your clothes dirty."

Third, and most importantly, does this meet the definition of a true threat? The Turner court applied the Second Circuit's objective test: "namely, whether an ordinary, reasonable recipient who is familiar with the context of the [communication] would interpret it as a threat of injury." The Turner Court noted that other courts have also applied that test to similar expressions urging murder. Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette, Inc. v. Am. Coalition of Life Activists, 290 F.3d 1058, 1079 (9th Cir. 2002) (en banc) (finding that a “WANTED” poster naming a specific victim constituted a true threat after three individuals who had previously been featured in such “WANTED” posters had been murdered). Other courts have used a subjective standard in addition, or instead, requiring proof that the defendant intended for his threat to be taken as a genuine expression of intent to cause harm.

I think, on balance, Schmalfeldt's murder fantasy doesn't satisfy the objective standard. Because Schmalfeldt has, through moral cowardice, added a countervailing coda and wiggle language, and because his fantasy is framed as a call for action by unspecified and unknown others, and because there's no indication he has any sort of following, and because of the apophasis framing, a reasonable person familiar with the context probably wouldn't take it as an actual threat of injury. In Turner and Planned Parenthood there were extreme circumstances; the threateners deliberately invoked recent violence against their targets to convey that their murder was very plausible. Turner pointed out that he had previously condemned a judge and that judge's family was subsequently murdered; the Planned Parenthood "wanted" posters followed murders of physicians. Schmalfeldt, by contrast, has nothing but hate and bombast. That's why I didn't report it to law enforcement as a true threat. On the other hand, it's not very hard to imagine modern law enforcement viewing this post and investigating it as a potential true threat, and it's possible that reasonable minds can differ.

On the other hand, I think Schmalfeldt probably satisfies the subjective element. Just as he wants his other foes to be miserable, he rather clearly wanted Patrick and me to fear for our lives and safety whenever we walk out of our offices. He probably wanted to convey that fear while maintaining plausible deniability.

Was That Incitement?

The dissent in Turner argued that Turner engaged in incitement of violence, not threats; the majority disagreed. Could Schmalfeldt's rhetoric be taken as incitement of violence under some federal or state statute? As Turner notes, speech can only be prohibited as incitement when it satisfies the Brandenburg test — when it is " directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." That's an outgrowth of the famous "clear and present danger" test.

Thankfully, I don't know Schmalfeldt's mind, and don't know whether he intended to incite violence; I don't know if he thinks he has followers who would commit violence for him. However, on balance, I think that Schmalfeldt's murder fantasy is not likely to produce or incite imminent lawless action, in light of his audience. I suppose this sort of thing could incite convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin, who has a demonstrated history of brutal violence. But Brett Kimberlin is in the business of promoting the interests of Brett Kimberlin; it's hard to imagine him doing something that doesn't directly profit himself legally, financially, or possibly (according to his wife) through underaged girls. As a rule sociopaths don't have their friends' back. Most of Schmalfeldt's other readers and listeners are there to monitor and/or laugh at him. A few other soi-disant journalists and activists who follow him, but they seem more self-serious than violent. If they change their mind I always have the spray bottle I use to keep the cats off the end table. Bill's few true believer followers could pose a threat, I guess, but most of them seem the sort who will have trouble coming to get me because they left their bus pass in their sweat pants again and their mother put it through the wash.

In short, I think it's probably not unlawful incitement. Once again, though, it wouldn't surprise me if it produced a criminal investigation. If Schmalfeldt is ever investigated for incitement of violence, police should — and will — consider his own words about the power of blog posts. When conservative blogger Robert McCain wrote a lengthy blog post excoriating Schmalfeldt's behavior (but without any violent fantasies or encouragement of violence), Schmalfeldt cried — as he has before — that such posts subject him to danger:

BillSchmalfeldtToMcCain1

BillSchmalfeldttoMcCain2

This is excellent proof of Bill Schmalfeldt's intent when he posts violent fantasies and calls for violence; if he views mere criticism as subjecting its targets to violence, what must he necessarily intend when he writes posts like he did about Patrick and me?

Unless, of course, his tweets above are simply full of shit — unless he's always simply full of shit.

Conclusion

Bill Schmalfeldt is a disturbed freak, a twisted personification of narcissistic fury. But what he wrote about me and Patrick probably doesn't make him a criminal. I'm really not even tempted to say otherwise.

You may (I hope) be surprised to know that Schmalfeldt has admirers, other "journalists" and "activists," various vapid partisan hacks who favor him and ignore his conduct because he hates the right people and mouths the right dogma. This is salutary; it reminds us not to support somebody's bad behavior just because they are on "our side."

Thus ends this post. But it doesn't end my exploration of Bill Schmalfeldt's violent rhetoric. Next time, I analyze the more troubling case of Schmalfeldt's calls for violence against blogger Aaron Walker.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

123 Comments

114 Comments

  1. rustypaladin  •  Aug 6, 2013 @3:49 pm

    An awesome summary. Thank you.

  2. Darryl  •  Aug 6, 2013 @3:49 pm

    @RadioWMS has all of 41 followers. . . and a protected account!

  3. sorrykb  •  Aug 6, 2013 @4:01 pm

    >That's why I didn't report it to law enforcement as a true threat.
    Did you report it at all? (Is there a "not true threat but I'm not sure" category of "Hey this guy's lost it and is there anything else I need to know about his history"?)

    Where I used to work (a human rights organization) we would get emails and letters, and sometimes calls, that sounded like this. Given the nature of our work, we were hesitant to report possibly threatening communication to law enforcement. It's always a delicate balance.

    I had a caller — irate about the organization's position on a particular issue — describe in graphic detail how I deserved to be killed (and what should happen to my remains afterwards). I took down the caller's number (He was oddly reticent to give his name.) and made some notes about the call, notified my colleagues to keep an eye out for similar calls, and then just filed it away, because he wasn't saying that I was going to be killed, just that I deserved to. And he wasn't exactly targeting me personally (I was just the person the freaked-out intern handed the phone to.), although it's hard not to take it personally when someone is talking about your murder.

    But (and yes, it's a double standard – bad me), if we had gotten a call like that talking about someone else (outside our office) as a potential target, I almost certainly would have reported it. In fact, I can recall a couple of times where I did.

    So… since you're the "someone else" here, are you sure about not reporting this?

  4. Acme Rocket  •  Aug 6, 2013 @4:36 pm

    If you did not consider Bill Schmalfeldt's words a true threat, then could you use his words as justification for a concealed carry license? For instance, a state like NJ limits concealed handgun permits, "to persons pecifically employed in security work . . . and to others who can establish an urgent necessity for carrying guns for self-protection."

  5. Lizard  •  Aug 6, 2013 @4:45 pm

    So… what you're saying is… and I'm working through this slowly, 'cause it's a really hard concept for me to grasp… what you're saying is, the nature of a "true threat" in the legal sense is a pretty high bar, all things consider, and so… hang on, still trying to wrap my mind around all this… the people constantly saying "Well, why don't they just arrest all the people who say mean things on Twitter? Huh?" might not… just might not… completely understand the law? Is that what you're saying?

    'Cause, if so… whoa. My mind, it is blown.

  6. Rich Fiscus  •  Aug 6, 2013 @4:52 pm

    @sorrykb:

    Whether you were right or wrong to call the police, the more significant issue is that you ask the question in the first place. Intellectual honesty is the rarest kind. I think you made the wrong choice. I'm not sure I would have made the right one either.

    The older I get, the more I find when the answer is simple and obvious I probably didn't understand the question.

  7. Rich Fiscus  •  Aug 6, 2013 @4:56 pm

    @Lizard:

    You owe me a new sarcasm meter. You just broke mine.

  8. SharonA  •  Aug 6, 2013 @5:00 pm

    Interesting analysis. Thank you for some more material to learn from.

    I'll express sympathies, however, for having to be your own case study. That bit's not particularly fun.

  9. jdh  •  Aug 6, 2013 @5:15 pm

    Thanks for the analysis and for sharing. Whether or not you are "reporting", this blog post may also be a bit of a deterrent.

    While a doubt that Schmalfeldt has the cojones to actually do anything himself, the rest of the Kimberlin posse may not be so benign. I would second the suggestion of looking into a CCW permit. In Southern California it may be nearly impossible to obtain without the proper connections. But it wouldn't hurt to inquire.

  10. I used to follow his twitter feed to keep an eye on him. I unfollowed and eventually blocked him due to his increasingly abusive behavior. He really is a reprehensible person and thankfully my friendship with folks like RSMcCain, WJJ Hoge and Aaron Walker has flourished and helped me in focusing on the real issues.

  11. SPQR  •  Aug 6, 2013 @5:23 pm

    Well done, Ken. But even beyond "disturbed freak", there is some really serious mental illness on display.

    And I think your analysis is a bit on the conservative side, I think in the full context of BS and his associates, that it is both objective and subjective credible threat as well as incitement.

  12. grouch  •  Aug 6, 2013 @5:24 pm

    [...] the Liberal Grouch [...]

    That offends me.
    A piece of paper will lay there and let anyone write anything on it. Same goes for bits and bytes.
    Damned incompetent wannabe. Likely there's a free mental health clinic near him.

  13. ShelbyC  •  Aug 6, 2013 @5:31 pm

    "How many heterosexual men reading this diary right now have never asked their wife or girlfriend…"

    Me! Me! Me!

  14. Matt  •  Aug 6, 2013 @5:34 pm

    Idle curiosity, and not so much specifically related to this jerk, but more in general, what if someone were to say "You should kill this person. I'm not being sarcastic, they should be murdered, and as a role model, I endorse it. You should detonate a nuclear bomb in their back yard."?

    Does the fact that they are inciting that violence with a weapon far beyond someone's capability make it not a threat, even though, obviously, it would be if they were calling for some gunfire or firebombing?

  15. Xenocles  •  Aug 6, 2013 @6:39 pm

    That bit about anal sex is either the product of a vivid imagination or the sharing of what he assumes is a common embarrassing experience. For aesthetic purposes I choose to believe the latter.

  16. somebody  •  Aug 6, 2013 @6:48 pm

    Has his twitter always been protected, or did that happen only recently?

  17. macomeau  •  Aug 6, 2013 @7:01 pm

    That anal sex screed is kinda… uh… rapey, isn't it?

    "How many heterosexual men reading this diary right now have never [asked a girl to do something, had her agree but change her mind, and then proceeded anyway]?"

    So I'm also a 'no' for that, if he's still taking the survey.

  18. Allen  •  Aug 6, 2013 @7:05 pm

    It never hurts to get a second opinion. I would suggest you hire a private investigative service, or private security service, to do a risk/threat analysis.

    I have never in my life had a loaded firearm in my home until recently.

  19. JT  •  Aug 6, 2013 @7:14 pm

    I'm a liberal, but I think Ken pulled back the curtain here:

    "he's always simply full of shit"

    A bigot is a bigot, no matter where on the political spectrum. To me, the bigotry of ideas is right up there with racism.

  20. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Aug 6, 2013 @7:48 pm

    What must this pillock be like in person? Living with that much bile must make an absolute train wreck of his existence.

  21. Lurker  •  Aug 6, 2013 @8:12 pm

    Another hallmark of his writing is religious bigotry. He ridicules the real or perceived religion of his enemies, while overtly pandering to Muslims while he insults them by encouraging them to blow up Aaron Walker. 'Cause that's what all Muslims do, right?

  22. SPQR  •  Aug 6, 2013 @8:19 pm

    somebody, recent evidently in reaction to BS being charged with criminal violation of an order to cease communication to William Hoge.

  23. Ancel De Lambert  •  Aug 6, 2013 @9:14 pm

    Ken, can I have his address so I can GO to his house, PULL him out of bed, DRAG him down the STREET, to a practiced therapist to have a talk about his anger control issues and violence fantasies? Because I care, the poor man.

  24. Basil Forthrightly  •  Aug 6, 2013 @9:21 pm

    @Matt

    Keith Henson was prosecuted for making a threat, and convicted of misdeamenor "interfering with a religion", in part for making a joke in a post about a "Tom Cruise missile", which was presented to the jury as an actual threat…

    http://news.cnet.com/2100-1030_3-6156516.html
    http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2001/04/43420

    I'm not sure i remember correctly, but I think Henson's appeal got clobbered either by missing a deadline or via the "fugitive disentitlement doctrine" after he fled to Canada. There was a LOT of weird stuff in this and subsequent related cases.

  25. Shane  •  Aug 6, 2013 @9:58 pm

    Seems to me that the 1st and 2nd amendment reinforce each other.

    @Allen

    This site has been very helpful for me.

  26. Matthew Cline  •  Aug 6, 2013 @10:05 pm

    This is excellent proof of Bill Schmalfeldt's intent when he posts violent fantasies and calls for violence; if he views mere criticism as subjecting its targets to violence, what must he necessarily intend when he writes posts like he did about Patrick and me?

    I can guess a probable response from him (and note that this isn't what I think): "Patrick's readers are foaming-at-the-mouth, trigger happy lunatics who are likely to hurt anyone they hate, so Patrick merely criticizing someone on his blog can put that person in danger. On the other hand, my readers are calm and peaceful people who are intelligent enough to recognize my use of incitement-as-rhetoric, so me rhetorically calling for Ken to have his kneecaps broken won't put him in the least bit of danger".

  27. Dustin  •  Aug 6, 2013 @10:35 pm

    I'll leave the clever and the ironic and the sarcastic comments to your more clever commenters.

    Thanks for standing up to these fucking psychos. Not everyone really has the savvy to do it very well. those who do tend to not be willing to be bothered, and let evil triumph.

  28. Alan Bleiweiss  •  Aug 6, 2013 @10:50 pm

    Until tonight, I wondered whether Tara Carreon could ever have friends on this planet. As of tonight, I realize she probably has many, and Schmalfeldt is probably her closest.

  29. Anony Mouse  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:16 am

    What an utterly repulsive, sorry excuse for a carbon-based lifeform.

  30. Ollie  •  Aug 7, 2013 @2:12 am

    I think I'm #3 here to say, no, Mr. Schmalfeldt, I have never even considered almost-rape anal sex with anyone of any gender. I shudder to think that that rapey screed there might actually be relatable to someone….

  31. Castaigne  •  Aug 7, 2013 @3:02 am

    Normally I try to be reasonable and not engage in "lie down with dogs, get fleas" argumentation towards people, but I'll drop that this time. The fact that he's bestest brosefs with Brett Kimberlin explains much.

  32. SKT  •  Aug 7, 2013 @4:54 am

    I would comment but I'm afraid this Schmalfeldt a-hole will put a contract out on my sorry ass.

    My kneecaps are particularly vulnerable at my age.

    Can I have some paste please?

  33. SKT  •  Aug 7, 2013 @4:55 am

    Also demanding anal sex with my Asian wife would void our contract. I think.

  34. Bill Schmalfeldt  •  Aug 7, 2013 @5:09 am

    Delicious satire, sir. I see many of your readers are taking it seriously however. Ah, such is the problem with satire. At any rate, I have unprotected my Twitter stream at @radiowms because I know that pent up anger and hatred can only lead to explosions, such as the madness at Aurora and Tucson. So, have at me and leave poor Mr. Popehat alone. I, for one, appreciate his deft touch and satirical writing, and I adjure his readers to learn about the full rainbow of colors and stop seeing things as black or white.

    Have a wonderful day.

  35. Nicholas Weaver  •  Aug 7, 2013 @5:27 am

    @Adam Rocket:

    If you did not consider Bill Schmalfeldt's words a true threat, then could you use his words as justification for a concealed carry license?

    Apart from if you don't consider its a true threat, why spend the effort defending against it…

    Ken is in LA. Unless you are insanely politically connected, you can't get a concealed carry permit in LA or San Francisco.

  36. ZarroTsu  •  Aug 7, 2013 @5:35 am

    People who truly argue a 'don't read my stuff if you don't like my stuff' argument always baffle an deeply amuse me. The idea that they think one can come to a conclusion of euphoria before ever reading an individuals work is hysterical, and one can only really conclude the person's true target audience are people who are too young or too self-indulged to think while reading.

    I can safely assume after reading only the opening section of this post that Bill Schmalfeldt (IF THAT IS HIS REAL NAME) is nothing but an opportunistic hack. He doesn't care for what he's writing about, so long as it's a written piece against what he doesn't like in that point in time. So long as it generates people who observe him, whether inevitably objectively or in some bizarre supportive manner such as twitter or facebook followers.

    Perhaps he's convinced himself that twitter is a feed of realistic journalism? The idea that when a true journalist organization rejects him is the fault of the organization and not himself leads me to believe he's just another wannabe troll, failing in his own simple-minded way at grasping human concepts in a realm of mortality and third-world problems. A statement at risk of sounding condescending, but it's quite hard to sound otherwise when the individual in question has his head shoved so far up his ass he starts to choke on his own skull.

    Perhaps a statement of his own situation is enough of a death threat for him to warrant retweeting and retreating, as a failed journalist wont to do.

  37. Joe Schmoe  •  Aug 7, 2013 @5:43 am

    My guess is that Schmalfeldt's lawyers defense if he was ever charged (and assuming Schmalfeldt allowed his lawyer to defend him properly) would be "My client is just a crank with no following, so therefore nobody would be incited to commit the violence".

  38. Guilty Bystander  •  Aug 7, 2013 @5:51 am

    I enjoy logical vivisection as much as the next Citizen of Rome, but aren't you simply encouraging this man's masturbatory fantasies? Surely, to prevent possible blindness, one could merely draw the drapes? Though, if he comes to the door – I suppose a hip-level rattrap might be in order.

  39. mcinsand  •  Aug 7, 2013 @6:08 am

    Although you don't want to be too careless, my suspicion is that Schmalfeldt's ravings are for a narcissistic attention grab than an attempt at threats (that he would never have the backbone to make, anyway). He has only a handful of supporters, and even sites that align themselves with some of the views he claims to hold are ditching him. Trying to provoke someone into taking action against him would be one way to try to get some attention and sympathy. Since he doesn't know how to be rational, logical, or coherent, inflammatory methods are the only tools he has in his toolbox. If he can only use his passive-aggressive threatening non-threats to get someone act in a way that he can portray as bullying, then maybe his audience won't keep dwindling… At least, that's something that I would guess is playing out in his mind.

  40. Kerwin White  •  Aug 7, 2013 @6:26 am

    Linking this article to my Facebook and Twitter accounts. While I am very sorry you have to go through this, Ken, it's a worthy read for anyone interested in First Amendment issues.

  41. Luke  •  Aug 7, 2013 @6:29 am

    Wow, Ken's posts are like saying "Beetlejuice" three times!

    And add me to the list of No's on the anal sex screed.

  42. Rob Crawford  •  Aug 7, 2013 @6:30 am

    The first is that, though he is nominally "progressive," he delights in using homoerotic imagery and insults normally associated with homophobes…

    As per usual with "progressives".

  43. Rob Crawford  •  Aug 7, 2013 @6:30 am

    Second, despite being nominally "progressive," he is perfectly willing to indulge in racism to revile people he doesn't like.

    This, too.

  44. RedTonic  •  Aug 7, 2013 @6:56 am

    @Rob Crawford

    That's rather unfair. As a progressive myself, I don't write or say any of the heinous garbage Schmalfeldt does–neither sincerely nor "ironically." Nor do I indulge in rape fantasy screeds (not even masquerading as political commentary). (A note: there was nothing "almost-rape" about that nasty garbage; the situation described by Schmalfeldt is rape, full stop.) My friends don't either–most of the folk I know don't, because they're generally decent, even the ones I don't personally care for. Schmalfeldt seems like an outlier. Perhaps the group of "progressives" you're exposed to are self-selecting types who like to hide their issues and hatred under a banner. The same can be said of some groups of libertarians and other ideological groups, besides.

  45. JT  •  Aug 7, 2013 @7:05 am

    @Rob

    I think you're confusing "progressive" with "libtard." There is a difference.

  46. Shawn  •  Aug 7, 2013 @7:10 am

    I think it's regrettable Bill is so desperate for attention — I bet he's a shut in from his illness. http://www.parkinson.org/Personal-Stories/Taunting-the-Monster (guest story from Bill) However, none of that excuses such horrible and virulent behavior. I wonder how he would respond if someone harassed his wife Gail with the same "satirical" invective he uses on others?

  47. Virgilstar  •  Aug 7, 2013 @7:14 am

    Well there's 10 minutes of my life I'm never getting back! Have you not heard of Rule 14? Do not feed the trolls. It would be a whole lot simpler if you'd just tweeted that the guy is a cunt. Last time I looked, calling someone a pudenda on teh twitterz was still legal.

  48. DSU  •  Aug 7, 2013 @7:29 am

    Threats to me or my family are not something I am going to analyze. This is something that I will report. If someone says I should die I am more then happy to let someone else be concerned if it is allowed speech.

  49. jackn  •  Aug 7, 2013 @7:39 am

    @Bill Schmalfeldt

    I don't understand your post. Are you coming out of the closet? are you bi?

  50. Lucy  •  Aug 7, 2013 @7:51 am

    "True threats, true incitement, or truly crazy?"

    All of the above. What an ass.

  51. Anonymous Lurker  •  Aug 7, 2013 @7:51 am

    To commenters who dismiss Schmalfeldt and his ilk as trolls, or who say he should just be reported to authorities:

    1. Schmalfeldt crossed the line from trolling to cyberstalking long ago. He posts pictures of people's kids. He calls their employers repeatedly to try to get them fired. He calls their spouses whores and engages in radio prostitution fantasies about their underage children. He mocks rape victims. He emails, phones and tweets people repeatedly, even after being asked to stop. Some of his victims have endured this for over a year.
    2. He has been reported to the authorities, and repeatedly so. If people succeed in filing charges and they are nolle prossed, he ridicules them for months. If, on the other hand, one of his victims wins, like John Hoge, he spends all his time calling that person a "bully."

    This is not your typical troll, and his BFF is Brett Kimberlin, a convicted perjurer, drug dealer, and domestic terrorist who is also suspected in the murder of the grandmother of his 10-year old love interest. Oh, Kimberlin was 20 at the time.

  52. Jade Falcon  •  Aug 7, 2013 @8:56 am

    For those interested, you can search around twitter to see the various messes he's making.

    http://topsy.com/s?q=Bill%20Schmalfeldt

    You'll note his sentiment score is overwhelmingly negative. I searched the other handles I could find within ten seconds, but they're all missing from the search results. My guess is he deleted them. Per Twitter's TOS, deleted tweets and those made private have to be removed from search results.

  53. Dan Weber  •  Aug 7, 2013 @9:24 am

    Holy shit dude.

  54. ZarroTsu  •  Aug 7, 2013 @9:29 am

    Failing as a troll goes both ways. Both sides of the hill are downward slopes.

  55. Nobody  •  Aug 7, 2013 @10:38 am

    One small thing was confusingly worded. Is being a "jailhouse snitch" actually a bad thing? It was worded pejoratively enough and put with other items such that it was made to look that way. I'm sure it is from the perspective of those snitched on, but I'd rather that all were punished, rather than someone got away because of the moral failings of the one who reported them. Granted, we are assuming, possibly credulously, that their allegations are true. To be clear, false accusations are inherently bad and themselves deserving of punishment. I have no knowledge whatsoever of the circumstances of the "snitching."

  56. ChrisTS  •  Aug 7, 2013 @10:40 am

    Repulsive. I don't want to read anymore of that filth, so I will ask others here: what makes this .. person.. think he is a 'progressive'? Rape fantasies, tormenting others, religious and racial bigotry, misogyny, and being pro-violence are not what I think of as progressive values.

  57. Lizard  •  Aug 7, 2013 @10:47 am

    @Chris: Because he directs his rape/vengeance/violence fantasies at people who are engaged in badthink. "It's OK when we do it!" is the rallying cry of just about every political faction/movement/side (and its variant "Well, they did it first!"). It is human nature to dehumanize/objectify your political enemies, no matter who those enemies are or what label you attach to yourself.

  58. Trent  •  Aug 7, 2013 @11:09 am

    Looks like BS needs a 36 hour hold at the state mental hospital IMO. His behavior and rhetoric indicate mental illness to me probably in need of involuntary commitment.

  59. kmc  •  Aug 7, 2013 @11:09 am

    Sounds like my ex. (I wish I were being more hyperbolic than I actually am.)

    Some other posters make an interesting point. A few years ago, when I was much less wary of the human fallibility of cops, I received a series of emails from a former friend whom I hadn't heard from in a fairly long time. She was likely a paranoid schizophrenic and the emails were full of invective and attempts at threats but were not even coherent enough to contain full sentences, much less true threats. I knew this at the time, but I did ask a couple of friends of mine (a cop and a District Attorney) for advice, because of the context–she knew exactly where I lived, as she had lived with me for a short time, and I was, simply, scared. I was scared of what she might get it in her head to do, since she was extremely unpredictable and I seemed to be the focus of her angry and violent delusions. My friends suggested I file a report, basically, so that if anything did happen, there would be some background on record already. I'm still not sure whether what I did was "right." I did it without intention of pushing for any police action at the time (I wasn't trolling for a crime for her to be charged with), and nobody I dealt with was looking at it from that viewpoint, either. However, I did file a report. Also, it was pretty clear to me that she intended her email to convey a threat, but no reasonable person would say that any specific thing she said constituted a threat, so even if she had taken some action, it wouldn't have been any of the things that she tried to "threaten." I know this is the internet and it's crazy to say, but I'd love to hear other people's opinions about what I did and if there's anything else that I should've done instead.

  60. Dan Weber  •  Aug 7, 2013 @11:14 am

    think he is a 'progressive'?

    Becuase he hates the right people.

    I've seen far too often people accept someone repulsive or corrupt because "he's on our side." They get defenses like "well, he raises interesting points" or "he's just trying to start a discussion" or "he might not be diplomatic but he sure highlighted [some specific problem], didn't he?"

  61. En Passant  •  Aug 7, 2013 @11:16 am

    DSU wrote Aug 7, 2013 @7:29 am:

    Threats to me or my family are not something I am going to analyze. This is something that I will report. If someone says I should die I am more then happy to let someone else be concerned if it is allowed speech.

    A fine nutshell analysis, although I am slightly more lenient. I might ignore threats against me personally, depending upon whether any objective correlative events occur outside what is arguably just ugly rhetoric.

    Some people actually do escalate from bizarre threats to physical action. It's a risk one must calculate when engaging a problematic speaker.

    But, ignore threats to my family, never! Nobody's family volunteered to be pop-up targets, even in a war of words. Cross that line and authorities get notified, to make a record of the threat just in case it reveals actual intent to harm.

  62. R R Clark  •  Aug 7, 2013 @11:21 am

    @Lizard: You see those accusations often, but it's rare to see someone like Schmalfeldt who actually lives up to them.

    If your justification is "it's okay when I do it," you need to reconsider. This is true of everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, political leaning, or national origin (looking at you, Canada!).

    (That's how you do satire, Mr. Schmalfeldt.)

  63. Ken White  •  Aug 7, 2013 @11:31 am

    1. I was absolutely not suggesting that "progressives" are more likely than "conservatives" to put up with psychos in their midst. Daily Kos repeatedly booting Schmalfeldt shows that it's not so.

    2. Quoth Schmalfeldt, in one of his odd responses:

    Popehat’s 1,000 word screed is such a case. To call it a “lie” would be a disservice to liars. And, technically, it is not a lie. The things he claims I wrote, I did in fact write.

    Mr. Hat has the right to write what he will write. And I have the right to hold him legally responsible for misrepresenting my intent and willfully enraging the “stupid” to further his own interests.

    So: Schmalfeldt thinks that even if I accurately report his words, if I offer an opinion or interpretation of what he intends to achieve through them, I may be liable to him. That's awfully derpy.

  64. En Passant  •  Aug 7, 2013 @11:36 am

    ZarroTsu wrote Aug 7, 2013 @9:29 am:

    Failing as a troll goes both ways. Both sides of the hill are downward slopes.

    This entire Wikipedia article is broadly relevant to dealing with trolls generally, with particular attention to this section:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_(psychology)#Extinction_burst

    It explains a particular counter-intuitive aspect of the events which sometimes follow when everyone decides to DNFTT.

  65. Lizard  •  Aug 7, 2013 @11:38 am

    "Stop telling the truth about me, or I'll sue!" is a pretty derpy thing to say, at least in America. In the UK, we all know, it's actually effective.

    Not being a lawyer, I don't know for sure, but it seems sensible to me that "Here are the actual words of person X; here's my interpretation of what he means by them" is pretty much libel-proof, as the reader is free to read the original, and the opinion, and apply their judgment as to whether or not that opinion is valid, and is judging the opinion-poster as much as they are the original quotes being addressed. Everything that Ken's written on the general subject of defamatory speech has indicated that expressing an opinion of someone, or an interpretation of their words, as opposed to making false statements of fact, is protected speech, perhaps with narrow exceptions I'm not aware of.

    I do hope Schmalfeldt sues. I hope even more he hires Charles Carreon as his attorney.

  66. Dan Weber  •  Aug 7, 2013 @11:40 am

    You should be offended he called it only a 1000 word screed. I count nearly 3000 words, and we all know you can do even longer without breaking a sweat.

  67. En Passant  •  Aug 7, 2013 @11:50 am

    R R Clark wrote Aug 7, 2013 @11:21 am:

    This is true of everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, political leaning, or national origin (looking at you, Canada!).

    (That's how you do satire, eh, Mr. Schmalfeldt.)

    FIFY.

  68. Anodyne  •  Aug 7, 2013 @12:20 pm

    @Nobody: "jailhouse snitch" is a pejorative, yes. The common understanding about a jailhouse snitch is that they will say anything if it gets them more favourable treatment, whether or not what they say is true – it just matters if it is 1) what they believe those in power want to hear and 2) plausible enough to be believed for at least long enough that they get the change in treatment they want.

    As a result, those in authority don't trust jailhouse snitches if they have anything resembling common sense, and they are not well-thought of in the jails either.

  69. Shalkai  •  Aug 7, 2013 @12:41 pm

    Question: is Schmalfeldt really his real surname? If it is, its particularly apt, and may even indicate that he comes from a long line of people with 'issues'

    from German -
    Schmal: small or narrow
    Feldt: probably from root feld, fehl, or fehlen.
    feld = field
    fehl = fail
    fehlen = lacking or missing.

    schmalfeldt: Narrow-minded failure? Small-minded and lacking?

    It fits, all too well.

    Or his ancestor just owned a really small field. I like the brainless possibilities, though.

  70. AlanMorgan  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:16 pm

    he found himself unwelcome after penning a thoroughly creepifying diary entry suggesting that social conservative opposition to gay marriage is rooted in fear that "gay sex" is too alluring.

    Hmmm, since some anti-gay activists have said essentially the same thing, he might not be too far off the mark. Paul Cameron, of the Family Research Council, said "Homosexuality is pure sexuality. It's almost like pure heroin. It's such a rush".

    Well.

    My, my.

    While that does sound exciting, I'm going to continue with my boring old heterosexual sex, if it's all the same to him.

  71. Dan  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:22 pm

    Yikes. That guy is sick.

  72. Lizard  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:26 pm

    @Alan: Orson Scott Card has also posted, on record, words to the effect of "If men could marry men, why would they bother with women, who are all weird and strange and icky?" It's not ridiculous to postulate that at least some of the most fervently anti-gay activists are so far in the closet they can see Narnia. There are, however, probably better ways to communicate this than with lengthy, explicit, rape stories. His follow-up comments, to the effect of "I'm just making FUN of all those horrible people who lack empathy!" are much like Bugs Bunny's famous "You could have hit me like THIS! Or like THIS! Or like THIS! But you didn't. You just did THIS!" routine. Except, not actually funny.

    For Card's article, so you can judge for yourself if I'm misrepresenting his views, look here: http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2004-02-15-1.html

    Specifically, this:

    Men and women, from childhood on, have very different biological and social imperatives. They are naturally disposed to different reproductive strategies; men are (on average) larger and stronger; the relative levels of various hormones, the difference in the rate of maturity, and many other factors make it far, far easier for women to get along with other women and men to get along with men.

    Men, after all, know what men like far better than women do; women know how women think and feel far better than men do. But a man and a woman come together as strangers and their natural impulses remain at odds throughout their lives, requiring constant compromise, suppression of natural desires, and an unending effort to learn how to get through the intersexual swamp.

    It's really hard to read this as anything other than "Boy, if I could have married a sane, normal, MAN, instead of one of these whackdoodle women, I sure would have!"

  73. ChrisTS  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:35 pm

    @Lizard and Dan Weber:

    I guess I see it, but thinking "I can spew any kind of vileness at those other people" does not seem like much of a political view – especially as it can be occupied by anyone anywhere on the political map.

  74. Lizard  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:45 pm

    It's not a political view, but it is human behavior.

    I've seen very little real connection between what people believe, and what kind of people they are. "WE are all good, kind, and compassionate, because we believe X, and THEY are all evil, twisted, and corrupt, because they believe Y", just doesn't seem particularly valid. The perception that it is due, I think, to how we are neurologically programmed to forgive/excuse offenses by those in our in-group and magnify offenses by those in our out-group. (Without this, human society could not exist; someone who has the same reaction to something done by their spouse/child/friends as they do to the same thing done by a stranger is probably mentally ill. And, in turn, this is why successful societies beyond very small groups have found neutral arbiters for disputes are needed, because no matter how much we may all swear allegiance to ideals of equality, we do not treat each other truly equally, never have, and never will. Our actions, emotions, and opinions are irrevocably shaped by our relationships, personal and collective.)

  75. Whandall  •  Aug 7, 2013 @4:24 pm

    Ken,

    The true test of a citizen is what they do when their convictions lead to a result they don't like. Flying colors, man.

    I've been reading your blog since Carreon my wayward son went down.

    I never realized the annoyance/concern cost that you have to pay to do what you do. Thanks for being a stubborn bastard. Somebody needs to be.

  76. Bill Schmalfeldt  •  Aug 7, 2013 @4:57 pm

    I swear, I just LOVE these comedy sites! Especially when the stupid people take them seriously. Come on, Ken. Let them in on the joke. Nobody with a working clump of neurons atop a spinal column could possibly take anything I've written as a threat, unless he was a craven, sniveling coward who thinks "Beware the Ides of March" is a death threat.

    But you'll be writing about Aaron Walker later.

  77. Grifter  •  Aug 7, 2013 @5:21 pm

    @ Bill Schmalfeldt:

    I grant this is the internet, so you probably aren't who you claim to be. That said:

    Ummm, "Beware the Ides of March", in the play, was a prediction, though…that's when Caesar was killed. So are you saying you were predicting that Ken's going to get killed?

    Also, and in all seriousness, did you read the post? Or was the headline just a skosh too many words? Literally the entire point of this article is that Ken is not seeing this as a "true threat", but rather as the awful, sad, pathetic, incoherent rhetoric of someone who so misunderstands his fellows that he thinks his description of how anal sex works is kosher. At least as far as I can see.

  78. SPQR  •  Aug 7, 2013 @5:59 pm

    Schmalfeldt intends to intimidate. He intends to terrorize while pretending that only others even milder words are terrifying. Its the purpose of the work of him and the rest of the BK crime family. Its failed only because of the hard work of people like Ken.

  79. wandymac  •  Aug 7, 2013 @6:20 pm

    In a variation of 'your Mom should have swallowed,' it's a shame that Schmalfeldt's parents hadn't been really into anal. Granted, I don't mean the sort of rape-style anal that he describes, but just the kind that keeps the sperm well away from the egg.

  80. Castaigne  •  Aug 7, 2013 @7:27 pm

    @Bill Schmalfeldt: It isn't satire, twit. Further, you state:

    Nobody with a working clump of neurons atop a spinal column could possibly take anything I've written as a threat, unless he was a craven, sniveling coward who thinks "Beware the Ides of March" is a death threat.

    No, but from what has been presented here and elsewhere, and on your own site, I can reasonably believe you, like the convicted terrorist Kimberlin, are a vexatious litigant.

    @Rob Crawford: Though I have little liking for most so-called "progressive" liberals, I must completely disagree with your assessment. It is my experience with progressive liberals that they shy away from use of derogatory speech, sometimes too much so. Rarely do they engage in racism, homophobic language, or sexism. They certainly do not engage in rape fantasies

    However, those actions are certainly the province of Men's Rights Activists who call themselves progressive, so that is how I would label them. Schmalfeldt and Kimberlin both are perfect examples of "Nice Guy"-type MRAs that one finds at The Spearhead and Men Going Their Own Way. Look up Paul Elam as an example.

  81. ukuleledave  •  Aug 7, 2013 @7:55 pm

    Schmaldfeldt: This word you keep using "sarcasm." I don't think it means what you think it means.

    And put me in the "no" column on your anal sex survey.

  82. Matthew Cline  •  Aug 7, 2013 @7:59 pm

    Also, and in all seriousness, did you read the post? Or was the headline just a skosh too many words? Literally the entire point of this article is that Ken is not seeing this as a "true threat", but rather as the awful, sad, pathetic, incoherent rhetoric of someone who so misunderstands his fellows that he thinks his description of how anal sex works is kosher.

    This is just a guess, but perhaps he means that it was so obviously not a threat that it was a waste of time to do a legal analysis of it?

  83. James Pollock  •  Aug 7, 2013 @8:29 pm

    "I think, on balance, Schmalfeldt's murder fantasy doesn't satisfy the objective standard"

    "Nobody with a working clump of neurons atop a spinal column could possibly take anything I've written as a threat"

    Look! Agreement! Now everybody can be friends!

  84. Kaisersoze  •  Aug 7, 2013 @10:24 pm

    Great stuff, Ken. Thanks for fighting the battle for all of us.

  85. AlphaCentauri  •  Aug 7, 2013 @11:13 pm

    I wouldn't take it as a serious physical threat. But if he tries to purchase a firearm, it should definitely pop up during the background check. He's clearly a few French fries short of a Happy Meal.

  86. Privledged white girl  •  Aug 8, 2013 @12:57 am

    Personally I like these people like Schmalfeldt.

    One look at these sad #$@%s allows me to feel good about myself. I have social skills and can attract interesting people into my life. I have skills and knowledge that provide me with an adequate living.

    It's like every time I see a plea to help those perpetually staving children in Africa I feel gratitude for being born in the USA.

  87. Little Mac  •  Aug 8, 2013 @5:08 am

    I'm telling you, the best way to deal with King Hippo is to punch him the mouth when he rears up to the attack and the punch him repeatedly in the belly till he is down.

  88. Nicholas Weaver  •  Aug 8, 2013 @7:41 am

    Any evidence that "Bill Schmalfeldt" is actually Bill Schmalfeldt apart from getting Bill Schmalfeldt's photo to create an avatar image?

  89. Sam  •  Aug 8, 2013 @8:26 am

    Partly snark, partly serious: Stop giving him the benefit of the doubt of mental illness. The mentally ill are far more worthwhile.

  90. princessartemis  •  Aug 8, 2013 @9:35 am

    It does tend to get bothersome when comment threads like this end up armchair psychoanylizing people. Being a clear and present asshole supreme is not indicative of mental illness. Taking the faceless feeling the Internet can provide and ratcheting up the dick behavior to new heights of dickishness, to the point where dickishness begins to toe and blur the lines of criminal, is not indicative of mental illness in need of involuntary commitment. It could just be signs of being a raging asshole. Anyone, regardless of their mental health, can be a raging asshole.

    Repeat after me: not every asshole is mentally ill. Not every person engaged in criminal behavior is mentally ill. Mental illness isn't the garbage bin to dump all the undesireables into.

  91. rustypaladin  •  Aug 8, 2013 @12:59 pm

    There are several of you that have questioned if Bill Schmalfeldt was, indeed, a real person. Bill Schmalfeldt has appeared in court at least twice to defend himself. By all accounts the person that showed up matched the description of the man in the photos presented here.

  92. Jules  •  Aug 8, 2013 @1:57 pm

    It's Bill, obviously. Could a professional troll stay away?

  93. Ken White  •  Aug 8, 2013 @2:17 pm

    I was a little rude to someone on Twitter who is investigating whether everyone pro-Kimberlin and anti-Kimberlin is being paid by some shadowy force to stage battles to detract attention from more important things.

  94. TexasAndroid  •  Aug 8, 2013 @2:23 pm

    @rustypaladin

    I think that the question is not whether BS is or is not a real person, but whether the person posting in this thread under his name is really him, or someone else pretending to be him.

  95. sorrykb  •  Aug 8, 2013 @2:27 pm

    @Ken: Can you tell that Twitter guy I'd like my payment in cash?
    Although, since I am a "progressive liberal" who is also anti-Kimberlin, I'm not sure I'd fit into the neatly-defined categories that seem to dominate the Twitter discussion.
    Maybe I should get paid twice!

  96. sorrykb  •  Aug 8, 2013 @2:34 pm

    Also, if your comments to that guy on Twitter count as "rude", then you're slipping. You didn't even say "taint". :-)

  97. Careless  •  Aug 8, 2013 @7:51 pm

    It's really hard to read this as anything other than "Boy, if I could have married a sane, normal, MAN, instead of one of these whackdoodle women, I sure would have!"

    Reads a lot more like "Boy, if I could have been attracted to and in a relationship with [and married] a sane, normal, MAN, instead of one of these whackdoodle women, I sure would have!"

  98. Daniel  •  Aug 8, 2013 @11:17 pm

    Yeah but I could get photos of Obama, put them up and then post that as my name. It doesn't mean anything. Honestly it's not even relevant if it is him as you're not going to get any worthwhile conversation out of him either way. He'll just sit back and chuckle at all of the people who "don't get it" or whatever. The internet brings out a lot in people and the most common thing is narcissism whenever it comes to people who preach a specific way of thinking. Schmalfeldt is just one of them and it's honestly not even worth considering a single thing he has to say no matter your affiliations or beliefs so whether it's him or not is intensely irrelevant.

  99. Daniel  •  Aug 8, 2013 @11:19 pm

    Ack, comments moving too fast. Damn it all, that previous comment was directed rustypaladin.

    @Sorrykb – Whether you think you fit into those categories they will find a way to lump you in. It doesn't matter what you say, you're still going to be the enemy if you don't agree with them 100%

  100. RogerX  •  Aug 9, 2013 @1:10 pm

    Apparently, the first comment from "Bill Schalfeldt" above accurately references the fact that the @RadioWMS twitter account has been stolen by "Anonymous" and is now posting anti-Schalfeldt material.

  101. Bill  •  Aug 9, 2013 @3:24 pm

    I made the mistake of looking at this guys site. Not sure how any 'Liberal' could stand this guy..ok, ok, he hates Breitbart who's been dead for a while now – but for the love of Gaia, this guy's stuff should be denounced by every right thinking Liberal , Conservative, Libertarian and sentient creature on the planet.

  102. darius404  •  Aug 9, 2013 @3:59 pm

    @sorrykb

    Silly kb, that just means you're a traitor. Don't you know your place in these things? Next time we'll have to get you a script.

  103. jd2  •  Aug 9, 2013 @8:54 pm

    IMO Bill S. has fantasies like Loughner, Lanza, Holmes but is looking for someone else to act on them. He prefers to use the internet as his weapon. So he is trying to incite and have an alibi. If he had a conscience and wasn't really serious you would see some "I feel guilty, I am sorry" posts. Rather I think he would be rather gleeful if he won the internet troll lottery and someone took his thoughts to heart and acted on them. The virality of the internet changed how information flowed. Laws haven't caught up with it yet. I assume he is hoping someone picks up the swatting effort on his targets. His posting here suggests to me he is backpeddling from his bullying, realizing he is overmatched. Replace the names of any of his intended victims with the name Obama and we would be seeing a law enforcement effort at his door.

  104. JT  •  Aug 10, 2013 @4:38 pm
  105. Lizard  •  Aug 10, 2013 @5:17 pm

    I suppose madness is a point of view. To the limited extent I can parse his insanity, Carreon is writing: "Ken writes a long post explaining why he *doesn't* change his opinions when he's being targeted, which means, he *does* change his opinions when he's being targeted!"

    Yes. Also, it am big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro world!

  106. JT  •  Aug 10, 2013 @6:36 pm

    Carreon accuses Ken of apophasis in this post, and claims "What’s so funny is how White threatens Schmalfeldt while claiming he is not threatening him."

    Trying my best to be objective, I can't find any threats in this post. Lots of criticism, but not threats. I guess Carreon conflates criticism and threats.

  107. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels  •  Aug 10, 2013 @6:38 pm

    Is it weird that I like Carreon more than Schmallfeldt?

    Carreon seems to have his own…. unique thing going on.
    Schmallfeldt, on the other hand, reads like your standard fingerpaint-by-the-numbers shock jock. His stuff is kinda dull by comparison.

    It's kinda like Plan 9 From Outer Space – which is so wonderfully, uniquely, awful I can never look away – versus Grown Ups 2 – which is just dull, cliched, and sad.

  108. Lizard  •  Aug 10, 2013 @7:13 pm

    I guess Carreon conflates criticism and threats.

    "Guess" implies doubt or uncertainty. Is there really any here?

  109. JT  •  Aug 10, 2013 @7:29 pm

    @Lizard

    I guess there isn't. Or am I apophasizing?

  110. Doctor Railgun  •  Aug 11, 2013 @9:40 am

    Isn't it rather the definition of 'progressive liberal' that they _abhor_ rape, misogyny, racism, classism, and so on? It would seem clear to me that people who use such things as 'jokes' are obviously not progressive liberals?

  111. Lizard  •  Aug 11, 2013 @10:08 am

    I'd say "people who tell jokes at all are obviously not progressive liberals". (At least, they're outliers who likely have to keep their mouths shut around their fellow progressives, lest they say something someone decides might be theoretically offensive to someone.)

    Humor, after all, is a tool of the oppressors. It is used to deflect the righteous fury of the people and keep them from rising up, because as long as they think they can mock the elite, they delude themselves into believing they are free.

    Straw man argument? Nope. See: http://www.amazon.com/The-Trouble-Dilbert-Corporate-Culture/dp/1567511325 , for one example of many.

    Outrage at injustice can lead to the production of brilliant, world-changing, satire — but for this to happen, the satirist must have the self-awareness to see the flaws in everything, including themselves. Admitting the world is inherently flawed, and can never be perfected, is counter to the progressive ideal that humanity is an infinitely malleable tabula rasa, and the perfect society can be created by having enough mandatory consciousness raising seminars.

    Anger+humor=satire.
    Anger-humor=incoherent spittle-flecked diatribes.

  112. Anonymous Coward  •  Aug 12, 2013 @8:37 am

    This is an excellent article.

  113. James Pollock  •  Aug 13, 2013 @10:05 am

    "Isn't it rather the definition of 'progressive liberal' that they _abhor_ rape, misogyny, racism, classism, and so on? It would seem clear to me that people who use such things as 'jokes' are obviously not progressive liberals?"

    I don't follow the logic. There are jokes about rape, misogyny, racism, classism, etc. that are against these things.
    And, of course, you can joke about things that exist with the point being that they exist. For example, differences between religious doctrines exist. They form the genesis of countless "A priest, a minister, and a rabbi walk into a bar…" jokes. Jokes which are told by priests, ministers, rabbis, and atheists. A humorless person complains "religious strife has caused endless misery and strife. It's no joking matter!" More likely, they complain "God doesn't like being mocked. You'll get yours!" or some variant.

    I'm with A.C. Clarke on this one… humor is the mark of intelligence. I don't see a (direct) relation to ideology.

  114. Derrick Coetzee  •  Aug 16, 2013 @2:06 am

    As much as I support rights for people of all sexualities, the argument that "all people who oppose gay rights are anal rapists" is utterly absurd. There is a big difference between someone who is frank, even colorful (the usual sense of "grouch"), and someone who makes a living off disturbing personal vendettas and double standards.

    At the same time, I commend Ken for his calm analysis, particularly the points where he differentiates his situation from Turner and Planned Parenthood – this not only shows his acumen as an attorney, but also brilliantly demonstrates that Schmalfeldt's attempts at intimidation have failed.

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