Sandra Bland, Trooper Encinia, and the Affidavit

5 walking at taserpoint

In the Affidavit and Complaint for Warrant of Arrest and Detention the affiant (Trooper Encinia) affirms that Sandra Bland committed the crime of Assault Public Servant, a Class 3 felony, and that he personally witnessed the offense.

Granted, official police report writing everywhere is abysmal, but in this narrative something very weird is going on. He writes,

“I observed a silver passenger car traveling southbound on Fm 1098 for failing to signal lane change… I had Bland exit the vehicle to further conduct a safe traffic investigation. Bland became combative and uncooperative.”

So far, he’s spoken in the active voice (I did this or that). Now, the language shifts to passive voice. It’s as if Encinia himself no longer has agency. Some mysterious entity from another dimension has stepped in to act in his place:

“Numerous commands were given to Bland ordering her to exit the vehicle. Bland was removed from the car but became more combative. Bland was placed in handcuffs for officer safety.”

Next, he goes back to first person, active voice:

“Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin. I had a pain in my right leg and suffered small cuts on my right hand.”

This is the part he feels comfortable about putting out there, and the part that has to be convincing to make the charge stick. He has to say she injured him, and it hurt.

But now, the tale is once again told in the passive voice:

“Force was used to subdue Bland to the ground to which Bland continued to fight back. Bland was placed under arrest for Assault on Public Servant.”

Again, no “I” is doing anything. The mysterious ethereal being from another dimension has returned, and he’s just a bystander. It’s as if he is setting up a Jeckyl-and-Hyde scenario, reaching for a multiple-personality defense. Commands were given… Bland was removed… was placed in handcuffs… Force was used… Bland was placed…

That’s the sign, the tell. His actions that he knows were wrong are in the passive voice, as if he had nothing to do with any of it, no causal connection with the giving of commands, or the removal from the car, or the handcuffing, or the use of force.

The only thing he personally admits to is being kicked and having an owie on his hand.

The last line is obviously boilerplate: “This offense was committed against the peace and dignity of the state of Texas.”

What a joke! The only offense in that situation was committed by a cop who took a piddling traffic stop – that supposedly was going to result in only a warning! – and deliberately, diabolically turned it into a violent and decidedly undignified fracas.

Affidavit and Complaint

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Posted in Abominations, Folly, Law, Racism, Sandra Bland, True Crime | Leave a comment

The Traffic Stop Before Sandra Bland Does Not Matter One Bit

Encinia and red car

Let’s not, at this point, get into whether it was straight suicide, heavily encouraged and assisted suicide, or outright murder. What if the prisoner had made bail, borrowed some money to get her car out of hock, and started her new job as scheduled?

What if Sandra Bland had not died? She might have made a video to talk about her jail experience. The bystander who recorded a minute of the needlessly brutal arrest might still have posted it on YouTube. Sandra might have contacted an attorney willing to take on her case pro bono, or an organization eager to fund the fight against such an obvious example of false arrest, assault, battery, abuse of police power, entrapment, stalking, deprivation of civil rights under color of law, and probably several other criminal acts.

Except, if she were alive today, you and I might not be aware that such out-fucking-rageous shit is going on. If she weren’t dead, not nearly as many people would be hearing about the Gothic horror story that is Waller County.

The truth to hang on to, and the truth that the sacrifice of Sandra Bland’s life now shines public attention upon, is that from the jump, EVERYthing about that traffic stop was bollocks. Based on how pleasant Trooper Encinia was to the person he pulled over just before encountering her, a lot of people want to believe that all Sandra’s pain was her own fault. About his interaction with the woman in the red car, three talking points.

Nice cop, not

First, he wasn’t that nice, really. Okay, so he says superficially polite words, and even chuckles a bit, and helpfully reminds this driver to ask her dad to send the proof of insurance. As he gives her the paperwork and her license back, here’s the dialogue:

“You okay? This is a warning. There is no fine, there is no penalty, you just need to follow the posted speed limit, okay? What year are you here at school?”
“Sophomore.”
“Sophomore? You here for summer school? Taking a lot of classes?”
“Just two”
“Just two? Here’s a copy of the warning. There’s no fine, no penalty, okay, and there’s your drivers license. Be careful, all right?”

The trooper pushed a boundary in that traffic stop, too, but the driver was too young and/or intimidated to realize it. Now, this may sound bitchy as hell, but “You okay?” is a question that really did not need to be asked, unless the sophomore was going into labor or choking on her chewing gum. What’s she gonna say? “To tell you the God’s honest truth, I’m just a little nervous about the kilo of cocaine in the spare tire.” No. The only correct answer is “Yes sir, I’m fine. Sir.”

How she is, is none of his business, and it’s probably none of his business what grade she’s in, either. Or how many credit hours she signed up for. This is such a sore spot because the country apparently is crawling with cops who practice a side career as rapists. Even men feel uneasy when overly familiar cops engage wives, girlfriends and sisters in cozy roadside chats. A briskly businesslike police encounter can be coped with. A schmoozing session is creepy. Let’s have cops who carry out these procedures with precise legality and correctness, and zero personality. Not some two-faced nutjob who’s all jovial one minute and turns, on a dime, into a raging psychotic.

The racial quandary

Second, some people claim that previous motorist was white, which gets automatic politeness. Maybe she was white, and maybe that’s why. But an online commentator who lives in the area wrote in to say that being white had never saved her from illegitimate traffic stops based on fabricated reasons, just like what happened to Sandra Bland.

Others say that racism played no part here, because when the trooper followed Sandra’s car from behind, there was no way to determine her race. But that claim doesn’t hold up. Before he made a U-turn to follow Sandra, she had first driven by him going the other way. You can tell the color of a driver’s skin from across the width of a road. Also, it is said that there was a Black Lives Matter decal on her car. No doubt the trooper could identify one of those from a mile away.

Also, if the sophomore in the red car was black, it doesn’t matter, because even the most rip-roaring white racist is not consistently and eternally abusive to every person of color that he or she encounters all day long. Universal, 24/7 racism would be exhausting. White privilege grants itself the leeway to pick and choose. In the past, the worst plantation owner might have a soft spot in his heart for a cute baby, or for the toothless old auntie who wiped his butt when he was a baby himself. For a hundred years, every white businessman and captain of industry had a gruff fondness for his favorite Pullman porter or shoeshine “boy.”

In addition, some people say that white racism was not a factor, because Trooper Encinia is Hispanic. Evidently, they think it’s impossible for Hispanics to be prejudiced against blacks. (Just ask George Zimmerman, killer of Trayvon Martin, about that theory.) And others say the ancestors of many Hispanics were from, like, Spain – duh – and white as anybody. So despite his surname, Encinia is de facto white. Meanwhile, innocent white people don’t like to be blamed for the misdeeds of racist Latinos.

Bottom line, the race of the woman in the previous traffic stop is totally irrelevant, and actually, so is the race of the trooper. Here’s why.

Why it doesn’t matter

Because the third thing is, some very disturbed individuals are capable of concealing their monstrous aspects from all but one other person, or a few others. Some of Trooper Encinia’s co-workers say he’s a nice guy. And he did not unleash his worst self on the young woman in the red car. But so what? The fact that he didn’t go off on her means nothing.

A special kind of hell is inhabited by wives who constantly hear, “Your husband is so nice!” and “You’re so lucky!” when they know what kind of  demon removes its mask behind closed doors.

In many households. one child is consistently singled out for abuse, often of the most horrendous kind, while the other kids are unharmed. Possibly, even the perpetrator of the abuse doesn’t understand why.

That asshole in Cleveland who kept three women locked up for years got along with his neighbors. When Ann Rule worked at the suicide hotline with serial killer Ted Bundy, she thought he was a sweetheart. Anyone can call to mind the example of a seemingly mild-mannered but occasionally explosive maniac. If not, he or she probably is that person. The point is, you never really know.

A true misogynist might give a woman something, but never because it is her due – only as a reward for pleasing him, a sign of his favor. A misogynist father will not grant a daughter’s wish because it’s reasonable, but because she will owe him a debt of gratitude. A misogynist boss will not give a woman a raise because she earned it, but only to demonstrate what a swell guy he is. A misogynist husband will not give his wife something for the sake of fairness, but with the expectation of having his ass perpetually kissed.  A misogynist cop will not release a woman because he was wrong to stop her in the first place, but to demonstrate what a big-hearted softie he is.

Selective misogyny is part of the bro culture. There are so many potential victims, the woman-hater has the luxury of being able to pick and choose. When Encinia stopped the sophomore, she was properly cowed. She was Daddy’s good little girl and he rewarded that. Even if she was black his hostility was, for whatever reason, not aroused. Maybe she had chemically straightened hair, like a decent Negro ought to. For whatever reason, her very existence did not trigger the trooper’s bedrock hatred. But when he encountered Sandra Bland, something about her threw him into an altered state.

Far-out suppositions

There could be another reason why the female in the red car escaped unscathed. Knowing he had more important fish to fry, Encinia was saving his energy. A wild theory has been going around, suggesting that Sandra Bland was personally targeted.

Paul Spector mentioned this possibility, as did various online commentators. No doubt the local cops like to familiarize themselves with newcomers and make projections about what to expect from them. Someone, aware that a known activist had rolled into town and planned to stay, could have decided that Sandra Bland needed to be put on notice right from the git-go. Law enforcement might have been waiting for a chance to teach a lesson about her “place” and the humility appropriate to it, before she could have a chance to gain too much self-confidence.

Posted in Abominations, Folly, Law, Racism, Sandra Bland, True Crime | 2 Comments

A Tale of Two Hats

2 hats

Reading Jim Goad is one of my guilty pleasures, and not just because my favorite Amendment is the 1st. He’s an amazing writer who pretty much got fucked over by the law at one point. Also, if I’m remembering right, the prosecution tried to bring in his zine, Answer Me! as “evidence” against him in an unrelated legal matter, which is a dick move.

Here are excerpts from Jim Goad’s “Biting the Hand that Holds Out the Olive Branch” and my reactions.

Jim Goad
I’ve noticed a trend: The more that white people apologize, the more they get mocked. The more they concede, the more that is demanded of them. The more frequently they make gestures of goodwill, the more they get emotionally sandblasted with malicious rhetoric about how “whiteness” is a poison that needs to be uprooted and eradicated.

PH
I’m on Twitter a lot, about race-related stuff, and also write blog posts, especially about one particular thing that can’t be banished from my consciousness, the death of Kendrick Johnson. As far as I can tell, only one black reader has been rude. The haters, on the other hand, are the same kind of honkies I’ve taken shit from for 50 years, for being a nigger-loving race traitor and so forth.

Jim Goad
The reason is simple: Self-hatred is never attractive, neither individually nor collectively, no matter who’s expressing it.

PH
Experiencing shame on behalf of white racists isn’t the same as self-hatred. I don’t hate myself. Maybe because White Person isn’t my main thing. When the basis of a person’s primary identity is their race, I take it as a sign that they don’t have much else going for them.

Jim Goad
Yet the default Virtue Mode these days for any white person who doesn’t want to be forever banished beyond the Pale—or should that be into the Pale?—is to bend over, grab their ankles, wince, and scream, “Pleeze, Massa, don’t hurt me!” They are sheltered and stupid enough to see such behavior as a virtue rather than a weakness. They appear to view it as a survival strategy rather than an invitation to murder.

PH
Every time a new atrocity shows up in the Twitter feed, my first impulse is to say “For the record, I didn’t sign off on this.” A white person seeing that can know that at least one other paleface believes a wrong has been done, and be inspired to say it too, if they feel that way. A black person can know that at least one paleface is aware that a wrong has been done. What they do with that knowledge is, as always, an individual choice. The NSA goon who sees it will have one more example of my lack of love for the government, but I’m already on the list, and look forward to meeting many interesting people in the re-education camp, perhaps even Jim Goad.

Jim Goad
Of course the clueless white ethnomasochists wind up getting hurt. It’s as if they’ve willingly allowed a giant KICK ME sign to be painted on their backs.

PH
Ethnomasochist?
Personally, I’m not anti-white. Some of my best friends are white.
I’m anti-asshole, and is it my fault that an awful lot of asshole traits are also white characteristics?
History seems to show that in any social upheaval, the early sympathizers are the first to suffer when the revolution gains momentum. Any vengeful anarchist who goes on a kill spree is more likely to cross my path, than Dick Cheney’s. As an ordinary citizen with no armored car, I’m pretty much available to be eliminated by anyone who thinks the world would be better off without me. Nevertheless, I’m still ashamed of white people.

Jim Goad
As was seamlessly documented in Howard Bloom’s The Lucifer Principle, most kings throughout history were overthrown not at the height of their despotism, but after they’d grown soft and started trying to make amends.

PH
Here is where Goad really loses me. What does monarchy have to do with any of this? Kings are assholes. Anyone who wants to be a king is by definition an asshole.

Jim Goad
That’s the problem with white people—not that it was so easy for them to conquer the world, but that it’s so easy to make them feel bad about it.

PH
Any urge to conquer boils down to the urge to make other people do one’s will. Actually, it’s very appropriate to hate oneself for wanting to make other people do one’s will. Why? Because that is a disgusting and shameful desire.

Jim Goad
It’s been a long process, but huge swaths of the globe’s Caucasian population have been snookered and hoodwinked and bamboozled into thinking that being history’s winners should be a matter of shame rather than celebration.

PH
“History’s winners” is a euphemism for being the most successful aggressors, liars, thieves, violators, enslavers, murderers, etc. etc. I see little to celebrate and much to regret.

Jim Goad
Look with disgust upon these squirming white worms with their endlessly tacky public displays of self-flagellation, exulting in the idea of their own wickedness, trying to drown their historical sins in a cleansing wave of softly genocidal immigration.

PH
I heard Ann Coulter on “Race Wars” say, close down immigration for 10 years and take care of the Americans who need help. Not a bad idea; but I expect the first part would happen and somehow the second part would not happen.

Jim Goad
Afflicted with a perverse sort of racial body dysmorphia, they would crawl out of their white skin if they could only find a way.
This is the sort of thing that happens in the late stages of a crumbling empire, when the fat, lazy, and pampered have grown so soft they’ve blinded themselves to the wolf pack waiting at the door that’s eager to tear them to pieces.

PH
Check your generalizing, Mr. Goad. Ideologically I’m probably everything you deplore, yet I’m okay with my skin color. (Though I did used to have afro hair. Except for needing a perm every few months, it’s a low-maintenance do.) I’ll even own fat. But lazy, pampered, and soft? Not so much. Your stereotypes are showing.

Jim Goad
Pictures say a thousand words, especially pictures of social justice warriors.

PH
How did “social justice warrior” become a bad thing? Even Joe Rogan is ragging on them. Since when did social justice become a bad thing? Since when has “warrior” been a bad word? The comic book heroes that America loves so much – aren’t they pretty much all social justice warriors? Wasn’t Superman’s slogan “Truth, Justice, and the American Way”? (The reality seems more to be a matter of truth, justice, OR the American way.)
By the way, do social justice warriors call themselves that, or is it just a mean insult?
And why is it an insult? Maybe this: One of Jim Goad’s tweets says,
“Hi, I’m on the Internet thumping my chest and proving I’m a good person by taking a completely risk-free stance against something.”
This sarcastic declaration takes for granted that people who talk about issues online are not doing anything else about the problem, which is an unjust and unjustified assumption. Also, anyone who really cares about being a good person, knows to whom they answer, and it isn’t the general internet public. And risk-free, are you kidding? The white supremacists whose panties are all in a bunch about the so-called Black Grievance Industry are quite industrious themselves, when it comes to doing damage from afar.

Jim Goad
Here’s a picture of Frank Joyce, a white man who recently pecked out a screed called “White men must be stopped.” And here’s a candidly horrifying snapshot of Gillian Schutte, a miscegenatin’ white South African slag who scribbled one of those endlessly tiresome “Dear White People” open letters to white people from a white person who is ostensibly enlightened enough to see whiteness as a cancer.
Those are faces that were born, marinated, and sculpted in a culture of relentless white guilt. They are ugly, defeated, self-hating, despicable mugs, the type that would likely enjoy being spat upon. If I were nonwhite, I’d feel entirely justified in walking up to such pathetic visages and saying, “Thanks for your apology—now give me your wallet.”

PH
The assumption that everything about a person can be detected in the facial features is so hopelessly ignorant, it’s hard to know where to begin. Talk about lazy! Attacking someone’s ideas based on their looks is kindergarten-level discourse.
Cops have that kind of arrogance. They’re all about “I could tell he was lying. I knew he was hiding something” and similar claims of omniscience.
To define people’s faces as “ugly, defeated, self-hating, despicable” and present that as legitimate invalidation of their ideas… well, let’s just say I expected better of such an intelligent guy. If someone believes Marlowe wrote the alleged works of Shakespeare, would you base your judgment of his arguments on the fact that, according to the first photo you found, one of his nostrils is bigger than the other?

Jim Goad
Then take a gander at John Wayne and Rita Hayworth back when there was no such thing as white guilt—back in the “bad old days” when there was no institutional culture of apology.

PH
To make any kind of point in this context, Rita Hayworth is a weird choice. Her Hollywood overlords undertook an extensive remake, to tone down her Latina-ness, especially around the hairline. I remember reading that some movie mogul referred to her natural look as “simian.”
Also, is Jim Goad kidding me right now? Why bring up the physical attributes of two movie actors, as if that could possibly be relevant to anything? This is where I really begin to lose patience.

Jim Goad
In fact, look at nearly any white person in photos prior to the 1960s and tell me they don’t look more robust, dignified, and full of life than most welfare-siphoning, medication-gobbling, self-loathing, guilt-wracked, demoralized, virtue-signaling white folks these days.

PH
A lot of factors are involved in the history of photography
It’s been my experience that welfare-siphoning, medication-gobbling white folks (or indeed, welfare-siphoning medication-gobblers of any race) are not the least bit guilt-wracked or self-loathing, but instead are rather complacent about their ability to partake in such a satisfactory lifestyle.

Jim Goad
When white people don’t hate themselves, they end up doing something horrible—like ruling the world.

PH
I feel that this is sarcasm, and that Jim Goad doesn’t really believe ruling the world is a horrible thing. Is it possible that anyone could think ruling the world, or even wanting to rule the world, is a good thing? But that’s too big of a topic to get into here.

Posted in Folly, Freedom of Expression, Kendrick Johnson, Law, Racism, True Crime | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Brand of Irrelevant Nonsense around Kendrick Johnson

m s t 3 no caption

Screw the trolls who report that Kendrick Johnson lived with his grandmother, as if they had ferreted out some kind of shameful secret. One source says it was so he would be in the right area to attend Lowndes High School (which turned out to be not such a great choice). No matter, there are many good and sufficient reasons why a young person might be transplanted. Family dynamics are endlessly variable and frankly, are nobody’s business. It is truly irrelevant where Kendrick Johnson ate and slept. What is relevant is that he’s still dead under very weird circumstances that look pretty damn sketchy.

The trolls jump in to object because, even though KJ lived with his grandmother, his parents hired a lawyer and commenced to sue people. There is a legal concept called “standing,” and apparently in some states, only parents have the standing to sue for wrongful death. Of the several types of damages that can be claimed, this one strongly applies – “the deceased person’s pre-death pain and suffering.” Even in the unlikely event that KJ’s death was an accident, even if he actually died from positional asphyxia and nothing else, it’s still a miserable way to die, that involved horrible pain and suffering, and the school should be liable for it.

The Johnsons and their supporters are fighting for a cause, and people who fight for causes are generally regarded as heroes. So why is there such a snide attitude about Kendrick Johnson’s parents? The murder deniers make comments that seem based on an erroneous notion: Only 100% perfect parents are allowed to sue for damages to their child.

In what world do 100% perfect parents exist? Not this one. Also, in the world we inhabit, terrible things happen every day to wonderful people. Nobody could full-time keep track them all, and still be able to function.

But every now and then, something happens to somebody, and it captures the attention of a segment of the public in a way that refuses to fade away. There are still people who devote their lives to the mystery of what really happened to JonBenet Ramsey, and they’re not gonna let it go. The killer of hookers in old London town is long dead, but people have spent their inheritances on Jack the Ripper research. The attention that is focused on Kendrick Johnson is not likely to diminish any time soon, and quite possibly will grow even more intense.

Posted in Abominations, Heroes, Kendrick Johnson, Law, Parenting, Racism, True Crime | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Kendrick Johnson and the Black Grievance Industry

KKK 1925 Canon City

 

What is the Black Grievance Industry or, as its proponents affectionately call it, the BGI? It’s nothing. It’s a phantom that arises from the mindset of Bigoted Gawdawful Ignorance. It’s a Bogus Gross Infamy created by whiny cretins who want to silence anyone who doesn’t fall in line with their racist agenda.

The so-called BGI is a non-existent entity invented by white supremacists who want to end the careers of influential black attorneys and ensure that people of color can continue to be killed with impunity.

Believing that Kendrick Johnson was murdered, and that the crime was covered up, his parents filed a $100 million lawsuit against 38 parties – three students, the father (who happens to be an FBI agent) of two of those students, the school superintendent, the medical examiner, the crime lab, the city, the police chief, and several other law enforcement figures both local and state, up to and including the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The Johnsons and their legal advisors are going up against some powerful individuals and institutions with the accusation that they “deliberately and maliciously mishandled the subject investigation in such a way that anyone who might ever be charged with Kendrick’s death would never be convicted.”

It’s pretty obvious by now that no one ever will be convicted. And a crew of halfwits are complaining because KJ’s parents are suing for financial reward. What else could they do? This is America, where the largest religious denomination is the cult that worships money above all else. Diamond ring advertisements tell a man that his fiancee is “worth two months’ salary.” Cash is the bottom line, always. We measure the importance of everything by its market value. It’s the only standard that most Americans relate to.

Quit Bitching about the Damn Lawsuit

Last year a satire website claimed that a teenage girl was suing Instagram, which had posted an unflattering picture of her that was picked up and used for memes. The silly spoof gained enough traction to be taken seriously by many people, including educated professional magazine editors who were unfazed by the concept of a $500 million lawsuit. Compared to that, the mere $100 million sought by the Johnsons is a negligible amount.

Probably even the Johnsons realize that their civil case will generate no income. But the morons who posit the existence of a “Black Grievance Industry” are in the throes of a hissy fit, acting like it’s a foregone conclusion that the family will actually profit from the lawsuit – which is, let’s face it, unlikely.

But in this mercenary society, suing for money is the only way to guarantee media coverage and draw national attention to the extremely sketchy circumstances and dubious investigation of a black teenager’s death. Talk of big money attracts eyes and ears, and that’s what the Kendrick Johnson story needs.

Compare and Contrast

Take a look at a case whose settlement made recent news. Kelly Thomas, a white man, was notoriously murdered by a gang of thugs in uniform. All the police officers who killed him were acquitted. In civil lawsuits charging wrongful death, his parents were awarded $5 million, to be paid by the taxpayers, not by the cops who killed Thomas or the restaurant employee who bore false witness against him.

White people win legal battles for compensation all the time, but not a word has been uttered about any White Grievance Industry. A jury decided that OJ Simpson (black) should pay $33.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the families of his (white) victims. You’d think that the critics who so keenly detect a BGI conspiracy would have noticed that huge WGI conspiracy. Fair’s fair, after all. But no. When the shoe was on the other foot, there was no indignant outcry.

And by the way, even when families win civil suits, what the public perceives as a pot of gold often does not materialize. As of mid-2014, 20 years after Simpson killed his wife and Ron Goldman, the money was still uncollected and the amount had, with interest, grown immensely – but it doesn’t matter because it will never be paid. The Goldman family collected less than 1% of the total owed – not even enough to pay their lawyers.

Yet the ridiculous BGI morons piss and moan as if Kendrick Johnson’s family not only will get, but has already gotten, some kind of enormous payoff. To use one of their own favorite trollish acronyms, BGI conspiracy theorists need to STFU.

********************************

P.S.

This story, about Dontrell Stephens, a young black man who was shot and partially paralyzed by a cop, is a perfect example of how the system works – it  doesn’t work.

There’s a flashy $23 million headline that gets the BGI meatheads all riled up, and the victim still winds up with nothing. Here’s the important part:don't read

 

Posted in Abominations, Folly, Kendrick Johnson, Law, Racism, True Crime | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

#KendrickJohnson and the Tweets

death scene video 3

This post has been rewritten for the simple reason that I made an assumption that turned out to be both hasty and naïve. The basis of the current disturbance is that Kendrick Johnson’s family sued the Bells (among others) for causing the wrongful death of their son, and covering it up. The Bells sued the Johnsons for defamation. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has for a couple of years been collecting information to eventually make up its mind whether anybody can or should be charged with murder.

In mid-October, news came out that the Atlanta office of Twitter was ordered (for the benefit of the Bell family’s lawyers) to hand over identifying information about 23 Twitter accounts, and also, all of their tweets starting on January 11, 2013, the day Kendrick Johnson’s dead body was discovered.

The assumption I made was that these accounts belonged to Lowndes High School students (or perhaps faculty members or workers). It is to be hoped that U.S. Attorney Michael Moore’s investigation started to scrutinize tweets a long time ago. So if Moore’s team knew who said what on social media, the Bell lawyers would naturally be interested in knowing just as much. Maybe some of the people called to the Grand Jury had been asked to testify because of what their tweets said.

Maybe the Bell lawyers also collected tweets, and wanted to speak with these people and find out what they told the Grand Jury, or just find out more about them, in general. So it would make sense for them to go after the same slice of Twitter’s database, to identify any kids/faculty/employees and find out what they may have said about the Bell boys. Any lawyer wants to know what witnesses have already told the other side. It would have added up.

BUT NO!

As it turns out, the people behind the 23 Twitter accounts are not Lowndes students, or anyone else with an actual, real-world connection to the case, but individuals out there in cyberspace who have taken an interest in what looks like a probable homicide followed by a badly mishandled investigation.

Across the aisle, the murder deniers, who happen to be white supremacists, want personal information so they can mete out punishment to anyone who dares to disagree with them online. They brag about having the power to destroy from a distance, and apparently they do have skilz to find information and make destructive use of it, and a certain amount of malicious hacking has already been performed. Given all that, it’s tempting to wonder why they would bother to force Twitter to disgorge the information. But that’s just a side issue.

Backstory

The prime mover behind all this Twitter exposure-seeking seems to be an individual I will call DiPi, who wields quite an assortment of Twitter handles and alternate identities in various Internet venues. He and the other white supremacists are against what they call the Black Grievance Industry (BGI), and they harbor particular resentment against a handful of black attorneys. Reading the whole story of what this guy has been up to can give you a head cramp. The deep history of what’s going on here is covered by Xena, who knows an amazing lot about it. This quotation is from her website:

On one blog, the person posted a three-step plan to destroy what they believe to be and have labeled “BGI social justice warriors.” Trying to place a definition on their conspiracy theory is difficult but might be summarized as saying that anyone, regardless of their race, who is on social media and supports justice for minorities, is a “BGI social justice warrior.” The three-step plan to destroy them/us starts with taking their money and silencing them. After posting his step-by-step instructions on how to destroy the lives of BGI social justice warriors, he has now deleted that blog.

DiPi is very enmeshed in the Kendrick Johnson controversy, and feels protective toward the Bell family. He seems willing to do just about anything to harm people whose esteem for the Bells does not match his. (There is also a rumor that he’s related to someone who works at Lowndes High School, but at the time when I read that, I didn’t realize what a pivotal character DiPi is in all this, and don’t even remember where it came from.)

Recently, DiPi took time out of his busy schedule of harassment to contact several Twitter users who have frequently and emphatically voiced their opinions about the Kendrick Johnson case. He told them that Twitter was going to receive a subpoena asking for their account information. Furthermore, he predicted that these people would soon be the objects of lawsuits – presumably, instituted by the Bell family. (Whether the Bells are on board with this is not known.)

The first part came true, and Twitter notified several people that their information had indeed been subpoenaed. Anybody with a brain in their head wonders, how did DiPi know, ahead  of anyone else, about the subpoena, and how did he know which Twitter users would be affected by it? Strangely, as Xena reported, information about some of these same accounts had been sought in a (my word:) frivolous lawsuit against an individual.

Do the Bells really want or need a loose cannon like this in their corner? He gives the impression that having him on your side could turn out to be a huge liability. One of those “With friends like this, you don’t need enemies” situations.

Meanwhile, the Johnsons’ and Bells’ attorneys were collecting evidence and deposing witnesses for their civil suits. The Justice Deptartment thought these activities might interfere with the criminal investigation aspect, and submitted motions to Judge Porter of Lowndes County, asking him to make everything stop for 180 days (6 months). This would also apply to the demand that was made to Twitter. About a week later, Judge Porter said no, he would not put the civil cases on hold.

So, 23 people have been officially warned that Twitter has been asked for their identifying information, and according to DiPi, 6 more identities will be demanded by another subpoena, for a total of 29 people the murder deniers would like to silence. Xena explains,

In essence, what is happening is that if Twitter is forced to turn over account information for non-parties to a cause of action, then anyone can file anything with the court and conduct “discovery” into the personal information of non-parties…
If Twitter begins giving out account information on persons who are not named parties in a case, then no one on Twitter is safe.

The anti-Black Grievance Industry people believe that many of the 29 Twitter users are “authorized agents” of the Johnson family. Supposedly, they get paid for tweets, and also for posting in Valdosta Topix and other online  forums where Kendrick Johnson’s death is discussed. The KJ justice seekers who have been at it for a while speak of “credible threats.” They receive hints about missing pets and arm-breaking, and specific street intersections, to ramp up the “we know where you live” paranoia.

The murder deniers trash-talk with the bravado of MMA fighters and sling around challenges like “My attorney can mop the floor with your attorney.” They make reference to “the mob beating you’re about to get when your identity is known.” That particular rant continues with a quaint combination of backpedaling and aggression:

The beating is of course going to be in court where the judge will order you to pay the Bells, etc, every cent you make for the rest of your life.
I in no way suggest anyone to take the info gotten from the subpoena and use it to locate you and then inflict serious injury to you and the rest of these azzhats that didn’t know when to quit.

They say the Bells are being libeled and defamed, but as one commentator points out, if there really are grounds for defamation suits, why not simply pursue that route and skip all the nonsense about blog posts and Facebook comments and Tweets being written by authorized Johnson Family “agents.” It makes the Johnsons sound like the Borgias or something. Whereas the family that is actually more likely to be Machiavellian would be the one with the FBI agent in it. Just sayin’.

The Bells have already filed defamation lawsuits against Ebony magazine and one of its writers. The white supremacists claim that the KJ justice people have also done a share of digging and doxing. The whole thing is a big ugly mess.

Posted in Abominations, Freedom of Expression, Kendrick Johnson, Law, Racism, True Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lessons from the Trollmeister (supposedly)

basic troll
Two different troll playbooks are popularly believed to have been written by political henchman Karl Rove. One of these compositions is said to be a tutorial sent by Rove to “his people” in August of 2011 to teach them the fine points of subverting online debate. As I learned from Twitter participation, the basic moves are adaptable to any subject, like the death of Kendrick Johnson, for instance.

If trollery is called out, the recipient is advised to “Simply accuse the accuser of being a troll…” This can lead to an endless loop of “You’re a troll.” “No, you’re the troll.” And then someone sympathetic to the cause steps in and says “You’re right, he’s a troll.” Ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

Another principle is, “Mere laughing dismissal is often very effective. Usually all it takes is an LOL. Call your attackers ‘Obamabots.’ Accuse them of mindless fawning…”

Trolls love clever wordplay. My first encounter with such a delightful neologism was when someone dismissively referred to the followers of Ayn Rand as “Randroids.” The thing is, all the intellectual and creative power that is put to work making puns and portmanteau words, could be much better employed.

The other alleged Karl Rove how-to manual

“Tactics for Effective Conservative Blogging,”  dated November of 2011 is also attributed to Rove. This one consists of verbal bullet points such as “engage,” which in this context does not mean a dance of give-and-take, but a demand for an “elaborate, time-consuming comparison / analysis between your position and theirs.”

For instance, one staunch upholder of Valdosta bureaucracy asked, “How does a single person kill an 170 lb athletic man and THEN PICK HIM UP and stuff him head first into a rolled up mat? Then again, in the black community..snitches get stitches… Don’t they.”

Two things. First, out of all the possible scenarios for Kendrick Johnson’s demise, I don’t think anyone has suggested that one. For the troll to cast doubt upon it is simply an exercise in aggravation, which in classical times was called setting up a straw man – inventing something that nobody on the other side has proposed, just to knock it down, when it didn’t even exist.

Second, they gotta throw in a racist dig about the black community, which I’m sure they would have rather called the ghetto, or worse. But here’s the twist. You know where else snitches get stitches? In law enforcement. The average cop is as frightened of peer retaliation as the average gang member is. If you step out of line, there’s a price to be paid. Dramatists have made a big deal out of the Mafia’s “omertà” or code of silence, but cops are highly unlikely to ever, ever, ever betray their fellow cops, no matter how heinous the crime.

Who steals my time, steals my life

In other words, the troll’s prime directive is to waste the opponent’s time. The people who don’t want questions asked about the death of Kendrick Johnson have succeeded in wasting plenty of my time that no doubt could have been put to better use. Marveling over their robotic nature, and curious about what guidebook they follow, I got sidetracked.

Another instruction, “entangle,” has the same purpose. “Tie them up,” it says. “We are going for delay of game here.” Again, wasting time is the object. Who steals my time, steals my life, which is what the dedicated troll aims to do – to steal the life of the person on the other side of the debate, piece by piece. Any casual thought you throw out will be met by a fierce challenge – they want you to run off and do a dissertation’s worth of research to back up the assertion that the sky is blue.

But wait, there’s more

Next, the aspiring troll is urged to “demoralize” by arbitrarily dismissing the opponent’s point. This is where the shorthand of TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) comes into play. After inviting the person to make a lengthy and detailed case, just negate it by ignoring it. Needless to say, no respect whatsoever should be granted to the other side. Also, “Do anything you must do to prevent a poster from presenting a well-reasoned argument, or starting a civil discussion.”

One of the instructions is to attack by refusing to recognize the other person’s information source as valid. Here, the obvious ploy is to claim, by fiat, that any facts put forth by the Johnson family are automatically worthless, and that goes for their supporters and any media outlet that gives them a hearing. If a troll repeats that often enough, it’s supposed to somehow magically become true.

tldr_pope

Posted in Abominations, Folly, Kendrick Johnson, Racism, The Lore and Lure of the Troll, True Crime | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment