Part of freedom of assembly is the right to show up and complain. I have had people opposed to my views visit my block and bitch about me to my neighbors — and leave fliers that attempted to cast me in a disparaging light on nearby doorsteps. It was sorta creepy, but legal, as long as the fliers didn’t go in mailboxes, no one carried lit torches and the pitchforks were made of cardboard. I have a dog and curtains, though I did step out and have a word or several with the folks each time — my camera in hand — and my neighbors gave them a piece of their minds too since they don’t care if I march in an LGBT Pride parade or attempt to expose totalitarian pseudo-religions.
My car getting egged recently was a little juvenile, but if that was the best response to something I disseminated via the media, well golly, that’s teh lulz one has to accept for doing good works and exercising freedom of speech and free press.
At least my protesters got the car and the address right, unlike a Tea Party member who posted up what he thought was Rep. Tom Perriello’s home address on his blog with a suggestion for those opposed to his vote on health care reform:
Just in case any of his friends and neighbors want to drop by and say hi and express their thanks regarding his vote for healthcare. I personally believe it’s so important for representatives to remain fully grounded and to remember exactly what it is their constituents are saying and how they are telling them to vote. Nothing quite does that like a good face-to-face chat. It has a much more personal touch to it.
Only the address isn’t Rep. Perriello’s; it belongs to the congressman’s brother. Teablogger Mike Troxel told Politico that
he has no intention of removing the address from the blog.
Troxel found the address through a directory website and said he would only replace what he currently has on the blog with an address provided by Perriello’s office.
“If they would like to provide me with the address of Tom, then I’d be more than happy to take it down,” he said. “I have no reason to believe it’s not his house.”
So far no one has bothered to visit Perriello’s brother, most likely because no one can be bothered, and there’s that whole golden rule thing. But Troxel’s remarks, and continuing to keep up the wrong address smacks of intimidation, purely and simply, and involving family members is a cheap, sleazy shot.
At one point during the height of my activism, my home address was posted on a public forum with a veiled threat. I took it seriously. Very. Seriously. When a member of the LAPD took me aside at a protest and told me to be careful walking to and from my car because random crime can happen, I took that very seriously; he was warning me about the people we were protesting and their goon squads. When I was in a cab getting chased through Hollywood by two guys in an SUV, I took that very seriously. Yeah, there are teh lulz, but the again there’s personal safety. Dog. Curtains. Etc.
I responded by being very public about what was happening, which is the only way to defuse intimidation. The stories being published about Troxel’s troll fail do much the same thing. And reveal many things about Tea Party members. Some of which aren’t very pretty.