H/t to Belmont Club/Richard Fernandez (who has disappeared me, Whiskey style), on the lawfare of Bret Kimberlin and friends. I don’t read Patterico, and I sure don’t read Daily Kos, so I was unaware of the openness and aggressiveness of this kind of behavior.
And yet I remain unimpressed. Yes, the behavior of these leftists has to be considered evil and appalling. But it says less about them, than it does about the American legal system. John Patrick “Patterico” Frey wonders where the law is when he is threatened, his family is threatened and he is nearly killed by a bogus 911 call bringing a SWAT team to his door. Well, Mr. Frey, that was in July 1, 2011 and it is now May 29, 2012. The authorities have done nothing and have failed to pursue leads you provided them with, helpfully doing their jobs for them. I think you have your answer. They, and the system, don’t care. They don’t care about the written threats, the obviously frivolous and vexatious lawsuits, and they don’t care about phony 911 calls that waste law enforcement resources and keep them from vital use for real problems.
We need to invent a new category of legal definition. Things theoretically are either legal, or illegal. But what if something violates a published law, but the law is never enforced? Or it is selectively enforced? The most obvious example of this is illegal immigration. Immigration laws are generally simply not enforced, or enforced only in egregious cases by unsympathetic characters. Kimberlin and his friends would seem to have engaged in a variety of violations of civil and criminal law, but nothing is done. These actions can’t be made explicitly legal, because these laws might need to be enforced against right-wing agitators. The existence of unenforced statutes gives the government plausible deniability. I think the term for this has to be “extralegal”. It can claim, however weakly, to rule according to the law, usually providing lame excuses as to why it can’t when it doesn’t want to. Other times the refusal is quite explicit, as when government attorneys refuse to defend in court laws passed by the legislature or referenda by the public, as in the case of gay marriage. This refusal is usually based on a liberal argument that the laws are fundamentally unjust, in liberal thinking of course, and cannot be defended in good conscience.
Patterico is a lawyer, and a prosecutor to boot. He must understand that laws are, of necessity, selectively enforced, as a matter of police and prosecutorial resources. What the system does and doesn’t punish tells you what it regards as acceptable and unacceptable, good and bad. What Kimberlin and his friends are doing is obvioulsy A-OK!