Are you ready?
This is a day for getting in touch with your legislators—both the Federal ones and those in your state capitol building. And it’s a day for writing your favorite mainstream media outlets—if they are someone other than ABC or Fox—to politely enquire why they aren’t covering the story of Brett Kimberlin versus Free Speech, and the hazardous, reckless abuse of law enforcement resources embodied in “SWATting” of New Media journalists.
In fact, I have so much homework for you that it may take you all weekend. But it honestly is the least you can do for the independent content-providers who are sticking their necks out for you. Most of us New Media types are working stiffs who spend lunch hours and evenings reporting the news, or housemoms/housedads typing away in between diaper changes, or freelancers who are just scraping by financially.
First, if you have a blog, consider reporting on the Speech/SWATting/Kimberlin issue—but if you do, make sure you can ethically report on the story. You may want to check with your spouse, and possibly your parents. You will want to consider the needs of any minors that live in your household. Because the Kimberlin Krew plays dirty, do a risk assessment on your family and career before mentioning Brett Kimberlin by name.
It may be that you are part of the letter-writing brigade only, and that is fine: we need the letter-writers for this project. It all turns on you, ultimately.
Find out who your Federal and State officials are, if you’re unclear on that; there is a widget in the upper-right-hand corner of this page that will pull all that information up via your zip code, and you can click on their names to get to a bio with a clickable “contact” tab.
Let’s take the Federal level first: you’ll want to write to your congressperson, and both of the U.S. senators in your state, asking them politely to do something about “SWATting,” which is a dangerous practice that wastes law enforcement resources. Those who do it should be facing prison time for endangering the innocent in this way. Include a brief description of what “SWATting” is, and explain that the only way to combat it is to have Federal resources available to go after those who abuse LEOs in this fashion.
Now, you’ll want to look into your own state’s laws, to find out if you have “anti-SLAPP statutes” to protect your speech. If your state lacks those, then please write to your state representatives and state senators, and ask them to push for anti-SLAPP legislation.
Also, find out if your state keeps a “vexatious litigant” list. If it does not, please ask your state senators and state representatives to create one to protect average people and citizen journalists from “lawfare.”
Then write to a media outlet you like to look at on occasion, and encourage the folks there to start covering SWATting and the Kimberlin Krew’s assault on speech.
Freedom of expression is precious; we need to preserve it.
I would also check over at Ace’s place, since it was his idea in the first place to blog exclusively on the Kimberlin threat today.
Ed Morrissey is also blogging Maryland’s treatment of Aaron Walker and the rash of SWATtings, and in return directs us to Day by Day, Obi’s Sister, and Evil Blogger Lady, among others.
Also, Camp of the Saints has a masterful roundup with lavish quotations about some philosophical and tactical issues surrounding today’s oddly structured blogburst.
UPDATE II: Dan Collins is running a long letter that he wrote to his U.S. Reps and U.S. Senators, that explains the situation and why it matters so very much.