Despite the fact that this blog’s Best Buddy Bill Schmalfeldt has taken his ball and gone home (allegedly), I will continue to rebut his epically long and completely off topic unapproved comment to this blog. Here is the latest snippet.
I don’t just believe I was wronged. I was wronged. I stopped addressing Tweets to Hoge as soon as he asked. But Twitter and the Attorney General of Maryland and the State Legislature and US v. Cassidy have decided that TWEETING is not CONTACT. Hoge managed to convince a befuddled old judge that blocking me on twitter was the same as disabling a portion of his internet function or changing his telephone number to avoid telemarketers.
Does that make sense to you? An @ mention that he never has to see if he blocks me, but he chooses to NOT block me and I get a peace order?
Bill Schmalfeldt in an unapproved comment on this blog
I have to say, this is epic stupidity on an epic scale. I’ve heard what the “real” arguments where in front of the judge, but that’s beside the point. This is all about what Bill says. And what Bill says makes absolutely no sense.
Let’s pretend a unfocused cyberstalker in Maryland was harassing me. This is hypothetical and not based on the real actions of any singular person. This cyberstalker starts calling my phone a couple hundred times a day. Should I not get any relief from that? I mean, every modern smartphone, and no I don’t have a landline, has the ability to block a phone number. Should I be required to block the stalkers number, or should the stalker be required to shut the fuck up an not contact me?
The law on this is settled. The victim of harassment should not have to block anything. After all, once the harasser’s number is blocked, all the harassing asshole has to do is change phones to get around the block. The victim doesn’t have to do anything, it is the harasser’s behavior that is the problem.
Now let’s move our hypothetical to Twitter. Twitter’s terms of service make it clear that anytime someone @mentions you, it will be highlighted in your notifications. It’s a basic function of how Twitter works. If you don’t want to see the @mentions from someone, you can block them. But again, if you do all the harasser need do is set up a sock puppet account and it gets through the block. But in a harassment situation, it should not be the responsibility of the harassed to take action. It is the harasser that should stop.
Additionally, even assuming that the judge got the law wrong, and on the very weak and specious arguments presented, twitter can not be harassing (that’s a total lie, no court has ever said that. More later), it doesn’t matter. When a judge tells you to stop doing something, you best stop. If a judgement comes down that is wrong, you better abide by the judgement until you convince a higher court that you were wrongfully treated. That law is just as settled. When a judge says no, you have to stop until you convince a higher court that the judge was wrong. You can scream all day long that the judge was wrong, but until you convince a higher court of it, you better abide by what the judge said.
That’s why Aaron couldn’t talk about his issues for a while. The judge said no, and until Aaron convinced a higher judge that the ruling was wrong, Aaron had to comply. Bill, on the other hand, has not convinced a higher judge that the judge in the peace order against him is wrong. His actions created the six month extension. Not anything Hoge did. Not anything a “befuddled old judge” did. It was his own behavior, his belief that he didn’t need to abide by what a judge rules, that earned him the extension.
So yea, it makes perfect sense to me that an @mention is contact. You know before you make an @mention that the person on the other end will be notified about your twit. You know that by making an @mention that the person will see it. Expecting the person you are @mentioning to do anything at all to keep from seeing your @mention is single-mindedly narcissistic. It isn’t the behavior of the victim that needs to change, it is the behavior of the harasser. And any other view is stupid.
Now, before I go. Let me address a few additional points. Bill brings up a lawsuit in support of his claim that Twitter @mentions can never be considered harassment. Unfortunately for him, he is wrong. In US v. Cassidy, the court did not rule that Twitter can’t be harassment. The court ruled that the Federal Law surrounding online harassment was unconstitutionally vague as applied to Cassidy. That’s not the same as saying the law is unconstitutional, just that as it was applied in this case it was. I read through the twits that were issued in evidence for the trial, and there were many that did not use an @mention. So there was nothing about the @mention that even applied to the case. The only thing in question was if the law, as applied, was constitutional. A court said it wasn’t.
And a state attorney general does not outrank a state judge. Or a county judge. Or even a municipal judge. I’m not even sure he’d outrank a municipal magistrate. Basically, an opinion of the Attorney General is binding to… the prosecutors of the state. Not the judges. A slight nuance of the law, but I think we can all agree that Bill doesn’t really get nuance.
And basically, let’s be honest with each other. Despite the law, despite the judge, despite the legislature, calling people out in @mentions after they’ve asked you to stop is just creepy. I know Bill doesn’t understand creepy, but seriously… do grown people really do that? Seriously, I have to ask, do mature, intelligent people act in such creepy ways. The man asked you to stop. More than once. You keep doing it, just to upset him. That’s fucking creepy.