A distraught father took to social media for years to vent over a lost custody battle he is convinced cost his son his life. Someone notified the judge who ordered that custody. The man was charged with malicious use of telecommunications services.
“At no point does [Vanderhagen] threaten harm or violence towards Rancilio,” Sgt. Jason Conklin of the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, the investigating officer, concluded in his case report.
Nevertheless, Vanderhagen was charged with the malicious use of telecommunication services, a misdemeanor, in July. “Malicious use” means that Vanderhagen was accused of using a telecommunication service with the intention of terrorizing, intimidating, threatening, or harassing [Judge] Rancilio.
This case hits close to home.
An elected official, Jan Schmidt from Nashua, made public statements claiming State Reps in my town had police protection because of content posted on this website. No such protection was ever provided by the Merrimack police. But the statement is a lie with a purpose.
First, she was lied to by the Reps in question or she altered their statements to facilitate the lie. But why? To grow a perception with the purpose of silencing us. Why? Because we publish their voting records and offer our commentary on their ideology and public statements.
Schmidt has even emailed our hosting company to get us shut down.
For the record, our rhetorical woodshed is a crowded place. Innumerable Republicans, Libertarians, politicians, the current Republican Governor, and even Donald Trump have “spent time” there. Local media, other “conservative” web sites, and local activist groups across the spectrum have been the object of our commentary. Much of which has been less than flattering.
And we’ve been accused, on occasion, of bashing our own more than the Democrats. And at times that may be true. But the point here is that it takes a great deal of arrogance to assume you are unique in this regard. Or that anything on the site that does not explicitly name you has anything at all to do with you.
We have the best reach for our variety of news and opinion in New Hampshire and better digital reach than most media in the state. And that Free speech is always under attack by people in positions of power.
If you search the social media accounts of Democrat reps in Merrimack, you will find more than one reference to contacting police. Accusations that our reporting is an attack- that they are at risk of harm. None of which is true. But these words serve the same purpose. To set a foundation by which people in power create a perception used to silence dissent.
It didn’t work when Republicans did it to me, and it’s not going to work on me now. Nor are repeated rantings to lawyer-up over this or that. Newsflash! We’ve got lawyers writing for us. And even the ACLU would be on our side.
A Speedy Win for Speech?
In the Michigan case, Reason.com reports that the Jury took 26 minutes and 8 seconds to arrive at a verdict of not guilty.
Here in New Hampshire, the local PD (apparently) made a similar judgment. Nothing to see here. Move along. But much like every other situation where triggered, elected officials don’t get their way, they can’t seem to get over it. And they don’t want to do that because this is about crafting avenues through which people in power can suppress speech they don’t like.
Even if I disagree with the words, ideas, or the delivery, I’m on the record defending Free Speech before party or politics and more of us need to do that or we’ll lose it.
Defending Sarsour’s right to speak – (video 1 min 50 sec.)