Into A Mirror, Darkly

Glenn Reynolds has a large roundup of links on former University of Arizona professor Deb Frisch – who made threats on the life of the two-year-old son of popular blogger Jeff Goldstein. Goldstein’s site was also attacked with a DDOS attack shortly afterwards.

I recall conservative bloggers being smeared as “digital brownshirts” – yet the last I checked, I’ve never seen this kind of behavior from the right side of the aisle. No doubt there are plenty of right-wing nutjobs out there, but threatening the life of a two-year-old? Launching illegal and destructive attacks on other people’s sites? That sort of thing would lead to instant condemnation from the right if a right-wing blogger were to do the same. Yet that kind of insanity seems part and parcel from the left.

All the abject hatred and steaming invective that comes from the left is eventually going to bubble up like it did with the lamentable former Professor’s vile threats. You can’t systematically accuse people of being traitors, slime, and evil without someone taking it to the next level sooner or later. The Right was inflicted with this sort of insanity during the Clinton years, but there wasn’t a blogosphere to channel and magnify that hatred – and cooler heads prevail.

If cooler heads don’t prevail this time, sooner or later someone will make good on those threats, and we’ll all bear the consequences. That’s why it’s so important for the major leftybloggers to speak out on these issues – I trust most of them don’t support such actions and have enough of a sense of ethics to take a stand here. If someone on the right did the same, it would be incumbent upon right-wing bloggers to do the same.

If we want to be treated as something better than a mob, we’d better damn sure we don’t act like one. Calling someone names may be crass and unproductive, but when someone makes threats on the life of another, that’s not only unethical, it’s illegal. I would hope that Mr. Goldstein would pursue every legal option at his disposal to ensure that a person capable of those threats is not allowed to ever be in a position to carry them out.

UPDATE: TalkLeft’s Jeralyn Merritt strikes just the right note.

UPDATE: Captain Ed argues that the left blogosphere needn’t single out the actions of a lone nut:

Let’s not get wild on this idea of requiring a response from everyone in the blogosphere on this story. Deb Frisch is responsible for her actions — not Mahablog, nor any other left-wing blogger who never linked or blogrolled Frisch in the first place. The “crickets chirping” on the Left just means that they probably don’t read Jeff or Deb Frisch. If we make it a requirement to comment on every blogger who crosses the line on either side of the political divide, none of us will have time for anything else.

I respectfully disagree here. Like it or not, the world just doesn’t work that way. All conservatives are smeared when someone like Ann Coulter (who I find shrill and offensive) does something wrong. And we indeed go out of our way to distance ourselves from those who do wrong. Granted, I don’t expect Markos Moulitsas to don sackcloth and ashes and beg for forgiveness for the actions of one disturbed individual, but as members of a community, one has an obligation to stand up and defend the standards of that community, especially when the violation of civilized discourse was this blatant. Stupid people say stupid things, but we all can agree that making threats against a two-year-old child is something worthy of special approbation.

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