Trolls on RedState and the Use of Smart Mobs
The recent trouncing of President Obama in the debate this past Wednesday, coupled with his apparent lack of concern in actually winning the election seems to have put the leftists into a full on fever pitch of retaliation. The blogosphere is chock full of examples. For a good ‘on the street view’, check out the posts at Twitchy showing Twitter feeds in the past day or so.
While their reactions here and on other websites makes me smile a bit, there was one thing that raised concern, the story on Twitchy potential rioting as it relates to Liberal civility (or lack thereof).
While there is precedence for this sort of acting out, there is real reason to be aware of the situation. The rise in the last several years of flash mobs and other forms of civil unrest has centered around the use of mobile phones, social media and Twitter to organize massive disturbances as seen in the 2011 riots in London. Some sites even offer a ‘how-to’ for creating a so called ‘smart mob’ protest event (including links to such services as txtmob for the wanna-be’s). While these seem to be encouraging their use to agitate and inspire the recent acts of violences around the world, the fact is that this sort of terrorism knows no national borders.
The most chilling sentence found on the ‘how-to’ post above states (emphasis added):
Smart mobs usually lack a central power controlling the movements and actions of participants. While an organization or group may originate the original messages that call for a demonstration or protest to take place, such a group usually loses control of the mob once messages are sent beyond the first network of recipients and many more people become involved. Don’t be surprised if you lose “power” over participants.
“Usually loses control”… as if that’s acceptable for any person or group to consider as a course of action, regardless of their personal animus on the issue. While I’m not alarmist by nature, the actions of such groups and the terror they bring onto a community is real. The very awareness of such events happening here in the US should cause any person who loves liberty to cringe.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, too.
I will add that while the use of smart mobs by those who promote it is justified (but only in their own minds) as a ‘good and meaningful way’ to call attention for their pet cause, it also shows a lack of common decency and common sense in the way a smart mob is almost guaranteed to go out of control.
This is a problem that is not going to easily go away. Those who want to see it’s continued seem to be fond of saying that crafting laws to prevent it would curtail free speech. I would disagree because there is ample evidence that the use of such tactics are clearly covered in the legal concept of shouting “fire” in a crowded theater:
“…if a court can prove that you incite imminent lawlessness by falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, it can convict you. If you incite an unlawful riot, your speech is “brigaded” with illegal action, and you will have broken the law. But merely falsely shouting “fire” does not break the law, even if it risks others’ safety.”
This seems to be where those interested in preserving the safety of our families, homes and businesses should concentrate their efforts to reduce it’s ever widening use.