The Need For Civility (And Sanity)

Yesterday Townhall posted an article about some recent remarks by Elie Mystal on MSNBC Thursday night.

According to Legal Talk Network:

Elie Mystal is the Managing Editor of Above the Law Redline and the Editor-At-Large of Breaking Media. He’s appeared on MSNBC, Fox, and CNN, and pretty much any network that will invite him. He’s written editorials for the New York Times, the Daily News, and would make a good character in a Billy Joel song. He graduated from Harvard University in 2000, Harvard Law School in 2003, and was an associate at Debevoise and Plimpton.

Townhall reports:

Earlier this week Rep. Joaquin Castro in Texas “named and shamed” San Antonio supporters of President Donald J. Trump in what he says was an effort to get these Americans to think twice before being “complicit in white supremacy.” Anybody with common sense understood the move was dangerous, especially coming from a public official, as it could paint a target on these individuals’ backs regardless if the information was already public or not. On MSNBC Thursday night, guest Elie Mystal took the hysteria over supporting President Trump one step further, saying that protesters should form literal mobs outside the SoulCycle and Equinox chairman’s home in the Hamptons due to his support for the commander-in-chief.

“People of color are already targeted under this administration,” Mystal said Thursday night regarding Rep. Castro’s actions. “I have no problem with shining the light back on the donors who fund this kind of racialized hate.”

“I mean I go further, I want pitchforks and torches outside [Stephen Ross’] house in the Hamptons,” Mystal continued. “I’ve been to the Hamptons, it’s very nice. There’s no reason why it has to be. There’s no reason he should be able to have a nice little party. There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be able to be outside of his house and making their voices peacefully understood.”

I am amazed that such a well-educated man would say something that stupid. Just for the record, people of color are not being targeted under the Trump administration. First of all, let’s take a detour here to look at some actual facts. President Trump signed the First Step Act into law, a bipartisan measure to give prisoners getting out of jail a chance to find jobs and contribute to their communities. Since 38 percent of prisoners at the state level are people of color, that law will have a positive impact on people of color.  Unemployment for people of color is at historic lows under President Trump. Second of all, pitchforks and torches? Really?

Whatever happened to the calls for civility?

Doxing Is Illegal

A website called Subliminal Ridge posted the following about doxing in 2012:

Doxing is always illegal, whether it is done against a federal employee, a state employee, or a regular person. There are federal and state laws that specifically address doxing government employees. With regular citizens, doxing falls under various state criminal laws, such as stalking, cyberstalking, harassment, threats, and other such laws, depending on the state. Since these doxing threats and activities are made on the internet, the law of any state may be invoked, though most often an investigator will look to the state in which the person making the threat is located, if this is known, or the state in which the victim is situated. A state prosecutor can only prosecute violations of the laws of his or her own state, and of acts that extend into their state. When acts are on the internet, they extend into all the states.

 Misinformation was spread that doxing is legal. I am not sure how or why anyone fell for that misinformation. Surely, people must understand instinctively, even if they were misled about the law, that if they are threatening someone or putting them at risk, or tormenting or harassing the other on the internet, that this must be illegal. Common sense would tell you that bullying or jeopardizing another would be illegal in some way. So yes, doxing is illegal, no matter who the target.

Meanwhile The Hill reports:

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) on Wednesday was pressed by MSNBC’s Willie Geist after he used his Twitter account earlier in the week to identify a number of people who had made the maximum allowable donations to President Trump‘s campaign.

Geist said that the Trump donors “are undoubtedly already being harassed online or perhaps face-to-face in some cases” because of Castro’s actions. 

Castro, the brother of 2020 Democratic hopeful Julián Castro and chairman of his campaign, faced pushback on Tuesday from a number of conservatives for sharing the list of names. He said he published the names because he hopes that people “will think twice about contributing to [Trump’s] campaign.”

“What I hope is that this has started a conversation about what exactly Donald Trump is doing with these people’s money,” Joaquin Castro explained. “And I hope donors in San Antonio and donors throughout the country, unless you support the white nationalism and the racism that Donald Trump is paying for and fueling, then I hope that you, as a person of good conscience, will think twice about contributing to his campaign.”

The article concludes:

Geist pushed back again later, pointing to Castro’s comments that President Trump’s rhetoric has led to violence.

“If you agree rhetoric can lead to incitement, even if it triggers one person to do something terrible, does it give you any pause to put these names out in public?” Geist asked.

“Well, Willie, they’re already public, they’re already out there,” Castro responded.

“There are 11 retirees and one homemaker who are not public,” Geist noted.

“And this was already circulating. I shared it, so I didn’t create the graphic,” Castro replied.

“Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Brzezinski defended Castro earlier in the interview, with the latter arguing that Castro was only “reframing” public information.

“If you’re proud of funding President Trump, you need to understand that that will be public information. And all you’re doing is trying to explain what it is in terms of the policies or the morals that you are funding,” Brzezinski said.

Geist is also the anchor “Sunday Today with Willie Geist.”

You can’t draw a straight line from anything President Trump has said to violence. If any one of the people Castro listed are harassed or bullied, Castro is directly responsible. Mr. Casto, you need to be charged with a crime.