This Shouldn't Need Saying: Threatening To Kill Anyone Over Net Neutrality Is Idiotic
from the bring-back-civility dept
It’s indisputable that Ajit Pai’s attack on net neutrality was a facts-optional hatchet job of historical proportions. Pai ignored the public, the experts, ethical boundaries, and FCC guidelines as he rushed to give a sloppy wet kiss to some of the most disliked and anti-competitive companies in any American industry. Making matters worse, Pai repeatedly rubbed salt in the wound by behaving like a tone-deaf ass at numerous points during the bizarre and amateurish gambit.
That said, however terrible Ajit Pai has been (and he has been historically terrible), it should go without saying that threatening the FCC boss or his family is both idiotic and counterproductive.
You’ll recall that Pai was forced to cancel his appearance at CES back in January due to death threats. And late last week, the Department of Justice announced that it had arrested a 33-year old California man for sending e-mails that threatened both Pai’s and his family’s lives:
“The first email accused Chairman Pai of being responsible for a child who allegedly had committed suicide because of the repeal of net neutrality regulations. The second email listed three locations in or around Arlington, and threatened to kill the Chairman?s family members. The third email had no message in its body, but included an image depicting Chairman Pai and, in the foreground and slightly out of focus, a framed photograph of Chairman Pai and his family.”
The full affadavit offers a little more detail, noting that the FBI didn’t have to work very hard to identify the man behind the STUBBLEMANLINESS@GMAIL.COM address, from which the threats were made:
“The next day, on or about December 20, 2017, at approximately 3:47 p.m. EST, an email was sent from STUBBLEMANLINESS@GMAIL.COM to Federal Official 1 ‘s government and personal email addresses. The subject line of the email was “Cheers” and the body of the email listed the names and addresses of three preschools located in or around Arlington, Virginia, followed by the following sentence: “I will find your children and I will kill them.”
Again, it really shouldn’t need saying that threatening any government official or their family over tech policy (net neutrality or anything else) is obviously utterly terrible, obnoxious and disgusting. It’s also utterly counterproductive and self-defeating. In reality, this kind of behavior comprises a tiny, tiny fraction of the massive number of folks angry about the repeal. But Pai’s staff has enjoyed singling out and highlighting these folks whenever possible to try and imply that opponents to Pai’s ISP-cuddly policies are generally unhinged and unreasonable.
Besides, Pai has made it easy to dismantle his policy positions in an entirely civil manner without resorting to boorish behavior. This is an agency boss who not only turned a blind eye to fraud and identity theft during the public comment period, but also apparently helped make up a DDOS attack just to try and downplay the massive, bipartisan opposition to his policies. Pai doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to the facts — so just stick to them.