Seven years ago, Karoli Kuns had a long piece up at Crooks and Liars that spun a false tale about how I was using Maryland’s peace order statue to harass and oppress Bill Schmalfeldt. Of course, her story was utter nonsense, an inversion of what Brett Kimberlin had done to Aaron Walker and would later try to do to me. I responded to her and to Matt Osborne (who made the mistake of trying to pile on too) with a post titled On Justice.
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Every one of us has said it beginning from the time we were small children. Human beings seem to be wired with a predisposition to fairness. Indeed, evolutionary psychologists like Jonathan Haidt believe that the moral sense of fairness is a universal human trait. Outrage is a normal, heathy response to unfair treatment. We want the world to be set to rights. We want justice in what seems to be an unjust world.
As a Christian, I believe that the source of justice is God. It says in Genesis that we were created in His image, so it makes sense to me that more we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit to be what God intends for us to be, the more we would desire justice. Sometimes Christians are called to deal with the grander problems of the world—think of William Wilberforce, Desmond Tutu, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Martin Luther King, Jr.—but, most of the the time, most of us deal with the seemingly smaller injustices of the world. Sometimes a Christian is called to stand up to a bully.
Bill Schmalfeldt is a such a bully. For years, he has harassed others on the Internet, and no one was able to bring him to justice. That task seems to have fallen to me.
Schmalfeldt’s surprised reaction has been to whine, “No fair! You hit me back.” However, even that’s not strictly true. I haven’t taken personal revenge on him. I’ve reported him to the proper authorities and left any action taken to them.
The real question I face is not what Jesus thinks of my allegedly sadistic treatment of Bill Schmalfeldt. That question is based in the false premise that I am the sadist in the interactions between us. No, the real question is what Jesus would think of my failure to stand up a thug like Schmalffeldt who is bullying others.
Has my response to Schmalfeldt been perfect? Probably not. But my conscience is clear. It would not be if I had failed to step in between him and some of his victims.
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Karoli still has me blocked on Twitter.