This episode of Blogsmoke first ran six years ago today.
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MUSIC: UP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 1
ANNOUNCER: (VOICE OVER MUSIC) Around Twitter Town and in the territory of the net—there’s just one way to handle the harassers and the stalkers—and that’s with an Internet Sheriff and the smell of “BLOGSMOKE”!
MUSIC: THEME HITS: FULL BROAD SWEEP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 2
ANNOUNCER: “BLOGSMOKE” starring W. J. J. Hoge. The story of the trolling that moved into the young Internet—and the story of a man who moved against it. (MUSIC: OUT)
JOHN: I’m that man, John Hoge, Internet Sheriff—the first man they look for and the last they want to meet. It’s a chancy job—and it makes a man watchful … and a little lonely.
MUSIC: MAIN TITLE—RECORDED—CUT 3
JOHN: For the past three years, I’ve been aware of the online activities of a guy called The Grouch. I first noticed him when he published some sealed court documents. When I commented on that, he took notice of me. I became one of his cyberstalking targets.
THE GROUCH: (Through small speaker) @John You deserve troll time.
JOHN: And I got it. The result was my pushing back and The Grouch being the subject of a series of Maryland peace orders. That first peace order was first time The Grouch had been held accountable for his online harassment of anyone.
Now, most people are smart enough to cut their losses after losing in court, but not The Grouch. Over the next couple of years, he wound up collecting restraining orders from Arizona and a no-contact stalking order from Illinois. But he kept going.
THE GROUCH: (Through small speaker, fading in) … brings this complaint to recover damages inflicted by Defendants for engaging in tortious conduct, including but not limited to (1) libel per se, (2) false light invasion of privacy, (3) abuse of process, (4) malicious prosecution, (5) obstruction of justice, (6) unlawful interference with business relationships, (7) conspiracy, (8) intentional infliction of emotional distress, and (9) mopery with intent to lurk.
JOHN: The Grouch tried to push back by suing a group of people—including me—in federal court. His suit was entirely based on state law claims, and because he and I were both residents of the same state, the court did not have jurisdiction because of a federal issue or under diversity of citizenship. That case was dismissed.
THE GROUCH: (Through small speaker, fading in) … complaint for damages for defamation per se, malicious prosecution, harassment, conspiracy, false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and mopery with intent to lurk.
JOHN: So he tried again against most of the same defendants in state court. This time he failed to properly plead a case that would allow the court to have jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendants. That left me as the only defendant, and with that being the case, he had sued me in the wrong county. The case was dismissed for improper venue.
THE GROUCH: (Through small speaker, fading in) … amended complaint for defamation, and false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, joining co-defendants, jury demand. Oh, and mopery with intent to lurk. I shouldn’t forget that.
JOHN: The Grouch then headed back to federal court, still alleging only state law claims, but this time, at least all of the named defendants were from out-of-state. Of course, he botched his filings, and the defendants began making a pretty clear case that The Grouch has misled the court in his petition for pauper status. It wasn’t long before he figured out that he had better cut his losses. He wound up dismissing the suit with prejudice.
And that’s not all The Grouch gave up on.
MUSIC: SCENE BUMPER MUSIC—RECORDED—CUT 4
ANNOUNCER: On this last weekend of summer, I’ll sitting on the porch with a cold one in my hand. I’ll keep my drink cold and my hand warm with a Team Lickspittle Thermos Can Cooler. It’s not one of those flimsy foam can wraps. It’s a solid double-wall aluminum vacuum insulated cooler made by Thermos®. It’s just one of the nifty goodies available exclusively at The Hogewash Store. Stop by today and spend some of your hard-earned cash to help support Team Lickspittle. You can also show your support by hitting the Tip Jar.
MUSIC: SCENE BUMPER MUSIC—RECORDED—CUT 5
JOHN: The Grouch decided to give up on Maryland. He’s moved away.
THE GROUCH: (Through small speaker, fading in) … since leaving Maryland, things are going better than expected.
JOHN: The Grouch pulled up stakes and headed off to Wisconsin. Given his legal history and situation, that was an interesting choice. Wisconsin is one of the few states that still has a criminal defamation law, and the state has several other statutes that could make The Grouch life quite uncomfortable.
Out of the frying pan …
MUSIC: CLOSING TITLE UP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 6
ANNOUNCER: (VOICE OVER MUSIC) Even with a good imagination, we can’t come up with stories as strange as The Grouch and his buddies provide for episodes of “BLOGSMOKE”!
MUSIC: SWELL AND CONTINUE TO MUSIC OUT
ANNOUNCER: The Legal Department wishes the following declaimer read: “‘BLOGSMOKE’ is a work of fiction. Anyone who feels it might be about him should read Proverbs 28:1.”
This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System.
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Wisconsin, Iowa, South Carolina, Texas, New Mexico, Montana, Oklahoma, Michigan, Georgia, Missouri, … and so it goes.