A key tactic of The Left is to demonize their political opponents. They have become increasingly sophisticated at this since the turn of the 21st Century. Most recently they have assembled voluminous databases on “Right Wing”, “Alt-Right” , and “Hate Groups.” But by lumping together legitimate conservative political activists (such as Tea Party groups) and right to life groups in the same lists as racists, bigots, the KKK, and assorted anti-Semites, they have besmirched the reputations of nearly everyone who opposes the socialist agenda. Some of the latest generations of databases can safely be called Vindictive Databases.
A new article in Wired magazine describes the level of database automation that The Left are now employing: Meet Antifa’s Secret Weapon Against Far-Right Extremists. This article reveals a large database called Whack-a-mole. This tool automatically mines data from Facebook, based on keywords like “patriot” and “anti-Obama” without applying human analysis. Therefore, a considerable percentage of the 400,000 “far right extremists” flagged by this system are surely false positives. And even more alarmingly, the key creator of Whack-a-mole publicly admitted that she has shared some of the database information with the Antifa radicals.
Although some of the development of leftist databases can merely be ascribed to over-enthusiasm or political zeal, much of it is truly vindictive. Some of it crosses the line into indiscriminate mudslinging. Their “special reports” and databases employ a mix of fact, fiction, supposition, and innuendo. Their reports and web sites often include often spurious “hate maps” that erroneously pinpoint conservative Christian groups, pro-family groups, and Right to Life advocates. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)‘s widely-publicized Hate Map is truly a conglomeration of fact and fantasy. Looking at the heavily-pimpled map, an outside observer would easily assume that the Inland Northwest region is on a par with the racist hatefulness of the Deep South in the 1930s. But that is far, far from the truth! We get along just fine here, and we tend to judge people as individuals–not in “race” groups.
The leftist databases are often used in attempt to blame and shame people who are actually innocent and blameless. Much of the “research” (with tenuous connections) that the SPLC and other groups have complied has been parroted verbatim by the ADL, and in multi-jurisdictional Task Force “extremism reports”–at the local, state, and Federal level.
Police databases–already plagued by internal errors–are made even worse by injecting SPLC data. By mixing facts with unsupported surmises, the SPLC and other “extremism researchers” have cast a wide net. In fact this net is so wide that it extends to guilt by non-association. It goes so far as to group together anti-racists (such as the American Redoubt movement) with racists. Similarly, it attempts to make genuine supporters of Israel seem somehow connected with anti-Semites. Another bad boy list even put a Muslim anti-jihadist in a list of “anti-Muslim extremists.” This shows just how convoluted the logic of The Left has become. Some of this data is so absurdly false or exaggerated that it has been denounced even by other leftist researchers.
Flawed Databases: Garbage In, Garbage Out
The truly frightening thing about these flawed leftist databases is that they are accepted as near gospel by naive law enforcement officials. The Intelligence Fusion Centers and Task Forces routinely use SPLC-supplied data to fill their own databases. From what I’ve read, this has been going on since sometime before 2009. It is often a case of “Garbage in, garbage out.” (A database that includes tainted data can only dispense tainted data.) The same thing has happened in Great Britain. Today, all across America, police departments–large and small–have this bad data pushed down to the patrol car level. Some of that data is from vindictive databases, so it includes false accusations, slanted descriptions, fictitious memberships, incorrect locations, and merely assumed allegiances.
This widespread erroneous information might sound fairly innocuous, but it could actually be a matter of life or death, for motorists. This is because it is now standard operating procedure to “run a plate” for any car that is pulled over, before approaching it. In fact, many departments now use automated plate scanners–so it doesn’t even require a conscious decision. With automation, license plate numbers are quickly associated with Registered Owners. Then, in turn, many departments and agencies flag the names of registered owners from multiple databases, including lists of registered CCW permit holders, Social Security Numbers, and cross-correlated with those “lists of Potentially Dangerous Individuals.”
The Police Officer Training Mantras
After being supplied spurious information (via a flawed database) a patrol officer is naturally on high alert. Say, for example, that a database flag warns an officer that you are associated with the Sovereign Citizens movement. Whether this is true or not, the officer has visions of a shootout running through his head. After all, he’s received training about how “incredibly dangerous” those people can be. He regularly reads about their threat to his safety in police magazines. He has been trained: “Officer Safety is Paramount.” So, whether consciously or unconsciously, he treats what would have otherwise been a routine traffic stop as a felony stop. Therefore, he starts out the encounter with an itchy trigger finger. Why? Because of a mantra heard every day in locker rooms, training rooms, and briefing rooms. It is: “Go home safe to your wife and kids tonight.”
The SWAT Factor
There have been dozens of incidents in recent years wherein police officers have over-reacted. Granted, the majority of the roughly 1,000 killings by police each year are justified. But a few are not. Actually, more than just a few. And this doesn’t only happen in big cities. Some of the shootings have been out in ranching country. And it isn’t only blacks who have been singled out. Nor is it just random traffic stops where police over-react. It also happens when police are maliciously called to a scene, in what is commonly called SWATting. It its this SWAT factor that concerns me the most.
One Likely Scenario
Here is one all-too plausible chain of events: 1.) A leftist erroneously puts “John Smith”–a law-abiding and peaceable right winger–into a Hate Database. 2.) That database is subsequently shared between multiple law enforcement agencies. 3.) Someone gets drunk and decides to make a prank “Anonymous Tip” call to the police about John Smith. This happens either because he simply dislikes John, or because he has read that John is one of those people. One Saturday evening, he calls the local police department from a burner cell phone. He falsely reports that he has heard a “loud domestic dispute, breaking glass, and shots fired”, at the home of John Smith, at 123 Main Street.
Then it gets ugly, as the chain of events plays out, and as the Law of Unintended Consequences kicks in: 4.) Before the police arrive, they are warned that John Smith is a Potentially Dangerous Individual. So they send in a SWAT team, on high alert. Meanwhile, John is at home watching a movie on television. He is cleaning his AR-15, after a day at the rifle range. 5.) Looking through a window, a SWAT officer sees John holding the AR. Then John sees a strange red light and instinctively turns in that direction. 6.) With the aid of a laser aiming light on his department-issued AR, the SWAT officer shoots John six times, in rapid succession.
The Likely Aftermath
End result: John Smith is dead. The Anonymous Caller is never charged or even identified. The police officer is exonerated, after he testifies that he felt that “his safety was endangered.” The FBI national death statistics increment by one digit. The statistics for “a crime involving an ‘assault rifle'” increment by one digit. A leftist group adds a mention in their monthly magazine that “another extremist was killed, in a shootout with police.” They put another dot on their Right Wing Extremist Incidents map. John’s family attends a somber funeral.
If the foregoing hypothetical SWATting description sounds far-fetched to you, then read this. The police never even saw a gun, but yet they shot him without hesitation.
As time goes on, the leftist vindictive databases will surely continue to grow. They will continue to be shared. And, unfortunately, there will be an increasing chance that they will be either innocently misapplied, or maliciously used as a political cudgel. SWATting may become more commonplace.
It Happened to Me
I can write with authority on the subject of lying leftists. This because I’ve personally been their victim. Starting in 2011, the SPLC misidentified me as a proponent of the Sovereign Citizens movement. Even though I contacted them by mail and have made repeated public denials and clarifications on my stance, they have continued to fallaciously include me on their lists. (Or should I say maliciously, since they’ve long known better.) Later, they tried to somehow lump me in with a group that had a convicted felon as its leader. And this was immediately after I had denounced the man!
I believe that the SPLC’s mis-identification stemmed from my use of a comma to distinguish my Family’s name from my Given name. This was just an affectation, partly as a way to make my name memorable in the publishing world. I was simply following the advice of H. Ross Perot. (He advised friends in the business world to use distinctive presentations of their names, to make them unforgettable.) All of my books have been published under “James Wesley, Rawles”. While that was successful for my name recognition, it also got me falsely pigeonholed as part of a group with whom I have no affiliation.
Echoed and Amplified
My own experience shows that the SPLC’s distortions and lies are preserved and often perpetuated in cyberspace. For example, a 2014 article published by the ADL echoes the SPLC’s assumptions about that now notorious comma. Take a minute to read this: Murder Suspect Fan Of “Patriot” Movement Survivalist Guru. Notice how it includes this line: “Rawles, though more well-known as a survivalist, has also been an adherent of the anti-government ‘sovereign citizen’ movement.” Once a lie gets started and spread via the Internet, it is hard to stop. In this case it was even amplified. They attached “anti-government” to my name. I hope that readers can see how dangerous these trends are.
Where I Stand
Once again, for the record: I am a proponent of the American Citizenry being well-read on both history and the law. But I DO NOT support the so-called Sovereign Citizens movement. From all that I’ve read, the courts have routinely shot down their pleadings. Virtually every time that someone has tried to assert their rights as a “Sovereign” in any court of law, they have failed. This has been true of tax protestors, those attempting to establish allodial title to land, those attempting to impanel “Citizen Grand Juries”, and even folks claiming a right to travel without a Driver’s License. Time after time, they have tried and failed.
I believe that attempts by “Sovereigns” to misapply the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) in their legal defense has been one of their biggest mistakes. A lot of this ill-conceived legal maneuvering can be traced back to Howard Freeman’s flawed pamphlet cum book The UCC Connection. He also published a shorter piece titled: The Two United States and the Law.
Sadly, Freeman’s writings have something in common with the leftist reports and databases: The mixing of fact and fiction. Freeman used a mixture of some historical truth with a hefty admixture of unsupported assumptions and pseudo law fancies. They were written by a layman. (Freeman is not a Juris Doctor. He had no formal legal education.) In my estimation he put an entire generation of folks down the wrong path. Some of them got themselves into a heap of trouble. By using the UCC as the basis of their pleadings, they actually cemented themselves to the same Federal statutory jurisdiction that they were attempting to avoid.
I’m Not Alone
I am sure that my situation with the SPLC is not unique. The SPLC and other pressure groups are well-known to throw innocent individuals and groups into their reports. They have shown a disregard for truth and accuracy. And, as I described, the potential misuse of their data could have huge implications for the privacy, reputation, and safety of those named. This is not conjecture, on my part. There have already been two documented incidents: The man who attempted to assassinate several Republican congressman including Steve Scalise had previously posted a “like” on the SPLC. And the domestic terrorist who tried to shoot up the Family Research Council building claimed that he picked his target because of SPLC data. Further, the advent of the Whack-a-mole database illustrates just how indiscriminate these vindictive databases can be.
In summary, we should beware the growth of vindictive databases. Their potential for misuse is enormous. Please encourage your legislators to enact guidelines for law enforcement agencies, sharply limiting their use of any data that is compiled by private pressure groups or by foreign organizations. Legislation that holds SWATters accountable for their actions would also be appropriate. – JWR
Note: Permission is granted for re-posting of this entire article, but only if done so in full, with proper attribution to James Wesley, Rawles and SurvivalBlog, and only if the included links are preserved.)