This advisory may seem obvious in the current anti-police environment in this country, but it still merits repeating: Cops need to beware of social media. This is good advice for anyone, but it’s vital for law enforcement officers, especially after the anti-cop actions of a particular university professor in New York.
In Seattle, I remember we had this malcontent who’d made it his life’s mission to acquire and publish every tidbit of information he could collect on the city’s police officers. Under the guise of conducting a “public service,” he worked to make public as much about officers as he could. He seemed to have no regard for the potential dangers to which he was exposing officers and their families. Hey, some bad guys don’t like cops all that much. Imagine that!
Well, that guy isn’t the only anti-copper with wicked intent. It’s bad enough when cop haters target law enforcement in all sorts of despicable ways, but are cops helping these anti-police miscreants do their dirty work? The Left is expanding their attacks against government officials they don’t like to areas of life that used to be off-limits — places like at home, at restaurants and movie theaters, and even at church.
These places are no longer off-limits. For the Left, harassment is a free-for-all.
I’m not just talking about lowlifes releasing citizen complaints and disciplinary actions against an officer. I’m talking about releasing information that makes it easier for leftist lunatics to find, harass, and even assault cops where they live, play, relax, and worship. They’re actually showing up at ICE agents’ churches.
Recently, Black Lives Matter (BLM) harassed a police officer at his wedding.
You’ve all heard about protesters intimidating Trump administration officials such as Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kirstjen Nielsen out of restaurants. Harassers confronted Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at a movie theater. And more recently, though not government officials, Antifa supporters confronted conservative activists Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens in Philadelphia, while the pair were eating chicken and waffles for breakfast.
Someone assaulted Kirk during the incident by throwing water on him. Kirk declined to press charges, and I gotta disagree with Charlie on that decision. Leftist radicals need to be held responsible for such behavior, or it will continue and escalate.
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Now, the Left has turned the volume knob on the political harassment of conservatives up to eleven. I was unfamiliar with the term dox (doxing) before doing research for this article. Doxing refers to the practice of obtaining documents on the internet with personally identifiable information about a person and then publishing and disseminating it with malevolent intent. These cockroaches can easily gather information from public databases and social media websites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
If the information isn’t readily available, some obtain it by hacking.
One of the anti-cop radicals doxing federal law enforcement agents should surprise you, but it won’t. He’s NYU adjunct professor Sam Lavigne. He describes himself as “an artist and educator.” How pretentious is that? Oh, and there’s one other descriptor for the good artist-educator: a possible member of Antifa. At least, that’s what some reports are alleging. So let’s amend his descriptors: artist, educator, and possible member of a domestic terrorist group. A veritable renaissance man.
The Daily Wire describes the NYU adjunct professor’s work as dealing with “data, surveillance, cops, natural language processing, and automation.” He’s also taught at The New School and Columbia University, both also very leftist and located in New York City.
Anyway, the professor and possible Antifa member has accumulated an enormous database of personal info on some 1,595 ICE employees. The Daily Wire reports Lavigne harvested the data from employees’ LinkedIn profiles.
Gathering the data is only one part of his apparent jihad against law enforcement officers. Dissemination is the other nefarious component. Reportedly, Lavigne has distributed the database to 3,000 of his followers.
He also contacted celebrity critics of President Trump’s so-called family separation policies. This included actor Peter Fonda, who recently tweeted a call to “rip Barron Trump from his mother’s arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles.” Who says stuff like that? It’s not normal. Neither is the following message tweeted by Fonda at 12:19 a.m. on June 20, 2018, to include profoundly foul language punctuating his rhetoric:
Seems his exclamation point is a nasty four-letter word. It has since been deleted from Fonda’s Twitter account, but a ton more of vileness remains, mostly anti-Trump trash talk.
Can you hear the courage in that Fonda tweet? Can you realize his incitement? Fonda has also made crude comments about White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and called for violence against Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Man, these fine, upstanding women, who are simply serving their country, can’t catch a break.
What’s really screwed up about this situation is, except for information gathered through hacking, cops may be serving up the info to scum like Lavigne on a proverbial silver platter. I’m sure I’m guilty of this, too. So, while still trying to be careful, I’ve decided to just assume everyone has my personal information and act accordingly. But I still don’t want to make it even easier for the sleazes out there.
Be careful with the information you make public on your social media sites. This used to be touted as good advice for folks going on vacation to prevent burglaries. Today, you have to be even more careful because of the threat of harassment, or worse, from left-wing fascists.
They’ve created political motivation out of lies.
Be cautious about posting things like where you go to church, what sports team you or your child might be on, and where the games are played. Also, don’t mention where and when you are planning to stay for your next vacation. Even seemingly innocuous things like this can open you up to harassment or attack from cop haters.
It’s not right or fair that there are people out there who have chosen to believe anti-cop myths and also help to create and spread those myths — not to mention, sometimes act out violently. But those people do exist.
They’ve created political motivation out of lies, have infused a warped legitimacy into them, and then they act out accordingly as if they are heroes fighting a true evil. This is one of the most dangerous kinds of evil: acting out of phony virtue.
You owe being careful online not only to yourself but also to friends and family members who may be with you when some Antifa or BLM goons decide they want to act violently on the information given them by professor Lavigne and people like him. Remember, they are not above showing up at your favorite restaurant, theater, your home, or even on Sunday morning at your church.
Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor and retired Seattle police officer. He has served as a field training officer on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and as a precinct mountain bike coordinator. He has a BA in English language and literature. This OpsLens piece is used by permission.