Storming the homes of political enemies, cont’d

by Walter Olson on June 19, 2013

Why isn’t there greater revulsion when political mobs assail the personal residences of officials they disagree with? And who will be next? [Mark Krikorian; earlier here, etc.] (& welcome Instapundit readers)

{ 39 comments }

1 BrendaK 06.19.13 at 8:58 am

Why isn’t there greater revulsion? Because we (of every political persuasion) feel like our government is ignoring not just us but our Constitution.

Because our government Mandarins are creating rules and regulations – backed up by force of law! – with neither the consent of the governed nor the oversight of our elected representatives.

Because our elected representatives are too busy lining their own pockets to do their actual job.

Because an out-of-control Presidency empowers an out-of-control bureaucracy which ensures an out-of-control population.

2 Rob Crawford 06.19.13 at 9:23 am

Not following you, Brenda. That the government apparat are “ignoring” us doesn’t permit their families to be terrorized.

Particularly since the case in question isn’t someone who is ignoring the people, just not doing what that particular mob wants.

3 TheNewGuy 06.19.13 at 9:48 am

Well… I’m sure a few posters WOULD add an opinion here about smarmy, arrogant bureaucrats who apparently having nothing to fear, even when they deliberately monkey-wrench peoples’ lives for purely political reasons…

But expressing an opinion like that might lead to an IRS audit… or OSHA staging a surprise inspection of your business.

If bureaucrats had to look over their shoulders a bit more, perhaps they’d be more reticent about using partisan politics as a basis to deliberately screw up the personal and professional lives of regular, patriotic citizens; citizens whose only crime is disagreeing with big government. Citizens who merely want to peaceably organize to have their voices heard.

4 Denver 06.19.13 at 10:11 am

“I aim to misbehave” – Capt. Malcolm Reynolds.

5 BrendaK 06.19.13 at 10:11 am

And in response, I say to you that this is a top-down cascade of poor and sometimes unlawful behavior. Why should anyone else follow law or convention when our public servants do not? The answer is that many will not — and they’ll get away with it. I would add that our current popular culture absolutely encourages bad behavior.

You are a decent person, who expects decent behavior, in a world where decency is less and less the norm. You are not alone in asking why this poor behavior is happening; a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is ‘as above, so below.’ Which is why character matters in both the public and the private sector.

6 BrendaK 06.19.13 at 10:14 am

Sorry, my last comment was in response to Rob!

7 OneNationUnderSurveillance 06.19.13 at 10:46 am

Its all the Chicago way now. When I was young(er) I thought about politics. Then I took a closer look. I saw what they do to your reputation and that of your family. No accusation is too scurrilous. No attack to vicious. Now we have the IRS targeting political enemies, the NSA (Hi guys!) routinely capturing and monitoring all of us from end to end and tortured by regulation and taxation at every turn. “Easing” my money away by inflation and Weimar level printing. We are headed for East Germany with Zimbabwe’s fiscal policy. Why risk anything? The nail that sticks up is the one that gets hammered down. Enjoy the decline as best you can and hope to hell they can kick this can down the road just a little bit farther.

8 OneNationUnderSurveillance 06.19.13 at 10:50 am

One more thing: the glimmer of hope that I have resides in, for lack of a better phrase, “going Galt”. People are setting up parallel entities to official channels. If they take off, I have no idea what the future will look like. I fear that the Feds are going to kill bitcoin or make is so difficult to use that it will die. Imagine what the world would look like if there was a stable, finite currency that was secure and anonymous that they couldn’t tax, plunder, regulate to death or inflate away. The implications are staggering. Combine that with 3D printing in reach of everyone. Arms control would be effectively impossible along with myriad other things. Every man in his garage is a manufacturer. Its Distributism on steroids.

9 Old School Conservative 06.19.13 at 11:03 am

I certainly don’t disagree with BrendaK about a political and bureaucratic class that has totally forgotten about the rule of law and the Constitution. The intrusion into every aspect of our lives and businesses by regulatory over-reach and plain old criminal misconduct is reprehensible, to say the least.

Nonetheless, mobbing a politician’s or bureaucrat’s home or family is just plain revolting, not to mention cowardly. If you want to use civil disobedience to make a point or to effect change, gather your allies, march your sorry butts into the offending gubmint office and go to it, but leave families and homes ALONE.

10 BrendaK 06.19.13 at 11:15 am

I should probably be clear — I do not and would never approve of terrorizing families and bystanders. I’m just offering a premise that I believe answers the question, “Why is this happening, and why isn’t there more outrage about it?”

11 buddy larsen 06.19.13 at 11:21 am

“Character doesn’t matter as long as he’s doing his job,” said the apologists of Monica Bill. But what they could not understand is that his job was to ‘have character’. They could not understand this because without character it can’t be understood.

12 Bill M 06.19.13 at 11:30 am

No, I won’t leave families and homes alone. They don’t. They inflict emotional damage and financial hardship on whole families for partisan purposes. All civility will get you is another audit. If they want to play the music, we’ll dance to the tune…and they won’t like it.

13 John Fembup 06.19.13 at 11:32 am

Way back there in high school my civics text had a little story in it that I’ve never forgotten.

It seems that sometime in the 1850’s, a crowd was gathered on a Mississippi River pier waiting for a riverboat to dock. A Congressman approached the crowded dock and his retinue began to push the waiting crowd aside, shouting “Make way! Make way for the representative of the people.”

After a moment, the crowd shoved the Congressman and most of his staff into the water with a shout of their own: “Make way yourself, we ARE the people!”

Don’t know if the story is true. But it has a certain truthiness and is certainly memorable.

14 George B 06.19.13 at 11:46 am

Targeting Mark Kirkorian’s home is just wrong. He was elected by the people of Kansas and he regularly debates his opponents in public. There are plenty of opportunities to protest where he works instead of where he lives. His opponents will have an opportunity to try to defeat him at the ballot box.

15 Tedd 06.19.13 at 11:49 am

Old School:

Hear, hear. Even the mafia doesn’t go after families.

16 Ron Miller 06.19.13 at 12:07 pm

I heard Sasha was real upset about protesters in front of their father’s home on Pennsylvania Avenue. I remember all of you being so upset about that.

Stormed? Terrorized? The newspaper article left that part out. They protested. The First Amendment speak to this issue a little. Is there anyone that wants to make this against the law?

These comments are largely way off point and assume incorrect facts.

Zimbabwe? East Germany? Geez, I have grave concerns about our fiscal and monetary policy over the last 12 years. But as long as bonds are paying out 1.5%, let’s save the Zimbabwe talk lest no one take our concerns seriously.

17 asdf 06.19.13 at 12:13 pm

This has become an increasing tactic of the Left. They’ve been staging protests at CEOs’ homes for years– intentionally targeting their children to extort political concessions. More recently, we have the protests at the home of Karl Rove. After the Prop 8 vote in California, gay rights protestors targeted the homes of ordinary people who they’d identified as their enemies. And finally, there are the efforts by the Obama campaign and its operatives to identify and target voters who disagree with them. Not to even mention the IRS abuses.

So on one hand, you have the whole “we’re better than they are, and won’t stoop so low.” But that’s been the refrain for decades against their increasingly smarmy tactics. Part of the reason we’ve gotten to this point is the conviction by those on the Left that these tactics are valid when used by their side, and the knowledge that we’ll hold our fire in return.

I suspect that long-term, these tactics do more harm than good– certainly for the country as a whole, possibly even for the faction using those tactics. But the rules of engagement are fragile. Once gone, they’re gone for good. We’ve seen this happen in other countries, and we’re no different. By the time the Left comes to its senses, I fear it will be too late.

18 Tina 06.19.13 at 12:16 pm

Yep, Old School Conservative, OneNationUnderSurveillance, George B, Tedd.
Of course we are sickened to the point of nausea at the thought of our local police refusing to immediately arrest and remove a mob of shreiking progressives being bussed in to lay seige to anyone’s private home. But what will happen to us if we speak out about that practice, not just in government retaliation when the President praises mobs, but from the mobs themselves. Those poor souls in California who donated to the Prop 8 cause found themselves being bullied with bullhorns 24/7, their businesses blocked and wrecked, and the police relaxing nearby with their arms folded. It didn’t stop until they broke from the torture and sobbed their confessions and apologies into the cameras stuck in their faces.

The practice of mobbing the homes of elected officials is a tactic designed to shut down the Sarah Palins of America before they even get started. Even local politics was scary enough before the zombie party that used to be the democrat party began this mad march into nighmare. Most normal people walk around in today’s world scared to death all the time. Heck, we worry if our neighbors might be offended by something we did. Who could we turn to if these lawless invasions were to happen to us?

Your post has made me think. We need an action plan. Just like in the 80s we empowered women to protect themselves against muggings, Conservatives and Christians and Libertarians – anyone beyond the Progressive Pale – need a set of simple tactics we can use to FEEL confident that we could survive a political home invasion without being shamed and brutilized for the rest of our lives.

19 Old School Conservative 06.19.13 at 12:18 pm

FYI BrendaK, I knew you were not advocating violence against families. I was just stating my opinion of those that do.

20 Nathan 06.19.13 at 12:28 pm

Because it’s only the Bad Guys who this happens to. If it were happening to people who hold the right views on things you’d see more consternation.

Much like making fun of children, this will only stop when it’s met with equal force in the other direction. One mob at some Democrat’s house, or a couple jokes about Obama’s daughters, and it’ll end.

21 TheNewGuy 06.19.13 at 12:31 pm

The Mafia may not go after families… but leftist/activist bureaucrats certainly do. They tend to fall into the ends-justifies-the-means bucket.

Ask Sarah Palin.

22 No Name Guy 06.19.13 at 12:53 pm

Tedd

But if a new gang of thugs started going after mafia family members (wives and kids), you could bet the old school mob would respond in kind, only more so.

In a similar manner, US forces generally weren’t the ones to start the level of brutality that was the Pacific War. However, once the Imperial Japanese forces decided to go down the path of willfully violating nearly everything about the Geneva Convention, it was meh you want to do it that way, so be it, and the gloves came off. All hands on deck after we torpedoed a troop ship – everyone, here’s a Tommy Gun and a stack of magazines, make sure no one is left alive in the water – “Hey boys, remember the Battan Death March as you shoot ‘em” might be the words from the sub Captain as he gave the order.

Is that “Right” in the great sense? Nope, of course not, and neither is protesting at a private residence…..but if our overlords, uh, I mean politicians and bureaucrats insist on playing dirty, they should expect that they get dirty play in return – the situation noted in this case, and the point made by BrendaK.

She also correctly notes that sh*t flows downhill – don’t be surprised if some of it is flung back up at times. Don’t like that sh*t is being flung? Then don’t start it flowing down hill in the first place. Sadly, the political class will naturally propose to solve the sh*t flinging “problem” with draconian punishment for flinging sh*t uphill, instead of stopping it from flowing downhill in the first place. They’ll try and address the symptom, instead of the underlying disease, as is typical.

Our elected leaders are supposed to lead by example – to set the tone of civil discourse and clean actions in office. That there is obvious, blatant and naked corruption and incivility at all levels of Government sets the tone that its ok for the peons, uh, I mean Citizens, to be corrupt and uncivil as well. I don’t like it either, however its a natural outcome of the actions of the political class.

23 buddy larsen 06.19.13 at 2:34 pm

The contest between left and right has become a clash between ideology and politics. Our system’s continual (regularly-scheduled revolutions every two years) reapportioning of limited governing power has lately hit a snag –the ideology of unlimited power. This ideology rejects a future of politics, aspiring instead to an ‘end state’. The twin dieties in this end state, Stalin and Mao, operate through slogans such as Stalin’s “No man, no problem” (although the problem in the worker’s paradise was, the paradise murdered the workers), and Mao’s “power comes from the barrel of a gun” (meaning, the ideology of gun obedience demands you choose between death and slavery).

So with such primitive guiding spirits, what’s so bad about simply roughing up some dude’s wife and children? I mean, it coulda been worse, ya know?

24 Ron Miller 06.19.13 at 3:09 pm

Now we have advanced to Mao and Stalin and the protesters roughed up this man’s wife and children. Don’t stop here. Let’s build on it. Someone bring Hitler into it. Otherwise, we are nowhere.

25 Buff 06.19.13 at 3:22 pm

You’ll see the revulsion as soon as people start protesting at the residences of Democrat officials. It’s only okay when people protest against Republicans.

26 John Fembup 06.19.13 at 4:12 pm

Just protesting? Or bullying?

Is that playing with words? Is it different from this?
I am firm; you are obstinate; he is pig-headed.

Or these?
I am merciful, you are lenient, he is a pushover.
I am concise, you talk too much, he is a bore.
I am youthful, you are childlike, he is immature.
I am confident, you’re aloof, he is arrogant.
I am intellectual, you’re book smart, he is pedantic.
I am creative, you’re predictable, he is a lunatic.

27 gitarcarver 06.19.13 at 4:36 pm

I heard Sasha was real upset about protesters in front of their father’s home on Pennsylvania Avenue. I remember all of you being so upset about that.

I don’t remember people protesting on the grounds of that home on Pennsylvania Avenue or being on the West Portico. In fact, I am pretty sure that if anyone tried to do that, they would be immediately arrested.

Stormed? Terrorized? The newspaper article left that part out. They protested. The First Amendment speak to this issue a little. Is there anyone that wants to make this against the law?

It already is against the law, Ron. The people did not have the right to come onto private property. Its that little thing called “trespassing.” Do you want to make trespassing legal now?

These comments are largely way off point and assume incorrect facts.

Including comment #16.

28 richard40 06.19.13 at 4:43 pm

I had the same thought Buff. If tea party people were protesting at the residences of dem politicians you would see plenty of revulsion. This is another very agresive tact8ic that only gets excused of the left does it against the right.

29 Ron Miller 06.19.13 at 5:24 pm

Trespassing on what? Where does it say that? I read the actual article on the case. Geez, we can all agree that trespassing is a crime.

30 Richard Nieporent 06.19.13 at 8:22 pm

Trespassing on what? Where does it say that? I read the actual article on the case. Geez, we can all agree that trespassing is a crime.

Over the weekend, a mob of maybe 100 pro-amnesty protesters swarmed around the home of Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach, a prominent immigration hawk, chanting “Si, se puede.” Kobach, his wife, and their four girls happened to be out of town, but you can see from the video that people are crowded on his front porch and steps, his driveway, and front lawn.

Ron, should we believe you or our lying eyes?

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/06/16/immigration-activists-march-on-kansas-secretary-of-states-home-leave-behind-shoes-of-the-fathers-that-hes-deported/

31 jdgalt 06.19.13 at 8:33 pm

Protesting at an office or business location, or a public park, sends the message “We don’t approve of what you’re doing.” No problem there.

But protesting at a home sends the message “We know where you live.”

The practice needs to be banned totally, regardless of the group or their intended message.

32 Robert 06.19.13 at 8:46 pm

Don’t forget another awful political protest: When Spike Lee “tweeted” the address of someone who he claimed was the father of George Zimmerman. It turned out the person was unrelated. Spike Lee’s victim to seek police protection for the death threats he received.

(See, for example http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-57405929-501465/spike-lee-retweets-incorrect-address-of-george-zimmerman-violates-twitter-rules/ )

And even though Spike Lee violated Twitter’s TOS and possibly several laws, he was neither kicked off Twitter nor charged with any crime. He did, however, settle with the man he terrorized for an undisclosed sum.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/celebritology/post/spike-lee-reaches-settlement-with-florida-couple-over-george-zimmerman-tweet/2012/03/30/gIQALWKDlS_blog.html

33 buddy larsen 06.19.13 at 10:20 pm

What’s the difference between holding a gun on someone and demanding the wallet, and sending a hundred-strong angry mob onto the front porch of the home where his wife and four daughters reside? Both cases promise violence unless a demand is met. The mob is the gun –maybe it won’t be fired, maybe it will. You’ll find out, unless you cooperate.

The only way the gun is not extortion is if it’s unloaded, and you know that for a fact, and also that it will always be unloaded, every time it’s pointed at you, indefinitely.

Since the volition is mutable and outside your control, you can’t know. Ergo, you and your loved ones have just become hostages.

How much did you say it’s worth to you to oppose these people? Where’s the higher duty, to the rule of law or the wife and kids? If you make a stand now and get away with it, will you make another stand next time around? If not, who on earth could blame you?

34 gitarcarver 06.19.13 at 10:29 pm

Trespassing on what? Where does it say that? I read the actual article on the case. Geez, we can all agree that trespassing is a crime.

Well gee, Ron, maybe you didn’t read all the articles. Or maybe you didn’t read any.

“Kobach said at the very least, the protesters trespassed on private property and made what he considers to be criminal threats. He said their actions could also be seen as a terroristic threat and that the protesters were trying to bully him into changing his position.”

source: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/17/4299242/kobach-seeks-investigation-into.html#storylink=cpy

“After the meeting a group also went to the Wyandotte County home of Kansas Secretary of State Kobach and left about 20 pairs of shoes at his doorstep. ”

“There were around 100 protestors who surrounded Kobach’s home in protest to his stance in immigration.”

source: (including image of the protestors on the property:

http://www.kake.com/news/headlines/Protesters-Surround-Home-Of-Kansas-Secretary-Of-State-Kris-Kobach-211734701.html

“I was just appalled,” he said. “They have a right to protest at my office or at my public places, that’s fine. But they don’t have the right to enter someone’s private property and engage in this kind of intimidation. I have four little girls and they would have been terrified to see 200 protesters shouting at their daddy on megaphones on the front lawn.”

Video shot by one of the protestors showed a group standing at Kobach’s front door.

Source: http://www.kpho.com/story/22614882/kck-police-investigate-protest-on-kris-kobachs-doorstep

Even the article cited by the original post here at Overlawyered says: “but you can see from the video that people are crowded on his front porch and steps, his driveway, and front lawn.”

35 Ron Miller 06.20.13 at 10:15 am

Well, I have no problem with them dropping some shoes off. But… Gitacarver made me watch the video. (I want that four minutes of my life back.) They absolutely should not be on the guy’s property and the police should arrest people if they don’t get off when they are told to. But if they want to protest in front of his house on public property, I’m fine with that.

Do you know how many pro-life conservatives have protested at the homes of doctors and politicians who support abortion? Those people are about 6.5 trillion times more rabid than these people. But, you know what, if they stay on public property, they can do whatever they want.

Gitacarver, I did not read all of the articles. I read the one. How you manage read all of that stuff, write the long comments and still remain an authoritative expert on every single topic in human history is extremely impressive. Bravo.

Buddy, I think MLK taught us that all protests do not end in violence. I wanted the video. Most of these people would shy away from trying to fight their way out of a paper bag.

36 gitarcarver 06.20.13 at 1:32 pm

Thanks Ron for the compliment. I had no idea I had the ability to “make you” do anything, much less watch a video. That’s a pretty impressive feat if I do say so myself.

One would have thought that as the video commences with the crowd standing in the front entrance of the home that would have proved the “trespassing point” to your satisfaction, but reasonable people will disagree on your looking for more things to suit your view rather than the facts.

It is also impressive that you want to try and shift the blame again to other protestors. First you tried to make some equivalency between protesting on public areas near the White House to trespassing and surrounding private property. Now you are trying to shift the blame away from the people who trespassed to some other group.

I guess you missed the arrest of those mean, horrible, rabid abortion protesters just above Baltimore (where you are) who were arrested for protesting on public property? http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/bs-md-ha-abortion-protests-police-20120324,0,1556625,full.story

I bet you weren’t happy when a judge slapped down the police for their actions in accosting and arresting the protesters.

But back to this story. You said you “read the article.” Even the cited article notes the trespassing so either you didn’t read the article or failed to understand it. Instead of just saying “I missed that part” or something similar, you chose to attack others and try and shift the blame.

And instead of just saying “they shouldn’t trespass,” you make a caveat that you don’t have a problem with the leaving boots on the doorstep. Of course, being on the doorstep and getting to the doorstep would be trespassing, but hey, what does consistency matter?

37 Jerry Vandesic 06.20.13 at 4:10 pm

The ones who trespassed should face the legal consequences of their actions. The one’s who protested without trespassing should be free to do so. It’s pretty simple.

38 Hugo S. Cunningham 06.21.13 at 1:21 am

The issues raised here are similar to ones about residential picketing. I would apply a “24/7″ rule: If the residence targeted by the protestors has police protection 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (eg the White House), then the picketers can be tolerated, provided they don’t deprive the targets or their neighbors of sleep, etc. If the police are unwilling to provide protection 24/7, then it is time for the protestors to move on, eg to their target’s workplace.

The White House is a special case because it is both a home and a workplace. I have favored stringent prosecution of anti-abortion extremists who picket the homes of abortion doctors, but would be more tolerant if said doctors were foolish enough to perform abortions in said homes.

39 buddy larsen 06.25.13 at 1:54 pm

Ron, re your

“Buddy, I think MLK taught us that all protests do not end in violence. I wanted the video. Most of these people would shy away from trying to fight their way out of a paper bag”

All true, but beside the point. Otherwise we could just dispense with law enforcement, on the grounds that MLK covered all that. “Most of these people” shying away from violence is nice but about as helpful toward a solution as the observation that most citizens are not criminals.

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