Like a lot of bloggers, I get all kinds of harassing and threatening e-mails from people who don't have the courage to identify themselves.
Anonymous correspondents have insinuated that they killed my dog. They showed that they had obtained my Social Security Number (probably by breaking the law) and hinted that they intended to use that information in unlawful ways. They made false allegations against me regarding my work and threatened that they were going to cost me my job. (And I, in fact, was fired by UAB about a month after that threat.)
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. If you are going to blog about serious subjects (particularly those connected to politics), you'd better have a thick skin--or you'd better shut off the comment mode on your blog and not publish your e-mail address.
Legal Schnauzer has been up front from day one about who I am, what I am writing about, and how I can be reached. That kind of transparency is critical when you are writing about a subject like public corruption. But that transparency has made me an easy target for folks who are uncomfortable with the truths revealed herein. And such transparency almost certainly cost me true ownership of my own house--and my job.
So you can say I'm used to being attacked. But an attack came the other day from an unexpected source--Dan Roberts, the proprietor of the Alabama-based blog Daily Dixie. I've never known much about Roberts or his political leanings. But my impression was that he was a reasonable sort, so I put him on my blogroll (and I'm on his) and checked in on Daily Dixie from time to time.
I had no idea that Roberts had written about Legal Schnauzer until one of my anonymous e-mailers, the one who likes to make taunting references to our deceased dog Murphy, let me know about it Friday morning. My e-mailer seemed to take delight, almost a personal pride, in Roberts' piece, so I figured it must be quite a piece of work.
And I was right. It's a piece of work all right.
Not sure what kind of work. You could call it a hatchet job, but that would be giving Roberts too much credit. The term hatchet job implies that a person has put some thought and effort into their endeavor and that they've dug up some unpleasant facts to fire at their target. Roberts' piece, titled "The Legal Schnauzer's Micro-War," has none of that.
It has the feel of someone writing Roberts an e-mail with a few attack points about me and encouraging him to post it--and Roberts saying, "Sure, why not?"
You get an idea of how inane Roberts' post is going to be with the first sentence. "I've been skimming over Mr. Shuler's blog," he tells us, "and I've finally formed a solid opinion."
You "skimmed" a blog--one that covers eight to 10 years worth of fairly complex legal activity--and you have a "solid opinion" of it? You understand right off that Roberts doesn't have a clue what he is talking about.
That, however, doesn't prevent him from wading into the fray. Does he actually deal with the issues raised by my blog? Heck no, that would require effort, and Roberts is a "skimmer."
So he follows what I call the "Jill Simpson" strategy: Take the person presenting uncomfortable truths and proceed to question their mental health. He or she is "nuts," "loony," "unstable," "delusional" and so on. Heck, Roberts even does me the favor of doing an official diagnosis, informing me that I must have "paranoid personality disorder."
Wow, I didn't realize Roberts had credentials in psychiatry! Who knew?
Here's another great strategy: Put words in your target's mouth. Roberts goes on ad nauseum about my supposed allegations that Karl Rove and Bob Riley have personally taken steps to "destroy my life." Never mind that I've never made those allegations. They sound good to Roberts, I guess, so he lets them fly.
And then there is this classic chestnut: Talk tough about demanding evidence, and then when someone offers to show you the evidence--and even explain it for you--you say, "Aw, I'm too busy, or it would cost too much money, to do that."
Check out the comments where I repeatedly offer to give Roberts a guided tour of the evidence in my case. Then count the number of excuses he comes up with to beg off.
The truth? Roberts isn't remotely interested in the voluminous evidence of wrongdoing committed by certain Republican lawyer/judge/prosecutor types in my case. Why go to the trouble when it's so much fun to throw barbs about someone's mental health?
I have no idea what Roberts' intentions were with his post. But after I sent a comment or two to him, he admitted that he probably shouldn't have written the post at all. That tells you just about everything you need to know about Roberts and his handiwork.
I was offline for technical reasons on Friday, so I wasn't able to respond to the Daily Dixie piece here. But I did write a diary about it at Daily Kos, cross posted at Left in Alabama. For those who are interested, you can check out the diary here.