|Carol Shuler, from her Facebook page|
Let's look at the evidence, and use a little common sense, to arrive at a likely answer to that question. Here are a couple of unsettling hints: (1) Our house, or rather a desire to scour the contents of our house, was the driving motivation behind the ugly events of fall 2013; (2) Carol and I, and our pets, were at significant risk of being killed.
As we noted in a previous post, suing Carol (or "Mrs. Schnauzer," as we most often call her here) is like suing tennis great Steffi Graf for something her husband, fellow tennis great Andre Agassi, wrote in his 2009 autobiography, Open. It's absurd, nonsensical, unlawful, and a classic example of what lawyers like to call "vexatious" litigation. That means it has no purpose other than to harass and annoy, and if our case had a legitimate judge other than Claude Dent Neilson, Riley and Duke would have been hit with sanctions.
Including Carol in the Riley/Duke lawsuit probably had a purpose other than to harass and annoy. Our guess is that it was designed to steal and terrorize, which makes it even more unlawful--perhaps even criminal. Why do we say that?
For starters, let's stipulate that Carol, because she was named in the lawsuit, was targeted for arrest. Jay Murrill, from the Riley Jackson law firm, sent her a letter after I had been in jail for several weeks, stating that he and his client/boss never had any intention of having her arrested. But Carol and I both know that is a lie.
When I was being arrested on the night of October 23, 2013, dragged from our home with pepper spray dripping off of me, I heard three or four officers on the scene talking about trying to arrest Carol. She was asleep in an upstairs bedroom, and somehow managed to remain asleep while deputy Chris Blevins beat me up and left debris all over the floor in our garage two stories below. I could hear officers talking about trying to nab Carol ("the wife") that night, but they apparently were reluctant to knock down our front door to get at her.
During the first week I was in jail, Carol reports that deputies made three more trips to our house--at least one of them at night, with lights being shined into our windows. They again pounded on the front door and yelled something, apparently trying to get Carol to come to the door so they could make off with her. Wisely, she did not fall for it and managed to get word out to various news outlets about my arrest. During one night-time visit, Carol was on the phone with Andrew Kreig, of the Justice-Integrity Project, so he was able to get a sense of the siege she was under.
Only when the story began to spread, with the help of Andrew Kreig, Peter B. Collins, and many other journalists, did the threatening visits to our house stop.
So what was the purpose of this terror campaign against someone who, as Riley and Duke seemed to admit in court documents, had nothing to do with writing or editing the posts in question--or any other Legal Schnauzer posts, at the time?
It took me awhile to arrive at an answer to that question, perhaps because of the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) I've experienced since being released from five months in jail--apparently the first journalist in American history to be incarcerated under such circumstances. By the way, I'm not loosely throwing around the term PTSD; multiple medical professionals have diagnosed me with the disorder, and I am receiving treatment for it, although I feel its effects every minute of every day.
Carol also has been diagnosed with PTSD. Perhaps of more concern at the moment, she has not been able to receive medication for a thyroid condition, and the lack of treatment puts her health at serious risk. That's what happens when you've been cheated out of your jobs--and your health insurance--kicked out of your house, and forced to move to an unfamiliar area.
Here is the likely answer to why Riley/Duke named Carol in the lawsuit and sought her arrest; it seems abundantly clear to me now, after months of wondering, "Why on earth did they do that?"
Carol and I now are convinced that the Riley/Duke lawsuit was all about our house--or rather the imagined contents of our house.
In the fall of 2013, I was conducting research on a number of sensitive, and potentially explosive, topics regarding the tribe of white, elitist conservatives who more or less run Alabama. Some of that research led to posts about U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor and his ties to 1990s gay pornography via badpuppy.com--a series that drew national and international attention, given Pryor's status as a controversial Bush-era appointee who was known for his numerous anti-gay public statements and actions.
|Bill Pryor, at badpuppy.com|
As noted here previously, the Riley/Duke complaint had almost nothing in common with a standard defamation lawsuit. It didn't seek a trial, it didn't seek a jury, it didn't seek monetary damages, it didn't seek discovery to prove the material in question was false or defamatory. That's because it wasn't about defamation or a civil dispute (lawsuit)--it was about having me thrown in jail.
And it was about having Carol thrown in jail. Why her, too? That's where common sense enters the picture--and it took me several months to regather my wits in order to figure this out.
What happens when the two human occupants of a house--we also have two much loved and slightly spoiled kitty kats--are arrested and thrown in the slammer? The house suddenly becomes free of human barriers and open to thorough "investigation."
With the help of law-enforcement officials or "security specialists," who can easily pick locks and comb through possessions, anyone could go through our house from top to bottom. They could rifle through everything we owned--and even steal items that held a special interest for them.
We feel certain they would have found plenty of interest, especially in one room. That's why it was so important to arrest Carol. With both of us stashed in jail cells some 20 miles away, our house would have become an open book. And it's important to keep this in mind: The Riley/Duke lawsuit file was sealed, so the public would not have known the case even existed--we would have vanished, with the general public having no way of knowing what happened to us. Readers likely would have started asking questions when my blog suddenly stopped, with no explanation, but authorities easily would have been able to fend that off.
Carol's ability to escape abduction almost certainly threw a major wrench into the plans. But individuals close to Rob Riley had reason to know that our house contained information that could be highly damaging to their interests. So they had another trick up their sleeve--a Plan B, if you will.
We will spell that out in an upcoming post, and I think this much will be clear: Carol and I have been the victims of organized crime. And that's because Alabama is a dysfunctional, red state that is run by a band of white, "conservative" elites who, when threatened, resort to tactics that are criminal and organized.
How serious is this? Well, Carol and I were the targets of a conspiracy to kidnap. And had we both been abducted, and we failed to produce the desired information, I think we likely would have been killed; our pets almost certainly would have been killed. And with the lawsuit file sealed, it's likely no one ever would have known what happened to us. The local press probably would have portrayed our disappearance as "suicides" or an "accident."
If that doesn't scare you, no matter where you live . . . well, this story isn't over. Wait until you hear about Plan B.
(To be continued)