A Distasteful Doxing: The Shameful Double Standard of Representative Sims
Representative Brian Sims has filmed himself acting in extremely poor taste, committing what is in many states a crime, uploaded live onto the internet for the world to see, and it seems likely he will not see any punishment for it.
Now, as a 501(c)(3) organization, we, the Liberalist International Association cannot speak publicly in favor or against any political candidate, based on their political allegiance. Therefore, in describing what has happened, I will endeavor to keep any commentary on the actions of Representative Sims as politically neutral as possible, something which I fear the police, courts, and social media likely will not do when examining his actions.
Sims, a Democratic Representative for the State of Pennsylvania, was recently filmed harassing protesters outside of a Planned Parenthood. He asks those watching his stream to identify the women present in the video, offering $100.00 to anyone who can offer him their names. He also offers to donate to Planned Parenthood.
I cannot say what motivated Representative Sims to commit this act. I have ideas, but regardless of my personal opinion, I should like to point out that this action he has endeavored upon has a name: Doxing, or at least, an attempt at Doxing, with a cash reward offered to whomsoever produced the documented private information that the Representative requested.
I should not have to note how this is an egregious violation of the fourth amendment, not that such a clause has mattered to any member of government for the last 20 years. Beyond this violation of personal privacy of peaceful protesters, gathered to demonstrate, as is their right, is a crime; at least elsewhere in the country.
Vague as cyber-crime laws are in Pennsylvania, it is difficult to tell if what Brian Sims did would fall under Section 2709 Subsection A of Pennsylvania State law. Repeatedly demanding the names of protesting civilians, asking and then attempting to bribe people into releasing their personal information, all while framing them in a negative light, one wonders if a reasonable court might view such an act as harassment? I should think so myself, but I am not a judge nor a juror.
Of course, elsewhere in the country, such laws are on the book, and there is a federal law pertaining to the illegality of doing something like this to federal employees. Why these protections are limited to public servants, and not granted to all citizens rather baffles me, but alas, I am not a law-maker in the United States, ergo my opinion on the matter means little.
What I do find rather shocking is the utter ambivalence by social media platforms to do anything about this behavior. Law or not, most websites have clear standards and guidelines in place to address the kinds of people who engage in this sort of activity. Many have been permanently banned for far less.
Sims’ personal Twitter is still functional (albeit protected at the moment) as are his Facebook pages, untouched as of the time of writing this article.
In an era where political candidates can be punished on platforms for as little as making jokes, one wonders why exactly a government representative who threatened the privacy, security and safety of private citizens suffers as of yet, no consequences for his actions. Of course, I cannot say what these reasons may be, and leave such conclusions to be drawn from the reader’s own opinions.
Either way, regardless of party affiliation, regardless of the D, R, or I next to his name, Sims’ actions in this case are reprehensible, and they would be reprehensible no matter who committed them. This sort of viral bullying tactic is committed by the kind of person who has no arguments, only intimidation, and seeks to scare people with the threat of a monster they cannot reckon with; the combined fury of the internet.
Anyone who relies on these shameful tactics should feel ashamed for doing so, especially if their job is to represent citizens in public office. Those who are being shamed and doxed in instances like these, are the same people whom these representatives are supposed to be working for and hearing out the concerns of.
This case makes a mockery of the idea of Blind Justice, and it treads all over the individual rights of the protesters, especially those enumerated by the governing document of the country in which this happened.
Sadly, I fear we may see more of this before we see less, unless companies step up to the plate and start upholding an equal standard as to who they let get away with what. Sadly, I’m not holding out hope, that this will happen any time soon.