William Dobbs, a New York attorney who founded Sex Panic in 1997, says that "Petrelis and Pasquarelli conducted a 'phone zap' as part of a campaign against possible AIDS quarantine. They called, and urged people to call, public health officials and news reporters. Their vigorous efforts against the proposed Model State Emergency Health Powers Act have stirred strong emotions. While we (and others) may disagree with them on politics or tactics, the history of AIDS has often compelled aggressive responses by activists. The prospect of high bail and escalating criminal charges for protest is a genuine threat to civil liberties." How would you reply to Dobbs about this?
My first reaction would be unprintable. The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act is quite simply an added on fig leaf to justify their latest antics. There is a big difference between a phone zap and hateful, threatening, criminal harassment. The "P" twins did indeed call public health officials, and screamed abuse at them, and reporters. When the progressive group Fairness and Accuracy in Media calls for critiques and zaps of media coverage they always note that being polite has more effect than being abusive. AUSF has never, ever, not been abusive.
I am sure that Dobbs would agree that agent provocateurs have justified many a crack down on civil liberties. The solution is to remove the provocateurs and expose them as either paid agents of the state, or by their actions, as good as the same, then isolate them and ignore them. Not build a campaign defending their indefensible actions.
Look, we all know how well loved reporters are. We all know that reporters are used to fielding irate calls. Does this not tell us something that even reporters filed suit against these guys?
I emphasize that what the "P" twins are doing is not protest. I repeat what they are doing is stalking, harassing, threatening, sometimes physically attacking and bullying anyone they disagree with or who stands up to them and publicly disagrees. That is not protest. It is how the National Front in England and the Brownshirts in Germany acted.
The high bail is justified. It is not a threat to civil liberties. It has taken five years for the situation to get to this point. The charges are a last resort to control this group.