A pseudonymous blogger by the name of Elisha Strom has been locked up by Charlottesville police and is being held on rather shaky charges for the contents of her blog. Her last post: “Uh-oh, They’re here..”

Elisha Strom, who appears unable to make the $750 bail, was arrested outside Charlottesville on July 16 when police raided her house, confiscating notebooks, computers and camera equipment. Although the Charlottesville police chief, Timothy J. Longo Sr., had previously written to Ms. Strom warning her that her blog posts were interfering with the work of a local drug enforcement task force, she was not charged with obstruction of justice or any similar offense. Rather, she was indicted on a single count of identifying a police officer with intent to harass, a felony under state law.

[source]


Her blog is here.

Strom has bee blogging the activities of the Jefferson Are Drug Enforcement task force including photographs, for a while now. They told her to stop but she did not. Apparently, all the information she blogged was publicly available.

Now, before you start looking for the PayPal button for raising money to get Strom out of jail, consider the following:

Ms. Strom is not the most sympathetic symbol of free-speech rights. She has previously advocated creating a separate, all-white nation, and her blog veers from the whimsical to the self-righteous to the bizarre. But the real problem here is the Virginia statute, in which an overly broad, ill-defined ban on harassment-by-identification, specifically in regard to police officers, seems to criminalize just about anything that might irritate targets.

It should not be a crime to annoy the cops, whose raid on Ms. Strom’s house looks more like a fit of pique than an act of law enforcement. Some of her postings may have consisted of obnoxious speech, but they were nonetheless speech and constitutionally protected.

I wonder if supporters of blogospheric pseudonymous no holds barred in your face angry criticism will be taking up a collection to get this clearly wronged white supremacist out of jail? Or will their strongly held opinions wilt in the face of … an actual situation.

Comments

  1. #1 DuWayne
    August 16, 2009

    Given any extra resources, I would donate. I am a pretty absolutist, when it comes to free speech and abuse of authority respectively. Not a fan of the white supremacists, but honestly, I am far more interested in having them loud and proud, where we can see them, than having them skulking in shadows, relegated to terrorism as their only outlet.

    But I don’t have any extra resources – especially with the best women ever coming to see me (I pick her up from the airport in the morning – WOO HOO!!!)…

  2. #2 travc
    August 16, 2009

    Sounds like a job for the ACLU and perhaps EFF. She’d be a lot better off with them advising her than random pay-pal donations. (Donating to the ACLU and EFF is always good IMO.)

  3. #3 sbh
    August 16, 2009

    I’m pretty much with DuWayne on this one. That is one weird blog, though.

  4. #4 Kris Rhodes
    August 16, 2009

    This was picked up by Slashdot.

    Even though the headline sounds really bad, it isn’t obvious that she was ‘clearly wronged’.

    If she were tracking the police for a legitimate reason, then yeah, prolly wronged. Legitimate reasons might include journalistic interest, concern for police wrongdoing, etc. However, it appears she was doing this because she was romantically involved with someone on the police force, and then started stalking him and his coworkers after the relationship ended.

    Should the police’s special position as public protectors mean that a police officer can’t protect themselves from a stalker?

  5. #5 Jeremy
    August 17, 2009

    Fairly hilarious, especially her last post in that blog.

    I agree that it’s not clear that she’s been wronged, but also surely the police should have to follow the same procedures for being stalked as other people, and surely it’s inappropriate for the police who are being stalked to be doing the arresting – shouldn’t it be done by some kind of independent police (or maybe it was?)

    If it was clear that this was an injustice and an example of police abusing their authority, I would donate money regardless of her opinions regarding anything (if I had any money to be able to donate).

    Anyway instead I’m just going to randomly write “uh-oh, they’re here…” around the place.

  6. #6 Abstruse
    August 17, 2009

    I’d help bail her out. She is a crazy bitch though.

  7. #7 Michael Finn
    August 17, 2009

    “First they came for the crazy bitches, and I said nothing for I was not a crazy bitch…”

    I suggest adopting “Uh-oh, they’re here” as a new pro-free-speech slogan forthwith.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    August 17, 2009

    OK, fine, but do try this on for size please:

    She’s a white crazy bitch. Therefore, very few people are going to make the comment “she was asking for it.” When Black Crazy Bitch Professor Skip Gates got uppity because he felt ‘invaded’ and was busted, that was because he was asking for it. This White Crazy Bitch puts undercover cops in danger, and undercover cops are sanctified because they are like first responders, but she’s white so her transgressions are not “asking for it” but rather, more a matter of spilling the blood of liberty or some such trash.

    I’m going to be very disappointed with how this is going to work out, I think.

    Of course, it is probably too late to put the Gates Gate racist genie back in the bottle.

  9. #9 the real meme
    August 17, 2009

    Wow, eye opening post. Thanks for the nod to crazy white bitches–there are a few out there on both sides of the ideological divide.

    And when she says “That guy, right there, the passenger? Has a firearm the size of me.”

    I can only wonder: Why is it that when a right wingnut woman feels patriarchal violence directed at her person, she’s crazy, but when a faux-liberal feels such things its clearly a violation of civil rights?

    Police power has gone relatively mad in the last several years. These task forces are being disbanded all over tha country right now, and their crimes are under investigation–but Greg, you cal thuis woman a threat to undercover cops? These task forces are merely adrenaline junkies trading on the high they get out of unchecked, unbalanced violations of individual liberties.

    Oh, and let’s not forget that Louis Gates is relatively white compared to this woman…

    And I think you are wrong about her not ‘asking for it’–remember that whole blogosphere deal when a crazy left-winger was crying wolf over sexism[ um, which one of them? there are sooo many...]? She was asking for it too, if you followed up on the story.

    “That guy, right there, the passenger? Has a firearm the size of me.” Where are all the faux-lefties crying “penis envy” now?

  10. #10 the real meme
    August 17, 2009

    Michael Finn: “I suggest adopting “Uh-oh, they’re here” as a new pro-free-speech slogan forthwith.”
    I second that emotion.

  11. #11 isaac
    August 17, 2009

    This is obviously a case of penis envy.

  12. #12 the real meme
    August 17, 2009

    penisarchal opeesion.

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    August 17, 2009

    Uh-oh, they’re here

    Honestly, if it wasn’t a white supremacist, I’d agree that this is the next great t-shirt. However, given what is going on around us right now, I’m not going to endorse it. I say just let it lie.

  14. #14 Paul D.
    August 17, 2009

    Not so fast:

    http://podblanc.com/elisha-strom-exposed

    (not work safe)

    Or is this a joke.

  15. #15 Robert
    August 17, 2009

    Why are we even talking about this, it happened DAYS ago.

  16. #16 Andrew
    August 17, 2009

    Poking around on the intertubes, this looks like an amazingly strange story. Actually, feel sorry for the cops who had to deal with this one.

    OK, I’ll say it, the crazy bitch was asking for it.

  17. #17 Tim
    August 17, 2009

    It is interesting to see what happens when they turn on each other!

  18. #18 Enoch
    August 17, 2009

    After seeing that video I stopped wanting to buy that tee-shirt.

  19. #19 Brian G
    August 17, 2009

    I’m glad she was arrested, and I agree with you Greg. What she’s doing is putting undercover cops lives at risk. Even if she was blogging about the undercover cops as a journalist, I would still condemn her for what she was doing.

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