Vigilante Justice is Good, Apparently.
Gregory Allan Elliot must die.
Elliot is the Toronto man who in 2012 answered an ad for volunteers to produce art work and posters for the group; Women in Toronto Politics. The group founded by Stephanie Guthrie. Elliot volunteered to produce those posters for her. But the volunteer found himself in disagreement with Guthrie over her alleged plan to slander and blacklisted a software developer over her offence at satirical video game.
The game in question featured an image of feminist Anita Sarkesian, and included punching the face of Sarkesian’s digital image. Guthrie took to the internet, tweeting potential employers in Sault Ste. Marie, and contacted a local newspaper about the offending video game developer.
Mr Elliot disagreed with the planned harassment of a young game developer, and argued with Guthrie over the ethicacy of her plan via twitter. That argument extended to an ongoing disagreement over her politics lasting more than a year. Guthrie charged Mr Elliot him with criminal harassment. It’s the first case of it’s kind in Canada.
During Mr Elliot’s trial, Guthrie was asked about vigilante violence against another man, Hunter Moore. Moore had created a revenge porn website, which while not illegal, crossed boundaries of good taste and positive ethics.
In the example of Mr Moore, Guthrie was asked by lawyer Chris Murphy if she supported actions putting Mr Moore in physical danger.
“In this specific situation…in light of the actions he [Moore] took and in light the law’s inability [to deal with it], yes … depending on the case, yes.”
Murphy later questioned Guthrie about her vigilante actions against game developer Bendilin Spurr.
“I put it to you that you wanted to ruin Bendilin Spurr’s life?” he asked.
Ms. Guthrie replied “I was simply making people aware”.
Mr. Murphy asked, if those she made aware took action that ruined Mr. Spurr’s life?
“I would not feel sorry about that.” Ms. Guthrie said. “It would be because” he had brought it on himself.
It would obviously not be because she campaigned to vilify him. Gregory Allan Elliot’s lawyer asked Guthrie if the end result was ruin, “that’s okay with you, yes or no?”
“Yes,” Ms. Guthrie said, untroubled by the admission.
Gregory Alan Elliott had been a supporter of Stephanie Guthrie. Mr Elliot ran afoul of the political activist when he objected to her plan to conspire against the video game developer. Elliot characterized Guthrie’s intentions as “every bit as vicious as the face-punch game”.
As a personal observation from me, this appears a rather mild critique. A face-punch video game featuring a person’s image is far less harmful than an organized campaign to ruin a person’s employment prospects and life.
In March 2014, Judge Brent Knazan halted Elliot’s trial after receipt of a letter alleging a criminal conspiracy by Guthrie and two others.
Knazan announced on March 20 that the content of the letter left “police and Crown counsel no option but to investigate,” and adjourned the case.
At the time of this commentary, Gregory Allan Elliot’s trial for allegedly harassing Stephanie Guthrie is over. A decision is expected on October 6th.
For many people, the summary provided above will be nothing new. Canada’s national post has covered the story extensively, and critically of Guthrie’s conduct.
In fact, many people have wondered why a political activist’s claim that disagreement with her would be entertained by the Canadian courts. A political activist’s pursuit of vigilante justice, and claimed victimhood appears a perversion of justice. That the case was not thrown out as a frivolous nuisance lawsuit remains a source of amazement. I know I will be accused of naiveté.
Court documents state: “Ms. Guthrie confirmed that, as far as she was aware, Mr. Elliott never sent her a tweet that was libellous, threatening, or sexual in nature.”
But waiting for the decision of Judge Brent Knazan, many followers of the precedent setting trial believe that of course Mr Elliot will be exonerated.
This is a possibility, certainly. But, given that at no was this case thrown out based on it’s seeming frivolity Mr Elliot might be on his way to jail. Dissagreeing with a feminist in her hot pursuit of mob justice against a face-punch video game developer might now be defined in law as criminal harassment. But the decision of the Canadian court, waiting for the pronouncement of Judge Knazan doesn’t matter. Public, verbal or written opposition to social justice vigilantism is now effectively a criminal act. The possible ratification by the court is a formality. Stephanie Guthrie already has her justice, because Gregory Allan Elliot’s career is finished. He was fired from his job and publicly defamed long before stepping into a Canadian criminal court. Elliot is not a responsible adult opposing social justice vigilantes, no. He’s the criminal harasser of a “truly great young woman”. Those words being the characterization of Guthrie by Christie Blatchford, one of her critics writing for Canada’s National Post.
Mr Elliot must go to jail.
Miss Guthrie must not be inconvenienced with charges of criminal conspiracy, fraud, public mischief or criminal contempt. She is an experienced and accomplished political activist, and a feminist. She is female, and therefore the victim.
Why, in Canada do we even bother ourselves to pursue resolution of grievances by the costly and tedious criminal courts?
Social Justice is clearly faster, more efficient, and it is what people want.
That’s the article. What follows below is unimportant personal rambling.
Years ago, commenting on mainstream feminism’s opposition to due process, I made the following speculation. I guessed that that the public would come to regard the courts as incapable of redressing criminal grievance. I also guessed that removal of Habeas Corpus would drive people towards ad-hoc solutions to personal grievance. I guessed people, being adaptable would abandon law and would seek extra-legal alternatives. I though those solutions would include violent vendetta.
Vigilante violence appeared a probable outcome of removing due process and presumptive innocence from the western practice of law.
Although I predicted vigilante justice as an emerging social norm, I got it almost completely backwards.
I did not guess that the social justice ethic in centres of higher learning would be the active source of vigilante practice. Rather, I guessed it would be an exhausted public who lost faith in rule of law and sought their various cave-man alternatives. Silly me.
It is now clear in Canada that whether the courts have been perverted so that that opposing vigilantism will land you in jail is not even a relevant question. The non-feminist public doesn’t need to lose faith in the rule of law. Non social-justice-warriors and will have no opportunity to adopt extra-legal alternatives for dispute resolution.
The feminist and social justice mainstream has already done it, not reactively, but proactively. The vigilante, social justice of the mob is already normal. And Stephanie Guthrie is a truly great young woman.
Acquit yourself accordingly.