posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 03:59 AM
While I am confident that TPTB at ATS are being very well informed by professional legal counsel on how to react to all of this, nevertheless, I am
tossing in my 2 cents. Regarding issuing a formal statement to the media, I think a wait-and-see approach would be the best route to take for the
time being. Jared's (alleged) membership here at ATS could turn out to be of minor significance in the minds of the MSM. There is already a very
well defined picture of who Jared is from the videos and other information they already have. At this stage in the news cycle, the press has already
created their story arc for how they are presenting him to the viewers/readers/listeners. Issuing something formal to the press when it may not be
needed or warranted would be akin to ATS standing up on a platform and yelling "Hey everyone! Look over here at us! The murderous shooter from
Arizona who may or may not be insane used to hang out here!"
Regarding whether or not the site should begin pointedly screening members for mental illness, I would very strongly recommend against doing so. As
it is now, the site is not liable for the behavior of its members. In the course of civil law, implementing a psycological screening process for its
members would almost certainly result in making the site expressly liable for negligence if anyone they failed to identify as mentally ill were to
perpertrate a violent crime. The policies and rules for membership and posting that are in effect now are sufficient to protect the site in most
circumstances. Actually it is the fact that the site has these clearly defined and posted policies and rules in effect that are its best defense in
any scenario involving the actions of its members.
I work in an industry that is committed to protecting the privacy and intellectual freedom of anyone who uses our services. Therefore, I passionately
believe that privacy and First Amendment rights are sacrosanct. I believe that people should never, ever, fear that what they read, the
websites they visit, or a host of other infomational pursuits will be used in some way against them. I would defend to the death a person's right to
privately seek out information or self expression in any way they choose so long as there is no illegal component to their activity (things like the
creation or dissemination of child pornograpy or violent acts being the exceptions). I must admit that I gave a cursory reading to the user agreement
that we must abide by as members (going to go reread it in a moment), but I sincerely hope that our privacy is somewhat protected here. Were "The
Feds" to ever come to ATS demanding the names, profiles, account information and activity of every single member, I fervently hope the ATS admins and
owners would require at the very least a court order for each and every request. In fact, I respect ATS and what it stands for so much that I would
expect nothing less. I even hope they will require a court order from The Feds when they come calling for Jared's profile and account information if
they haven't already requested it.
Do you understand why it is important that our privacy is somewhat protected here? There is that old argument that "if you have nothing to hide then
you have nothing to fear," but that is a flawed argument. Imagine if The Feds came here demanding the accounts of anyone who ever posted anything on
this site about NASA under the suspicion that you were an accomplice of Jared's simply because of his obsession with NASA. A lot of innocent people
would find themselves in trouble with The Feds for no reason. Do you see what a slippery slope that would create?
Anyways, kudos to the mods and the Admins here at ATS for their work on a daily basis to make being an active member here such a great experience and
for their handling so far of this situation. You are role models for us all. And kudos to all of the members who contribute here. I am so glad I
can proudly say I am one of you!!