So yesterday, fellow Illinois blog Second City Cop was threatened by a woman. She claimed “her case” was “her business” and to remove it from SCC. Or else.
What was this case? It involved Jennifer Koniarski who suffered an ankle injury in her third week at Chicago’s Police Academy in 2003. She hadn’t even finished three weeks into a 16-week academy, but she filed a disability claim. Somehow, even though she wasn’t a police officer yet, she managed to get her claim approved and has been drawing disability even though she wasn’t a sworn officer for a single day.
The state, having investigated her claim, recorded her doing all manner of physical activities she claimed she couldn’t do. Without so much as a limp. In so many words, the powers that be discontinued her benefits. She sued and the Appellate Court reinstated her benefits.
Whoever this was that threated Second City Cop didn’t like the publicity of a recruit at the academy injuring herself three weeks into it and getting disability payments effectively for life. Talk about hitting the lottery.
We’ve gotten these in the past as well. We’ve gotten them from anti-gun activists, upset of our coverage of their anti-gun activities.
Another memorable one came from Guns & Ammo, delivered via a Facebook message almost ten years ago, reference our coverage of the Taurus Turd. (Definitely worth a read! You’ll laugh out loud… repeatedly.)
They backed off pretty quickly after the ham-fisted attempt at intimidation. And that garnered another couple of hundred thousand reads.
Speaking of which, did you know Guns & Ammo and a slew of other dead-tree gun publications was owned by a company in Hastings, Nebraska. They moved to Peoria at one time. Despite employing better than 70 staff at the time, not a single one of them ever came out to a Peoria GSL meeting. Could it be they really care less about gun rights than reviewing the gun from their latest advertising contract?
These things have a way of demonstrating The Streisand Effect. From Wiki:
The Streisand effect is an unintended consequence of attempts to hide, remove, or censor information, where the effort instead backfires by increasing awareness of that information. It is named after American singer and actress Barbra Streisand, whose attempt to suppress the California Coastal Records Project‘s photograph of her cliff-top residence in Malibu, California, taken to document California coastal erosion, inadvertently drew greater attention to the photograph in 2003.
Attempts to suppress information are often made through cease-and-desist letters, but instead of being suppressed, the information sometimes receives extensive publicity, as well as the creation of media such as videos and spoof songs, which can be mirrored on the Internet or distributed on file-sharing networks. In addition, seeking or obtaining an injunction to prohibit something from being published or to remove something that is already published can lead to increased publicity of the published work.
The Streisand effect is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware that some information is being kept from them, they are significantly more motivated to get and spread it.
We even one from Richard Pearson that was very similar to this Second City Cop case. In the case of Mr. Pearson, we reposted public documents from his run-ins with the state’s insurance regulators. His attorney, working out of some big-dollar, high-rise firm in downtown Chicago, threatened both GSL’s predecessor group and me personally.
So I did a little research and sent a letter to the partners of the high-rise legal firm Pearson hired. In a nutshell I explained that if I ever heard from that attorney – an officer of the court – that I’d pursue criminal felony intimidation charges against him. You know what? I never heard from him again.
Anyway, over at Second City Cop, this rolled into their mailbox yesterday.
- Remove my court case from this blog. It has come to my attention that my court case under Jennifer Koniarski has been posted on your blog twice. My case is my business. It is violation of hipa law. I have a good source and knows who you are. I am giving you 24 hours to remove my court case or I will contact my attorney.
Really. That would garner a pretty immediate public response.
And it did for SCC too. From their post about the threat:
Let us just highlight a few things:
- it is a lawsuit;
- filed in the courts – which are a branch of government;
- it is resolved by a three judge panel;
- as required by law, it is then published BY THE COURT in a public forum, accessible to anyone with a computer in any part of the world…..except Red China we suppose;
- it was posted by a reader without comment – no allegations, no identifying names aside from the open source link we posted above;
And now we’re being threatened with….something?
We did a quick search by name and case number, and this case is posted in dozens of places, public court records, legal research websites, you get the idea. It’s out there.
So how about this instead:
We are giving YOU – Jennifer L McClendon/Koniarski – twenty-four hours to issue an apology to us. There are two ways for you to do this:
You claim to know who we are, so we assume you know where we work and what shift we work. We’ll be waiting at the desk for a phone call. You will ask for us by name, identify yourself, and apologize for this nonsense. Be prompt – half past the hour following Roll Call. We have calls to answer and our supervisor can be a bear;
If that doesn’t float your boat, you will email us an apology. You will state that your case is a matter of public record, filed with the courts and posted on government and legal websites, and acknowledge the blog has no control over this. You will state you really have no reason or means to order us to remove what is already publicly and prominently available to anyone who cares to look. You will properly use the word HIPAA;
Failing both of these completely reasonable suggestions, we will take steps. Step One is to put that link at the top of EVERY SINGLE POST for a day, just so everyone decides to click on it and read it – it’s only fourteen pages. Step Two will be to post it every week until we get bored.
We won’t comment on the merits of the case, the decision itself or any further appeals – we’ll just post a publicly available court opinion made available by a branch of government in accordance with the Law in an effort to keep any and all interested parties informed….kind of a public service of sorts.
Whoever sent the original post hasn’t responded to the Second City Cop peeps as of this writing.
It’s going to be fun for them here soon if they don’t.