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It is said that sometimes the ends justify the means. In the war against rape, that seems to include abandoning the very foundation of our society. Honesty, integrity and justice.

An alleged gang rape in a small industrial town in Ohio led to events that changed the lives of many both within the town and internationally as well.

There were those with an agenda who were concerned how the rape occurred and how subsequent actions by those with inside knowledge of the rape and with how law enforcement handled the case embarked on actions of their own.

The stated goals of the various groups that were formed, were to expose an alleged coverup of the rape,  seek prosecution of those involved and to bring the issue of an alleged rape tolerant culture within the high school sports society to the forefront of national and international attention.

The campaign started out noble enough as various journalists within the social media spectrum began writing and web casting about the rape and collateral events.

Eventually, the well known activist group Anonymous became involved. In their unique way, Anonymous began to spread the word about the case including their specific concerns and about how they intended to deal with what had occurred.

There were the protest rallies that were held on the steps of the local courthouse. Many a brave woman came forward and remained no longer silent, facing a large supportive crowd and telling their stories for all the world to hear.

On those days these women evolved from being rape victims to being rape survivors. A sisterhood was formed. Men came forward to support these sisters. All was good, it was working, the world was listening.

But, there is a rest of the story. It is a story of sinister actions by those willing to sacrifice what is good in society in order to combat the bad.

There was, of course, the famous hacking of a local sports website, not owned or run by the school, but by a private individual who supported the team.

As is always the case in situations like these, arguments broke out between various groups with differing points of view regarding the events and those involved or who were perceived to be involved with the alleged rape.

Those who offered reasons and viewpoints that differed from the majority view were and still are labeled “rape apologists.”

Those who were branded with this label found themselves the target of doxing. This is the practice of Anonymous and other hackers building up a database of individuals that include every aspect of their lives. This included where they live, where they work, go to school, where they went in their day to day lives.

This information  was published to file sharing websites on the internet as well as in public and private on line chat sites, blogs and forums.

The intimidation then started. Employers were called, pranks such as pizza deliveries were played. Credit and banking information appeared along with social security numbers. Even cable tv billing information appeared on one twitter account.

As of this writing, the practice of intimidation continues. Recently, a bounty was offered for the identity of several individuals who were the loudest voices against those using abusive tactics against those with which they disagreed.

In another case, a single mother of two, trying to make ends meet as a self employed entrepreneur was misidentified as the creator of a Facebook boycott page that went against the stated viewpoint of the accuser.

The woman was doxed. The woman was secretly photographed and mocked on Twitter when the photograph was published. The woman received anonymous phone calls. Her place of work was called. Her personal information was posted on file sharing websites.

The woman recently stated:

“There us nothing more they can do other than kill me or my kids.. but most of the time I already feel dead.”

It turns out that the woman had nothing to do with the website in question. In the end that should not have mattered. Right or wrong, people have the right to state their own points of view.

At least that is the way it was supposed to be. It is one of the core principals this country was founded on.

That is not the way it is any more. Time and time again there are examples of people being punished for what they believe in. If someone makes the mistake of saying the wrong thing or believing in the wrong thing, they open themselves up to punishment.

The question is, however, who determines what is the wrong thing to say and what is the wrong thing to believe in?

Why is it that these self appointed vigilantes are allowed to dictate what people believe in and what they are allowed to say?

There was once a time when people could have impassioned debate with each other defending their points of view while at the same time respectfully finding fault with the viewpoints of others.

While these debates at times where heated, and minds were rarely changed, there was a mutual respect for everyone to state their points of view. People agreed to disagree, shook hands and went on with their lives.

Not anymore. Now it is compliance by force. It does not matter if the viewpoint is the majority or the minority. Those with the most powerful weapons dictate what the “correct” point of view or belief will be.

What exists now is a modern day inquisition.

Our freedoms are being decayed by a powerful few with the means to extort and intimidate those who do not have the means to defend their rights.

It will be these powerful few that, if left unchecked, will be the downfall of society as we know it.

Stay tuned