People keep trying to add an accurate phrase about Brett Kimberlin’s criminal history to the first paragraph of Brett Kimberlin’s Wikipedia entry. And keep getting shot down — to the point where editors are threatening to remove the entry entirely.
The offending phrase, which keeps getting removed, is “a convicted drug dealer, bomber, and political activist.” Someone keeps adding the phrase in, and it keeps getting deleted, as you can see from the edit page.
Kimberlin is certainly a convicted drug dealer and bomber. Here’s how the Federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit described Kimberlin’s criminal history:
After being convicted of the bombings and related offenses, Kimberlin was sentenced to a fifty-year term of imprisonment for manufacturing and possessing a destructive device, and malicious damage by explosives with personal injury in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5861(d) and (f), and 18 U.S.C. §§ 844(f) and (i). He received a concurrent twelve-year sentence for impersonating a federal officer, illegal use of a Department of Defense insignia, and illegal use of the Presidential Seal in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 912, 701, and 713, respectively, and a five-year term for receipt of explosives by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 842(i)(1). Finally, he was given a four-year sentence by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas on an earlier, unrelated conviction for conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
The editors who keep removing the phrase claim that it violates “BLP rules” relating to a biography of a living person. A Wikipedia editor told me convictions aren’t supposed to go in the lede paragraph of a living person’s entry. Whether it’s accurate or not, they say, adding this accurate information in the lede paragraph actually risks getting the whole article pulled:
What part of it was slander? He is a convicted drug dealer and bomber. Is there any contention that he isn’t? Gotrexman (talk) 01:01, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I don’t care. It’s still against the BLP rules. You want to get it deleted outright instead on the 2nd attempt by JusticeLeader? ViriiK (talk) 01:03, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
“JusticeLeader” is the guy who submitted a suspicious and deceptive request to have the entry deleted a little over a week ago.
This isn’t the end of the world; Kimberlin’s criminal history is amply described elsewhere in the entry. I’m just having a hard time understanding why the same rule doesn’t apply to, say, Charles Manson:
Charles Milles Manson (born November 12, 1934) is an American criminal and musician who led what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that arose in California in the late 1960s.:163–4, 313 He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca carried out by members of the group at his instruction.
or G. Gordon Liddy:
George Gordon Battle Liddy (born November 30, 1930) known as G. Gordon Liddy was the chief operative for the White House Plumbers unit that existed from July–September 1971, during Richard Nixon’s presidency. Separately, along with E. Howard Hunt, Liddy organized and directed the Watergate burglaries of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate building in May and June 1972. After five of Liddy’s operatives were arrested inside the DNC offices on June 17, 1972, subsequent investigations of the Watergate scandal led to President’s Nixon’s resignation in August 1974. Liddy was convicted of burglary, conspiracy and refusing to testify to the Senate committee investigating Watergate. He served nearly fifty-two months in federal prisons.
or any other examples you can probably find where living people have had their criminal histories mentioned in the lede paragraph of their entires.
Luckily, a hero has come to save the day. The page has been locked to prevent further editing — without the offending accurate phrase. The editor who locked the page?
Richard Symonds, aka Chase Me Ladies, I’m the Cavalry. You might remember him as the guy who originally deleted the article last September, claiming a “harassment campaign” against poor Mr. Kimberlin.
The fellow who described the entry on Kimberlin as an “attack page” that “simply painted him as a man with no positive qualities at all, which is obviously problematic in a neutral encyclopedia.” Who said that “reliable sources” could be found saying I had “harassed” the Readers’ Representative of the Los Angeles Times, but refused to specify said “reliable sources.”
That Richard Symonds.
As Fletch once said: “Thank God, the . . . police.”
We’re all in good hands now.