One Year Ago Today: June 30, 2011
Ron Brynaert tweeted this to me:
Brynaert also told me on the phone that there was a suspicious person with a British accent that I needed to know about.
I was very interested in these two pieces of information, because I knew that Mike Stack had been SWATted on June 23, 2011. I knew that the caller from Mike Stack’s June 23, 2011 SWATting had been (incorrectly) described by the police as having a British accent. And I knew that some suspected that a woman in Boston named Jennifer George was behind some of the fakery that could be related to Mike Stack’s SWATting — and that she had accused Lee of threatening her.
It is little wonder that I wanted to speak with Ron Brynaert on the phone on the night of June 30, 2011.
The same night, in a post that generated 3765 comments, I speculated on another possibility: that perhaps Jennifer George really was threatened, but that the threatener had merely pretended to be Stranahan.
And I mentioned Neal Rauhauser. Stack and I had discussed Rauhauser, and the possibility that he might have something to do with the Stack SWATting episode. We knew that Rauhauser had a history of using sock puppets. If someone had impersonated Stranahan to Jennifer George, we wondered if Rauhauser might be responsible.
I ended the post that night in this way:
UPDATE x2: I’m feeling better about the theory with each passing second.
And my first comment said:
Maybe Neal Rauhauser could come explain to me why this could not be possible.
The post quickly became filled with sock puppets, including Alicia Pain, who had threatened me a week earlier. She said things like:
Everyone is getting threatened these days. What’s the world coming to?
Wonder who threatened Patterico and Ace?
Remember the great Dan Wolfe/John Reid “rivalry”? They tried to convince people that they were separate people by speaking in a nasty manner about one another and saying they hated each other. Despite that, their tactics were similar, and many of us concluded they were the same person. They just used heavy-handed “I hate the other sock puppet” tactics to throw people off the trail.
It is an instructive exercise to wonder whether Brynaert and Alicia Pain were doing the same thing when Alicia Pain posted information about an arrest of Brynaert’s that night — information which I deleted and told Brynaert about on the phone. Or whether Rauhauser and Brynaert were doing the same thing in days leading up to my SWATting, when Rauhauser wrote me and Lee Stranahan to complain that Brynaert was mentally ill, or when Brynaert told me that he had suspicions about Neal Rauhauser that night.
Did they all hate each other? Or did they just want to convince people that they did?
I tried to get information from Brynaert about the Stranahan report, and about the man with the British accent. But Brynaert ranted and raved and shouted, and it was almost impossible to get him to answer any questions. (Anyone who has ever spoken with Brynaert on the phone has likely had a similar experience.)
And he was still on the phone with me in the early morning hours of July 1, 2011, when police showed up at my door. But that’s tomorrow’s post.
As a reminder, here is a 12-second clip combining the end of my SWATting call with a few seconds from an interview with Ron Brynaert: