I recently was added to the team over at the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch blog, and my first post is up -- this one concerning an "Internet yob" (as they called him in one Aussie headline) from Ohio creating an international incident Down Under:
Jarred Hensley is a white supremacist who likes to hurt people. He did prison time for it. And now he's figured out a way to hurt people and even break a country's laws without having to do jail time. Along the way, he's also caused something of an international uproar on the Internet.
Hensley is a Cincinnati-based activist in the Imperial Klans of America, one who already brought serious trouble to the organization. In 2006, he and fellow IKA member Andrew R. Watkins brutally assaulted a 16-year-old in rural Kentucky because they thought he was Latino; the pair spent three years in prison for the attack, and the SPLC brought a lawsuit against the IKA that resulted in a $2.5 million judgment against the hate group.
Now Hensley – out of prison and evidently with a lot of time on his hands – has joined the ranks of Internet "trolls" who haunt the Web and harass people for various reasons, including leaving ugly messages for bereaved family members and friends of the deceased. (A recent New York Times Magazine piece explored their weird world in depth.)
This kind of activity, as it happens, is illegal in many nations, including Great Britain (where one "troll" was recently jailed for polluting a tribute site for a former reality-TV star) and Australia. Which is where Jarred Hensley came in.