Roger Stone is certainly not “getting away with it all.” The two Oath Keepers he hired for the Capitol insurrection have been charged with felony conspiracy, opening the door to potential conspiracy charges against Stone as well. And even if that falls through, the DOJ is already going after Stone for tax fraud. He’ll (eventually) be brought to justice one way or the other. But in the meantime, there’s a problem.
Stone has long been banned from every major social media platform, because he likes to make violent threats. Stone is still posting on the bottom feeding alt-right social media networks such as Parler. There is a popular Twitter account called “Patriot Takes” that does the thankless job of cataloguing the most deranged and egregious Parler posts, which is a good way of keeping track of these insurrectionists. Stone apparently doesn’t like this, and so he made a Parler post threatening to murder Patriot Takes.
Specifically, Stone threatened to send Patriot Takes to “Meet St. Peter” – which is an obvious reference to what happens when you die – meaning that this really is a murder threat. Is it likely that Stone is going to track down and murder the person running the Patriot Takes account? No. But murder threats are still a crime.
Yet Roger Stone is still, for now, a free man. I’m not necessarily saying the DOJ should rush out and arrest Stone tomorrow over a Parler post, before it’s even finished a criminal case against him for the Capitol attack. But Stone’s lack of being arrested does give the appearance that he’s going to get away with it all. Moreover, it gives the appearance anyone can make a murder threat online and just get away with it.
Maybe it’s coincidence that the day after Roger Stone made waves by threatening to murder Patriot Takes, I received two specific threats of violence from two bottom feeders on my own social media accounts. But it sure felt like maybe it wasn’t coincidence. As a society, we’re supposed to draw the line at threatening to murder each other. Twitter and Facebook have gone a good job of drawing this line. It’s notable that Parler was just re-added to the App Store last week, under the promise that it would police this kind of violent content. That doesn’t appear to be happening, or Stone wouldn’t still have an account.
In any case, Roger Stone is going to face legal justice in the end. His pardon was never going to protect him for long, because he was always going to commit even more crimes after his pardon, which don’t get covered. But the more time that elapses between now and when Stone is eventually brought to justice, the more dangerous his antics are becoming. The dangerous game he’s playing will only help to ensure he’s brought to justice in the end. But he’s setting a terrible precedent by remaining free in the meantime.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report