Took me a little while longer to get caught up on this than I’d hoped, but it’s important.
Atheists are very much like any other group in that we are composed of humans. Consequently, while I would argue that the vast majority of us are pleasant folk, some small number are constitutively terrible people, and some larger number are subject to the ravages of the G.I.F.T..
Left alone, the G.I.F.T. often results in the building of communities and mentalities that promote violence and hate. Recently this was put on fantastic display, the details of which I will not recount but may be found well aggregated by Greg Laden here (note- take those trigger warnings seriously).
My intention here is not to pile much deserved scorn on The Amazing Atheist, as others have done so with thoroughness and eloquence beyond my capacity (see Greg Laden’s many links. The point is that there are tools at our disposal to counteract the negative consequences of mob mentalities.
Friendly fire from a community can help break this kind of crap (although it is worth noting that the targets of this kind of crap should also feel free to pursue law enforcement remedies). People need to know that when they cross lines (like attempting to trigger PTSD symptoms in a rape victim) that their mobs will not stand behind them. I never followed the guy, but all those who did and stopped over this- good choice. Those who told him so, even better.
There is a notion that you don’t want to attack your allies. This is reasonable in physical space, but in discourse this is insane. Friendly fire either makes us better or reveals us to have been unworthy allies in the first place. Both are useful, and easily more productive than getting along and playing nice.
This is certainly not to say that I think friendly fire is always enough in cases like this. It is merely to say that it is justified and should be regarded as an expression of admirable qualities.