Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Engraved Invitation to Dennis Markuze

I just wrote about how I don’t like joining atheist groups, and I was reminded yet again of why I don’t read most atheist blogs. Apparently, with all that’s going on in the world, it seems really important to some people to try to use the Montreal police to harass a known anti-atheist commenter.

Dennis Markuze also uses the alias David Mabus, and is [un]affectionately known by most atheist bloggers as DM, or “that annoying, grammatically challenged, mentally deranged spammer.” If you’ve blogged about atheism for over a week, you’ve probably deleted some of his comments.

Rather than just ignore him and continue deleting his spam, additional steps are being attempted by some atheists (I’m not going to publicize who, but again… if you’ve blogged about atheism for any length of time, chances are you can track her down… hint, I link to her from my website, and she goes by the title of “Blag Hag,” which is honestly an awesome moniker and makes me want to change mine to “Blag Fag,” just because I love self-deprecating humor).

Basically, atheists are petitioning to have Montreal police… do what, I have no idea, exactly. Jen, the originatorfilled up with Fox News commenters.

What’s more, I see campaigns like these as being nothing but free advertising for this guy. This is exactly what he wanted, for atheists to feel scared and threatened, and he has undoubtedly achieved more internet fame than I ever will. If anything, the lesson from this is: if you want your message out there, make lots of violent threats and people will give you all the attention you crave.

Of course, there are more important things in this world than attention, even if simpletons like DM can’t see it. And who am I to judge? This very post is essentially the same thing as the petition: attention. But here’s the rub: I don’t care if DM gets the attention he wants, because attention is free and he obviously needs it.

So, in honor of the petition to harangue DM using the Montreal police, I am no longer deleting DM’s comments from my blog. Dennis, you will always have a safe place to rant here. I can’t assure you that anyone but me will actually read it, but still.

So, DM, how about that interview you promised me via e-mail?


  1. Here in Canada, the police have the power to act on mental health complaints and will meet with a person to assess if more action is needed. You want death threatS to be ignored? Really?? It does not seem that unreasonable that the police at least make this assessment in person. Once done that, they may do more. I petition is just trying to get authorities moving.

  2. That's great that you can take death threats likely. They are still criminal. And The Mabus has been making them in such volume over such a large period of time that I think that is foolhardy for you to suggest that everyone ignore it. But, whatever. Atheists are the bullies. The man who has been posting obsessively on several atheist blogs for almost two decades and who has threatened the lives of several different people on several different sites, though, he's just a harmless spammer. LEAVE DENNIS ALONE!


    I thought you were an idiot until I read that. I laughed, so you're off the hook. Still... "The Mabus?" Gag...

    Just a thought... he's been making threats for so long, and never done anything... but that just means it's definitely going to happen now, right? He has no history of actual violence, he just sounds like a troll. If DM is a criminal, the police are going to be busy as hell when they find out about youtube comments...

  4. You may be unaware, but the stuff that Markuze writes to people both here in Canada (I'm Canadian) and abroad are illegal in Canada. He uses hate speech and issues death threats. Whether he belongs in jail or whether he will be compelled to psychiatric evaluation and possibly institutionalisation are matter for the justice system to decide.

    Heck, a complaint could be levelled at him with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. I'm not sure that's not been done yet.

    Markuze is more than just a nuisance, and he's not merely a harmless spammer. He's mentally ill and he's not helping himself, his family isn't helping him and for the last fifteen years, the authorities have not acted to intervene on his behalf or to act on the criminality of his activities. He needs to be stopped and he needs help.

    It's no wonder that people are at their wits end with him. This current action is the most viable, the most likely to produce results. This is Markuze's doing. View it as a cry for help; people who aren't mentally ill in the way that Markuze is don't do what Markuze is doing.

  5. Legality and morality are two separate issues. It's not a matter of whether you can prosecute him, it's a matter of whether you should.

    I don't want to live in a society where people's words can land them in jail or drugged up and strapped to a bed. What I see is a bunch of people upset about a spammer who barely understands English, diagnosing him from afar with mental illness, and feeling that not only do they have the right (you do) but are right (you aren't) in stripping someone of their freedom because of words.

    It's DM today, and atheists tomorrow. There is nothing good down that road.

  6. He lives in a bi-lingual country and his comprehension of English is a non-issue. I have no idea why it should be otherwise.

    He should be prosecuted. You may disagree with whether he is a threat or whether he is mentally ill or not. The fact is, he has made threats that are criminal in Canada. At this point, the only way to know if he is criminal or mentally ill is for the justice system to get involved. If he is either, he'll be treated appropriately.

    You're seriously mistaken about the state of mental health care in Canada if you think his institutionalisation (should it occur) would be anything like being drugged and strapped to a bed.

    I have serious problems with your framing of this as a slippery slope. I don't care for your hyperbole regarding whatever treatment Markuze will face. I can appreciate that you disagree with the course of action and I disagree that bringing Markuze to the attention of authorities and expecting intervention is a bad road to go down. It's the only option at this point, save continuing to ignore him (such as anyone can anymore).

    I'm not ignoring Markuze anymore. If it's a matter of morality, you're not going to rationalise me into believing that ignoring him is the best course of action at this time. If it's a matter of morality, I think having authorities assess whether he is merely a stupid criminal or in need of help is the best option. I believe it's morally superior to ignoring him any longer.

  7. You need to understand that America is unusual in *not* making death threats and hate speech criminal offenses. Most of the rest of us don't envy you.

  8. Sticks and stones, my spineless friends...

  9. I see mentally ill people every day as part of my job. A long time ago I was one of them.

    None of them have ever made death threats against me - generally, mentally ill people don't do that kind of thing, which is why the stats for the mentally ill killing people are actually not much different than those for the general population.

    However, once you select out the small group of mentally ill people who routinely make death threats, by letter, over the internet or in person, those stats don't hold any more. And if they try and carry out their threats then the chances of them killing someone and being killed by the police rise enormously.

    Mentally ill murderers don't just materialise out of nowhere. they generally have a very long history of ignored threats and the perception that they can get away with anything, despite complaints from the people they threaten.

    In emergency departments there is one thing we know, that has been studied and shown to be true - the biggest predictor of someone attacking and killing or seriously injuring staff it that they have made verbal threats +/- small assaults in the past AND GOT AWAY WITH IT.

  10. And what percentage of people who have made a verbal threat ever hurt someone?

  11. Slight tangent:

    Anonymous: "You need to understand that America is unusual in *not* making death threats and hate speech criminal offenses. Most of the rest of us don't envy you."

    The first part is wrong, but the second is correct. Making a legitimate death threat is a crime, but the government does have to prove that it could have reasonably been perceived as a threat.

    Vague "hate speech," which as far as I can tell means "derogatory opinions, towards a certain group of people, that the government has decided are inappropriate for their citizens to have." The US has a LOT of things wrong with its criminal justice system (for some of which other countries do much better), but if it does one thing right, it's free speech.

    Back on topic:

    Bret, you seem to be willfully ignorant of many of the facts of this issue. You did read that the threats have been escalating, right? And how about the actual physical stalking he's done recently? At the bare minimum, this is clear harassment that no one should have to tolerate -- and "harassment" is rather mild considering the two DECADES worth of continually escalating death threats (and, in PZ's case, letters also sent to his university's administration). Maybe if you weren't so eager to criticize any and all of those damn impolite atheist groups, you'd have a more reasonable opinion about this.

  12. You did read that the threats have been escalating, right?

    They most certainly have not, and as someone who has monitored how many of his comments I delete, I can categorically say you are incorrect. About 2 years ago, I got far more spam from him. I also got more actual threats to life and limb, and his comments were much longer in actual length. Now, he tends to only spam a few lines and a link, and rarely are there threats. If anything, this petition nonsense seems almost out of the blue.

    So, you are mistaken.

    And how about the actual physical stalking he's done recently?

    Yeah, if you say "stalking" when you mean "was in the presence of atheists." It was my understanding he was escorted out of atheist events by security without incident, but please, if he actually ever hurt someone or did anything remotely violent in person, alert me. I would hope my presence in a church would not amount to criminal intent.

    Maybe if you weren't so eager to criticize any and all of those damn impolite atheist groups, you'd have a more reasonable opinion about this.

    I know you don't read what I write and you just came here from some link, so I won't take that personally. It has nothing to do with groups or atheist groups or other atheists. It has to do with free speech, and the fact that I do not, under any circumstances, think it's a good idea to send the police after someone because of words, even if you have the legal right to do so (I have the legal right to insult you, but I'm restraining myself, not because I'm an amazing person, but because you don't deserve to be treated uncivilly).

    If I made a habit of simply opposing everything atheist groups did, I would be sympathetic to your point, but I find a lot of atheist causes to be totally harmless, and they are perfectly capable of accomplishing things I would be proud to support. I think it's good that the American Atheists are fighting to remove the cross at ground zero, for example, and I think it's good that Ten Commandment monuments have been removed from courthouses. If they tried to remove "God" from money, I would be downright proud and would consider donating.

    Basically, I'm not part of any atheist organization, but I harbor no intrinsic ill-will against anyone, atheist or believer. What I do get upset about, however, is when people of any demographic gang up on someone else. I cope with the exact same comments as every other atheist who signed the petition, and I'm not special. I'm not invincible or immortal. And yet, I cope just fine, and so do all the whiners who signed that petition (and they are whiners). This was just an opportunistic attack on a scapegoat everyone would agree they didn't like.

    I don't like DM, either, but that doesn't mean I won't defend his right to speak his mind, even if it's not all there.

  13. I must concede that DM has only seemed more annoying because of the nature of Twitter- where multiple messages can be sent to several larger groups of people quickly and easily. I think the idea that he has "escalated" has more to do with the frequency and quantity of messages and nothing more. So I can see what you were likely trying to say when you made the abject assault on logic of claiming that DM has not escalated because his comments are shorter and less frequent on one particular site in one particular medium.
    I also agree that just because someone does something that can be prosecuted does not necessarily mean that we ought to pursue that route. I have received threats on the internet as well as outside the internet and I would not report someone unless I felt my safety was in jeopardy or that I needed to make unreasonable accommodations in order to allow the behavior to persist. I think that in the case of DM, we need to ask ourselves if some people have to worry about either of these things. Certainly we might say that being worried about our safety in the case of DM is premature- and many of us can make an anecdotal case to the contrary that we had warnings when other people escalated to harming people physically. The reality is that we don't know if DM is a physical threat until he assaults someone.
    As to the other issue, whether or not several people have had to take unreasonable measures to accommodate DM's behavior, I think the answer is a little more clear. Certainly people have wasted time and energy in an attempt to cope with the actions of DM, and I don't think that you can discount this.
    I think when you talk about free speech you need to also consider the fact that people have a reasonable right to be free from more than just legal action against their speech. If we have freedom of the quantity of speech we are risking the potential quality of the free speech. If every scientist, or atheist, or Christian, or revolutionary was just drowned in a sea of meaningless threats, threats that spammed all their social network mediums and required daily attention to fix- that is not an increase of free speech. That is the ability for people to use speech to curb speech.
    At the end of the day, DM has harassed too many people. If he had not have used death threats, perhaps he could have continued to harass people by being the most annoying troll he could legally be. But he did something illegal, and that is why we are allowed to treat him like a criminal- because he is. Legally.

  14. If I never have to delete another DM comment, that would be nice. But you know what? I would rather delete a million more comments than know we live in a world where people can just be silenced and hauled off to jail, not for anything they've done, but only for what they have said.

    Irritation is not a crime, and seeing atheists band together for the sole purpose of spamming a foreign police department and trying to get a guy hauled off to jail or a mental institution sickens me.

    If the law said speaking out against religion was a crime, I would still do it, and I would support the right of anyone else to do it, too. The law is nothing but an artificial construct, and one that is too often used by the many to abuse the few. I want no part of that.

  15. I understand and respect your principled stand. I'm not saying I'm all for the limiting of speech that offends me. That isn't the point at all.
    Though I can certainly see the point of those who claim that DM is exhibiting behaviors common to people who "snap" and kill or injure someone- those same behaviors are also noticeable in people who never escalate beyond simple threats. The reason why the U.S., Canada, and just about every other western democracy has made death threats criminal is precisely because they are a behavior that is often linked to future physical violence- not always- but often.
    All this is beside the point really, because the real reason DM was reported was not because people honestly believe he poses an imminent threat, but because too many people have wasted too much time accommodating his antisocial behavior. As I said in the previous comment, I think that the move to Twitter has amplified the amount of accommodation necessary. I also think that those who are his most specific targets, the ones who get mentioned most frequently in his rantings, are probably the object of far more harassment then you are- or any of the "peripheral" atheists for that matter. Add this to the fact that as public figures (many at public institutions), their contact and personal information is more readily accessible than yours or mine. The amount of accommodation necessary to just "let poor Dennis Markuze be" is a far greater concession for them than for us.
    No, the reason DM is facing the music is not directly because he made death threats. Just like a gangster who does far worse things but gets arrested for tax evasion, DM has made it impossible to reasonably expect people to ignore him, and people are trying to stop him the only way they reasonably can- by using his own words against him.
    I don't disagree with you that people are saying all sorts of things that are ridiculous, that are not logically consistent about the DM fiasco. But it isn't just those who are on a "witch hunt" who are being ridiculous and inconsistent. It's you too....

  16. The reason why the U.S., Canada, and just about every other western democracy has made death threats criminal is precisely because they are a behavior that is often linked to future physical violence- not always- but often.

    A high percentage of serial killers drank milk as children. Does that mean milk should be made illegal? I find your logic to ignore the fact that most threats are never acted upon.

    you must realize that death threats are hurled on the internet with reckless abandon, and that the most infintesmal percentage of those threats result in any sort of violence. We live in a world of circumstance, and in this circumstance, the atheists who are demanding police action are being petty and childish bullies.

    The only threat DM poses to me or the overwhelming majority of the people signing the petition (which is spamming the Montreal police, by the way, sending an e-mail every time it is signed) is the threat of having to delete a few comments, or apparently have security escort him from atheist events. The fact that people are whining about it being a legitimate threat to their bodily health in mass numbers is ridiculous, and really paints them as frivolous censors.

  17. "I see a harmless spammer, who has hurt no one, being bullied by a pack of enraged atheists"

    He has made specific death threats, he creates multiple accounts and moves from place to place in order to continue. He also includes others that have nothing to do with what's going on. He tweets back to you and to basically any one you've ever tweeted to that day.

    He's shown up in person to events where there's people that he has threatened to harm, torture, and kill.

    You can't ban him, or block him because of the way he does his hate filled harassment. Short of making everything you post private, what would you suggest one does.

    Also, some of these people that his is threatening are well within driving distance of where he lives.

  18. I'm an ex cop. It is my professional opinion you are VERY wrong and that these people waited TOO long to press or pursue charges against this man.
    If you do not like it, lobby to change the DECADES long basis for the laws involved.

    Your opinion on this matter while eloquent is IGNORANT.
    Craig Bartmer

  19. OMFG!
    You are going to try to try and argue that a death threat is to physical violence as lactose consumption is to serial murder. (Cereal murder, maybe- but serial murder?)
    Someone here needs a crash course in logic...and it ain't me!
    Threatening or discussing committing a specific act is a logical step away from actually committing that same act- assuming that it is possible to commit it and opportunity is presented (I only say this to prevent you from countering that saying you are going to fly to Mars on your magic carpet is a logical step away from doing so- since we have witnessed your super-sharp use of logic). I'm not sure I can make you grasp the fact that threatening death does not guarantee that someone will harm someone physically, but it is certainly a behavior that is antisocial, abnormal, and surprisingly common among people who do actually commit violent acts. I don't disagree that it does not by necessity result in violent physical action- and if you read my comments you will see that I never did agree with that.
    You've been hanging out with YECs too long, throwing out strawmen like that.
    How about if we try this analogy: Saying "I'm going to the store" is a logical indication that you might go to the store. You might not- maybe you will go to the movies instead, or stay home and make logically disjointed comments on your blog when you get called on being silly- but there is a pretty good chance you might go to the store. In fact, I would conjecture that there is a greater chance that you will go to the store than someone else who says they are going to church, or says nothing at all.

    All this introduction to philosophy aside, it really does not matter. I have never argued that I think Markuze is an imminent physical threat- at least not in your presence.

    You are ignoring the bigger picture, that others are affected more than you are. You are saying that it is logically the case that everyone DM harasses is merely facing the prospect of deleting blog spam. This is not the case. You are being ridiculous about this, DM is causing harm with his harassing behavior- and just because you have only been peripherally affected does not mean that others are not affected greater than you. Both sides in this debate need to get realistic, but you are being objectionable for the sake of being objectionable.

  20. How to prove my point: link to my blog from the sites of zealous atheists and gang up on someone who opposes you like a pack of rabid wolves.

    You are bullies, and it's pathetic. You insult the very idea of atheism.

  21. A year ago I would have agreed with you. Then, other than for a few folks like PZ Myers, Mabus was nothing more than a nuisance. Hit DEL a few times, press the BLOCK button, move on.

    Then he discovered Twitter. I tracked him on Twitter for a while (Jan 20 through the end of February). He went through over 330 Twitter accounts in that time. (Yes, I can provide a list). That's an average of over 8 different accounts every day, and he did in fact post every single day as far as I can tell.

    Yes, alot of it was spam. But let me show you just a handful of the posts that were specifically directed at me:

    Jan 20: farley you die today, you little idiot
    Jan 21: I spoke to God yesterday and he wants you DEAD....
    Jan 22: idiot, you're finished
    Jan 22: you fuckers die today.... you do not survive the apocalypse....
    Feb 2: my job consists of kicking in your blaspheming heads
    March 7: we're going to take care of you, farley... little shit
    March 29: we are going to KICK YOUR FUCKING HEAD IN...
    April 12: do you think you deserve to live?
    April 19: u cease to exist today
    April 19: I laught at you, u little shit... you deserve the WORST FORMS OF TURTURE
    April 19: tim I am going to BEAT THE FUCK OUT OF YOU... you LOST THE WAR...
    April 19: but you don't deserve to live for your lies...
    April 22: u shits die
    April 22: u little shit, u die today
    May 6: we are going to exterminate you shortly
    May 7: we;re going to beat the fuck out of you, u little lying sack of shit....
    May 18: we are going to execute you, tim...
    May 21: we are going to execute you little lying sacks of shit....
    May 23: we're going to teach you a little lession, shithead....
    June 8: we're going to CUT OFF YOUR HEAD

    I'm tired of typing that, do I need to continue? I grant you, one or two of those threats, mixed in with the other gibberish he posts, is probably something to ignore.

    But at this point we are talking about HUNDREDS of direct threats to over a hundred different people in several different countries. It's a bit of a different thing.

  22. I've never seen so many specious arguments from one person. Serial killers drink milk? They also torture animals as children. Which one do you think is the better indicator? There are good indicators, in there is the bullshit you're throwing out. Stop trying so hard to defend a faulty premise.

  23. *sigh*

    Welcome to the internet, pussies.

  24. By the way, EMPATHY can KILL when it comes from IGNORANCE.

  25. Here's some help with a couple other factual errors in your post. I know research is difficult, just click the links:

    "DM attended an atheist convention (or more than one, I’m not sure)."


    "Jen, the originator of the petition"

    That last one is very hard, you have to actually look down and find the words STARTED BY on the page.

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. I'm just going to throw this out there:
    "Ginx", you are wrong, you know you are wrong, and instead of saying "Geez, you know what, I kind of jumped the gun and said things that were clearly stupid", you choose to double down with bad logic, then when all else fails you cry like a baby because I linked you in a comment on one of my BEST FRIENDS blogs- in a post about Dennis fucking Markuze!!!
    I'm not trying to start a witch hunt against you, you will notice that none of the regulars at Jason's site have commented or ganged up on you here. They likely won't, and I don't want or need them to.
    For someone who tells people to grow a set on the internet, you sure don't take well to being challenged.
    You seem to see no issue with people threatening harm, threatening death, posting off-topic spam comments-people who have an issue with that are babies and whiners.... but someone comes on your site and challenges you with a logical rejection of your premise (and admittedly shares your idiocy with his friends)- and that person is a bully. You aren't whining, or being a baby! You are being legitimately harassed and singled out!

    Listen- you were wrong. If you weren't, you would have been able to stand behind your own logic, instead of crying foul that I've been a bully. If you are going to stand by your words, then stand by them. If your going to stand up for a guy who bullies people with a near constant bombardment of direct threats to their physical well being and an unmanageable amount of spam- then grow a set when someone has an on topic discussion with you about why you are wrong- sans threats.
    I'm a bully....Markuze is a martyr for free speech. You lost all credibility.

  28. [For the record, it is primarily people linking from a comment in a post by PZ Meyers who are coming here, and I should have been more explicit. It's not PZ Meyers' fault he has a bunch of lemmings who will follow a link not even he posted and rattle off the same complaints like a broken record.]

  29. Here arguments for it (I'm open to whatever else someone would like to add, but these are the same ones I hear parroted over and over):

    1. He made death threats.
    2. He attended atheist conventions.
    3. He is mentally ill.
    4. He might hurt someone.

    Here is why none of those appeal to me:

    Unless he hurts someone, he hasn't done anything wrong in my view. He broke the law, and I have never argued that no one can seek legal recourse against him, I'm saying you should not, and my primary reasoning behind this is that the law should not be a tool of suppression. This isn't about people feeling threatened, it's about his spam habits.

    Unless you have been physically attacked by DM, or someone can prove he is planning or has the means to attack others, I don't give a shit about how "threatened" you feel. I don't believe anyone has the right to feel totally safe, and I doubt most people even possess the ability. Paranoia should not be the basis for decisions. The peril of a free society is that someone could abuse the system and cross the line. Fear is not an excuse for anything.

    I know that as a society, people have become obedient sheep who stand idly by while all opposition is suppressed through violence, that people think nothing of forfeiting their rights and privacy in the name of security, but this is an error, and I will pretend this view holds any merit.

    Those who would use force to silence and censor others are fascists, no exceptions.

  30. For the record, I reposted that comment (not two minutes after deleting it only to change three words) and I stand by it accordingly. I'm not afraid to stand by my words.

    I'll just reiterate that my comments have not broached any of your "broken record" list of points save the first one, and that point merely as an aside. You are trying to rephrase the debate to make your stand seem as reasonable as possible all the while ignoring the reasons why it is ridiculous. Here they are in numbered point form so that you can more clearly understand what you have obviously ignored from previous comments for the sake of convenience:
    1. Yes, he did something illegal. That has something to do with his current legal issues, but it is far from the overarching reason for his problems. He has made the lives of several people unreasonably difficult. Other people who are not as lucky as Ginx have had their twitter accounts spammed in degrees that make the deleting of blog comments seem absolutely minor. The nature of twitter means that DM can spam several hundred people by spamming just one, and the amount of time required to block, remove and report tweets becomes a cumbersome task. He has sent e-mails and messages to people these folks work with, including their superiors. He has their personal e-mails. Several people need to go to absolutely unfair lengths to "protect his right to free speech", to accommodate his behavior.
    2. Ginx appears to believe that people ought to accept the consequences of being an internet personality and accept death threats and personal attacks but not that DM ought to accept the consequences of his actions on the internet.
    3. DM is reaping the rewards of partaking in behavior that is harassment, and the death threats are really being used to hold him accountable for things that impact people much more- that they need to change the way they use social media to accommodate someone who just wants to be disruptive and threatening.
    4. Being disruptive and threatening is not free speech, it is an assault on free speech. Free speech is not the right to shout over everyone else, it is the right to not be silenced just because people don't like what you say. DM is trying to silence people with threats and disruption.
    5. I "tolerate" and actually support the rights of people who hold very different views to my own. No one is getting a restraining order against the Discovery Institute, or Flat Earthers, or Neo-Nazis. No one is silencing those people. People are saying that you don't have a right to burn a cross on our lawn. You don't have the right to congregate in certain areas and force everyone to walk around you. You don't have a right to affect people's freedoms for the sake of your own right to say and do whatever you want.
    Address those issues Ginx, and maybe you will understand-finally- why you are so very wrong.

  31. For the record, I reposted that comment (not two minutes after deleting it only to change three words) and I stand by it accordingly. I'm not afraid to stand by my words.

    My spam filter caught the second one, and I have put it back up and removed the repost. I did not repost it there to be malicious. I apologize for the confusion or if it made you seem sneaky or something, none of that was my intent. I just thought your words would be better served being seen in public, not just in my e-mail box.

    Regarding these new points:

    1. I am not defending DM. That is the fundamental thing you are missing here. I am fighting for everyone, because I don't want "certain types" of speech to not be free. Speech is speech, nothing but mere words. Making threats doesn't make someone a danger anymore than clucking like a chicken could allow someone to lay eggs.

    2. I'm pretty confident nothing will happen to DM, that his spam will not disappear, and that this whole incident will embolden him. This is not my desire - it would be nice to not have to police his comments ever again - I just see very little chance of any legal outcome that will silence him, especially now that the news reports on this show he has a mother sheltering and defending him. It's not that I don't want him to stop (I do want him to stop), it's that I think this course of action will accomplish nothing besides setting a dangerous precedent in utilizing law enforcement for internet vengeance.

    3. This point is more close to the real problem. People don't feel threatened, they're just irritated. I know that irritation, because I experience it, too, but that doesn't justify conflating his activities as criminal.

    4. Being disruptive and threatening isn't free speech? So... the founding fathers were spitting on free speech, I guess. It is dangerous to come up with justifications for silencing others, because those same arguments can be used by others to silence people who need to be heard. Many great individuals who changed the world were called crazy, dangerous, threatening, disruptive... and while DM is most certainly not one of these people, it's not worth creating a mechanism for quashing greatness just to handle one imbecile.

    5. No one is silencing those people

    Many people try to silence groups like Neo-Nazis. People try to silence atheists. They remove billboards because they're "offensive."

    You don't know what you're talking about, my friend. You have no fucking clue what you are talking about. And yet, I encourage you to say it anyway. That is what I believe.

  32. If DM does show up at someone's house and actually follows up on one of his threats, who in their right mind would ever say "Oh Geez, I had no idea! There were no warning signs!" He could very well be the next Breivik.

    1. At the very least, police should keep an eye on him and wiretap him.
    2. They should say 'non' if he ever applies for a firearms acquisition permit or a hunting license.
    3. They should SWAT the f*ck out of his house if he ever places a large order for fertilizer.
    4. He should be placed on the TSA 'selectee' list.

    What I see is a bunch of people upset about a spammer who barely understands English

    'Dennis Markuze' is not a french name. 'Dennis' is actually spelled 'Denis' in french (one N) and Markuze, that sounds Eastern European. In any case, I have never ever seen him post anything in any other language than English.

    Although I will admit one thing: He is too busy spamming the entire world to actually take the time to hop on a Greyhound bus and start touring the USA with a straight-edge razor in his Hello Kitty book bag.

  33. Thank you for admitting your mistake about the comment- I was perhaps unfairly assuming that you were trying to sway people with dishonest representation.

    I'm also slightly confused about your indictment of PZ Myers- not that he doesn't have his long list of faults, and his minions can be almost humerously predictable- but I went back to the DM post and I can't find anyone linking to this post, or anyone commenting that people ought to take note of it. Which comment number was it that got you so incensed? Just wondering.

  34. I want to be clear: I hold zero hard feelings for PZ Meyers and I don't blame him one bit. The comment may be gone now, let me check...

    Yep, it's gone. In fact, I think there were three links there at one time, according to my visitor data. But I can tell you how many people were referred to my site from his...

    A whopping 143 visits from 93 unique visitors. That's more readers than I get on most days, total. I guess I should be happy, but they were all referred here for the sole purpose of disagreeing with me, so I don't feel too enthusiastic about it. I also got 97 views from 68 unique visitors from, where I posted a few comments in my defense. The blogger there even insulted me with others at great length, but that's par for the course.

    I'm actually a very reasonable and moderately intelligent person, I just do a spot-on impression of a raging, ignorant jackass.

  35. To clear a few thing up on the PZ issue:
    1. I am far from his minion. I go to his site less than once a week, and have posted 3 comments in the two years I have "followed" Pharyngula.
    2. I don't remember how I got here, but Pharyngula might have been it. I definitely did not come here from a comment pointing me here to sic you like a dog. I thought the comment was yours, but I'm not entirely sure...
    3. There are presently 34 comments, more than half of them by you and I (18 or 19, depending on my removed comment). I hardly would call that more than 100 people "sent here with the sole purpose of disagreeing with you".
    4. I commented here because I disagree with you, not because PZ told me to, and not because I am a sheep. Disagreeing with Ginx does not a sheep make.

  36. Here is where you are having trouble following:
    1. You took the tack of "I'm not defending DM, I'm castigating his detractors". To be sure, I'm not condemning DM, I'm defending his detractors. Those people who have done the most to take action against Markuze are the people who don't have the luxury you have of considering him a minor nuisance.
    Your whole argument hinges on the fact that DM might not ever act on his threats, but pays no attention to the costs already paid by countless people who adjust their daily routine so that DM can continue to stalk people unfettered.
    2. I'm not going to deny that the result of the investigation might result in no significant action being taken. I won't even deny that it might spur him on further. That is a very real possibility. This fact does nothing to refute what I have said. You seem to feel it is perfectly fine that his victims accept the consequences of public blogging, yet you feel it is entirely unfair that DM face the consequences of his own actions. It cuts both ways. If there are rights, limitations, and consequences inferred by public speech then there are rights, limitations and consequences inferred by public speech. What is so hard to understand?
    3. Just so we are clear, no one is "conflating" his actions as criminal. They are criminal. You can disagree with the law, but you can't deny it exists. You can't claim that you can speak for every person who has been inconvenienced by DM because he has commented on your blog. Why not claim that you want a convenience store robber who shot the clerk to get off because you are the guy who merely got his car stolen in the getaway and you feel bad for the robber's financial position? Really. Your whole argument makes no sense.
    4. I'll amend my previous statement to accommodate your silly conflation. Being disruptive and threatening in an attempt to silence people is not free speech. It is an assault on free speech. If a great person comes along, I doubt he will spend countless hours stalking people, contacting their employers and co-workers, spamming their twitter accounts, and uttering death threats. If that person did, I would be happy to give them the right to have their ideas heard but not their threats and intimidations. DM has every opportunity to present his ideas. No one is preventing him from making a blog, or posting comments on Nostradamus, or criticizing the ideas of others. (Just to stop you before you get silly again, yes, perhaps SOME people would like to prevent that- but they would be WRONG) What you don't get an unfettered right to do is to threaten harm to people who hold opposing views. You don't get to intimidate with the sole purpose of silencing people.
    5. Again, since I have to couch every remark with several qualifiers, I'll amend it: no-one who has commented on this DM case has simultaneously argued that Neo-Nazis, Christians, atheists, or any other group ought to be silenced for holding controversial views. I would point out that if you were antisemitic, and you wrote several posts on your blog about Zionist conspiracies, and how Jews killed Jesus, or how they are subhuman f*ckers, I would defend your right to say it. But write one post about how you are going to kill one or many Jews, then I would not defend your right to say that. If I were a Jew and you spent countless hours tweeting death threats to me, or contacting my boss,co-workers, and clients and made me have to choose between closing my twitter account or report you to the police, well... I would report you. You have a right to be batshit crazy, you don't have a right to directly threaten someone.

  37. Listen, I read this great post at a blog I've been following the past couple days, that clearly shows the difference between direct threats and protected speech. I can't post links in your comments, but it is called "Threat Guide" on this blog called Anything But Theist. I'm sure if you Google it you can find it.
    Anyway, you should read it. It seems that guy at least grasps that certain speech is illegal, even if he doesn't necessarily support the laws themselves. Maybe he can give you some tips.

  38. I wouldn't say someone who was sent to hound others is a sheep, I think I specifically used the term "rabid wolves." It's a bit of hyperbole, and it's still probably not what you'd agree with, but I tend to reserve "sheep" for a different sort of people.

    I'm not sure I know how to look up what you linked to to get here, but I didn't mean to imply you or anyone in particular came from any particular site, merely that I have the statistics for who was sent from where, which is why I commented about those coming from Pharyngula.

    And it's not disagreeing with me that I take issue with. If I had a problem with someone, I wouldn't go to a big group of like-minded individuals and say, "Hey everyone, look at this moron! [Link]" I would address them with my own words, not try to rustle up a posse.

    Knowing something is illegal does not mean it's a good idea to call the cops on someone for doing it. I wouldn't call the cops on neighbors who I saw doing drugs (I might if they were cooking meth... and I was within the potential blast radius). I also certainly hope that those who blaspheme where it is illegal are not turned in. Like I have said many times before: there is a difference to me between legality and morality, and I don't see the law as a tool for me to manipulate just to get my way.

    I can admit what he's doing is illegal, I wonder if anyone can admit they do not actually feel threatened by him in the least, and that people just want him to stop spamming.

    Does it bother you that he might be made to stop making death threats, but that he'll just keep spamming people with non-threatening gibberish for years to come?

  39. @His Lordship: Ahh, a familiar name is finally weighing in and disagreeing with me.

    First off, DM lives in Montreal, which is heavily French-speaking, with his mother, who speaks fluent French. He has also quoted Nostradamus quatrains in some of his spams (I have taken to time to actually read most of his spam that he posts to my site).

    But that's all pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of the discussion.

    Regarding your other points, I have to say I just fundamentally disagree with 1 and 4, which is part of why I don't like this whole process. I'd love to pick and choose with confidence and say, "He shouldn't be allowed to purchase a weapon or bomb making materials," but already you, who I trust as being a very pro-freedom libertarian, have decided to include measures I find patently offensive in nearly any situation, and which, again, I disagree with in principle.

    I really need to put a punctuation mark on this DM issue, either an exclamation point or an ellipses. I'm tired of talking about it... I should create a random comeback generator that people can press in the sidebar, so anyone can ask it anything about the DM issue, and it will say the same, limited number of things I've been repeating.

    No offense, Your Lordship, it's obviously not you, I just... have you ever had a bunch of kids ask why you don't like Lady Gaga, and no matter how many times you explain it, they keep saying, "But... she's amazing!" I'm not tempted to change opinions, not even in the least (if you actually find DM threatening, you must be very sheltered... check out, but I've lost all enthusiasm for the issue and it has simply become tedious.

  40. I am on the Skeptalk email list (fans of the Skeptoid podcast). One of the other members posted a link to the Toronto Sun, then a follow-up link to your blog as a dissenting voice. I haven't seen anyone else from the list post here yet.
    I don't want to be counted among the Pharyngulites, as a "unique visitor." I'm not even an atheist, but I like skepticism and enjoy looking at issues from various view points.But what Mabus posts, is not merely dissent or inflammatory rhetoric.
    Since I'm not an internet celebrity nor an atheist, Mabus poses no threat to me. If we were to replace "atheists" with "Jews" or "infidels," in his messages,I doubt his behavior would have escaped attention for this long.
    Maybe you believe it shouldn't matter. But it would.
    I have made a lot of friends with atheists online by interacting with the skeptical community, and I care about their safety and sense of security. This is a threat that should be investigated.

  41. Thanks for your comment Laura, I'm sorry if I'm a little hostile lately... I hate repeating myself, you see.

    But I liked one of your points. It mirrors the best point I have seen so far, which was similar to:

    If we were to replace "atheists" with "Jews" or "infidels," in his messages,I doubt his behavior would have escaped attention for this long.

    I also heard a comparison of, if it was a battered women's home and a man was stalking the building, would I consider it a threat?

    Your point, however, brings up an interesting idea, which is that atheists are freely targeted with threats and vitriol.

    To be frank, he would have been probably arrested years ago if he had done this to Jews, probably the same if he was a Muslim threatening Westerners. But I don't like that this is the case. I see these as examples of a group getting special treatment or being targeted because they are a specific demographic, not as a model for everyone.

    But again, I acknowledge a community can push to have someone like DM investigating, from a legal standpoint, but I think they shouldn't, from a moral standpoint.

    It's not that all threats ought to be ignored. There are certainly cases where a credible threat may need to be investigated, but this guy DM has been doing this so long... I feel like he would never hurt anyone, because then he would never get to spam people again while in jail. He's clearly got a taste for his routine, which has been going on over a decade. I just don't see him as a credible threat with the drive or means to actually hurt anyone.

    We can all agree that no one wants to see anyone get hurt, but to me, DM is included in that. That doesn't make me a saint, it just makes me paranoid, because if they come after him, why not me next? I may not threaten people, but I've been told my ideas are dangerous. I know some people who don't see much difference between those two.

  42. Thanks Bret!
    I admire your principles on freedom of speech. Could those who called your ideas dangerous been engaging in a little hyperbole? I've been told that, too....I think...I've been told a lot of unpleasant things. They've even made me cry! But never afraid, thank God! ***OOPS! Please excuse the expression!
    I don't know if you live in the US, like I do, but one thing we value as more sacred than any religion is our Constitution. Our society needs individuals who are hawkish on these issues, like you. It's important to take a step back, and evaluate our priorities. Especially, when fear is playing such a prominent role, we can overreact. Even if you fail to change minds, there is value to challenging our conclusions. Someone I admire frequently states he prefers clarity over agreement. I like that.
    The internet is uncharted territory. It's both the public square and thousands of private squares.
    Be reassured that voicing your opinion on your own blog, is in no way similar to what DM has been doing. To someone who doesn't read blogs, participate in forums or discussions, Twitter, Facebook, email lists, etc., you probably don't realize that the domestic violence analogy is actually quite an appropriate analogy.

    Keep doing what you're doing! It's valuable for a free society. I suppose it can wear you down at times.

    Funny, I remember a time when I could tell myself that it's a computer and I can shut it off. Things have certainly changed! Now that sounds about as reasonable as disconnecting my phone to avoid telemarketers.

  43. But never afraid, thank God! ***OOPS! Please excuse the expression!

    Yes, next time, make sure to thank all the gods. It's rude to insult the others by excluding them. I think they'll forgive you... at least, I've been told one surely will, if you ask.

    Thank you for your kind words. I may have lost my ability to feel threatened or insulted, but I still appreciate support.

  44. Dennis Markuze has threatened me in response to comments on Facebook. I use my real name there and if he ever chooses to make the effort he could find out about my daughter in Montreal with about two minutes' effort. As someone conversant with mental health issues and psychiatric patients, I have learned that people who make threats, however bizarre, must be taken seriously, most especially if the threats become increasingly frequent and pointed.
    Let the SPVM (Montreal PD) sort him out. I will feel much better.

  45. These horror fantasies of DM singling out random, unimportant people and going after their friends and family who happen to live in Montreal is starting to get ridiculous.

    Get over it people: you aren't worth his attention. He just added your account details to a spam program. There is no increased frequency, there are simply more social networking options for him to spam these days (thanks Twitter...). If anything, most people on blogger get less spam in the last few months than we did a year or two ago.


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