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March 27, 2007


Death threats against bloggers are NOT "protected speech" (why I cancelled my ETech presentations) :: an ugly story :: warning - quite disturbing and graphic.

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Comments (20)

I'm glad you posted this, Ze. Kathy is an amazingly gifted thinker and writer. She's changed the way I think about my job and about what my company does. Heck, she's changed the way I approach creativity in general. To see her like this is horrifying, and I hope the people responsible are suitably punished.

Posted by: Chris Norris at March 27, 2007 8:32 AM

The Internet gives all kinds of people access to each other that would be harder to achieve in real life. I know violent, nasty, sadistic scumbags exist, but I don't usually have to talk to them. It's shocking and depressing to be reminded that a fair number of people think this way and feel fine about themselves. It does make all human atrocities throughout history utterly plausible. Anyone have a quick answer to whether some people are just plain evil and should be eradicated? Or are these subhumans just poor, wounded creatures themselves? Tell me what to think, because I'd like to fry the bastards just for pest control.

Posted by: cafiend at March 27, 2007 9:31 AM

Internet anonymity is a wonderful thing...until people start acting like complete morons because they think they can just hide behind their monitors.

Posted by: rubyseeds at March 27, 2007 10:51 AM

words still have meaning

thanks for posting this ze

Posted by: this is important at March 27, 2007 11:14 AM


This is the part of being human that sucks. Tribalism. Scapegoating. Objectification.

Remember what it was like to be the awkward nerdy kid when you were 8? Or remember picking on that awkward nerdy kid? Or watching him being picked on? Those dynamics don't go away - they just get pushed under the surface by the rules of society.

And with no social limitations to keep them in place online, they pop right back up. Words are dangerous. I wish people would think more often before they type them. But we don't think. We're creatures of instinct, with a thin veneer of rationalization to paint pretty colors over the truth.

Excuse me while I go off and be depressed now.

Posted by: Alice at March 27, 2007 11:39 AM

would you feel outrage if people said this type of thing to Rush Limbaugh?

Posted by: Papa Nuginny at March 27, 2007 11:45 AM

Unfortunately, people will point to instances like these to make a case for policing the internet (as if it could be done).

I think we all owe it to ourselves and the human race to denounce this sort of ugly, sick behavior whenever we come across it.

Posted by: efemmeral at March 27, 2007 12:43 PM

Papa Nuginny, arguably Limbaugh has made a whole career exploiting the human tendency to tribalism, scapegoating, and objectification.

Turnabout is not fair play, though. I bet he does get death threats. It's not the identity of the person at the receiving end that upsets me - it's the whole human tendency that's being exhibited here. So yes, I would feel upset. I do feel upset.

Rise above this shit, Humans.

Posted by: Alice at March 27, 2007 1:10 PM

I've never had death threats, but I can relate to the impact unwanted, negative attention on your blog can have on your head and your personal life. I can only imagine what this must be like for her - I hope she can feel safe again. Thanks, Ze.

Posted by: Marianne at March 27, 2007 1:46 PM

It just blows my mind. I can't quite grasp why anyone would want to do that to her, or anyone else for that matter.

What in the hell must be going through the mind of the people who did those things. Whether for amusement or serious threat the impact is the same. Kathy has been violated and that changes her perspective and how she sees the world. You can't take that sort of shit back. :/

I hope she can acclimate this new altered reality into her mindset and move forward without the impact crippling her sense of wonder with the world.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, people have a great capacity to suck ass.

Good thing there are many who choose not to.

Posted by: KnittyOtter at March 27, 2007 2:31 PM

it is a shame this person was intimidated to the point of disfunction. There must be an agency that can assess the seriousness of a given threat. I will agree a thong over one's mouth is a distasteful thought, but in what context can that be equated with the sitting of one's throat. does the sick minded poster of such thing have an apparent ability to carry out that which he threatens.

What is the cyber-law on this?

what are the jurisdictional implications ?
where did the violation take place ?

Posted by: Papa Nuginny at March 27, 2007 3:15 PM

That is a good question papa nuginny. the ip address shown is in madrid spain.

Posted by: mama lucia at March 27, 2007 3:38 PM

That makes me glad to be a blogging non-entity. It's atrocious.

Posted by: rebecca at March 27, 2007 4:57 PM

Boy, do I disagree with the folks who think threats of violence aren't dangerous and are protected free speech. That's pretty close to yelling, "Fire!" in the crowded movie theatre, which isn't legal.

I started my evening irritated by my day, and now I'm really mad.

Posted by: girlie_sportsracer at March 27, 2007 8:15 PM

To the sportsracer who wondered if we would be upset if this happened to Rush Limbaugh. Easy one. I didn't have a clue who this woman was prior to today. It's horrible what has been done and I wouldn't even wish it on an idiot like Rush Limbaugh. See, I can have an *opinion* about someone without making death threats. Easy-peasy.

Posted by: Imagine at March 27, 2007 10:24 PM

There is a simple relationship, when calling someone a name or threatening them, that involves your respective distance from the target. That is to say, the further the asshole is from you the more likely you are to scream at that he is an asshole. In the world of the Internet, we are infinitely distanced from each other by our anonymity.

It's not a new phenomenon for cowards to hide in the dark and scream threats. The easiest way I see to deal with cowards in the dark is to shine a light on them. The cops should contact the other blogs and find out exactly who these cowards are and hold them accountable for there actions. There are laws against threats.

Posted by: BlakNyte at March 28, 2007 3:25 PM

Ditto, Blaknyte.

Posted by: kaninchen at March 28, 2007 7:45 PM

this one goes out to sportsracers, ze, and Kathy. I thought I'd shed some of my own thoughts into this terrible atrocity.


Posted by: nyxtom at March 28, 2007 8:36 PM

During last months meetUp of Top YouTube Videographers and their Subjects in San Francisco - several of them gave interviews to the Press revealing being emailed and called by complete strangers who were making death threats.

And these were just comedy videos, they were not political or controversial.

Posted by: security at March 29, 2007 4:12 AM

So I looked oer Kathy's blog, but I don't understand - WHY was she getting death threats? What were they threatening here over?

Posted by: ringoffire at March 30, 2007 11:45 AM

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