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Apr 12 2012

Another Rape/Death Threat for Jessica

Here’s yet another threat sent to Jessica Ahlquist. It threatens to rape and kill her and her entire family, including naming her little sister specifically. Because you’ll know they are Christians by their love, right? Here’s the text of the letter:

The cops will not watch you forever. We will get you good. Tell your little asshole sister to watch her back. There are many of us, “crusaders,” we have a betting pool to see who gets you first! Your fuckin old man better move or keep you locked up if you know what’s good for you. We know where he works, what kind of cars you have and the plate numbers of the cars. Get the fuck out of RI you bitchin whore. You are nothing more of a sex toy of a slut. Maybe you will (sic) gang-banged before we throw you out of one of our cars. We will get you – look out!

I can’t even imagine being so evil and twisted as to say this to anyone, much less a 16 year old girl. Nor can I imagine what it must be like to receive something like this, the fear it must create inside you. Imagine never feeling safe, always being afraid that someone is going to follow through on this kind of threat. I hope they find out who sent this and lock them up for a very long time.

22 comments

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  1. 1
    Bronze Dog

    We really need to keep working on how to shame people like that. Of course, our society features far too many people that appear incapable of feeling that emotion.

  2. 2
    schmeer

    I hope that she involves the police and that they treat this seriously.

  3. 3
    harold

    Here’s the actual prayer that these freaks are ostensibly protesting the removal of (it was apparently written by students in 1963) –

    Our Heavenly Father,
    Grant us each day the desire to do our best,
    To grow mentally and morally as well as physically,
    To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers,
    To be honest with ourselves as well as with others,
    Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win,
    Teach us the value of true friendship,
    Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.
    Amen

    The only problems I have with it are the use of “Our Heavenly Father” and “Amen”.

    Other than that, it’s good advice – and these scum have totally violated both the letter and the spirit of the advice in the prayer.

    Post-modern US Christianity increasingly seems to refer only to homophobia, sex obsession, and right wing politics.

  4. 4
    harold

    The only problems I have with it are the use of “Our Heavenly Father” and “Amen”.

    Clarification – I am personally not antagonistic toward either “religious individuals” or “religious belief”.

    What some other person privately “believes” is none of my business. I care how people behave.

    The reason I object to these parts are because in the setting of a public school they represent favoritism of certain religions over others.

  5. 5
    Alverant

    What is the police doing about it? (If anything, I wouldn’t be surprised if the police did nothing.)

  6. 6
    fifthdentist

    I’m sure this was taken out of context. Probably he meant that his all-loving, imaginary friend should rape and kill this girl.

  7. 7
    Eric R

    I read somewhere that the police had asked Jessica to remove the posting from, well wherever she first posted it, its of course now out there.

    The mind just boggles at the type of person that could write such a thing. Though it looks to me like it was written by another 16 year old.

    The bravery of this girl is amazing.

  8. 8
    Michael Heath

    Even when you move beyond the small number of wingnuts who threaten others, the level of dehumanization being employed against both Ms. Alhquist and Treyvon Martin reveals a far uglier underbelly of conservatism overall than even I imagined. When you couple that to their re-energized war on women one wonders how anyone could in good conscience remain a member of the groups who are using ignorance, hate, and bigotry to promote their cause.

    Perhaps these dehumanization efforts will finally create the impetus for Christian women to demand equality in the Catholic Church, along with conservative Christian women to do the same in the biblically inerrantist churches – or else leave. Sarah Palin’s example argues no.

  9. 9
    Jeremy Shaffer

    harold at 4:

    What some other person privately “believes” is none of my business. I care how people behave.

    I think I understand what you are trying to say here but I do have to point out that if you are concerned about how people behave then you also have to be concerned about what they believe. A person’s behavior is rooted in what they believe.

  10. 10
    Gretchen

    Michael Heath said:

    Even when you move beyond the small number of wingnuts who threaten others, the level of dehumanization being employed against both Ms. Alhquist and Treyvon Martin reveals a far uglier underbelly of conservatism overall than even I imagined. When you couple that to their re-energized war on women one wonders how anyone could in good conscience remain a member of the groups who are using ignorance, hate, and bigotry to promote their cause.

    There are things worse than rape. I’d classify it as a form of torture, but there are worse ways to torture someone. Still, because the person being threatened here is a female, the threat has to go there. Because violence and potential death aren’t enough– we have to add the particular form of violence most scary to women. Which, yes, counts as bigotry. I mean, it’s worse to rape someone than to be a bigot, but I think it’s pretty certain that a person who includes that special touch in a threatening letter likely has a problem with women. In addition to having a problem with secularism, separation of church and state, and reality in general.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that half the population has good reason to fear these yahoos and never, ever align with them. I wouldn’t call myself a liberal, but I’d walk through fire before calling myself a conservative.

  11. 11
    harold

    I wouldn’t call myself a liberal, but I’d walk through fire before calling myself a conservative.

    I almost qualify as a “liberal” by current US political standards (although it’s not what I usually call myself).

    Of course, though, there are many times when I might want to use the word “conservative” – making a conservative financial prediction, preferring a more conservative suit, whatever.

    And whenever I do use the word, I always clarify that I don’t mean that I am a political “conservative”.

    Precisely because of the intense negative associations that label is taking on.

    That’s the problem with euphemisms. Use them enough, and they take on the meaning of whatever you were trying to euphemize.

    If coded racism, uncoded misogyny and homophobia, cowardly anonymous sadistic threats, and the like are going to be described by their apologists as “conservative”, then the word “conservative” is going to continue to be associated with those things.

  12. 12
    harold

    I almost qualify as a “liberal” by current US political standards

    Oops, that should be ‘almost certainly qualify as a “liberal” by current US political standards’.

  13. 13
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Apparently the police have asked that this image be taken down, although I’m not sure what their rationale is.

  14. 14
    Modusoperandi

    Gretchen “I wouldn’t call myself a liberal, but I’d walk through fire before calling myself a conservative.”
    I would. I’d call you a liberal. As seen in this pre-enactment.

  15. 15
    Eamon Knight

    Once more with feeling:

    Reactions like this letter demonstrate that most or all injections of religiosity into a non-religous context — prayer banners, 10C monuments, opening legislative sessions with prayer — are not at all about piety toward God, still less about religion as the morally-improving influence it is advertized to be. Rather, they are political statements: We are in charge here, the rest of you exist on our sufferance, so remember your place.

  16. 16
    dugglebogey

    Where would our country be morally if it weren’t for Christians like this to teach us how to act by their marvelous example?

  17. 17
    Captain Mike

    @ Markita: I’m not sure if this is the reason here, but the police generally prefer that anonymous threatening letters not be made public. That way, if someone lets slip that they know the contents, the police can say “A-ha! Got you, you blackguard! It’s off to the big house with you!” They often do the same thing with the exact details about locations of corpses and such.

  18. 18
    skeptiverse

    Being Australian i am not too sure of the of how jurisdiction works in the US. But, isnt sending threats using a national carrier service (such as US Post) more of an FBI type thing rather than the local police?

  19. 19
    ambulocetacean

    This latest threat has now been turned into a story on Christwire

    http://christwire.org/2012/04/16-year-old-atheist-jessica-ahlquist-receives-terrorist-threat-blames-christians/

    Christwire satirises religous nutjobs and is frequently very funny, but I dunno how I feel about this. Am I having a sense-of-humour failure? Maybe if it alerts more people to the situation it’s a good thing.

  20. 20
    Nick Gotts

    It is of course a vile letter, but we don’t know it came from a Christian – although that must be the probability. We’ve seen in the last year how many noxious misogynists there are among atheists.

  21. 21
    jesse

    As I recall, specific threats are illegal, no? It’s First Amendment-protected if I say “I hate people generally who (insert here) and think they should be executed.” But if I say “I will execute you” then in many jurisdictions that is assault, no? Some lawyer help me out here.

    And that being the case, it seems a simple matter to see where anything like this comes from (assuming it was online, a physical letter is harder to track) unless they are behind a load o proxies. My experience is that most people don’t do that.

    But unless the writer is doing CSI-level coverups, his prints would be on the envelope and letter itself, and those would show up if s/hes been picked up for anything before. The postmark would tell you where they were from.

    Does Rhode Island have a Stand Your Ground Law? Jessica is being explicitly threatened, after all…

  22. 22
    Eamon Knight

    @19: IMO you’re not having a humour failure. Successful satire requires a detectable gap between the satire and the thing being satired. In this case, the haters are already well into Poe territory, and that Christwire comes across as just more of the same. Satire shouldn’t repeat so much of the hate speech it’s trying to criticize.

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