1. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Don’t, HJ. Please don’t give this even that much credit. This is not something that needs dissecting. It’s too urgent.

  2. Al Dente says

    A repost of Pete Newell at Pharyngula:

    14 names far more worthy of memory than that of a murderer:
    Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
    Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
    Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
    Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
    Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
    Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
    Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
    Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
    Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
    Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
    Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
    Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
    Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
    Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

  3. says

    It’s probably going to take more than a couple days to backtrace that email 🙁 I hope they do manage to catch the creep that sent it. In the meantime, Sarkeesian can always ‘appear’ by Skype. Let the Streisand effect do its work.

  4. Hj Hornbeck says

    Josh, Official SpokesGay @2:

    Don’t, HJ. Please don’t give this even that much credit. This is not something that needs dissecting.

    That was my point, actually. Feminists try to work on systemic sexism, they don’t go after individual people. The person’s claim to be hurt by sexism is absolute nonsense, meaning either that

    A) this is some asshole firing these off with the intention of terrorizing Sarkeesian, or
    B) this person’s bought into the conspiracy theories around feminism completely.

    From the looks of it, this is case A)… in which case, it’s straight-up terrorism worthy of quick condemnation by as many people as possible.

  5. Hj Hornbeck says

    Josh, Official SpokesGay @6:

    For Pete’s sake, ya THINK, HJ?

    Sometimes it’s handy to point out the obvious, juuust in case. But your point stands: this is persistent terrorism, straight-up. The lack of action makes no difference to that. On top of that, it looks like this is tied to GamerGate, in a way:

    Let’s be real for a second. #gamergate is the new name for a group that has been harassing me for 2 years. All the same users are involved.

  6. says

    May Utah State University not let a broken piece of ape meat impede Anita Sarkeesian from speaking.

    I hope they have someone with a video camera and a room where they can record her talk, and that they publish it, and the threat, broadly. Streisand Effect FTW.

    I also wish that they’d publish the whole email, including the headers. Doing a back-track would be a pleasure.

  7. Anthony K says

    I also wish that they’d publish the whole email, including the headers. Doing a back-track would be a pleasure.

    Marcus, I know security is your thing, but you’re coming across as kind of excited about the situation, here and at PZ’s. A pleasure would be Anita being able to talk without being the target of death threats.

  8. Hj Hornbeck says

    And things are worse than initially reported:

    femfreq @Twitter:

    Multiple specific threats made stating intent to kill me & feminists at USU. For the record one threat did claim affiliation with #gamergate

  9. Lee delay says

    I seriously feel nauseous now having read that. I’ve gotten death threats and other threats of harm but this is just disgusting in so many ways. Poor Anita, no one should be the target of this.

  10. Hj Hornbeck says

    [cross posted from Pharyngula]

    Two more tweets before I conk out:

    To be clear: I didn’t cancel my USU talk because of terrorist threats, I canceled because I didn’t feel the security measures were adequate.

    Joss Whedon:


    Wish I had half the courage of Sarkeesian. And I think it’s safe to say this story is gonna dominate the headlines tomorrow…

  11. says

    I couldn’t sleep last night over fear and disgust at the fact that terrorism against women appears to be accepted worldwide. When my mind won’t stop crying internally I write poetry:

    3 Poems:

    words self-healing

    not a birthing debt
    paid in full at puberty
    woman of your dreams

    love is always
    first prize material
    without award

    unbidden love
    placating self esteem
    back to the source

  12. says

    you’re coming across as kind of excited about the situation

    Because I’m fucking pissed off and if there was a ghost of a chance of being able to do something positive, I’d leap at it?
    Please don’t project on me.

  13. jesse says

    I’m of two minds about this.

    On the one hand I feel like cancelling the talk was a bad idea. I know my own inclination would be to do it anyway, scared as I would be. Because I was scared. I don’t know Sarkeesian’s personal feelings, I’m jut describing mine. But I feel like it’s a win for this guy writing the threat.

    On the other I know you have to take this stuff seriously, and you don’t want other people getting hurt in a gesture of defiance, however much said gesture may be important.

    One note: as this is a threat against a specific person, in most states it’s a crime straight up, and a felony no less in some (in Utah it’s a misdemeanor, evidently: . I can make all the threats I want against a group but if it gets specific then I am threatening a person. At the federal level I believe making terroristic threats is now one of those things that gets the FBIs attention — or should.

    @Marcus — my hacker self would say he agrees with you, but I think the thing that gets people here is the sense that it’s like those dudes that say “let me at ‘im” and posture. I know that isn’t you but it’s what it can sound like, y’know?

  14. Phillip Hallam-Baker says

    I agree with Marcus. Tracking the guy down should be a priority. But it should be an FBI priority and campus police priority. Marcus does that work for a living (so do I but Marcus is more focused on incidents than me).

    Chances are that the perp was a member of the campus, most likely a student. Why else get so wound up about the event? Why else even be aware of it?

    As for the event, can’t even the nuttiest gun nut admit that under the circumstances nobody should be allowed to carry at such an event unless they are event security staff? Why does someone’s hobby come before the right to free speech?

  15. Phillip Hallam-Baker says

    @jesse, quite a few federal charges here. The threat was made on the Internet which crosses state lines for a start. It is a threat to cause death to multiple people. It is a hate crime. The list goes on.

    The first line of the message is addressed to all staff and students at the university. It is a specific threat of harm to each of them individually. It goes on to make specific threats against staff and students. Thats about 30,000 counts at five years each. Or 150,000 years. Without parole.

    Utah law isn’t relevant here. Sarkeesian almost certainly wasn’t in Utah when the message was sent. But even if she was it is a federal crime because it was sent on the Internet. Marcus probably has the case law better but I don’t think it is even necessary to show that the message did cross state lines, only that the infrastructure does. At any rate, since her mail server is likely out of state it would be federal.

  16. Shplane, Spess Alium says

    You know, if this were a threat directed at a man speaking about non-feminist issues, I have a feeling someone they’d have just beefed up security at any expense while spouting rhetoric about not folding to terrorists.

  17. jesse says

    @phillip – thanks, I figured that there wold be a lot of federal crimes to charge the guy with. I was thinking of Utah law because the threat was made to people in Utah (the university folks) and that’s where the talk would be, and of course the indications form the email sender that they were local.

    @Shplane — you are likely right, unfortunately, but just as unfortunately I’m almost more worried about a guy threatening feminists than a guy threatening something or someone “bigger” — the people that rail against say, some Federal agency know that a ton of bricks is coming. If you are threatening them and serious — well, you don’t do it like that. You strike without warning (duh!).

    This stuff — it’s more personal. That is, feminism generally can hit on issues that are more personal, more intimate, if I dare use the word. That makes people more defensive. It’s one reason I think there’s a disconnect between what a lot of people hear and what the message is supposed to be. But that’s a whole ‘nother thread. Anyhow, point is, it’s stuff that makes people madder because it’s closer to them. A they say, you can’t really hate someone or something you don’t care about deeply.

    With feminist issues it gets to your personal relationships a lot, and that’s a much more visceral thing than say, economic policy. It’s immune to logic too, because it is that personal and often we live with a lot of cognitive dissonance because we have to get through the day. So people get even more angry than you’d expect at a stranger. I’ve met a lot of conservative people who are real right wing folks that don’t get so angry about Obama, but bring up feminism as applied to personal relationships and it’s another level.

    The whole gamer thing strikes at a piece of core identity for some dudes, and its bound up with a load of other things that make feminism seem like a huge threat. Because it can seem like a personal attack in a way that some other political ideas don’t, and I submit, can’t.

    So in that sense I am more worried about the email-sender than I might ordinarily be.

  18. screechymonkey says

    Amanda Hess at Slate reports on why prosecutions for online threats are so rare, interviewing a former FBI agent who worked on cybercrimes:

    But it’s rare for incidents of online harassment to spark a federal investigation at all. “It was never a matter of not caring,” Ryan told me of working on the cyber squad, but “the volume of work coming in every day was absolutely staggering. We had to do triage, almost as if we were in a war zone, deciding which patients to treat first.”
    Cases that posed a serious risk of physical harm or a significant loss of property were prioritized, as were threats to children. When agents are busy investigating operating child pornography rings, they don’t have the bandwidth to look into casual threats against adults. (And if the investigations are unlikely to be successful, they sink further down the list.) In addition, Ryan told me, agents might choose to investigate high-profile incidents—those involving celebrities or newsmakers—that they think might create “a deterrent effect” for similar crimes. Perhaps the Gamergate harassment has risen to that level: Some of the threats against Sarkeesian are being investigated by the FBI.
    The light penalties attached to many of these online crimes also deter officials from taking them seriously, because the punishment doesn’t justify the resources required to investigate and prosecute them. “It will never work if it feels like a catch and release program,” Ryan says. “Spending a month getting subpoenas and doing wiretaps for a case where the sentence is six months of probation just doesn’t make sense.”

    In other words, don’t expect the FBI to do shit unless there’s a corpse.


  1. […] Here is a link that has the full e-mail received by individuals working for Utah State University. It was sent from a deranged lunatic demanding they cancel an appearance by Anita Sarkeesian. Wonder if he’s ever said something similar in chat rooms or on internet forums. Wonder how many agree with him. Wonder if the NSA has any records on this asshole, considering they supposedly spy on American citizens all day every day. Wonder if they might not share info with local police, or the FBI, or some agency who can nab this person. […]

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