The latest on Markuze


In case you’ve been wondering, he has been committed to an excellent psychiatric hospital for 30 days evaluation, which is the best result possible for him and all of us. We get a month-long respite, he gets some quality care.

Comments

  1. says

    I wonder if we’ll ever hear a diagnosis. It could be helpful for future trolls/spammers.

    Hoping that he gets some real help. He seemed more likely to be a physical danger to himself than to others, actually.

    Glen Davidson

  2. Algernon says

    I hope some one is able to reach him. His apologies make me really sad. It’s obvious he doesn’t comprehend his actions. No, that doesn’t make it ok, it just makes me sad.

  3. Mattir-ritated says

    I’m glad that his targets were able to get him some help, even if done via the criminal justice system, before someone got hurt. It’s actually sort of inspiring, even if it took far too long.

  4. Phil says

    Glad to hear it as well.

    Somebody remarked on Digital Cuttlefish’s blog that it’s almost touching how none of the commenters so far have made any snide comments about this. If Markuze had been an atheist spamming Xians:

    1) He would probably have been arrested much sooner.
    2) the fundies would be using it as proof that atheists are insane/evil.

  5. Chris says

    Unfortunately I know from experience that a lot of people who really need the psychiatric help are VERY good at putting on a show and fooling the evaluators.So whether or not anything comes of it remains to be seen.

  6. Mattir-ritated says

    Since the 30-day hold is to determine whether Mr. Markuze is competent to stand trial, I’m assuming he looks pretty bad. It’s quite difficult to be disturbed enough to merit evaluation for being too ill to stand trial.

  7. frankb says

    If Mr. Markuze has any contact with reality, this detention may be his wake-up call. He seems to have suffered no consequences before. His parents may be getting a wake-up call too. At the very least he is in the system now and they will be watching him.

  8. RFW says

    I’m well aware that many think D. Markuze is nutso, but there’s another explanation: the man is simply evil, and his only disconnect from reality lies in having thought that he would never be called to account for his actions. Which, given the demonstrated ineptitude of the Montreal donut eating squad in his case, wasn’t all that unrealistic an attitude.

    There’s a hoary principle in law, did the offender know the difference between right and wrong? That’s why kids under a certain age are not subject to criminal proceedings: the law presumes that they are unable to distinguish r. from w. [Just what role this principle plays in modern Canadian criminal law, I do not know, however.]

    I’ve seen nothing to suggest that Markuze doesn’t know the difference. Indeed, the flurry of last minute apologies suggests that he knows the difference between r. and w. as well as P-zed or I do.

    Off with his head!

  9. says

    Frankly, I think that the apologies came from his mother, trying to shield her little darling from consequences. He has never been apologetic. And what she was quoted as saying fits right in with the notpology of What do atheists expect, enraging us like that?

  10. Olav says

    RFW:

    but there’s another explanation: the man is simply evil,

    “Evil” is a religious concept. It offers no explanation at all.

  11. says

    There’s a hoary principle in law, did the offender know the difference between right and wrong?

    Another hardly new principle is that if one acts by compulsion, knowing the difference between right and wrong is no longer the issue.

    Markuze knew the difference between right and wrong, that appears quite likely. That he has a disorder compelling him to “act for God” or whatever would not be surprising, however.

    Maybe he’s just a jerk, indeed. But considering the lengthy psychiatric evaluation, the odds of a psychiatric problem appear to be more likely than previously.

    Glen Davidson

  12. First Approximation (formerly Feynmaniac) says

    Since the 30-day hold is to determine whether Mr. Markuze is competent to stand trial, I’m assuming he looks pretty bad. It’s quite difficult to be disturbed enough to merit evaluation for being too ill to stand trial.

    Sad, but not surprising.

  13. moonkitty says

    If he were simply “evil” (not a helpful term), why would he have spent so very much time over so very many years composing long incoherent messages about cornfields and goats on fire and sending them to so very many people, when he could have been out physically assaulting people or running Ponzi schemes?

    And the last-minute apologies are my idea of worthless evidence for or against his M’Naghten competence. I’m not a Twitterer, but isn’t it easy to send Tweets? Seems like a delusional person could send them at the suggestion of, say, his mom, or mom’s nice friend who happens to be an attorney. Or the mother herself could send them from her son’s account, in hopes of making things easier for him.

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I hope they can find some medication that will help him. But, given the statistics, he will eventually stop taking his meds and start causing problems again.

  15. DLC says

    Hm.. . I think in the United States you mostly only get a 72 hour hold — known in California as a 5150. Yes, Van Halen fans, that’s where it comes from. Perhaps a judge can order a longer period of observation. However, this is only a hold for observation. Markuze is under no obligation to cooperate, and if he’s been in the system before he may well know just what words to say and how to act in order to game the system and get out in a month with no treatment. Time will tell, but I hope things work out for him.

  16. It'spiningforthefyords says

    I’m pretty sure all of us here hate the disease, not the patient. Even in cases (unlike this one) where the patient seems to be in league with the disease and working, as if it were some SF movie, to spread it to one and all, like all but 1 1/2 of the “Republican” pResidential candidates.

  17. ichthyic says

    I’m well aware that many think D. Markuze is nutso, but there’s another explanation:

    he typically spent at least 8 hours a day copy-pasting his threats across 25 different email and twitter accounts.

    sorry, but if I spent 8 hours a day, every day, posting to even ONE internet site, let alone posting copy-paste death threats….

    I’d want someone to seriously evaluate my sanity.

  18. RFW says

    Olav:

    “Evil” is a religious concept. It offers no explanation at all.

    You have led a very sheltered life. There are people for whom the word “evil” is the only viable description, and the entire matter is completely free of religious elements.

    Nor does being evil imply that one is nuts. Look at Rupert Murdoch, for example.

  19. says

    sorry, but if I spent 8 hours a day, every day, posting to even ONE internet site, let alone posting copy-paste death threats…

    His intent is what I find so problematic.

    He has purposely used intimidation to quell public discourse.

    The people willing to stand up to his tactics have had to waste enormous amounts of their personal time dealing with his crap. What might PZ have written in the hours he wasted every day deleting death threats?

    His intimidation tactics have had a far more serious, hidden effect.

    How many people have chosen to restrain themselves or remain silent to avoid the hateful torrent? Myself, for one; I already have a stalker, I sure don’t need another one. What writings have I been denied because folks have no room in their lives for such hateful attacks?

    This is DM’s agenda, to silence dialogue he finds unacceptable. This is a reprehensible, abusive power trip. Power and control over others, this is his compulsion and why he spends so much of his time at it.

    Like any abusive person, the reason he has escalated his abuse is because people kept on talking despite his demands to shut up.

  20. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    @Phil

    I strongly doubt that the fact that scientists and atheists were his target would have any influence on police in Montreal. Quebec is probably the most secular jurisdiction on the continent. I suspect that the failure to act until now was a combination of the following facts:

    1. that the location of the complainants was not Montreal where Markuse himself resided, meaning that a) interjurisdictional bureaucracy blunted the force of the complaints, and b) to the police, the threats seemed not likely to be carried out in any fashion

    2. that until fairly recently cops did not deal a lot with threats over the Internet so policies are not in place for when to pursue an investigation and when not to bother

    3. cops everywhere are more prepared to manage response than prevention (yes, uttering threats is itself a crime, but they often don’t treat it as one)

  21. says

    Evil does not exist. The idea is fucking ridiculous.
    Might as well say praying works, or that there’s a mysterious life-force in the universe.

    “Evil” is a fucking cop-out. A way of denying a major aspect of the human species. A way of distancing yourself from a trait you contain in you. Sort of like Republicans denying sexual desire.

    We are apes. One of the tools in our ape toolkit is violence.
    Some of us would like to throw out that obsolete tool. Others are comfortable with it if its used “for the right reasons,” especially if we can get others to do it for us.

    And some of us are ill and use it when nobody could ever argue it was appropriate.

    Humans are violent. Our history is of being violent towards each other, with a little time off for art and fucking and such.

    Using the word “evil” to dismiss the problem that causes a person to be inappropriately violent is like using the word “demons” to explain Parkinson’s tremors.

    As far as sheltered lives, go ahead, accuse me of that. I won’t bother to spend the time constructing a bullet-pointed list of how that’s actual laughable in my case.

    I’ll just mention one piece of trivia – my having lived with a serial killer, and then explain that that was a relatively MINOR piece of trivia in what was a life filled with more damaging acts from others.

    If death threats are “evil,” then I suppose serial killing and rape is “evil.” Well, I looked at that “evil” face to face many times, and have thought about that person in the years since his execution, and so far I haven’t seen a sign of this evil thing.

    Merely a severely, dangerously damaged but entirely human person.

  22. moonkitty says

    RFW & Jafafa Hots, if somebody lacks a conscience, and enjoys rape and torture and killing, the word “evil” does nothing to explain their motivation, or how they got that way. But I’m just fine with using the word “evil” to describe them and their actions. (Probably it’s more appropriately used to describe their actions–but I can’t be that dispassionate.)

    This isn’t that, though. If you read some of DM’s missives, and take note of things like his weird fixation with his initials, as if they had some mystic meaning–well, I’ll be mighty surprised if he doesn’t wind up with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or some form of psychosis.

    I’m glad he’s getting some psychiatric attention and treatment. Sounds like the mother was in major denial.

  23. Compuholic says

    I just hope that they are really evaluating him. Otherwise they could magnify the problem considerably.

    I have had a bad experience with psychatric evaluation. A person I knew was trying to commit suicide, the police stopped him at the last minute and brought him in for psychatric evaluation.

    I don’t know what they have been doing in the hospital but when the person was released two to three weeks later the problem not only persisted but I had the impression that his state of mind had deteriorated even more. It took maybe three months and then he tried again to kill himself. This time successfully.

    I of course realize that a single experience is not representative but it is enough for me to at least doubt the effectiveness of this approach. I fear that the problem could be made much worse since now he has a reason to say to himself, that he personally is being persecuted by the evil atheists. And this may lead for him to cross the threshold to physical violence.

    Let’s just hope that he really gets quality care.

  24. Marella says

    Just as well he isn’t Australian, we don’t have anywhere to put the mentally ill for more than a few weeks, they’re all shoved back on the streets for their friends and relatives to deal with as best they can. I hope the Canadians have a better system because Dennis sounds like he’ll need it. His mother doesn’t appear likely to be much help.

  25. Lancelot Gobbo says

    At anytime during that thirty days the attending psychiatrist may release him as not being a danger to himself or others. I will be as keen as the rest of you to learn what a proper evaluation says. My assumption is still that he merits no diagnosis of psychiatric illness, but that he will will be awarded one of a personality disorder on Axis II of the DSM IV. If he acquires a diagnosis of illness I hope, as do you, that he receives treatment, voluntary or involuntary (if justified) as necessary.
    Now to be very clear. I have no brief in favour of this loon from Montreal. I just don’t see why amateurs have to describe him in terms of psychiatric diagnosis when all his behaviour is consistent with that of simple asshole-ism. To use terms like ‘psychotic’ when theorising in advance of the evidence is likely to be inaccurate and does not reflect well on the theoriser. Never mind the increased stigmatisation of actual psychotics that you then engender.
    There will come a time shortly, when the politically correct will look down upon the use of ‘psychotic’ as a general term of disapprobation. Those of us who have experienced psychosis will be pleased when it is no longer used as a throw-away term of disapproval.

  26. mad the swine says

    This entire episode disgusted me. Yes, Markuze clearly has mental problems. Yes, it may be that, for the sake of society, his freedom has to be limited. But pretending that prison and institutionalization are ‘for his own good’ and that he’ll ‘get the help he needs’ is risible. The idea that the police and the mental health care institutions are there to help people comes from a position of profound privilege. If you’re white, male, wealthy, and neurotypical, you can, at least in some cases, expect that police and hospital staff will treat you as if you were a human being. Women, minorities, and people suffering from genuine mental illness see a different side. (Which is why, by the way, there are WOC organizations which are working to help minority women respond to criminal acts in their communities without resort to the police – because going to the police makes them and their families targets of police abuse.)

    Let me tell you what’s going to happen to Markuse now that he’s been institutionalized.

    He will be neglected. He will be emotionally abused.

    If he objects to his treatment, he will be beaten, placed in solitary confinement, and/or exposed to more creative ‘corrective’ measures (e.g. stress positions).

    He may be sexually abused. If he was a woman in a mental institution, the likelihood of sexual abuse would approach 100 percent. As it is, sexual abuse is likely but not certain.

    He will not get the ‘help’ he needs. The purpose of such institutions is to confine and punish, not treat or cure.

    At some time in the future, either after he serves a prison term (and I won’t even try to describe what would happen to him in prison) or when a judge releases him, he will be thrown out on the street. At that point, he will be angry, hurting, most likely more mentally disturbed than before, and he will have absolute, conclusive proof that an organized conspiracy of atheists and skeptics is working to destroy his life and make him suffer.

    Because, after all, that’s exactly what happened.

  27. Therrin says

    So just leave him to keep sending death threats because otherwise he’ll be wrongfully abused? Wait until he’s actually killed someone to have an intervention?

  28. Therrin says

    At that point, he will be angry, hurting, most likely more mentally disturbed than before, and he will have absolute, conclusive proof that an organized conspiracy of atheists and skeptics is working to destroy his life and make him suffer.

    Because, after all, that’s exactly what happened.

    Yes, that’s exactly what happened, he was a mere innocent emailer and the Athiest Comspiracy crushed him.

  29. Matt Penfold says

    Mad the Swine,

    You are aware that he has been remanded for psychiatric evaluation to what seems to one of the best institutes that exists ? And I take it you are also aware that such a remand is better than the court assuming he has no psychiatric disorder and sentencing to a term of imprisonment ?

  30. Janice in Toronto says

    Seriously PZ, I think perhaps a ‘get well’ card is in order.

    It just might give him pause to think about things while under care…

  31. moonkitty says

    Lancelot Gobbo:

    I just don’t see why amateurs have to describe him in terms of psychiatric diagnosis when all his behaviour is consistent with that of simple asshole-ism.

    All his behavior is consistent with simple asshole-ism? No, it isn’t.

    Have you bothered to read any of the long, obsessive, and incoherent missives the poor guy has composed and sent to people all over the world? There is plenty of evidence, and the evidence does not point to “simple asshol-ism.”

    To use terms like ‘psychotic’ when theorising in advance of the evidence is likely to be inaccurate and does not reflect well on the theoriser.

    “In advance of ‘the’ evidence” my ass. And for the record the word used was “psychosis”. Psychosis is a serious loss of contact with reality. There is plenty of evidence in the public record on Markuze, and it suggests that psychosis could well be what’s going on with him. No, it’s not a professional diagnosis. But then the fact that he’s being evaluated in a fucking psychiatric facility does suggest that it is a decent (amateur) hypothesis.

    Never mind the increased stigmatisation of actual psychotics that you then engender.

    People here (including me, and FTR I suffer from mental illness myself) are well aware that people with psychosis and other forms of mental illness are not any more, and may be less, prone to violence than neurotypicals. The fact remains that this particular guy may be mentally ill. Deal with it.

    Hell, stigmatization could just as well come from people who laugh or describe certain illness-derived behaviors as “simple assholism”.

    But thanks for your concern.

  32. Spector567 says

    Mad Cow
    You are making crazy assumptions based on…… Well nothing. Most of what you describe is completely inapplicable to the case at hand or even the content that this is taking place in.
    DM is not a minority, he’s not a woman, he does not live in a country where is subjected to a corrupt police force. Nore a mental health system that neglects people, He’s also not been institutionalized. He’s been taken for a 30 day mental evaluation.

    Long story short if you have a beef with someone it’s not us. So before you go off half cocked again about how DM “could” get a sex change and be flown to Mexico I recommend you evaluate the case on it’s merits as opposed to your own personal problems and wild and unfounded accusations.

    Once you have done that you can talk about the White over privledge 42 year old DM who currently has a great life living in his mothers basement spending 9h a day making death threats online.

    What is truly a shame is that had this problem been noted 18 years ago there would be a fully functioning and happy DM with a wife and 2 kids.

  33. ichthyic says

    Will the results be public?

    I have to admit being curious, but really I hope the results of whatever analysis is done on Markuze do NOT become public!

    would set a bad precedent; er, not that it hasn’t been set before, but one can always hope for a better result.

    as far as a trial goes, if the “DA” (what do Canadians call the equivalent to “district attorney”?) in the case decides to go ahead with prosecution, the trial results will surely be a matter of public record.

  34. ichthyic says

    What is truly a shame is that had this problem been noted 18 years ago there would be [a better chance for] a fully functioning and happy DM with a wife and 2 kids.

    fixed, and would emphasize that a wife and 2 kids does not a functional person make.

  35. ichthyic says

    But pretending that prison and institutionalization are ‘for his own good’ and that he’ll ‘get the help he needs’ is risible.

    funny, I thought the part where he was remanded for psychological evaluation to be the part where he might be able to get the help he needs.

    I don’t recall seeing anyone say that prison was the solution to psychological treatment.

    It is, however, a punitive way we have of enforcing that people follow laws.

    so, the two issues are entirely separate.

    If Markuze, in review, is found to be mentally competent and responsible for his actions, he faces punitive response.

    if not, then he gets treatment to ensure he is not a danger to himself or others, and maybe even can get to the point where he no longer feels the need to spend most of his days posting death threats on the internet.

    It could be entirely fucked up by whoever is handling this case, but theoretically, this is a GOOD thing.

  36. ichthyic says

    If he objects to his treatment, he will be beaten, placed in solitary confinement, and/or exposed to more creative ‘corrective’ measures (e.g. stress positions).

    He may be sexually abused. If he was a woman in a mental institution, the likelihood of sexual abuse would approach 100 percent. As it is, sexual abuse is likely but not certain.

    there’s an awful lot in this screed that requires citation, at least.