First, kill all the dictionaries

Jeremy David Hanson has been arrested. His crime? He threatened to murder a dictionary.

According to the criminal complaint, between Oct. 2 and Oct. 8, 2021, Springfield-based Merriam-Webster, Inc. received various threatening messages and comments demonstrating bias against specific gender identities submitted through its website’s “Contact Us” page and in the comments section on its webpages that corresponded to the word entries for “Girl” and “Woman.” Authorities later identified the user as Hanson. As a result of the threats, Merriam-Webster closed its offices in Springfield and New York City for approximately five business days.

Specifically, it is alleged that on Oct. 2, 2021, Hanson used the handle “@anonYmous” to post the following comment on the dictionary’s website definition of “female”: “It is absolutely sickening that Merriam-Webster now tells blatant lies and promotes anti-science propaganda. There is no such thing as ‘gender identity.’ The imbecile who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot.”

Hanson also allegedly sent the following threatening message via the website’s “Contact Us” page: “You [sic] headquarters should be shot up and bombed. It is sickening that you have caved to the cultural Marxist, anti-science tranny [sic] agenda and altered the definition of ‘female’ as part of the Left’s efforts to corrupt and degrade the English language and deny reality. You evil Marxists should all be killed. It would be poetic justice to have someone storm your offices and shoot up the place, leaving none of you commies alive.”

It is further alleged that on Oct. 8, 2021, Hanson posted another threatening comment on the dictionary’s website and a threatening message via the “Contact Us” page that threatened to “bomb your offices for lying and creating fake…”.

This is where gender-critical fanaticism takes you. They’ve convinced themselves that science is anti-science and reject the actual understanding of science to claim an authority they don’t have. There is most definitely such a thing as gender identity — I suspect that Hanson identifies very strongly as a man.

So now he wants to kill people because he thinks dictionary definitions are powerful and magical and that, rather than describing how people use words, they actually create the meaning. Somebody needs to explain that murdering dictionary writers won’t change the meaning of words. I don’t think the Merriam-Webster dictionary entry is particularly comprehensive or thorough, but I don’t think that bombing offices will affect how people understand “female”.


  1. joeatbm says

    Time to re-read ‘A Canticle for Leibowitz’:
    “After 20th-century civilization was destroyed by a global nuclear war, known as the “Flame Deluge”, there was a violent backlash against the culture of advanced knowledge and technology that had led to the development of nuclear weapons. During this backlash, called the “Simplification”, anyone of learning, and eventually anyone who could even read, was likely to be killed by rampaging mobs, who proudly took on the name of “Simpletons”. Illiteracy became almost universal, and books were destroyed en masse.”

  2. nomdeplume says

    Just when you think the Right has plumbed the very bottom of the lowest point of the deepest trench of stupidity and fascism, along comes a new freaking moron to prove us wrong.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    It is sickening that you have caved to the cultural Marxist, anti-science tr*nny [sic] agenda…

    “Anti-science,” eh? Anyone wanna bet this chud thinks AGW is a Communist hoax, visits the Ark Park each summer, and has got a lifetime supply of horse deworming paste to fend of the “China Flu?”

  4. wzrd1 says

    Well, he hit all of the talking points. Marxist, communists, elites… Almost as if he was programmed by Russian originated media in the US.
    Why, I’ve even read screeds that go on about communists being around contaminating our Constitution. That’s impressive, given Marx didn’t write his works until 60 years later. Guess they stole Obama’s time machine or something.

    Still, I laugh at cases like this, as such entries into a website are logged, the IP and timestamp accurately logged and pointing right back to the jackass.
    I can just picture him on his first day in prison, “We bad! We bad!”.
    I do wonder though, if he did actually follow through on bombing them, such as via a mail bomb, if he received it Return To Sender, would he open it?
    Yeah, he would. He obviously ain’t all that bright, nor has he had any brunging up. ;)

  5. Michael Sparks says

    If a person threatens a dictionary, there should be some obligation to use correct spelling and proper grammar. This is just…disappointing.

  6. azpaul3 says

    This is where gender-critical fanaticism takes you.

    If you’re a governor leading your favorite legislation then yes that fanaticism can take you. But in this case what I’m seeing is a poor demented individual whose injured mind picked up on the gender stupidity instead of some other stupidity like their definition of the color blue. I don’t think this is a political thing (until you make it so) but just a crazy person gone nutty.

  7. Aoife_b says

    Come on dude, I didn’t transition to destroy Science and The West. I was just tired of wanting to not exist

  8. nomdeplume says

    Can we strangle the last dictionary-maker with the entrails of the last evangelical? I may not have that quite right…

  9. whheydt says

    Re: sc_* @ #17…
    He is certainly consistent. Wants to bomb and shoot all his targets.

  10. Silentbob says

    Hey anyone else remember when TERFs said they had nothing to do with male violence against trans people? Remember when they said, “I don’t think violent men are reading Germaine Greer, hur hur hur”?

    -- The dictionary deciding what a woman is
    -- “gender ideology”
    -- the idea that trans people are a “lie”
    -- the idea that trans people are “anti-science”*
    -- “there’s no such thing as gender identity”**

    All TERF talking points adopted by the reactionary right.

    * Every major relevant medical/scientific body agrees trans people exist are happier and healthier when allowed to transition and accepted as their transitioned selves.

    ** Gender identity is bog standard psychology and utterly uncontroversial in the field. A psychologist who didn’t believe in gender identity would be considered as much as a crank as one who didn’t believe in sexual attraction.

  11. chrislawson says


    You can’t dismiss politics that easily. Firstly, we have no evidence that the man making threats has a psychiatric disorder. In my moderately extensive experience of treating people with mental health disorders, I have never met anyone whose delusions latched onto “Marxist” or “transgender” conspiracy theories, or who accused people who disagreed with their delusions “anti-scientific”. The terms used in these threats were drawn unfiltered from anti-trans hate speech. Jumping to the conclusion that anyone making wild threats based on transphobia must be mentally unwell is unkind both to people with mental illness, most of whom are not violent or transphobic, and to people opposing transphobic violence who know full well that the problem is culture-bound and can’t just be waved away as mental illness.

    Even in cases of convicted multiple murderers, only 20% are ever diagnosed with a psychiatric illness. And although I don’t know the percentages for those mass murderers who are hate-motivated, there are plenty of examples where psychiatric review found no illness: Omar Mateen, Stephen Paddock, Dylan Roof — none of them had a psychiatric illness.

    Secondly, even if it turns out that he has psychiatric delusions, his violent threats based on hateful gender politics didn’t come out of nowhere. He absorbed them from whatever political discourse he was immersed in. Which makes it a political problem.

  12. azpaul3 says


    What I’m reading is, if a mentally challenged person does something violent for a stated political reason then it is the perceived fanaticism of that political camp that is to blame and not the demented twisted mental condition of the perpetrator. That is a politically motivated judgement disconnected from the human condition. I’ll disagree.

  13. chrislawson says

    You are just determined to protect hate-mongers from any accountability, aren’t you?

  14. garysturgess says

    azpaul3@21: It’s all too easy to dismiss hate mongering individuals as mentally ill, but this perpetuates a false and harmful narrative about mental illness and is, as chrislawson points out, not in fact required (or even all that common) to be a horrible evil individual.

  15. says

    garysturgess @23
    True. It also doesn’t help that there’s a share of armchair psychiatrists who will jump to conclusions about mental disorders like autism. It’s one more reason people like me feel intimidated against talking about mental health in public.

  16. ardipithecus says


    It is not an either/or. Hate propaganda fuels and drives the motivation, but the perpetrator is still responsible for perpetrating. You might note that “Trump told me to” is not working as a defense for Jan 6 insurrectionists.

  17. raven says

    What I’m reading is, if a mentally challenged person does something violent for a stated political reason then it is the perceived fanaticism of that political camp that is to blame and not the demented twisted mental condition of the perpetrator.

    You should have stopped right there.
    The answer is yes.

    The vast majority of “mentally ill” people aren’t violent, hate filled wannabe terrorists and mass murderers. They are just people with mental problems they are dealing with as best they can.

    Rather than being perpetrators of violence and terrorism, more often than not, they are…the victims of violence and terrorism.

  18. raven says

    I’m going to explain one point in my last comment.
    Rather than being the problem, most of the time the mentally ill are actually the victims of violence and discrimination.

    …20 to 34% of mentally ill who had been victims of violent crimes during the same period. Some studies suggest that perpetration is highly correlated with victimization in people with severe mental illness (14).Sep 8, 2020,severe%20mental%20illness%20(14)
    Victimization of People With Severe Mental Illness Outside …

    Conclusion and Future Research

    People with severe mental illness are vulnerable to becoming victims of violent and non-violent crimes. This is for a lot of reasons. Inability to think clearly, poverty, substandard living conditions, and lack of social and economic power contribute to this vulnerability.

    You can call Jeremy David Hanson mentally twisted and not be wrong. It’s common enough. Most GOP politicians are mentally twisted including tfg.
    You can’t call him mentally ill or psychotic without further information.

  19. submoron says

    Shouldn’t that be ‘Murder a Lexicographer’?
    “Lexicographer. n. s. A writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge, that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words.”
    Is PZ’s title a reference to Henry VI?
    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”

  20. says

    Well, I guess that makes more sense than indicting a ham sandwich…’cuz a ham sandwich starts to smell bad if it’s held without bail…

  21. Oggie: Mathom says

    I seem to remember years ago (internet generations ago) that we had a huge influx of dictionary atheists who insisted that being an atheist meant ONLY disbelief in gods and had absolutely no ramifications in the real world. Which meant misogyny was fine. I guess if one thinks that definitions define reality (rather than the other way around), then this makes, er, sense? in a twisted way.

  22. Kagehi says

    @21 I also despise this jump to the conclusion that the person was mentally ill for another important reason: “The right ALWAYS excuses any member of their side who commits violent acts and/or terrorism as some random nut, with no connection to their own paranoia, lies, etc., but always insists that every liberal who does something similar is merely a member of the conspiracies against them.”

    Why the *%$$% should we be helping them do this, by jumping to the same claim that, “Well this guy is just a nut.”

    Especially when, unlike their projected claims of conspiracy by liberals, you can’t throw a rock in a random direction, in a crowd of conservatives, without hitting someone who either believes in, is part of an organization that claims, has as part of their political platform, or has at least flipping read on Facebook, or one of their favorite Twitter feeds, about how a) gender identity (or insert anything else on the list) is terrifyingly dangerous, and b) part of a liberal conspiracy.

    Doing these people’s slander and dismissal for them, by keeping to, “This is some nut.” , is not f-ing helpful.

  23. submoron says

    @ ^ SteveoR: If there’s a reference to Shakespeare then I’ll point out that today’s supposed to be his birthday.

  24. Howard Brazee says

    Maybe he identifies strongly as a man. But apparently he is threatened by people having alternate gender identities.

    People who are comfortable with their own sexuality aren’t threatened by alternatives.

  25. Doc Bill says

    Not his first rodeo.

    From WEAU, Eau Claire, Wis. April 21, 2022

    “33-year-old Jeremy Hanson of Los Alamitos, Calif. was charged with terrorist threats, a felony, in Eau Claire County Circuit Court on Wednesday, according to online court records.”

    “According to the criminal complaint filed with the charges, Hanson sent an anonymous email to Tim Nordin, the ECASD Board of Education president, from a Gmail account named “Kill All Marxist Teachers” at 11:58 a.m. on March 21, 2022. The email said, “I am going to kill you and shoot up your next school-board meeting for promoting the radical transgender agenda. It’s now time to declare war on you pedos. I am going to kill you and your entire family.”

  26. Walter Solomon says

    Still, I laugh at cases like this, as such entries into a website are logged, the IP and timestamp accurately logged and pointing right back to the jackass.

    Was he too stupid to use TOR or, at the very least, WiFi at a different location?

  27. says

    This is gold. In Australia the immoral equivalent of the Republican Party is the Liberal-National Party coalition. In the upcoming federal election a liberal candidate is under fire for bigoted comments equating transgender activism to Nazism and the Holocaust. Her views are supported and defended by the Prime Minister and her state Premier. One of them is a happy-clappy Pentecostal and the other is connected to Opus Dei. The PM is in the Ted Cruz mould. He tried to invite a pedophile protector to dinner with Trump and when Australia was on fire 2 years ago took off on a holiday to Hawaii. I guess Cancun was a bit too far. As for the Premier, when he assumed power in a bloodless coup he immediately muzzled and overruled all the health experts and decided to lift almost every Covid precaution and reopen schools. Within 4 weeks nearly 20,000 school students were Covid positive.

  28. birgerjohansson says

    About dealing with bigots.
    And about bogus allies.
    “Democrats have found their new fundraising sceme ”
    Always assume the top Democrats are base cowards. And always assume the Republicans are much, much worse.

  29. Owlmirror says

    And history showed the dictionary atheists were correct.

    I’ve always thought that calling them “dictionary atheists” was a mistake. Something like “confused atheists”, or more sharply, “hypocrite atheists”, would be more accurate.

    Movement atheism makes little sense except as a reaction to the dominance of religions in society. Inasmuch as the movement wants to lessen or oppose the stigmatization of atheism in society, it is a social justice movement. But opposing social injustice against one’s own group while ignoring social injustice against other groups (or even being in favor of such injustice) is hypocritical.