I have a strong policy about harrassment and threats. Other bloggers ignore them and feel it only feeds the trolls. I, on the other hand, take threats seriously. People have threatened to push me off buildings, recircumcize me, they wished that an Arab rape me, etc. I do not try to parse a harrasser’s state of mind to determine how seriously I should take them. I treat them all as serious. In this day and age you simply can’t take a chance that someone just might be ill enough to act on a threat.
In the past I wrote a post about someone I view as a slightly deranged Orthodox Jewish convert (sometimes the worst kind since they view their role as being more Jewish than the chief rabbi) named Justin White. In this case, Justin IS. He views any Jew who is not Orthodox as a disgusting imposter. We all might as well be Arabs as far as he’s concerned (his words, not mine).
After I banned him here, he assumed the identity of another commenter. He created a blog whose sole purpose seemed designed to mock me and dared me to read it (which I didn’t). Now, Justin has written the following threatening e mail which he followed up with an unsolicited telephone call at home:
You are the monster who should be sectioned, Richard. Don’t worry-we are working on it!
* * *
Inflected Forms: sec·tioned; sec·tion·ing /-sh(&-)ni[ng]/
1 : to divide (a body part or organ) surgically
I concede it is possible Justin is merely illiterate and didn’t mean to say “sectioned.” Maybe he meant “sanctioned.” Or maybe he was ranting incoherently. But again I go by the words on the page. And they are a threat to me.
[UPDATE: White informs me that he intended the obscure meaning of the word “sectioned” to connote commitment to a mental asylum. So he only intends to arrange to have me committed. Somehow I feel better already. One has to wonder how he comes to know such a rarely used meaning of the world and whether it’s perhaps from first hand experience.]
I wrote Justin demanding that he desist from further contact with me and told him that doing so would cause me to file a police report against him. He, being the unstable person he clearly is, responded saying he would stop harrassing me only if I removed every reference to him from my blog. This post is my answer.
Some individuals I respect disagree with my response to matters like this as I mentioned above. But I think every example of pathological behavior needs to be answered firmly. If you don’t, you allow unbalanced bullies to think they have an advantage over you. And you set a bad example for the next harrasser who comes along.
May Allah protect you and your family. Best Wishes.
I have known Justin since the mid-90’s. It’s true that he sometimes overly-enthusiastic. I have known him also to be learned and sincere. I had my own run-ins with him regarding eating kosher and my own wedding-he refused to attend! He can be very insistent but he is also very consistent. He hasn’t veered from his observance since his involvement in Judaism. This has caused a riff between himself and others that we know. As far as the sectioning thing is concerned, he uses this phrase often-it refers to “mental health sectioning.” I’ve seen other people get angry over his use of this term in the past as well. In any case Richard, you should take his comments with a grain of salt-we all do!
Actually, in the UK to be “sectioned” is to be detained for compulsory medical treatment under Section 4 of the 1983 Mental Health Act – see here. So with luck he lives several thousand miles away…
My heart is with you and your loved ones…
A smarter person would have used the word “committed” instead of one with such violent connotations.
Richard Silverstein says
@Noah: Thanks for yr perspective & glad to know that there are those who know him & recognize his tendency to excess. This quality I’m sure only does him harm & I wish he could learn to moderate himself.
I won’t report him to the police now that I know he wasn’t advocating cutting me into pieces & was only referring to having me involuntarily committed. That’s somehow comforting in a bizarre sort of way.
How do we know that “Justin” isn’t Richard? This has become truly strange!
Richard Silverstein says
@Heller: If Justin tried to assume my identity here as he did Barnaby Yeh’s I’d catch it & delete it. Besides, other commenters here who know Justin have written about him confirming his separate identity. Unless you think I’ve made them up as well?!
Strange indeed. The world is complicated enough as it is. Let’s not unnecessarily complicate it further.
Someone in my synagogue who married a convert once commented that the people who are coming in (converts) are certainly better than the ones who are leaving.
John Dickerson says
Isn’t it odd that Justin “White” seems to be so well versed in the procedure for involuntary commitment to a mental institution? (sarcasm intended) I wonder why he did not complete his college studies in merry ole Virginnie?
Oh dear, not again. I had hoped he’d resigned himself to the idea that different people are allowed to have different opinions and moved on to better things. I hope this doesn’t mar your Channukah happiness.