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.