Dennis Markuze is a menace. He primarily targets various scientific and atheist bloggers. He spams these people with ever increasingly vicious messages, and has even appeared at various atheists conferences. PZ Myers has a writeup on the situation over at Pharyngula (1). What makes this matter especially frustrating is that the Montreal police department has ignored his threats so far. Change.org has a petition that you can sign to encourage the Montreal police to act, and I highly encourage everyone to sign it. (2)
I’m not surprised that people like Mabus exist…there will always be ideological crazies out there. What surprises me is that the local law enforcement is not getting involved. Repeated behavior like this doesn’t fall under freedom of speech, just like yelling fire in a crowded theatre doesn’t, because there is the potential for harm. I have no way of knowing the true intents of the Montreal police, but I suspect they are not acting because the people being threatened are 1) almost all American and 2) almost all atheist. Unfortunately this is the sad reality that we live in today. Things are getting better, but we still have a long way to go. This is why we must keep fighting to get our voices heard, why we must come out as atheist, and why we must keep growing our community.
It looks like the petition (and the press it generated) actually had an effect! Mabus has been arrested! (3)
(1) Myers, P.Z. “Time to institutionalize Dennis Markuze.” Pharyngula. 10th August, 2011. Available: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/08/time_to_institutionalize_denni.php
(2) VenderBeek, Kyle. “Montreal Police: Take “Mabus” death threats seriously.” Change.org. Available: http://www.change.org/petitions/montreal-police-take-mabus-death-threats-seriously
(3) Plait, Phil. “Have we seen the last tweet from “David Mabus”?” Bad Astronomy. 17th August, 2011. Available: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/08/17/have-we-seen-the-last-tweet-from-david-mabus/