Friday, August 19, 2011

At last, at last, at last...

Dennis Markuze, the mentally ill Canadian megatroll who has apparently spent the better part of his entire adult life calling himself "David Mabus" and sending death threats and wild online tirades to the inboxes, blogs and Twitter feeds of countless atheists, scientists and anyone else who ends up in his crosshairs of crazy, is in deep, deep feces.

In Canada, it is a criminal offense to make such threats, and, in a key distinction from U.S. law, it is not necessary for a person threatening someone's life to present a realistic likelihood of actually carrying out the act. Some may consider that a troublesome free speech wrinkle, but there's a big difference between expressing an unpopular, even repugnant point of view, and telling someone you're going to decapitate them and murder their family. A violent death threat is not a "point of view." I went through our ban code just now, and counted no fewer than 37 bogus Google ID's that Markuze had created to comment here. And he actually didn't hit us nearly as hard or as copiously as he has targeted many others!

Markuze now faces up to 16 counts, and has been remanded to psychiatric evaluation. With luck, it will be determined that he is, in fact, crazier than a shithouse rat, and a long stretch of institutionalization will begin. The dude is broken, and he needs fixing, not a hard prison term. But at least the online godless and scientific community can breathe a little more easily, knowing that probably the most vexing source of irrationality we've been facing this side of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann has finally been dealt with. It's a testament to the power of online collective activism giving torpid law enforcement the kick in the butt it sorely needed to do their jobs properly. After all, Markuze had been a menace for years, and been reported for it, all to complete police indifference. Finally, enough was enough, and the matter was at last taken seriously, without circumstances having to end up with Markuze finally becoming the next Jared Loughner, and someone ending up needlessly dead before anything was done about it.

PS: Since PZ and some other bloggers have already faced a kind of backlash for talking about Markuze in conjunction with words like "crazy" and "mentally ill," I think it behooves us to note that, of course, Markuze is not the poster boy for all people everywhere who suffer from one form of mental illness or another, most of whom are non-violent and pursuing treatment while doing their best to live normal and happy lives like all the rest of us. While I cannot deny a tiny bit of schadenfreude that this creep has gone down, to be fair, Markuze's internal demons must simply be devastating. Hopefully the fact they've gone untreated for so long won't make it impossible for him to respond to the kind of care that will allow him to have, someday, a little bit of peace in his empty existence at last.


  1. For anyone claiming this is a violation of free speech, this person definitely had a history that made him a realistic threat that actually impedes others free speech.

    Is there really any value to not being able to charge someone with a crime for literally threatening to kill someone? I see how charging someone for a single threat or a couple of threats, especially over the web, would be hard to enforce and probably a huge waste, but I don't think this is one of those cases.

    That said, I hope he gets help and actually recovers.

  2. Gad zukes! In my own backyard... There goes my notion of 'this crazy stuff only happens in the US...' :)

  3. Nostradamus predicted this...

  4. Atheists are just milk gone off big time stylee!!!

    God will make them into cheese whiz if they dont repent.


    The great prophets are never understood in their time, surely after the rapture we'll look back on DM and just wish we had listened...

  5. What? I can't believe some people are complaining that he's being called "crazy" and "mentally ill" because they themselves have some kind of mental problem. That's like I complained that he's being called a "man" because I am a man too, and I'm not like him!

    The 21st century really is the culture of people getting offended by the most ridiculous things.

  6. I was shocked reading about this story, I blogged about this myself in French. I am from Montreal, I consider it my home more than any other city on the planet, so I felt particularly ashamed that we had our own retard fundie and that he had made news abroad. I was horrified that the SPVM didn't do anything about it for so long (then again, when drunken Habs supporters start breaking things up a night of playoff they usualy don't do a thing either). Many Quebeckers are atheists, but the word is still taboo and I think faith, even the most fanatic sort, providing it bears a Christian label, gets a free pass. We have our own Rick Perry with the mayor Jean Tremblay of Saguenay, who imposes prayers on assembly and has contempt for the separation of Church and State. Many people back him up because they think prayer is part of our culture.

    Okay, I am worked up now, so will stop rambling.

    On a side note, the mother of Dennis Markuze is just as much a nut job as he is: she said to journalists to look into the context of his son's threat.

  7. As someone who suffers from a 'mental illness', can I just say that I have absolutely no problems whatsoever with calling this guy crazy, etc.?

    Warp: I don't know what these people are reacting against, but I suspect it might be a complaint that they feel that it is wrong to call people with 'mental illnesses' words like 'crazy'. I'm guessing they think people with mental illnesses should be treated with sympathy rather than scorn - the same way we treat people with more obvious physical illnesses.

    To them I say: the meaning of 'crazy' in this particular instance is 'mentally deranged'. Which seems unfortunately an apt description. Whilst there unfortunately is a lack of sympathy and understanding for people with 'mental illnesses', from depression to dementia to schizophrenia, I can't really classify something like this that way: especially when he hasn't even had that psych evaluation yet!

    (I use quotation marks with 'mental illnesses' because there is a huge volume of different types of mental illness, much of which have only the smallest actual link to each other. It isn't exactly monolithic. The one I suffer from is so utterly different to someone else's that I have no right to presume to understand the things they go through, or speak for them.)

  8. The First Anti-Christ: Millions die in his quest to claim all of Europe for his own.

    The Second Anti-Christ: Performs mass Genocide on his own people.

    The Third Anti-Christ: Spam's Twitter with incoherent death threats from his mother's basement.

    OMG Prophecy has been fulfilled!

  9. If this were an atheist sending tsunamis of death threats to Christians, we'd never hear the end of it.

    But apparently this one guy is just crazy.

  10. Is it even established that the guy is mentally ill? According to the article, it's not. He's due to undergo 30 days of evaluation.

  11. @skurys:

    There goes my notion of 'this crazy stuff only happens in the US...' :)

    Don't worry. You'll probably continue to find that there's AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE more crazy motherfuckers in the country of 300 million as in the country of 30 million...

  12. Every article that I have read in the Mighty Atheist Blogesphere says two things. 1) Dude is a really big pain in the arse and 2)dude needs help and we want him to get help. I think it really shows the humanity of the atheist blogesphere and the New Atheist. I too am glad that he is in the process of getting help and thankfully no one got hurt.



  13. I honestly thought DM was some kind of leet hacker who had spent maybe two hours on building spam bots. Never had I imagined a guy spending 12 hours a day manually trolling.

  14. This guy drove me crazy. I even filed a complaint with the F.B.I. I'm happy he is off the streets and in a place where he can get some help.

  15. Interesting that his mother's a nutjob too. Makes me think there's maybe nothing organically wrong with his brain, and no history of being violently abused - he was just raised to believe some extremely stupid things, and has a very strong work ethic.

    Which would make him qualitively the same as the average youtube commenter...or TAE caller. Everyday moron, writ large.


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