Another death threat

May 25, 2021 • 8:30 am
 I take death threats about as seriously as did Christopher Hitchens—that is, not at all. But I can’t say that they don’t discombobulate me a bit. This one came yesterday as a comment on a thread about the death threats received by Blair Scott, communications director for American Atheists, after he’d appeared on Megyn Kelly’s FOX news show. The entirety of the comment, including the IP address is below, as my policy is not to hide this information if personal harm is threatened.

 

If you can find out who this person is from the IP address (I’m afraid that’s all the information I have), I’d welcome any information. I put the IP address in an IP lookup site, which appears to show it’s from Chicago, though I have no idea whether that’s the case.

Here’s what I got:

bounce+wordpress=whyevolutionistrue.com@b.atomicsites.net

 on behalf of 

WordPress <wordpress@whyevolutionistrue.com>
Mon 5/24/2021 4:55 PM

  •  Jerry Coyne
A new comment on the post “More death threats from religious folks” is waiting for your approval
https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2011/07/30/more-death-threats-from-religious-folks/Author: … (IP address: 173.239.197.51, 173.239.197.51)
Email: mugshots.com1@gmail.com
URL:
Comment:
Take down your website or I promise you we will find you and your family and kill you all, slowly. Go ahead…take a chance with it…you’re messing with criminals who clearly don’t respect the law, you think we won’t do it? 🙂

44 thoughts on “Another death threat

    1. Feel certain Police and/or FBI will have better facilities to track them. Sick or not these types of people need dealing with by the courts. Best wishes for a speedy resolution to this nonsense. 🖖🏼

  1. I hate to keep repeating myself here but if this came to you via Facebook or direct to WordPress, it should be their duty to ban this guy from the platforms. They should also be turning it in to the police. If they do not do this with all of these kind of threats then they should not be in the business.

      1. That means the guy is hiding behind a VPN. The IP address you have is mostly useless because of that.
        Not really a surprise, these cowards only feel brave when they don’t have to face consequences.

    1. Yeah, that’s as much as I got, too, but I’m likewise only moderately savvy. I would think that Express VPN could be coerced to provide records of the users who might have been behind this email, since it conveys an actual death threat. I would think this a matter for the FBI, or some similar agency.

      1. Also, it might be useful to contact gmail, to see if it’s a legitimate account or not. I don’t know if they have avenues to search for such people or not, and it’s very easy to make a gmail account, but still…

        1. gmail is google isn’t it? They should be able to id this jerk and give to the FBI or whoever.

          1. gmail is google isn’t it

            It is now. For several years the owner(s) of “gmail.com” (a modest size perfectly respectable email provider) managed to resist Google’s blandishments, threats and (ineffective) legal action, but eventually they got brought out/ bribed strongly enough and “googlemail.com” email addresses were aliased into “gmail.com” ones.

      2. Some VPN businesses make a point of keeping no logs of users’ usage. Now you could say this facilitates illegal use or you could say it protects free speech.

        1. I would say it protects crooks and mostly bad guys. Free speech? What it tells us is this is what you get with no regulation.

          1. Yes, free speech doesn’t mean free to speak anonymously or free from consequences. IMO service like Express VPN should be illegal. Or at least regulated in such a way that legitimate authorities are able to get identity and IP address information in certain circumstances, such as these, which would require service providers to maintain logs.

            1. It should be illegal for websites to collect unrelated and unnecessary information on you every time you visit, tracking and monitoring your on-line activity. It *is* illegal to grab people’s data over public wi-fi, but that happens. VPNs are a response to that bad behavior on the part of both site owning companies and identity thieves.

              So, not about crime or free speech; about data privacy. But as someone who uses one, I’ll admit they are probably about as useful as a door lock; i.e. good against casual or opportunistic/automated attempts to grab your data, useless against both determined identity thieves and police with a warrant.

              I agree with Patrick and others; report it, let the police deal with it. This guy’s VPN isn’t likely to slow them down (assuming they choose to investigate, which is probably the more realistic barrier to finding him).

          2. It certainly does protect crooks and bad guys. There are good guys who benefit too, though, so we have to be careful to avoid throwing babies out with bath water. I am thinking of dissidents living under repressive regimes around the World who would be quickly arrested, or worse, if they publish from identifiable IP addresses.

        2. It’s a bit of both, I’d say. There MAY be a way to track them through the service if there is a crime involved – though it might take a subpoena, I don’t know – and this is certainly the conveyance of a threat (which I think is crime), and is in itself an attempt to suppress free speech via threat of force, so if that’s what the VPN companies are promoting, they should be interested in countering it. But it might be tricky to pull off.

        3. Some jurisdictions require service providers to keep logs (in the UK, I think it is for 7 years) and are required to make them available to various prosecuting and/ or investigating authorities (as defined for that jurisdiction). Others don’t have such rules.
          To perform most services, the server needs to know where to dispatch responses to, which needs some sort of log-like subsystem. But you can configure those to be discarded after the incoming connection (from the customer) is dropped, with no log written, or with logs written into a database which is discarded by a garbage collector every few seconds.
          It’s one of the technical aspects you look at when deciding if/ where to pay for VPN-ing services. Well, it’s one of the aspects I look at when considering such services (but of course, the policies of my host country make that somewhat pointless).

      3. Yes, I think the police can probably get a subpoena to get that information from them though it may not be that fruitful anyway.

  2. I wonder what it must be like, subjectively speaking, to go through life with such a frail disposition that you feel compelled to threaten people who don’t agree with you about magic (or anything else, for that matter) with murder. Seems like it must suck.

  3. I did a search and came up with the same thing: ExpressVPN. Since they are using a VPN, they could be anywhere, and I would think the email address is spoofed, or hacked. Word is that ExpressVPN does not keep logs of its users so actually finding them might be difficult.
    Out of an abundance of caution, I might let the authorities know.

  4. Sorry you are having to face this threat. And spending time and resources tracking down the coward who won’t give his/her name. You’ve certainly helped to open my eyes over the years; unfortunately some people prefer to remain ignorant and would like everyone else to also remain ignorant.

  5. Very unfortunate. To prevent emulation, I recommend to not show any signs of weakness or a lack of information you might have, and to always also post how of the info, mail headers and all goes to the FBI or similar authorities.

  6. Definitely report it to the police. They might get ExpressVPN to unmask the perpetrator if you provide full headers.

    My experience with death threats makes it hard to take them seriously. One guy stalked me online and found out my interests include weightlifting, rugby, and shooting sports. He still decided that threatening me was a good idea.

    That being said, keep an eye out for that one psycho in a thousand.

    1. Agreed absolutely – on reflection, PCC(E) should report this threat because 1) the person making it should face the consequences, and, more importantly, 2) other people this nut threatens may be less resilient.

      1. Agree as well. If they really try, they can follow the trail far enough to ID him pretty confidently. The note stinks of puffed-up self-importance—real criminals don’t advertise the fact and couldn’t give less of a damn about people’s intellectual views of theism. This is some twisted little soul—as in, really little—who’d be terrified if he thought he was being traced. That’s one more excellent reason to get the responsiible authorities to trace him.

        1. Yes, I concur, real criminals don’t advertise.
          Chances are it is a acne suffering adolescent in the proverbial parent’s basement , who thinks he (nearly always a he) is clever and cannot possibly be traced.
          I hope you are not too unphased (unfazed?) by this, but I would most certainly report it to the appropriate authorities, just in case.

  7. Probing from the UK, I get stopped at a fibre provider called “Zayo” (hop 11 stops at 64.125.199.39.ipyx-302756-005-zyo.zip.zayo.com) and the next link drops traceroute packets, which is slightly unusual and very VPN-ish. Zayo may or may not be a provider for the Express VPN mentioned upthread, or there could be other layers of plausible deniability in between.

    Oh, hang on. A different probe type provides more info, which may or may not be helpful. Incoming mail.

  8. Lovely people! Truly godly. If they’re Christian, they clearly don’t know that Jesus wouldn’t be too happy with their attitude. If they’re Muslim…well, Muhammad probably would approve…

    (I’m assuming it’s one of the two. I don’t think many Buddhists or Sikhs are angry about this website’s existence)

    1. It is perplexing why people who believe in an all powerful god and who believe that what we do during out lives leads to an afterlife of eternal reward or everlasting damnation, feel it is necessary to kill or threaten to kill those who disagree with them. It kind of suggests a lack of faith in their god’s ability to take care of things for him/herself.

  9. Ha! A google search on ‘mugshots.com1@gmail.com’ brings up multiple links to sites that offer to get your mugshot off the internet. How appropriate.

  10. Very sorry to hear this Prof(E) I don’t know if you have a policy on how to deal with these situations but there must be some rules you could follow until you have more information or the threat is nullified.
    Heightened situation awareness. Stay around people.
    Perhaps things like that in the meantime.

  11. I’m gonna bet that if you track the miscreant down, he’ll point to the 🙂 and say it was a joke. I had something like that happen when I protested the Salmon Rushie affair at the dawn of the WWW. I got an email from an Ontario (Canada) email server to the effect that “we might do something about nasty atheists like you”. I did track down the server and sent an email to the administrator of that email server asking that the sender be investigated. A while later, I got another email from that person asking why I can’t take a joke and was I trying to get him fired. I replied that a threat from someone I don’t know is not a joke. That was the end of our conversation. I’m still alive and kicking about 35 years later.

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