Well, to be fair, the death threats were probably not a board decision. They appear to originate from a single, deranged employee named Melanie Kroll who is upset that PZ Myers, a professor of biology, was disrespectful to a cracker.
Actually, it isn’t really a cracker.
For those not up to speed on the developments of late with the Eucharist cracker fiasco being hotly discussed on the blogosphere, let me point you first to Gred Laden’s blog, where he has a list of relevant links. But here’s the gist:
A young man in Florida attends Communion at a local Catholic church and, when given the Eucharist (a little piece of tasteless cracker which is alleged by the superstitious to become the body of Christ after ingested), this young man absconds with the cracker tucked safely in a ziplock bag. He’s confronted and agrees to return it. It would seem that his intent was *not* to offend or desecrate. Nutjobs, whackos, and all-around assholes that consider themselves to be “true Catholics” had a different persepctive, however. They accused the young man of “kidnapping the host” and committing a “hate crime.” This, of course, is an insult to the victims and families of any real kidnappings and hate crimes.
PZ’s response was It’s Just a Fracking Cracker, which was one of the longest discussion threads I’ve ever seen on a blog. So long, in fact, he had to close it and begin a new one because of bandwidth issues. Among the comments in each of his posts were the occasional nutter that believes in the completely batshit idea that eating a cracker after a priest says a few magical words equates to eating the body of Jesus Christ. These nutters ranged from “you’ve blasphemed my religion and I’m praying for you,” to actual threats of violence.
And PZ has a policy that if he gets such threats that he will post the full emails, including headers showing IP addresses. And he did.
From: [email protected]
Subject: your short life
Date: July 13, 2008 8:07:31 AM CDT
what I would like to know is how did you even
get a job at a collage.
when you are obviously a moron.
How would you feel if nice folks starting ranting against
Fags, and atheist like yourself.
well sir, you don’t get to blaspheme and walk away from this.
You have two choices my fucked up friend, first you can quit your job for the good of the
children. Or you can get your brains beat in.
I give you till the first of the month, get that resignation in cunt
I kid you not. It turns out, one of Pharyngula’s commenters sent an email to the address listed and it comes back as belonging to Melanie Kroll who is “out of the office” over the weekend. Moreover, the email ends with the proprietary disclosure that starts, “This e-mail, including attachments, may include confidential and/or
proprietary information, and may be used only by..." that is so common at the end of corporate emails and often added as default signatures without the sender's knowledge since it's configured by the corporate IT nerds. Not to mention that another of Pharyngula's commenters took the opportunity to do the Whois and domain searches on the IP address breadcrumbs in the original header (click the link above) and found it originates with 1800FLowers.com.
So, while death threats probably aren’t an actual corporate policy for 1800Flowers.com, it would certainly see that they are willing to employ individuals for whom it is. If that employee isn’t terminated, would this mean that 1800Flowers.com offers tacit approval of death threats to university professors? What of other potential customers of 1800Flowers.com? Would they also be fair game for death threats as a response to holding opinions that run counter to 1800Flowers.com employees?
I think I’ll be buying my floral arrangements from elsewhere.
EDIT (7/14/08): As the first three commenters below pointed out, we really cannot blame Melanie Kroll with any useful probability. The only thing that can truly be said at this time is that the email orginated at 1800Flowers.com. At the very least, Ms. Kroll is guilty of not securing here workspace, but she may very well be a victim of having her email account used by another employee.
Its still very likely an employee, so the title of this post is still accurate. And I still doubt I’ll use 1800Flowers.com.