If you’ve been around the atheist blogosphere for very long, you’re probably acquainted with Dennis Markuze, a notorious net kook who’s been spamming atheist blogs, forums, bulletin boards, wikis, social networking sites, and every other website he finds out about with insane, nonsensical rants about Nostradamus, 9/11 and his various other obsessions. He’s been at this literally for decades, and apparently has a limitless supply of time and sockpuppet accounts with which to do it. (However frantically he changes accounts, though, I give my word that you’ll never see him befoul Daylight Atheism. I take the integrity of my commenting community seriously.)
But in the last year or so, his cryptic messages have grown increasingly violent and threatening, and often include death threats against prominent atheist bloggers. Despite this, and despite massive, overwhelming evidence that he’s deeply disturbed and potentially dangerous, the police in Montreal, where he lives, have consistently failed to take any action.
Now there’s a petition telling the Montreal police to take Markuze’s threats seriously. Please sign it if you’ve encountered his insanity: the more signatures we get, the harder it will be for the police to ignore. We’ve been lucky in that he hasn’t actually hurt anyone so far, but it may only be a matter of time until he goes completely off the deep end. If he does snap, it’s more likely to be the people who know him personally who get hurt, and I hope it doesn’t come to that before he gets the help he badly needs.
UPDATE (8/17): With a little media attention, the petition has worked! Montreal police announce an arrest (they haven’t officially said that it’s Markuze, but I’ve heard unofficial confirmations that it is). Skeptical Software Tools has an outstandingly thorough summary of the entire affair.