tl;dr If you would like to report harassment or threats from Mabus, see contact info for the Montreal Police at the bottom of this post.
Taken from a Mabus-related Facebook group (see link below)
A man from Montreal, who generally goes by the name David Mabus, has been harassing scientific, atheistic, and skeptical bloggers for years. Every day, several of these people (including PZ Myers, Tim Farley, Phil Plait, Michael Shermer, James Randi, and many many more) purge their various inboxes of hundreds of hate-filled messages. His history is well documented — so much that people know his real name, work place, contact information, and home address and have reported him to the police.
Frequently his messages include threats of death/murder, decapitation, and taunts that “the police won’t help you”. Other times his messages are entirely incoherent or just vaguely menacing, but are sent with enough frequency and consistency to be fairly considered harassment and stalking. This is disturbing (and illegal) in itself, but what’s also worrying is his attendance at an atheist conference last October, possibly demonstrating an escalation from online threats to real life encounters. Luckily, nothing happened other than a pulled fire alarm (also illegal).
Unfortunately, the police reports filed by American bloggers that are among his primary targets (for example, PZ Myers in 2009, Michael Shermer in January 2011, and Tim Farley in 2011) have so far apparently been stifled by international jurisdiction rules and perhaps by officials not getting a true sense of the scale of Mabus’ activities, as many more victims of his harassment have simply opted to just ignore him. To this day, Mabus continues his unbridled stream of hate-filled vitriol seemingly untouched by the police.
This week that seems to have changed.
A Facebook group (The David Mabus Appreciation Group – private) got the attention of several people that have received threats from Mabus. Shortly after, a San Francisco native Kyle VanderBeek started a petition that emailed Montreal Police public relations with every signature/comment. As of today the petition has about 4000 signatures. The massive flood of emails prompted the police to respond on Twitter (@SVPM) saying: “Please stop sendind e-mails to our media adresse by signinig the petition.We are investigating the case. Thank you fou your help.” [errors theirs] This message was both amusing and unwelcome to those who have been pleading for respite from Mabus’ constant abuse for years (see the twitter searches “mabus” and “SPVM”).
During the same time period, Mabus (and/or his Twitter bots) detected activity going towards the Montreal Police Twitter account and he began spamming them from multiple sock puppets, along with several of his usual targets. So far the messages have not been directly threatening (“atheist nazis: you really need to worry about your OWN mental health”; “what happens when god does the striking?”; and most recently, “want to compare my crimes to that of donald rumsfeld?”), but they have included links to forum posts in which he wishes death upon atheists (e.g., “we’re going to bury/nuke you” and “die atheists, die” — he probably didn’t mean “the atheists, the” in German).
Within a day of the existence of the petition and the increased Twitter activity, Tim Farley (of What’s the Harm?, a target of Mabus) was interviewed by the Montreal Gazette. They frame this as largely a Twitter problem, but Mabus’ activities are much more widespread — harassing and directly threatening people on blogs, forums, email, Facebook, and Twitter using multiple aliases (as he is frequently blocked) and posting from internet cafes. The story was also picked up by Cyberpresse (Google translated). Mabus’ mother defended his actions saying that she does not interfere with what he does because “he wouldn’t hurt a fly” and “it’s [his behaviour] his job for what he believes” [paraphrased, translated from French].
Years of daily obsessive harassment and violent threats are not the actions of a healthy individual.
One way to help the police comprehend the scale of his actions is to report his activity ASAP while he is under investigation. If you have been harassed or threatened by Mabus (particularly Canadian citizens or people living in Montreal, as the police seem to be taking those more seriously) and have recorded proof, you can contact the Montreal Police through Twitter or this contact information and forward your information. (Edit: If you live in Montreal or the surrounding area and have received a death threat from Mabus, you should contact Tim Farley — see info in the comments — for the contact information of the investigating detective.) The important thing now is to (finally) let the police do their job.
UPDATE 12/08/2011: MSN story (French). The Montreal Gazette follows up with more detail. CBC Montreal did a late-night story (video – 4:00 mark) – there is a YouTube version, but the sound is low. The CBC reporter claims that the police have opened their investigation to threats outside Montreal. If you have received a direct death threat (not just spam), please report it to the Montreal police.
UPDATE 17/08/2011: The Montreal Police have tweeted that they have made an arrest in the Mabus case. The rumor mill is that there will be a press release as well within a day or two.