Another day, another death threat

Another scientist got a death threat a couple of days ago. This time it was Hans Schellnhuber. The Australian reports:

Anger against scientists involved in the climate debate is reaching dangerous levels and it’s only a matter of time before one is murdered, says leading German physicist Hans Schellnhuber. …

While he was opening a recent climate conference in Melbourne, a man in the front row waved a noose at him. “I was confronted with a death threat when I gave my public lecture,” Professor Schellnhuber said.

“Somebody got to his feet and showed me a rope with a noose.

“He showed me this hangman’s rope and he said: ‘Mr Schellnhuber, welcome to Australia’.”

Of course, the folks who deny AGW will deny that this happened, but for the rest of you, here it is on video:

 

The Citizens Electoral Council is Australia’s own LaRouchite group.

Comments

  1. #1 Boris
    July 15, 2011

    lol Larouchebags.

  2. #2 Kate
    July 15, 2011

    When I saw this article in my RSS feeds I recognized the title from a few weeks ago, and thought that Google Reader made a mistake and re-submitted the old article.

    Sadly, not so.

  3. #3 Stu N
    July 15, 2011

    That wet bag wouldn’t have the guts to kill a fly buzzing around his head, but the symbolism of what he did should be lost on no-one.

  4. #4 Bobby
    July 15, 2011

    I’d love to hear his opinion of Monckton. Agent of the “British Empire” perhaps? Delicious cognitive dissonance…

  5. I predict that

    1. The police will do the absolute minimum to deal with this death threat.
    2. Trolls (or a single troll) will come here and carpet-bomb this thread with logical fallacies and plain irrelevant bullshit.
    3. Marc Morano will respond to Schellnhuber by publishing his e-mail in big honking letters on his Climate Despot web site. As always, his stated rationale will be to ‘promote discussion’ (as long as it’s not discussion about the death threat).
    4. Viscount Christopher Monckton will claim that Schellnhuber’s under some sort of investigation for something or other. Meanwhile, he’ll continue on his lavishly funded world tour.
    5. Andrew Carswell of the Daily Telegraph will inject a bogus ‘story’ into the news stream claiming that the original death threat ‘story’ was overhyped, and his new ‘story’ will manage to disagree with all known facts.
    6. Chris Mooney will maintain that climate inactivism is merely a gigantic “misunderstanding” which can be solved by reaching out to the crazies.
    7. Climate scientists will continue to think that they’ll be safe if they just coop themselves up metaphorically in the Ivory Tower, as if it’s some sort of holy ground. As long as stay in the Ivory Tower, they reason, the forces of anti-science and climate science won’t touch them or their children.
    8. The world’s climate continues to go to pot.

    — frank

  6. s/and climate science/and climate disruption/

  7. #7 Jeremy C
    July 15, 2011

    You couldn’t make this stuff up.

    The thing is I bet the stupid kid was thinking the opposite of how his holding the noose up came across.

  8. #8 Peter Hartmann
    July 15, 2011

    i don’t think this was a death threat. rather they probably tried to present this as the noose with which “eco-fascists” like Schellnhuber want to kill most of humanity. this is in line with the hysterical rants that Pierre Gosselin (NoTricksZone) and others have blurted out in the last months (Schellnhuber’s Master Plan = Mein Kampf etc.).

    about the larouchites: i always tell them if they think greening the moon/mars is so easy, they should start greening the sahara, which is after all much easier. when they’re done succeeding in that, i’ll start talking to them.

    p.

  9. #9 MacTurk
    July 15, 2011

    Okay, we have the same modus operandi as Greenpeace in Australia; we will not accept scientific trials, we will never accept facts which contradict our thesis, we will threaten, we will disrupt, and we will never stop our assault on logic and evidence, especially evidence we do not like.

    The future of the species is looking a little bleak.

  10. #10 cindy
    July 15, 2011

    hmmm

    swastika?
    hitler?
    eco-fascist?

    all of this is precisely the language used by Monckton. Has he been to a la Rouche training session?

  11. #11 Huw Jones
    July 15, 2011

    I’m from Britain, and I can tell you there is no British ‘empire’ here. I can also tell you that the British royal family is not pushing for a carbon tax, nor would they benefit if one was introduced. That guy is living in some bizarre fantasy world.

  12. #12 bob
    July 15, 2011

    of course prince philip is behind it. why didn’t I think of this before? its so obvious now

  13. #13 MapleLeaf
    July 15, 2011

    Is Mr. Anthony Watts still trying to claim that there have been no death threats, or threats of violence, made against climate scientists?

  14. #14 Mercurius
    July 15, 2011

    Perhaps the CEC spokesman should learn how to do up a tie properly if he wants to keep fighting the ECO-NAZI-JEWISH-ROYAL-BANKERS today.

  15. #15 Con-Sered
    July 15, 2011

    WOW talk about Paranoid. Conspiracies everywhere. Even the Queen wants to over throw the world. You guys make Tony Abbott look like a Lefty (a big support of the monarchy). Myopia rein supreme in the minds of the gullible. The emperor never did get his new coat, he was wearing his old one all this time.
    PS: Once you evoke Godwin’s law you lose the argument (hence, once anyone align Nazism in an argument the game is over).

  16. #16 Captain Pithart
    July 15, 2011

    i’ve thought about it some more, it could have been meant as a warning as to what happens to fascists in the end, similar to the rant Luboš Motl gave some time ago, comparing Schellnhuber with Heydrich, and mentioning that Heydrich was in the end shot by “the people”:

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/03/herr-schellnhuber-has-master-plan.html

    »This Schellnhuber’s lookalike, soulmate, and countrymate was serving in the years 1941-1942. Because it turned out that he was trying to help the set of people who would live in the 1000-year empire in the future, rather than the living generations of the Czech lands, our democratically elected government in London (representing the living generations of the Czech lands, rather than hypothetical future generations of the Third Reich) fired this blonde beast in May 1942 – by fireguns. Goodbye, Mr Heydrich.«

    p.

  17. #17 Michael
    July 15, 2011

    Oh Gawd, are people really this crazy?

  18. #18 Mikem
    July 15, 2011

    Wow, there is a whole lot of “stupid” bottled up in the members of that movement!

  19. #19 Bernard J.
    July 15, 2011

    Peter Hartmann.

    Personally, I would take it as a death threat. It certainly seems to me to [qualify as a threat to kill under a Victorian definition of such](http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s20.html):

    Crimes Act 1958 – SECT 20

    Threats to kill

    20. Threats to kill

    A person who, without lawful excuse, makes to another person a threat to kill that other person or any other person-

    (a) intending that that other person would fear the threat would be carried out; or

    (b) being reckless as to whether or not that other person would fear the threat would be carried out-

    is guilty of an indictable offence. Penalty: Level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).

    [Italics mine

    ]

    and it’s perhaps a shame that no action was taken to charge Glen Isherwood.

    Perhaps the lawyers here can clarify the matter?

    As for Motl, the guy is a few sarnies short of a picnic.

  20. #20 MikeH
    July 15, 2011

    This sort of behaviour is not restricted to the larouchies.

    [Liberal Party volunteer and bully Declan Stephenson](http://www.theage.com.au/national/frankston-shame-former-libs-volunteer-targeted-on-facebook-after-making-green-cry-20110714-1hf8k.html) intimidated Vicky Kasidis, a young Greens supporter who had the temerity to turn up to Tony Abbott’s “community” forum in Frankston.

    [You Tube Video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0SU8Frk03E)

    Kasidis is from Edithvale, just down the road from Frankston – so if this was a genuine forum, she was more than entitled to ask Abbott a question. Apparently by doing so she disrupted what was a staged event.

  21. #21 Rob Honeycutt
    July 15, 2011

    You totally gotta love this little tidbit on his youtube channel…

    “As seen on… Deltoid” LOL!

  22. #22 Lotharsson
    July 16, 2011

    > Apparently by doing so she disrupted what was a staged event.

    That has mild echoes of the Bush (W) years, where anyone who wasn’t believed to be going to sufficiently cheer the party line was denied entry to the stage-managed community events, in some cases even being arrested (and IIRC not always by authorities with official arrest powers).

    This included suspected Democrats as identified by bumper stickers on the cars they turned up in (regardless of whether it was their own car or not), Republicans who wanted to dissent from any of Bush’s policies, and even some die-hard Republicans who triggered a false positive for the enforcer’s “non-Republican cheerleader” detectors.

  23. #23 bill
    July 16, 2011

    These folks are as wacky as a sack full of mad things having a particularly nutty day! I somehow ended up on their emailing list – I think I know who to thank for that one – so I’ve read their ‘literature’ and I assure you this is just the gibbering tip of the iceberg of crazy.

    Can anyone think of a less likely Machiavellian super-genius than Prince Phillip, incidentally? Charles, perhaps?

    There’s no way to argue with this stuff – what could the ‘agreed facts’ ever be? This isn’t just epistemic closure, it’s epistemic locking-the-door-and-throwing-away the-key!

    There really is no position so manifestly daft that someone somewhere won’t take the trouble to hold it…

  24. #24 Harbinger
    July 16, 2011

    Frank; “Meanwhile, he’ll continue on his lavishly funded world tour.”

    I take it you are referring to Schellnhuber, who has made a fortune from his dooml scenarios. His institute gets $28 million a year, he is an adviser to Deutsche Bank on carbon trading, his recommendations for our future amount to fascism and totalitarian control. His Potsdam institute started life in the offices of the old Stasi building, I think they left some of the manuals behind. He was trotted out to re-inforce Julia Gillard with her ludicrous carbon dioxide tax.

    Larouche? Foolish and unproductive, that sort of idiocy loses the real message about the disgraceful scam being perpretated.

  25. #25 anonymous scared climatologist
    July 16, 2011

    Aren’t there, like, places for people like that in Australia?

  26. #26 bill
    July 16, 2011

    his recommendations for our future amount to fascism and totalitarian control

    Larouche? Foolish and unproductive, that sort of idiocy loses the real message about the disgraceful scam being perpretated.

    Ah, so only nutters believe Prince Philip is behind it all – rational people know it’s Schellnhuber and the Stasi!

    Congratulations. I couldn’t make you up. It is amazing – and to no little extent terrifying – how many genuine loons there are floating about.

  27. #27 Watching the deniers
    July 16, 2011

    These nut bags have been setting up tables in the streets of Melbourne.

    I thought of approaching them to see what they’re about.. but the funny looks and decidedly off vibe they radiated made me think otherwise.

    Insane in the membrane.

  28. #28 Amoeba
    July 16, 2011

    Since arranging the assassination of Princess Diana, isn’t Prince Philip and the rest of his shape-shifting alien lizard-people too busy running their secret Nazi conspiracy world-wide drug-running operation? Or have I missed something? ;)

  29. #29 stopmurdoch
    July 16, 2011

    These guys are amateurs!

    Froot-Loop central is some guy bothering Malcolm Turnbull from a website called [barnabyisright](http://barnabyisright.com/)!

  30. #30 Chris O'Neill
    July 16, 2011

    Insane in the membrane.

    A bizarre mixture of apparently understanding Kepler’s laws quite well but at the same time believing Newton’s laws of motion are “dogma”, i.e. reaction is not the equal and opposite of action, it is according to “God’s law”, whatever that means. How about this quote:

    Descartes and Newton typify the long list of intellectually corrosive, Venice-controlled figures in the history of actually and putatively scientific institutions. In the Eighteenth Century, the Berlin Academy’s Voltaire, Maupertuis, Algarotti, Euler, Lagrange, Lambert, and the French Encyclopaedists typify those corrupted figures of influence operating within scientific institutions directly under the control of Venice intelligence agents, such as Conti and Algarotti, to the purpose of eliminating the heritage of Cusa, Leonardo da Vinci, Kepler, and Leibniz from science. Immanuel Kant, the Marquis de LaPlace, Augustin Cauchy, and the circles of Germans and others under the control of Britain’s Lord Kelvin, typify the continuation of this Venice tradition during the Nineteenth Century.

    Totally mad.

  31. #31 wilful
    July 16, 2011

    Here’s Schnellnhuber’s CV, for those with less accomplishments in their lives: http://www.pik-potsdam.de/members/john/cv

    I went to the four degrees conference on Wednesday and Thursday. Not one person talked about this “intervention” by a couple of larouchians. Total impact? zero.

  32. I said earlier,

    > Trolls (or a single troll) will come here and carpet-bomb this thread with logical fallacies and plain irrelevant bullshit.

    And Harbinger comes in and says,

    > His [Schellnhuber’s] Potsdam institute started life in the offices of the old Stasi building, I think they left some of the manuals behind.

    Oh, so global warming is a scam because one of the institutes was housed in a building that happened to be used by the Stasi at some point in time.

    (But what about the research findings of all the scientists working in buildings that weren’t used by Communists or Nazis or Fascists at some point in time in the past? Hmm.)

    > Larouche? Foolish and unproductive, that sort of idiocy loses the real message about the disgraceful scam being perpretated.

    Oh, so every time carbon legislation proponents do something that can sort of be interpreted in some contrived way to be a death threat, it’s a reflection of a real desire to kill…

    …but every time a global warming ‘skeptic’ shows a noose to a climate scientist, it’s merely ‘bad messaging’.

    A question for “Harbinger”: Do you seriously think, of all things, that death threats are any sort of advertising strategy?

    — frank

  33. #33 JennieL
    July 16, 2011

    Oh man. After about twenty seconds, an uncontrollable facepalm reflex kicked in, and I had to watch the rest through my fingers. I was so embarrassed for the guy, it was painful.

    But for all that, the level of unhingedness is worrying – for someone that far off their rocker it’s hard to predict what they might do next.

    I don’t think the noose can be plausibly interpreted as anything other than a threat (or perhaps, if we wanted to be really charitable, some kind of incoherent crazy-ass warning). Granted, it’s obvious that this guy doesn’t think too good and we wouldn’t expect his chain of reasoning to be remotely intelligible. But for that very reason, the ‘clumsy threat’ explanation is an order of magnitude more plausible than one which depends on the idea that this guy has mastered the concept of metaphor.

  34. #34 Amoeba
    July 16, 2011

    As for the hangman’s noose, perhaps the Larouche-bags would have us believe it was some touchy-feely sign of friendship? No, I can hardly believe any normal person on the receiving-end would think-so. It was a threat, plain and simple. Perhaps some of the Larouche dimwits now realise it was incredibly stupid, and it was. Effectively, they’ve taken careful aim and shot themselves in both feet.

  35. #35 Graham
    July 16, 2011

    Rank amateurs. This is the way to do it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZw8yF5alkM&feature=related

  36. #36 caerbannog
    July 16, 2011

    Here’s another example of the dangerous level of craziness that can be found in the denier crowd.

    http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t694484/

    Now, it’s certainly not true that most deniers are racist skinheads, but you can be almost certain that a large percentage of racist skinheads are deniers.

    You won’t find losers like these guys on the pro-science side. But you will find nearly every flavor of kook and loon and the denier side.

    Put a random collection of deniers together in a single room, and you will have something that looks like the cantina scene in the first Star Wars movie.

  37. #37 caerbannog
    July 16, 2011

    (correction)

    But you will find nearly every flavor of kook and loon *on* the denier side.

  38. #38 Holly Stick
    July 16, 2011

    Here’s more Larouchian nuttiness; note the “Ditch the Queen and her carbon tax” flyer, upper right.

    http://cecaust.com.au/default.asp

  39. #39 FrankD
    July 16, 2011

    I tend to agree with Peter Hartmann @ 8.

    Rather than threatening Schellnhuber with the noose, the guy’s theme seems to be something along the lines of:
    1. people who believe in AGW think that our population is unsustainable.
    2. therefore, people who believe in AGW want to murder people
    3. to expose this, I’ll present you with a noose to show everyone explicitly what it is you want to do.

    So I don’t think he was trying to threaten him as such, but out him as a wannabe murderer (a notion only visible through a LaRouche-o-scope). I do think he did a good impression of a guy who is completely batsh*t crazy.

    I’d reach for my tinfoil hat, but I found out the other day that they are actually antennae, helping the shape-shifting lizard people to read your thoughts….

  40. #40 Holly Stick
    July 16, 2011

    In the US at least the Larouche movement is obnoxious and violent:

    “…The harassing of individuals and organizations is reportedly systematic and strategic.[34] Some of the targets are prominent individuals, while others are common citizens speaking out against the movement. The group itself refers to these methods as “psywar techniques,” and defends them as necessary to shake people up; George Johnson has written that, believing the general population to be hopelessly indoctrinated by the mass media, they “fight back with words that stick in one’s mind like shards of glass.” He quotes a member saying: “We’re not very nice, so we’re hated. Why be nice? It’s a cruel world. We’re in a war and the human race is up for grabs.”[35]…”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaRouche_movement#Alleged_violence_and_harassment

    They sound to me like prime suspects for the making of death threats.

  41. Holly Stick:

    The group itself refers to these methods as “psywar techniques,” and defends them as necessary to shake people up;

    No relation whatsoever to psyops techniques as used in actual military operations…

    — frank

  42. #42 Hank Roberts
    July 16, 2011

    > you can be almost certain that a large percentage

    are clueless on the subject, I suspect.

    Illustrated: http://blog.seattlepi.com/davidhorsey/files/2011/07/Average-American-7-15-11-color-640×502.jpg

  43. #43 JennieL
    July 16, 2011

    #38:
    I don’t think that interpretation holds water. Crazy Larouchie guy says the noose is a “gift. . . a carbon-friendly rope.” If the intended message was that scientists want to kill everyone, the noose is not a ‘gift’ but a symbol of what scientists want to do.

    The most charitable interpretation that is consistent with the guy’s words and actions is that the intended message was: environmentalists want people to die, so here’s a noose for you to kill yourself with. In other words: it wasn’t a death threat, it was a death invitation! Totally OK!

    And yes, I know, the guy’s a none-too-bright lunatic. But he seems to be capable of dressing himself, so I’m going to make the assumption that he’s also capable of understanding exactly what message is conveyed by publicly presenting someone with a noose (one that he prepared earlier!). If he didn’t intend to convey that message, he could have pulled a different stunt.

  44. #44 Rattus Norvegicus
    July 16, 2011

    Forgive me father for I am about to sin…

    “LaRouche Youth”? Is that anything like “Hitler Youth”?

    You may now invoke Godwin’s law.

  45. #45 Holly Stick
    July 16, 2011

    Larouche is certainly targenting Schellnhuber if you search for his name at this website and probably others (I have the impression Larouche has many, many websites):

    http://www.larouchepac.com

    A few results:
    http://www.larouchepac.com/node/18115
    http://www.larouchepac.com/node/18107

    The Larouchists don’t like this kind of thing, produced by the German Advisory Council on Global Change, which schellnhuber chairs:

    http://www.wbgu.de/fileadmin/templates/dateien/veroeffentlichungen/hauptgutachten/jg2011/wbgu_jg2011_kurz_en.pdf

  46. #46 John
    July 16, 2011

    It’s just satire guys. The left doesn’t have a sense of humour etc etc /sarc

  47. #47 Bernard J.
    July 16, 2011

    [FrankD](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/07/another_day_another_death_thre_1.php#comment-4470169).

    Whatever Glen Isherwood’s stated intention was, he appears to be stepping into illegality, if the relevant Victorian legislation pertaining to threats to kill is any indication. As I noted [in post #19](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/07/another_day_another_death_thre_1.php#comment-4462115):

    >A person who, without lawful excuse, makes to another person a threat to kill that other person or any other person-[snip]; or (b) being reckless as to whether or not that other person would fear the threat would be carried out[,] is guilty of an indictable offence. Penalty: Level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).

    Isherman is demonstrably reckless in the way that he challenged Schnellnhuber with a noose, with respect to whether Schnellnhuber might fear that the threat might somehow be carried out. If Schellnhuber feared that it was a death threat, then I suspect that there is a solid case to say that Isherman made a threat to kill under 20(b).

    IANAL, so I may be incorrect of course, but I reckon that if Schnellnhuber had made a complaint to the police, Isherman would be looking to gather a sum for bail, whatever his proclaimed intention might be.

  48. #48 Billy Bob Hall
    July 16, 2011

    Hah !
    I just saw you ‘hero’ Orsekes on my TV set Tim. If that’s the best those United States can offer, your cause is already lost.
    Any, time you want to apologize for your attempted silencing of the good sense from little ole Billy Bob Hall, you are of course most welcome to do so.
    Have a nice day now ya heer ! :-)

  49. #49 Chris O'Neill
    July 16, 2011

    a noose (one that he prepared earlier!)

    At least he got something out watching TV cooking shows.

  50. #50 Bernard J.
    July 16, 2011

    Further to my comments above, the making of a threat to kill does not seem to require, under Victorian legislation, an actual intention to kill. All it requires is the intent to make the victim fearful that the threat might be carried out, or to be reckless in making what might be perceived as a threat that might make the victim fearful for his/her life.

    Isherman’s actions can almost certainly be shown to satisfy the second option, and possiby the first, but I guess the latter would depend on how vigorous the prosecution is.

  51. #51 JennieL
    July 16, 2011

    At least he got something out watching TV cooking shows.

    Right! It’s very important not to mislead your viewers into thinking that making a noose for death threats is something that can be done, like, just on the spur of the moment.

  52. #52 Uncle Buck
    July 17, 2011

    @35 caerbannog
    I linked to that Stormfront page and I wish I hadn’t. That kind of thing fills me with sadness.

  53. #53 FrankD
    July 17, 2011

    Bernard, perhaps I misunderstand, but you seem to be saying that a death threat does not require a threat to be made, as long as the victim feels threatened. That is not consistent with the legislation quoted in your earlier post:

    >20. Threats to kill
    >
    >A person who, without lawful excuse, makes to another person a threat to kill that other person or any other person-
    >
    >(a) intending that that other person would fear the threat would be carried out; or
    >
    >(b) being reckless as to whether or not that other person would fear the threat would be carried out-
    >
    >is guilty of an indictable offence. Penalty: Level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).

    Your focus on the subclauses appears to have distracted from the key bit: “A person who, without lawful excuse, makes to another person a threat to kill that other person or any other person…”

    The point of those subclauses (IMO) is that the victim feeling threatened is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to warrant prosecution. There must be both an intent to threaten and the result of someone feeling threatened.

    Now, while having a clearly delusional paranoid wandering around with a noose in public is obviously not a desirable situation, I don’t think there is anything here that clearly suggests that Isherwood was actually making a threat towards Schellnhuber, regardless of what Schellnhuber thought when he saw a noose being waved at him – I saw only that Isherwood was trying to score (from the far side of Crazy-land) a political point.

    I don’t think one needs to tenuously stretch bizarre but not (to me) obviously malicious behaviour into a “death threat” story, where there is such clear evidence of threats and intimidation to be seen elsewhere. Take Declan Stephenson’s behaviour towards the Green who dared attend their echo-chamber conflab in Frankston last week. That didn’t involve a death threat, of course, but you watch the video of that incident and ask if that Green misconstrued whether there was a common-or-garden threat being made. Having seen vision of both incidents, I know which I personally found more confronting.

    One wonders whether Bruce Billson has distanced himself from the behaviour of his booster, a man he thanked in parliament for his campaign help? Billson pumps out half a dozen pressers a day on his website, but can’t find a single line to express regret for the incident. Has Billson been carpeted by the Liberal heirarchy for not yet doing so? Not that I can tell.

    So I guess that means the Liberal party think its okay to use standover tactics to silence the public if they disagree? That’s an ugly turn I didn’t expect to see in Australian politics…

  54. #54 Mattb
    July 17, 2011

    The guy looks like a photo AFTER playing around in iPhoto. Those eyes are too close together.

  55. #55 Bernard J.
    July 17, 2011

    >Bernard, perhaps I misunderstand, but you seem to be saying that a death threat does not require a threat to be made, as long as the victim feels threatened.

    No, I wasn’t saying that. A threat certainly needs to be made, whether or not it is intended by the threatener to be acted upon, but clause (b) implies that the threat itself needn’t be a deliberate threat: a “reckless” threat is sufficient, if it puts the victim in fear of their life.

    My point was that it matters not whether Isherwood intended to deliberately threaten Schnellnhuber, or otherwise. If his “reckless” use of a threatening behaviour caused Schnellnhuber to fear for his life, then Isherwood would seem to have satisfied the (b) clause of the legislation – namely, “as to whether or not that other person would fear the threat would be carried out”.

    And reckless it is. It would be hard to argue in court that confronting a person with a noose in the manner that Isherwood did, was meant to be interpreted in that instant as a metaphor for some nebulous idea that a policy to save the health of the biosphere is in reality going to result in the “death” of future economies. Or whatever.

    A good prosection lawyer would have that defence for breakfast, and point out that a reasonable, unwary person – especially one who works in a field where so much artifical contention has been politically manufactured – might reasonably be fearful for their life if suddenly threatened with the sight of a hangman’s noose in the manner that Isherman presented it. I’m not saying that he’d get the maximum 10 years, or even be found guilty, but it certainly seems that there would a prima facie case to answer if Schnellnhuber had filed a complaint with police.

  56. #56 Bernard J.
    July 17, 2011

    And yes, FrankD, I agree wholeheartedly that Declan Stephenson’s behaviour was appalling.

    He was simply more clever about it than Isherman, mostly by being passive in what any reasonable person would perceive as aggression, although the fact that three police officers quickly appeared to monitor the situation indicates that he was neverthless sailing close to the wind.

  57. #57 Martin Vermeer
    July 17, 2011

    Aren’t there, like, places for people like that in Australia?

    Eh, yes, Australia as a whole used to be such a place…

  58. #58 Jeffrey Davis
    July 17, 2011

    For the people who want to cut the guy some slack, try the same “gag” with a pistol and see how it plays. (In your mind, of course.)

  59. #59 V. infernalis
    July 17, 2011

    Wait, so the LaRouche movement had its origins in Marxist economics and still favours “state intervention in the economy”? Someone tell the denialists in the “watermelon” camp!

  60. #60 Wow
    July 18, 2011

    “Okay, we have the same modus operandi as Greenpeace in Australia;”

    Uhm, no death threats were made.

    Please save your hyperbole for when it’s warranted.

  61. #61 silkworm
    July 18, 2011

    Congratulations, Larouchites. You just hanged yourselves with your own stunt.

  62. #62 Marcel Kincaid
    July 18, 2011

    “This Schellnhuber’s lookalike … blonde beast” — Motl’s a racist.

  63. #63 Marcel Kincaid
    July 19, 2011

    There must be both an intent to threaten and the result of someone feeling threatened.

    FrankD, you are both intellectually incompetent and employing your incompetence to a bad result. Where you write “and”, the legislation has “or” … that little connecting word between clauses (a) and (b).

  64. #64 FrankD
    July 19, 2011

    Marcel, you repeat the (IMO) misunderstanding that Bernard has. Perhaps you should read more carefully before reaching for the all too predictable insult (I’ve not missed that in your recent absence). I did not replace “or” with “and” between the two subclauses. I referred to the main clause and the two subclauses. Its fairly simple grammar.

    Lets take the subclauses first. Those state that the person must either intend a threat to be perceived or be reckless as to whether a threat would be perceived. That is the “or” you refer to, but is summarised in my points as “…the result of someone feeling threatened” (ie either through intent or recklessness).

    But you miss the point of the main clause, which is quite clear:
    >A person who, without lawful excuse, makes to another person a threat to kill that other person or any other person.

    The threat must be made (main clause) and perceieved as serious (either of the two subclauses).

    Was that so hard?

    A gentle suggestion Marcel – not everybody you disagree with is a f**kwit. You might even find that, apart from this one point, we mostly agree (But I’ll premptively reject any “tone-trolling” flak, since I’ve dealt with the substantive issues as well).

    Bernard, again, I disgree that being reckless as to whether a threat might be perceived is sufficient. Subclause b says:
    >being reckless as to whether or not that other person would fear the threat would be carried out.

    The wording does not say “reckless as to whether or a threat is perceived”, but I refers to recklessness as to whether a (presumably clear) threat would be carried out.

    I await correction by a suitably qualified poster.

  65. #65 Wow
    July 19, 2011

    FrankD:

    > (a) intending that that other person would fear the threat would be carried out; or

    > (b) being reckless as to whether or not that other person would fear the threat would be carried out-

    Note the “or” in the clause between A and B.

  66. #66 Lotharsson
    July 19, 2011

    > The threat must be made (main clause) and perceieved as serious (either of the two subclauses).

    However the main clause that you refer to does **not** specify intent:

    > A person who, without lawful excuse, makes to another person a threat to kill that other person or any other person- …

    The only mention of “intent” I see from the quotes is in subclause 1, but NOT in subclause 2. Therefore (unless implicit somehow in the main clause or surrounding context – which it might very well be for reasons I’m unaware of) apparently does not need to be present if subclause 2 is violated.

  67. #67 Bernard J.
    July 19, 2011

    FrankD.

    You say:

    >The threat must be made (main clause) and perceieved [sic] as serious (either of the two subclauses).

    Certainly, my original post was brief, simply because I thought that it spoke for itself, especially in the context of Tim Lambert’s thread. However I expanded at post [#46](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/07/another_day_another_death_thre_1.php#comment-4474841):

    >If Schellnhuber feared that it was a death threat…

    and I repeated the thrust of the comment at [#48](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/07/another_day_another_death_thre_1.php#comment-4474950):

    >All it requires is the intent to make the victim fearful that the threat might be carried out, or to be reckless in making what might be perceived as a threat that might make the victim fearful for his/her life.

    so I don’t see how my take is an obvious misinterpretation of the legislation…

    Reviewing,

    1. Isherman made a threatening action toward Shnellnhuber: main clause satisfied on a prima facie level
    2. Isherman cannot, without closer legal scrutiny, be said to have deliberately intended his target to be fearful of his life, so the first part of sub-clause (a) – and therefore the sub-clause itself – has not been satisfied… however,
    3. Isherman can, by any reasonable perception, be said to have recklessly engaged in an action that could have caused his target to be fearful of his life, so the first part of sub-clause (b) has been satisfied

    Now, going back to my posts at #46 and at #48, I pointed out that Schnellnhuber would need to have been in fear of his life as a consequence of Isherman’s actions, in which case the remainder of sub-clause be is satisfied, and therefore a complete chain in the legislation would appear to be satisfied.

    I did not mention fearfulness in my first post at [#19](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/07/another_day_another_death_thre_1.php#comment-4462115) because, as I said above, I thought that it was implicit in the theme of the thread, and also because I said “personally” – implying that I myself would be concerned at the motives of a zealot (and/or his organisation) who found it necessary to brandish a hangman’s noose whilst interrupting a scientific conference.

    I think that we’re speaking at cross-purposes here, because I myself recognise that being put in fear of one’s life is an integral part of the legislation. The question here is not really whether Isherman’s actions could have been construed as a death threat (clearly they could by some people), but whether in the context of his target, they were taken as being serious.

    And this gets back to what I’ve asked all along – if Schnellnhuber had filed a complaint with the police (implying that he was confronted by Isherman’s action), is there a case for Isherman to be charged under the Victorian Threat to Kill legislation?

    I’m not quite sure where in this chain your perception of my question differs from your presentation at post [#62](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/07/another_day_another_death_thre_1.php#comment-4504618)?

  68. #68 Wow
    July 19, 2011

    Alternatively, if Shnellnhuber had pulled out a gun, pointed it at Isherman and said “You first”, would that not have been threatening behaviour too?

    After all, it would be enough to get me shot dead by the police. In the USA, UK or Australia.

  69. #69 FrankD
    July 19, 2011

    Bernard,
    >And this gets back to what I’ve asked all along – if Schnellnhuber (sic) had filed a complaint with the police (implying that he was confronted by Isherman’s (sic) action), is there a case for Isherman (sic) to be charged under the Victorian Threat to Kill legislation?

    And all I have said is that, for the reasons laid out above – but carelessly misread by a growing number of posters – I believe the answer to that question is “no”. Clearly you and others differ from me on that point.

    >Isherman (sic)made a threatening action toward Shnellnhuber(sic): main clause satisfied on a prima facie level

    See, I don’t feel that that is an accurate reading of that main paragraph at all. The main paragraph requires that a death threat be made. I agree with your other points, but I think you are way off there. Absolutely not satisfied, prima facie.

    I saw a guy stand up holding a noose, start a rant which was drowned out by the audience, made no move towards Schellnhuber at any time (and he could have before people intervened) and was duly removed. I can think of a lot of adjectives to describe that behaviour (“batshit crazy” again comes to mind), but can it reasonably be judged that Isherwood made a death threat (whatever Schellnhubers reaction to his rant)?

    Wow’s comparison to pointing a gun is a false analogy, because the equivalent here of pointing a gun would have been if Isherwood had attempted to mount the stage and place the noose over Schellnhubers head. He didn’t and he didn’t attempt to. If he had, I’d be right there with Marcel having a wee swearie and agreeing with Wow that it’s just the same as pointing a gun. But for all the umbrage here, he didn’t, and for all that it’s contemptible, I just don’t see a death threat.

    So, had a complaint been made, I personally doubt charges would have been laid. I think it would make a very weak case, and my inexpert guess is that the police would too. But I’m not a lawyer, so I claim no particular insight.

    Just an opinion. And since I’m not on the Crown -v- Isherwood jury, not one I have much interest in flogging further, other than to suggest to the several people harping about “OR!” It says “OR!”, I’m perfectly able to read that. As I hope I’ve made clear, the question is not which if either subparagraph is satisfied, but whether the requirement for a death threat to have been made is.

    But by all means maintain the rage, folks. As I mentioned above, mine is saved for the contemporaneous Declan Stephenson menacing. From the safety of my PC, Isherwood just made me LOL. Stephenson had a genuine ick-factor. But wherever the rage is directed, I’ve a nasty feeling it won’t belong before a better target than either presents itself :-(

  70. #70 Wow
    July 19, 2011

    > And all I have said is that, for the reasons laid out above – but carelessly misread by a growing number of posters – I believe the answer to that question is “no”

    And all we’ve said is that your reasoning is faulty and that your belief is in contradiction with the facts.

    You seem unable to read it, though.

  71. #71 Wow
    July 19, 2011

    “Wow’s comparison to pointing a gun is a false analogy, because the equivalent here of pointing a gun would have been if Isherwood had attempted to mount the stage and place the noose over Schellnhubers head”

    No, it wouldn’t.

    To shoot him wouldn’t require Isherman’s consent. The bullets don’t bounce off if you say “no”, you know.

    It would be exactly the same: a query followed up with an appearance that could give belief that the threat will be carried out.

    It’s an invalid comparison because it is devastating to your case to answer it any other way.

  72. #72 chek
    July 19, 2011

    Frank D said: “I can think of a lot of adjectives to describe that behaviour (“batshit crazy” again comes to mind), but can it reasonably be judged that Isherwood made a death threat (whatever Schellnhubers reaction to his rant)”?

    Let’s put the action in a way that you may understand, Frank.

    Imagine you’re the witness in a court case giving evidence against a gang of thugs (mafia/LaRouchies/whatever) and just as you’re being dismissed from the stand, one of the said thugs draws his finger across his throat while looking at you.

    Some would find that quite intimidating (or threatening) indeed. Few would dismiss it as merely theatrical repartee, apart from the defence lawyers, of course.

  73. #73 Sean OLeary
    July 19, 2011

    You missed the point. It is Hans Schellnhuber who is issuing the death threat to Australians through his anti-civilisation eco-fascism.

  74. #74 Vince whirlwind
    July 19, 2011

    Sean, it is you who is issuing the death threat to Australians through your sociopathic denialism.

  75. #75 Lotharsson
    July 20, 2011

    FrankD (similar to chek’s comment), what part of the law do you read as implying that the making a death threat can only mean threatening *imminent* or *immediate* action? I think that’s the source of the different interpretation.

  76. #76 FrankD
    July 20, 2011

    Wow, its an invalid comparison because its invalid, not because I’m worried that allowing it as valid would be “devastating”. If I thought it was valid, I’d climb down – I’ve been wrong on far more important things, so I can deal with climbing down when I’m wrong. Except that nothing said here has convinced me that a death threat was made. Honestly, I think you are all seeing what you expected to see. I expected to see a death threat too, both from Tim’s text and … hey, LaRouchite … but was surprised that I did not.

    I think your analogy is invalid because you specifically refer to the gun being pointed. Thats how you use a gun to kill someone. You can’t kill someone with a noose by holding it in the air (or even shaking it vigorously in their direction) from several metres away. If you want to use an analogy to prove the point, use a better analogy. It might fit better if the putative gun was waved in the air and not pointed, but then that would mean conceding that that’s reckless and possibly dangerous, but not specifically a death threat. But it does remind me…

    When Charlton Heston famously held up his black-powder musket at that NRA conference and did his “from my cold dead hands” rant, was that a death threat aimed at his constituents?

    Now, I know that they didn’t take it that way, but we’ve heard that holding up an implement of death constitutes a threat, (no one but me has disagreed with Bernards “prima facie” comment). So do we all agree Heston threatened his audience?

    Perhaps not?

    Perhaps it’s possible to hold up something that is commonly used to kill people and not actually be making a threat to kill them. One might do it, say, to make a political point without actually making a death threat against anybody. I’m just asking – that possible isn’t it?

    chek – that gesture does sound a bit threating, doesn’t it. Could you just remind me of when in the video Isherwood did something that is analagous to that? As above, I don’t think simply holding up a noose is equivalent, but perhaps you do.

    Really, to me this is the difference between saying “You want to kill other people” and “I’m want to kill you”. Everyone else seems to have heard the second, but I’ve listened repeatedly, and can only hear the first…odd…

  77. #77 Wow
    July 20, 2011

    “Wow, its an invalid comparison because its invalid”

    Ah, circular reasoning. Otherwise known to their favourite proponents as “a thought with no loose ends”.

    The law says “or” between clause a and clause b. That means EITHER of clause a OR clause b can apply and the law applies.

    I see you don’t believe it’s fair and therefore would not avail yourself of the protection, but that doesn’t mean it’s not legally the case.

  78. #78 Lotharsson
    July 20, 2011

    > You can’t kill someone with a noose by holding it in the air (or even shaking it vigorously in their direction) from several metres away.

    FrankD, with respect, that does not seem to be the legal standard.

    If I’m an African-American and while I’m out one evening the KKK plants a fiery cross on my front lawn, is that a plausible death threat even though they can’t kill me with a fiery cross on my front lawn *when they know I’m miles away at the time*?

    If I’m a mafioso and someone puts a horse head in my bed while I’m away, is that a plausible death threat even though the horse head *can’t kill me from a distance*?

    If I’m a politician and someone sends me a piece of paper with crosshairs overlaid on a listing of the time, date and place of an appointment I plan to attend, is that a plausible death threat even though the piece of paper can’t kill me?

    I don’t know whether Isherwood met the legal definition, but I fail to see how your argument *on this point* applies.

    > Perhaps it’s possible to hold up something that is commonly used to kill people and not actually be making a threat to kill them.

    Yes, that’s possible from the point of view of the perpetrator. But as I’ve already pointed out, that’s explicitly NOT the standard in the second sub-clause! It’s specified entirely in terms of **perception, not intent**. Now there may be legal connotations attached to the term “making a threat” that require intent, but they certainly aren’t obvious from the quotes you provided.

  79. #79 Ken Fabos
    July 24, 2011

    A comment of mine seems to have gone missing – apologies if I appear to be repeating myself –

    Surely Alan Jones deserves a dishonourable mention here, although this threat was indirect and against leading politicians who accept climate science rather than against the scientists themselves.

    Alan Jones urged/wished someone would put Gillard and Brown in a sack, take them far out to sea and drop them in. His past success at urging Australians to take matters into their own hands makes the possibility some nutter who he’s whipped into frothing hatred could take him up on it scarily credible.

  80. #80 HarryW
    July 19, 2012

    To FrankD, July 16, 2011, 2:12 pm

    “Larouche-o-scope”

    PRICELESS! Entered into my lexicon!

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