Dave Mabus is Dennis Markuze

i-fe170ee1d695c0587abce83cea1a9c23-crazy-fucker-dennis-marcuze-thumb-400x684-56525-thumb-250x428-56817.jpgI am intellectually, but not viscerally, worried about Dennis Markuze. He does not scare me in the way that scary things do, I have no limbic reaction to him, and never did. Except once, and I’ll tell you about that below.

Dennis Markuze is a wanna-be terrorist* who targets scientists, atheists, skeptics, and kin. PZ Myers is one of his prime targets, but not his only one. I get a piece of hate male from him about every day, and he tries to post a threatening or obnoxious comment on every single blog post that I write. PZ gets it much worse than I do, and you can read about that here.

Lousy Canuck is a Canadian, so I assume he Knows Markuze (all Canadians know each other, correct?) and he’s written a blog post about Markuzi here. Markuze uses an alias, “Dave Mabus” though he will also use various handles and signatures such as “dmabus” in order to get past spam filters.

Those of us who engage in debates with right wing Christian organizations or individuals get these sorts of threats very often. Back in the pre-blog days, when Compuserve and AOL were the way you could communicate with large numbers of people wired into an incipient Internet, there was a guy who know how to make rubber stamps, and he’s make little threatening rubber stamp images and put them on post cards and mail them to us evolutionary scientists. In those days, we had the UniBomber who was blowing up mainly mathematicians. And those of us at Universities in those days were encouraged by our administrators to turn over any information about threats, just for the record.

One day something strange happened at the Harvard Anthropology department. Amidst a contentious search for a person to replace Gordon Willey as the Bowditch Chair of Mayan Archaeology And Stuff, a group of us … a strange group that made no sense whatesoever … got nice little stationary note cards in the mail, with a Florida postal stamp, and the words “Beware the Bitch behind the Bowditch” printed on them using something other than handwriting (can’t give out the details, they may be important clues!). I dutifully put mine in a plastic evidence bag and turned it over to the department administrators. Others scornfully threw them out or joked about how silly it was to worry, or otherwise acted rather dumbly. The thing is, you should not worry about things like this because that is what the people who send threats like this want you to do, and giving them the satisfaction is also giving them the encouragement they thrive on. But you should not toss out or erase the evidence either. You should just dutifully put the item in the plastic bag and hand onto it, or in the case of emails, you should have an email directory or folder into which you put this trash, but don’t put it in the trash.

I don’t follow my own advice: I routinely delete Markuze’s blog comments, but now and then I let one through (after removing the links) so that they are visible to the public, so that people know about him. But emails from Global Warming Denialists who threaten to shoot me or from people like Markuze go into a special little folder where they (whoever “they” are) can later look to see what happened after the senseless massacre or whatever.

Because you see, that can happen. Anyone (I suppose) could have a psychotic break and start killing people. Someone like Markuze could do this as well, and if he did, his targets would likely be those of us he has harassed. It is highly unlikely to happen, but let me ask you this: What piece of information would suddenly make you go from not worrying about Markuze beyond handling his missives in a non-reactionary but professional way, to worrying about him for real, viscerally? Here I’ll tell you about that one moment of real concern I experienced, last July.

There was a convention here in town for lots of different sorts of people including skeptics. Checking my email at home between visits to the convention, I got a note from someone mentioning that Dave Mabus was at the convention. Quickly looking into it, I saw a copy of a tweet from someone saying “Dave Mabus is at the CON, her’s a picture” but I could not see the picture.

Yes, that made me worry. I do not really worry about Dennis Markuze while he is sitting at home at his mommy’s house in Montreal writing PZ Myers and me and many others inarticulate threatening stupid emails. But when he crosses an international border and shows up at a convention where the total number of actual “professional” skeptics among 6,000 guests is small enough that we can fit around a couple of large tables for dinner, that’s different. That’s call-the-cops and tell them time.

It turns out that the tweet was a poorly conceived joke. The photo that I could not see was a person wearing a Mad Magazine spy costume. (The convention was a science fiction and fantasy affair so lots of people were wearing costumes.) It was a joke. Sort of funny, but only a little funny.

My understanding is that the authorities have remained mostly uninterested in Dave Mabus. A US citizen threatened by a Canadian reports the threat to the US FBI, not the RCMP. I’ve done that, as have others. I’ve never had an acknowledgment from the FBI or anyone else. I’m sure they don’t consider Mabus much of a threat, and I tend to agree with that. But still…

For the record, and because the Internet seems to be talking about Markuze right now and this may do so me good, here are links to a handful of other items on this guy:


*Notice that I said wannabe. I’m not into labeling everyone and everything I don’t like “teh terrorist.”


  1. #1 Rob
    August 11, 2011

    Is he trying to change your behavior with threats of violence and violence?

    If so, he’s a terrorist, not a wannabe one.

  2. #2 Jason Thibeault
    August 11, 2011

    He’s certainly trying, Rob. The fact that he’s failing is immaterial, and as you say, his attempt alone makes him a terrorist.

    Not a very good one, mind. And I’d much rather he receive psychiatric help for his actionable illegal threats than actual jail time, though he can certainly be prosecuted for them.

    Frankly, my concern is less about him being put in jail or branded as a terrorist as it is that nobody’s willing to take lessons from Marc Lapine. And there are two recent events where the Montreal police investigated single death threat tweets where they’ve obviously been ignoring multitudes of complaints for years. There’s a double-standard at work. I’m not sure what the standards are. I have a suspicion, but no hard evidence.

  3. #3 Raging Bee
    August 11, 2011

    Every once in awhile Mabus sounds a little like a LaRouchie. Any evidence of a connection?

    Oh, and this bit made me laugh:

    Turns out David Mabus is actually Dennis Markuze, a Nostradummy from Canada who’s greatest “contribution” to the prophecy movement is a weird claim that Nostradamus predicted the coming of Depeche Mode and, through this, the World Trade Center attacks.

    Well, it didn’t happen BEFORE Depeche Mode became famous…

  4. #4 Surgoshan
    August 11, 2011

    Proof that he’s crazy: he sits in his mom’s basement all day sending out scads of insane emails, tweets, and blog comments.

    Proof that he’s stupid: he chose as a pseudonym a name that can ridiculously easily be changed into “dumbass”.

  5. #5 Pig
    August 11, 2011

    NB: if I were any good at threat analysis, I’d be charging for this instead of giving it away.

    First rule of dealing with attention-seeking nutters is don’t talk (at least publicly) about attention-seeking nutters. This is what he wants and we’re giving it to him. He’s learning from the skeptic community. We’ve now taught him that death threats get him the attention he craves. Guess what we’re going to be seeing lots of?

    My advice is for his main victims to band together if they already haven’t done so. Then, as a group seek the advice of an organization like Gavin de Becker & Associates. It won’t be free, but things have obviously gotten to a point where people are miserable. DBA has vast experience in this area. Not only can they give you good advice, their reputation is such that law enforcement agencies will listen to them.

    I’ll send you an email with a couple of other comments.

  6. #6 tbell1
    August 11, 2011

    What’s truly terrifying is that he really looks like me in a ‘separated at birth’ kind of way. Though I’m much warmer, leaner, and rarely make death threats.

  7. #7 daedalus2u
    August 11, 2011

    There might be another approach that can be taken. He is making threats against a specific and identifiable civilian group, Atheists. That makes what he is doing a “crime against humanity”.


    1.For the purpose of this Statute, “crime against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

    h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;

    k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

    (a) “Attack directed against any civilian population” means a course of conduct involving the multiple commission of acts referred to in paragraph 1 against any civilian population, pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack;

    (g) “Persecution” means the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity;

    What he is doing are clear violations of the Universal Declaration of Human rights.


    Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

    Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

    Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

    If Canada won’t stop him, then there is always the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    August 11, 2011

    That would be so cool if we could drag Dennis Markuze before the International Court in The Hague.

  9. #9 Russell
    August 11, 2011

    I have a copy of Bowditch on the bookshelf somewhere. Or maybe on the boat. Nathaniel was a Unitarian who didn’t much go for creeds. But I miss the reference to the bitch.

  10. #10 daedalus2u
    August 11, 2011

    Since there is no statute of limitation for Crimes Against Humanity, it doesn’t need to be done soon.

    There might be other approaches too, I think that Belgium has passed legislation so it has universal jurisdiction for Crimes Against Humanity. Israel might have universal jurisdiction for crimes against Jews. I am sure that some of the atheists he is attacking are also Jewish via the “Law of Return” which is all that matters.

    I think he could be sued in civil court in the US. That he is not a US citizen is not the victim’s problem and if he doesn’t show up in court then a judgment would be entered against him. Then if he does enter the US he would be in default.

    Canada does have some pretty significant anti-hate legislation. What he is doing is in clear violation of the Canadian Human Rights Act.


    I think what you need to do is find the Canadian office that takes care of such things, find the form that they want complaints filed with and then forward everything he posts to that office.

  11. #11 Greg laden
    August 12, 2011

    Russell… No one is sure who “the bitch” is. The wife of a candidate for the job? The person in the office on the other side of the wall in which his portrait hung (in the Bowidtch Room)?

  12. #12 Greg
    August 12, 2011

    The montrael police have opened a criminal investigation, citing pressure from the internet

  13. #13 gwen
    August 12, 2011

    It’s about time. He is like a bomb with the fuse lit, you know it is going to go off, but you don’t know how long the fuse is, or what it is aimed toward, but the explosion is a surety.

  14. #14 shreddakj
    August 12, 2011

    The post from my blog (Undeniably Atheist) was actually from last year, I was incredibly frustrated as I was getting about 50+ comments a day on my blog and he kept circumventing my filtering systems by using proxies, internet cafe’s etc. There are some tasty death threats from him in the comments section though.

  15. #15 Cat's Staff
    August 12, 2011

    I got a few comments from him (he probably doubled my hit count by visiting). There is no need to take it to the ICC. The Canadian Criminal Code secs. 318 and 319 deal with making treats against groups or individuals. He could be taken off the street with that. He could claim insanity in which case the mental health professionals would get a crack at him.

  16. #16 delurked Lurker
    August 13, 2011


    Thank you. After reading this subject spread across numerous blogs for the last hour or so, this is the best post I have read.

    Internet rule #14 is very very important if the troll has murderous intentions.

    ’nuff said

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    August 13, 2011

    The spreading of the discussion across the interent is, of course, the reason that there is now an investigation, and that was, of course, the intent.

    Don’t mess with the bloggers, man. We’ll blog your butt.

  18. #18 Jason Thibeault
    August 13, 2011

    Don’t mess with the bloggers, man. We’ll blog your butt.


  19. #19 Nice Ogress
    August 14, 2011

    Does that mean the bloggings will continue until morale improves? 😀

  20. #20 pornonymous
    August 15, 2011

    “PZ gets it much worse than I do,”

    Can’t imagine why….

    But must admit I was a bit worried when I saw the cartoon of the anti-atheist/atheist guy–the soul patch is back? I just shaved mine off!