Pharyngula

The cost of delusional derangements

I regret to inform you all that Melanie Kroll has been fired for using her work account to sound death threats. In a further and not-unexpected twist, it wasn’t Melanie who composed and wrote the message — the husband, Chuck Kroll, did it. We even have a confession. Good work, Chuck! You cost your wife her job!

Comments

  1. #1 Robert
    July 16, 2008

    I feel kinda sorry for the wife, it’s hard to lose a job because of someone else’s actions. Hopefully it won’t cause too much finacial hardship, and the Husband actually learns something, even if its only “don’t use work email for death threats.”

  2. #2 Richard Harris
    July 16, 2008

    I guess that the Kroll’s just didn’t pray hard enough. Feckin’ edjits.

    I was getting a bit worried about you, PZ, because of the long silence. Glad to see you’re still okay. Keep up the valuable service to rationalism.

  3. #3 I am so Wise
    July 16, 2008

    What a moron. I’d tell her to divorce his idiot ass and take everything he owns, but he’s probably broke.

  4. #4 JohnA
    July 16, 2008

    It is my hope that since the mystery is now removed, and now that the Identity of the horrible person who dared write such crude things to the mr. myers is known, that the same people who put so much effort into harming Melanie Kroll, will use as much effort to right the wrong that has been done to her.

    Yeah, get to work, Chuck. I hope you can fix this. Confessing was a start. Speaking of confession – what’ll you tell the priest about this? Will he absolve you?

  5. #5 Richard Harris
    July 16, 2008

    Robert, I haven’t read all the text on this, but was it the case that Mrs Kroll allowed Mr Kroll to use her firm’s email? If this was the case, she got what she deserved. Well, I reckon she probably deserved worse.

  6. #6 Julian
    July 16, 2008

    He won’t learn anything from this. In fact, the fool is blaming PZ and everyone who complained to 1-800 Flowers for what happened.

  7. #7 PatrickHenry
    July 16, 2008

    Things certainly move swiftly in cyberspace. Threat, confession, retribution. Now what — smug gloating? That’s not nice. There aren’t any winners in this mess. We should just move along now.

  8. #8 Andrew
    July 16, 2008

    Ah, that makes perfect sense. Reading the comments that it both seemed too aggressive and because men are much more likely to call someone else a cunt, I (and I have to assume many others–I is not a jenius) figured that it was either her son or husband visiting her office, or a male coworker.

    If she really had no idea about it, I really feel bad for Melanie Kroll. I hope she divorces the guy. Honestly, she probably already suffers enough having such a violent, idiotic jackass as a husband, and her only crime was letting him have access to her computer. If that violates the employee rules there, though, then it’s fair for her to be fired, but I hope she finds another job and is more careful regarding who has access to her computer.

    As for her husband, though, he still sent you death threats. I’d hope for him to be fired from his job, but from the sound of things (he has lots of time on his hands and no other computer to use?) she is/was the breadwinner. Yup, good going, douche. Your dreams have come true.

  9. #9 amg
    July 16, 2008

    The ridiculous discrepancy between the writing style of the infamous email and the ‘confession’ is suspect, IMHO…or indicative of serious substance abuse and multiple personality disorder.

  10. #10 apy
    July 16, 2008

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he just jumped on her laptop and had no idea how emails got sent, they just sent. It sounds like the ultimate stupidity to the internet savvy but I’ve seen much worse. Reading his confession, he is at least sorry, hopefully sincerely.

  11. #11 Julian
    July 16, 2008

    Richard Harris: No, she works from home and her email account was the default one for the computer. Her husband, being a moron, just used the first email account he could access to send the message instead of changing to his own. Either that, or they share the account which is a HORRIBLE idea.

  12. #12 ElJay
    July 16, 2008

    Horrible thing to happen to her.A wife in a family with that ‘culture’ is not always as free to do what is right as one would hope in 21st Century USA. Despite what her ex-company policy was regarding IT/email usage, her true boss was her husband and the church.
    Maybe not a burka wearer or female circumsision family but still not free.
    Ahh religion, your use by date is up, no matter what your brand you leave a shitty taste in the mouth and continue to ruin lives one family at a time.

  13. #13 SC
    July 16, 2008

    I wonder if that university where mr. myers is employed excepts [sic] any money from the state?

    Yes, inquiring minds want to know: Does the University of Minnesota accept any money from the state?

  14. #14 Feedayeen
    July 16, 2008

    This isn’t much of a punishment for him, arn’t good Christian women suppost to be baby factories? This will just give them more time to produce more kids.

  15. #15 Chris Long
    July 16, 2008

    Not that it makes a huge amount of difference, but I would guess that she lost her job based simply on the fact that she let someone else use her company laptop. That’s certainly a sacking offence in my company, regardless of whether the other person uses it to send death threats or play solitaire.

  16. #16 Chris
    July 16, 2008

    I will readily admit that it’s bad to lose one’s job due to someone else’s actions, I can’t really say I’m sorry for her. She apparently violated company regulations by letting someone else use her computer or mail account. It’s standard policy to get fired for that.

    However, I will pray for the family. Let’s see if this will help. If it doesn’t, at least I will feel good about doing nothing…

  17. #17 PennyBright
    July 16, 2008

    Yeesh. Poor woman.

  18. #18 tsig
    July 16, 2008

    It reads like a notpology to me. He still doesn’t think he did anything wrong it’s just that he got caught.

    It’s not his fault his wife got fired, it’s ours for sending emails to flowers. It’s not his fault he can’t control his anger but PZ’s for provoking it.

    A simple ” I’m sorry” would have said more than all his crocodile tears.

  19. #19 J-Dog
    July 16, 2008

    Chris said: “However, I will pray for the family. Let’s see if this will help. If it doesn’t, at least I will feel good about doing nothing… ”

    Ah! This is just beautifully perfect and works on so many levels! I think I will have to use your approach in the future. Thanks. It’s like the Seinfeld approach to religion – it’s a prayer about nothing! Beatitiful.

  20. #20 Tosser
    July 16, 2008

    He ends with what appears to me to be a mis-quote from the movie True Romance: “Now I ask you, if that’s a fact. am I lying.” Weird

    Less amusing….He also uses the popular threat-in-disguise of saying, “I dare you to go offend a Muslim.” This means, in effect, “I’m not going to hurt you, but I want you to be hurt. So go offend someone who will kill you, and I’ll be happy about it.” That’s a version of extraordinary rendition.

    The guy still doesn’t get it and doesn’t seem ready, willing, or perhaps even capable of moving on.

    Are we sure that this is the guy, and that there’s not something odd still going on?

  21. #21 Ted D
    July 16, 2008

    I only hope that she places the blame for losing her job squarely on Mr. Kroll, where it belongs. But then, if she did have poor enough sense to marry him…
    Anyone keeping count of how many lives are being seriously disrupted by a damn cracker? Honestly, regarding things like this I am gripped by a nigh irresistible urge to grab people by the shoulders, shake them vigorously and shout “but don’t you see!?” into their astonished faces. But of course, they don’t.

  22. #22 Doug
    July 16, 2008

    Hi, at 1-800-FLOWERS we send the very best in flowers, and death threats. If you want to send a loved one flowers then call 1-800-FLOWERS. If you want to send an ex death threats then we have you covered as well. 1-800-FLOWERS, your #1 resource for flowers and death threats.

  23. #23 MissPrism
    July 16, 2008

    I’m sorry to hear that Mrs Kroll lost her job – presumably she trusted her husband enough not to hide her password from him, which is not so terrible in itself. I hope things turn out OK for her.
    Although I’m not too bothered about him.

  24. #24 Dave Wisker
    July 16, 2008

    We don’t know if Mrs Kroll knew her knuckleheaded spouse used her computer to send the email, so while I don’t think she deserves to lose her job over it, the company cannot ignore the fact that a federal crime was committed using their email system, that it was made excruciatingly PUBLIC by this blog, and that they received an unbelievably massive response from the readers of the blog (despite PZ’s wise pleas for us not to do so), I imagine they feel they have no choice but to fire Mrs Kroll. In the immortal words of Clint Eastwood, ‘Deserve’s got nothing to do with it’.

    Everybody lost in this mess. I feel sick over it.

  25. #25 tsig
    July 16, 2008

    J-dog I like the idea of “an atheists prayer” maybe “my good thoughts to you” or just ” I wish you well” of course the simple “I’ll pray for you” is completely appropriate also.

  26. #26 N.K.
    July 16, 2008

    I’ll say what I said on his confession:

    “Good job, you’ve cost your wife her job.

    You care more about a cracker than your wife.”

    That poor woman.

  27. #27 Marcus Ranum
    July 16, 2008

    The Krolls will be in my prayers (which is nihilist for “fuck ‘em.”)

  28. #28 David Davidson
    July 16, 2008

    “There are many folks that read, and blog, at this site who are not religious. Perhaps you feel it’s silly, outdated, or superstition, fine. This is your right, but for people in positions of responsibility and with the power to encourage captive undeveloped minds to attack their neighbors beliefs is just insane, divisive, and maybe even criminal.”

    I guess we’re going to have to start shutting down Catholic schools, then. They’re all about molding impressionable young children into good Christians.

    I hate to be like this, but they’re actually pretty lucky that PZ’s audience is so restrained. There are people on the internet who would not have been satisfied with just contacting 1-800-Flowers, who would have ruined his and the wife’s lives just for fun. Compared to Anonymous, I’ve seen nothing but saints (pardon the poetic liscence) here.

  29. #29 Nerd of Redhead
    July 16, 2008

    I am not surprised that Melanie wasn’t the real poster. In reading the original thread, and after finding out the owner was a woman, I had the feeling that her e-mail was hijacked. That fact that her husband did it isn’t suprising either. She needs to take a good look at their relationship. Evidently he is a rather dim bulb.
    Using company e-mail to send death threats is a fireable offense at my company too.

  30. #30 Mike
    July 16, 2008

    The guy should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and should probably serve jail time. No doubt he will find a catholic Judge and get off with a warning

  31. #31 Chris
    July 16, 2008
  32. #32 Bill Dauphin
    July 16, 2008

    My immediate reaction is that compared to being married to this guy, losing her job is a relatively minor bump in the road.

    Of course, that’s silly: Losing your livelihood is never minor, and it’s possible that this fellow isn’t as crazy as this incident makes him seem. I know I’ve known people who came across as major asshats on the internet but were perfectly decent in Real Life™, or who were major asshats on one particular subject, but were otherwise pleasant and reasonable. Sadly, of course, Occam’s Razor suggests the most likely answer is that he just is a major asshat.

    As for Greg’s characterization that Chuckie’s explanation of how this “mistake” happened is “garbled,” I disagree: I have 3 different e-mail addresses that I read through a single mail client on my home machine, and I’m sometimes surprised at which one shows up as the “from” address when I click on a website mail-to link, so I know exactly what he’s talking about. That said, I don’t use my work email from home anyway, in part because I don’t want to risk this sort of thing (and also because I’m obsessive about keeping work life and home life separate: I’d rather spend extra hours at the office than allow work to invade my home). I don’t know what 1-800-FLOWERS’ policy on this is, but I’d bet it’s always the employee’s responsibility to protect company computers from misuse. “My husband did it accidentally” potentially exonerates her from making death threats, but maybe not from a violation of her company’s IT policy.

    Assuming Chuck’s confession is accurate and Melanie was not complicit in this in some other, unstated, way, I hope the company will review their decision and reinstate her with a reduced penalty (maybe a reprimand or suspension, plus no access to e-mail from home? mandatory computer security training?).

  33. #33 Bill the Cat
    July 16, 2008

    For her terroristic threat, I hope she likes Guantanamo.

  34. #34 Lilly de Lure
    July 16, 2008

    Chris said:

    She apparently violated company regulations by letting someone else use her computer or mail account. It’s standard policy to get fired for that.

    It is where I work as well – and this incident is an excellent example as to why companies insist upon this policy.

    PennyBright said:

    Yeesh. Poor woman.

    Indeed – the Divorce Court must look unbelievably attractive to her right about now (at the very least Chuck has some serious grovelling to do)!

  35. #35 sublunary
    July 16, 2008

    Wow, I have to say I feel bad for Melanie, especially if she truly didn’t realize her husband was using her computer.

    I am, however, glad we know who wrote the threat. Hopefully this mess might deter further threats from coming in. If it’s not too much to hope for that the people who would send such threats in the first place realize that their actions have consequences.

    And PZ, I’m glad we finally have a post from you. I’m used to a few a day and your absence was a bit disconcerting.

  36. #36 alex
    July 16, 2008

    that’s a pity. poor woman.

  37. #37 kryptonic
    July 16, 2008

    Wow wow wee. I didn’t see that one coming!

  38. #38 tsig
    July 16, 2008

    Hi Nerd of Redhead

    Using company email to do anything but company business is a firing offense in most companies.

  39. #39 Zeno
    July 16, 2008

    Mr. Kroll offers an exculpatory reason for his attack on PZ. He seems to have discerned that PZ loves Islam!

    Chuck Kroll: What many folks don’t know, is that mr. myers seems to have a warm spot for the Islamic religion. We know this from his spirited defense of Islam in the past, he insists Islam differs from other religions. It seems that mr.myers can’t even be a good atheist.

    See? Kroll has read Pharyngula and has picked up on PZ’s devotion to Islam. All is made clear!

    What’s made clear is that Kroll is an idiot as well as a jerk.

  40. #40 Josh West
    July 16, 2008

    @ #28 David Davidson
    “Compared to Anonymous, I’ve seen nothing but saints (pardon the poetic liscence) here.”

    Compared the the Phyrangula audience, Anonymous may have a higher kook/sane ration, but I’m fairly sure most of their bad press is a direct result of actions by their opponents. It’s pretty much par for the course for the CoScientology.

  41. #41 chief
    July 16, 2008

    but for people in positions of responsibility and with the power to encourage captive undeveloped minds to attack their neighbors beliefs is just insane, divisive, and maybe even criminal.

    Irony meter alert!! Of course, PZ is charged by the University to teach biology (facts, laws, theories) to developed adult minds. He in no way “influences the children.” Parents, pastors, preachers, priests and other religious wingnuts are in a position of warping young, easily influenced minds.

  42. #42 SC
    July 16, 2008

    However, someone on the “Please stop this, NOW” thread (Matt Penfold, I believe) made the very good point that companies need to provide instruction and supervision to their employees on computer security. If people don’t understand the basics, it’s difficult to abide by the policy. In fact, providing good training is, I think, far more effective than having strict policies in preventing security breaches.

    ElJay @ #12 – You have a very active imagination.

  43. #43 Scott Mc
    July 16, 2008

    I feel sorry for Melanie. I don’t care what the pedants and gloaters have to say on the subject. At the end of the day, her husband did an illegal and incredibly dumb thing and now she and her family are paying for it. I personally don’t take any satisfaction from that, and I would hope that the catholics/republicans/whomever reading this would accept that neither does PZ.

    I’ll absolutely defend your right to free speech – I wish I had the same rights, except I live in the UK, and we have to watch what we say these days. But whoever you are, I hope you agree that death threats are simply not acceptable, however strongly you feel about something. I’ve send many a CLM (Career-limiting Move) email in my time, and I’ve learned to write the nasty-gram, but not send it until I’ve had a walk and a coffee and a think about it. I feel better, delete the email, and no ramifications to deal with.

    Just a suggestion. Melanie, I can’t pray for you, but you and your family are in my thoughts.

    Scott.

  44. #44 Christophe Thill
    July 16, 2008

    Conclusion : always choose a good password for your personal account on your computer.

  45. #45 GirBoBytons
    July 16, 2008

    Hey it’s all his fault in my opinion. Shes partly accountable too though. Melanie shouldn’t be allowing people in her house hold to access her personal work email. Even if you work from home you still need to maintain a professional attitude like for instance, “Once I am done using my email I should LOG OFF, so imposters do not come on and send off the wall death threats with my email account.” Personal I would say they are both accountable of course the husband more than the wife but either way stupid mistakes were made by both. Wow PZ this is the best soap opera on the net! Keep up the entertainment!!! You are my hero! :P

  46. #46 AJ Milne
    July 16, 2008

    Hi, at 1-800-FLOWERS we send the very best in flowers, and death threats. If you want to send a loved one flowers then call 1-800-FLOWERS. If you want to send an ex death threats then we have you covered as well. 1-800-FLOWERS, your #1 resource for flowers and death threats.

    I admit it. I LOLed. There’s somethin’ about being able to laugh at that particular absurdity, even in this really pretty unpleasant situation…

    But re. Ms. Kroll and Mr. Kroll, yeah, I dunno. Doesn’t sit quite right with me that she gets the sack. I know a bit of net security, actually wrote to PZ to tell him that that particular Receive: chain probably did lead back to a building worth law enforcement’s nosing around… But the weird thing is: I just naturally assumed the guilty party was about 90 percent less stupid. As in: the firm used a typically naive SMTP setup, meaning passwords are incredibly easy to grab off any ethernet card you can put in promiscuous mode, so in that case, it wouldn’t be so much Ms. Kroll’s fault some nutter did just that and happened to choose her account from which to commit a federal felony…

    And, well, look at this: some nutter did, more or less, that. ‘Cept that he was married to her, and probably wouldn’t know a network sniffer from his own nether regions, and oh, geez, probably her part in it wasn’t just that she happened to use a really dumb legacy protocol, rather, she was a smidge lax about the security of her work computer in the presence of her spouse…

    Yikes, gang. I’m a paranoid crypto guy, and the stuff I handle, no, I sure as hell don’t let anyone else–wife included–onto my work machines. But she works for a flower delivery service. I think even as a paranoid crypto guy, I’d sorta look at that and say: okay, bad, silly user, here’s a slap on the wrist for you… And oh, tell your husband, specifically, there’s some gentlemen headed over with the federal warrant…

    But as was commented above: this is the corporate world. Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it. Damn.

  47. #47 Lilly de Lure
    July 16, 2008

    Chief said:

    Irony meter alert!!

    What on earth are you doing with an irony meter in this neck of the woods?

    Where have you been? This whole cracker stushie has been an irony-meter graveyard since PZ’s first post – I thought the last ones left in one piece had long since fled the field screaming that they couldn’t take it any more!

  48. #48 Christophe Thill
    July 16, 2008

    Now that Mr Kroll has made himself famous, I suggest he changes his name slightly. It will be easier for him to go on with his life, and not be identified as a sender of death threats and incompetent user of e-mail software.

    For instance, he cold just change a letter in his name.
    The first one.
    For a T.
    It would fit like a glove!

  49. #49 Tophe
    July 16, 2008

    @ #41, you beat me to it! I was going to make the same type of comment about Chuck’s statement. It seems they like to project their faults onto others from all the times I have seen it done.

  50. #50 Scote
    July 16, 2008

    “In closing I still maintain that if mr. myers. Or anyone, who is encouraging people to desecrate the Eucharist, or if he is doing so himself, I would like to beat his brains in, would I? I don’t know.
    I’ve never done so before. Though, at that one moment when I was reading his statements..?
    I suppose If I caught him doing it, I would try to stop him. ”

    Hmmm…so Chuck would beat Mr. Meyers brains in if he catches him?

    Chuck certainly isn’t contrite. Definitely a non-apology apology. And definitely not enough contrition to help him get his wife’s job back.

  51. #51 clinteas
    July 16, 2008

    Ok,

    I dare to have a different opinion on this,while I see where you guys are coming from,and thats all very well ,and you are probably right saying she should get divorced,hes a deluded dick,great he got caught out and so forth….

    I read they have 3 kids,Melanie got fired for doing nothing at all wrong other than being naive and trusting hubby to use her computer,and who of us wouldnt? I get drunk at night and write all sorts of shit here at times,swear and curse and worse,I regularly wish death or the plague on people when Im driving(might be an Australian thing),so I have a somewhat different take on the whole affair.
    It was avoidable,it is regrettable,some people here acted like fuckheads,and PZ was naive to not foresee what was going to happen when he posted the mail headers.

  52. #52 dkw
    July 16, 2008

    C’mon ElJay don’t be a dick. Not all goddies have slave-wives and there’s nothing in this story to even suggest that’s the case.
    It’s probably just a woman who happens to be married to a complete effing idiot. Happens all the time to all sorts of good, strong women. Now, whether she knew this before now or not (I doubt it, but you never know) is another story.

  53. #53 Scott Mc
    July 16, 2008

    @ #46

    A case of Hanlons razor if ever I saw one.

    Scott.

  54. #54 JeffreyD
    July 16, 2008

    A non apology by Mr. Kroll which I find more offensive than the original threat. He regrets nothing and is trying to gain sympathy for the wife he himself fucked over. The rest, state money questions, them thar muslim types are the real danger, and other nonsense shows he learned nothing and is really only sorry he got caught. Contemptible, lying sack of shit, proven twice now.

    Ciao y’all

  55. #55 Dave
    July 16, 2008

    Indeed – the Divorce Court must look unbelievably attractive to her right about now (at the very least Chuck has some serious grovelling to do)!

    Maybe he can get her some flowers.

  56. #56 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    @SC

    Yes, inquiring minds want to know: Does the University of Minnesota accept any money from the state?

    bwaah

    coffee->nose->monitor

  57. #57 Michelle
    July 16, 2008

    …She married that thing huh? Sigh. I pity her a lot.

    Jackass! You could’ve made up an hotmail! No, you had to send DEATH THREATS from your WIFE’S WORK ACCOUNT! What a tool. What an idiot. You deserve the moron of the day award.

    Unless you WANTED to get her fired because she belongs in the kitchen?!

  58. #58 windy
    July 16, 2008

    Conclusion : always choose a good password for your personal account on your computer.

    More likely she let her husband use the computer without logging out from her email program.

  59. #59 barry
    July 16, 2008

    Maybe the Catholic League will underwrite that lovely family’s financial loss. What do you say, Billy D?

  60. #60 Jackal
    July 16, 2008

    Wow. The article said Webster Cook was “facing suspention.” Does that mean he has been suspended, or may be suspended? All this for not eating a cracker at the appropriate time!

  61. #61 Blake Stacey
    July 16, 2008

    About the Anonymous business:

    There are people who like to break computers and overload fax machines for the lulz (what I think a slightly older generation would call “shits and giggles”), and there are people who hear about protests online and decide to show up because they believe it’s the right thing to do. These two categories, being from different backgrounds, do not always get along. A fairly detailed history going up through April can be found here.

  62. #62 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    More likely she let her husband use the computer without logging out from her email program.

    That or that she has her work account set up as the default and he just clicked on the email link to PZ’s mail. I’ve done it before with different accounts I have. Granted these were not my work accounts nor was I threatening to cave anyone’s skull in.

  63. #63 decrepitoldfool
    July 16, 2008

    I hope she gets her job back, and I have no marital advice for her. Presumably she’ll figure out a solution that satisfies her. But Chuck, (assuming he’s reading this) two words: Hot. Mail.

    I’d recommend Gmail but somehow Hotmail seems to be a better fit for you. After all, Google’s corporate slogan is “Don’t be evil.”

  64. #64 Herd Animal
    July 16, 2008

    I have been fascinated at watching this rather bizzare story unfold. Here are my observations:
    1) Homo sapiens evolved on this planet from herd (social) animals.
    2) One should choose one’s herd memberships carefully. It could be a life or death choice.
    3) Belittling the characteristics of “other” herds can be dangerous.
    4) Homo sapiens are continuing the evolutionary struggle.

  65. #65 Amy
    July 16, 2008

    I feel sorry for Melanie too. 1800flowers allows lots of moms to stay home with their kids while earning an income, something that I personally would love to be able to do. It’s hard to find legitimate jobs that allow you to stay at home with your kids. She’s going to have a hard time finding something that will allow her the same freedom. The repercussions of this whole situation stink.

    But ultimately I’m sorriest for her for being married to such an ignorant asshat. I can’t imagine how tense things must be at the Kroll home.

  66. #66 barry
    July 16, 2008

    #60 – That’s funny. Generally, ill manners aren’t grounds for suspension in college, they’re a means to popularity!

  67. #67 Chief
    July 16, 2008

    @ Lilly #47:

    Yes, I thought that my irony meter had exploded earlier (and said as much in a previous post) but apparently the darned thing is indestructible and keeps slapping me in the face. You’d think I’d learn…

  68. #68 Becca
    July 16, 2008

    Eeek. I didn’t even contact 1800 flowers (out of a vauge worry about something like this) and I still feel guilty just watching this.
    (of course having the ability to feel this level of guilt/personal responsibility for things I didn’t directly contribute to- without something like the Catholic chuch influencing me- is an unusual talent of mine).

  69. #69 Christophe Thill
    July 16, 2008

    Sez MR Kroll:
    “The fact is, that this email to the so called professor, was sent by an angry male catholic, who was very upset after reading that some crazed person in a position of responsibility, charged with teaching children biology…”

    OK, never having set foot in an university is not a crime, nor is it laughing matter. But still. Even if you never studied there, you know more or less what it is, don’t you? And you know that the students can hardly be called “children”, even if they’re known for sometimes behaving in a not too adult way…?

  70. #70 AdamK
    July 16, 2008

    See, what happened was: they met on an internet dating service.

    She wanted to marry a “troll,” but typed it in wrong.

  71. #71 The skepTick
    July 16, 2008

    I’m sorry Melanie Kroll had to loser her job over this. But, as I’m sure her husband can explain, misfortunes that befall you is God’s way of teaching you a lesson. In this case, Mrs. Kroll might realize she’s married to a crackpot.

    BTW, did anyone find out if she had a nice vacation?

  72. #72 negentropyeater
    July 16, 2008

    Zeno #39

    See? Kroll has read Pharyngula and has picked up on PZ’s devotion to Islam. All is made clear!

    You mean Kroll has read this lying propagandist cristofacist Donahue and is parroting the same bullshit :

    http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1461

    “The biology professor made it clear that he would never disrespect Islam the way he does Catholicism. When asked about those who abuse the Koran, for example, he said such an act was analogous to desecrating a graveyard. ‘That’s completely different,’ he said. ‘I don’t favor [that idea].’ But when it comes to the Body of Christ, he opines, ‘The cracker is completely different.’

    I guess it’s now going to be their new favourite pathetic propaganda line,
    “PZ hates Catholics but is in love with Muslims”.

  73. #73 AdamNelson
    July 16, 2008

    Clinteas says: “I read they have 3 kids,Melanie got fired for doing nothing at all wrong other than being naive and trusting hubby to use her computer,and who of us wouldnt?”

    All companies have long contracts and license agreements that very specifically say how work equipment and property can and cannot be used. Chuck (or whatever his name was, too lazy to scroll up!) should’ve educated himself on what was and was not allowed on his wife’s work hardware, and granted it really was all his fault for sending that incredibly dumb letter, but the wife is STILL at fault for breaching the terms of a contract she undoubtedly signed at the beginning of her employment.

    She should’ve actually read the entire document outlining IT policy, and if she didn’t understand it, I’m sure her boss would’ve been glad to clarify the company’s positions. But as it stands, she was held in contempt of an agreement that she willfully signed, by allowing (either through action or inaction) her husband access to the computer/email program.

    However, I do feel terribly sorry for the wife. She made what is normally a minimal mistake in not securing her computer, and a jackass of a man amplified that mistake to the point of it costing her job.

  74. #74 Christophe Thill
    July 16, 2008

    “Wow. The article said Webster Cook was “facing suspention.” Does that mean he has been suspended, or may be suspended? All this for not eating a cracker at the appropriate time!”

    Suspension? You mean, like, hanging? Wow!

    (joking…)

  75. #75 Rhuvaughn Pynnonen
    July 16, 2008

    PZ Myers shows more compassion in the first sentence of this latest posting than Chuck Kroll did in pages and pages of half-assed pseudo-apologies. PZ actually sounds sorry that Melanie lost her job; Chucky-Boy still hopes PZ loses his for threatening a cracker.

    He needs therapy. Assuming Melanie has some authority in their marriage, she should require it.

    Death threats for threatening a cracker…the mind reels at the inanity of it.

  76. #76 Rev Matt
    July 16, 2008

    I’ve worked at several places where I’ve been assigned a laptop and in each case I had to sign a piece of paper acknowledging that it was company property and I was solely responsible for it, allowing anyone else to use it was a fireable offense, and if I let someone else use it then I was liable for anything that person did with it.

    Sure it sucks, but if you violate company policies there are generally consequences. I feel bad for her that she lost her job over this, but the computer was company property. It’s pretty likely she would’ve lost her job had they found out he was using her computer regularly even without the possible felony charges.

  77. #77 Jeremy
    July 16, 2008

    I really feel sorry for this poor woman. She probably has Microsoft outlook set up so that if you click on an email link, it automatically loads Outlook and preps an email to that address. I have Outlook installed (though I never use it), and it does this if I ever accidentally click on a mailto: link.

    So her douchebag husband clicks on this and writes away. I doubt Mrs. Kroll knew what truck ran over her. Clearly tragic.

    PZ, maybe you could ask the company to reinstate her as long as she was taught how to properly use an email client? I’ll bet you a Eucharist wafer she won’t ever let that happen again.

    This is one of those tragic situations where you wish things could change, but in this instance it seems that they actually could. Not to mention it might make some fundie heads explode when he actually acts more “Christian” than the dick who wrote him.

  78. #78 MH
    July 16, 2008

    If I’dd been sloppy enough to allow someone to use my work email for criminal purposes, I’d expect to get sacked. I wouldn’t like it, but rules are rules. I’d probably never want to talk to the person who exploited my sloppiness ever again, though.

    I do feel sympathy for Melanie and the kids. Having a spouse/father who is aggressive enough to threaten to kill people who hurt his feelings must be awful.

    I still think PZ should inform the FBI about this (indeed, I would have preferred it if that’s all he’d done). It should be on record that this Chuck guy has made death threats and is thus dangerous.

  79. #79 AJS
    July 16, 2008

    She should take the company to court for unfair dismissal. There is absolutely no way that anybody ever deserves to be deprived of their livelihood just for the actions of another adult which ultimately were beyond their control. That would be like punishing someone because someone else ran over a pedestrian with their stolen car.

    Although, if the laptop in question was running Windows, maybe Microsoft deserve a little of the blame. My company’s internal network is Linux-based. It requires a username and password just to get a computer to switch on, and every user has their own individual e-mail settings. Nobody knows anybody else’s password [not even me; but I don’t need to, because I am the one they call root] and we insist for everyone to log out of their machine when it is not in use. (I staged a rather graphic and close-to-the-edge demonstration of exactly why this is important, the first time someone left a machine logged in. That was also the last time it happened.)

    Incidentally, we’re fairly permissive with our IT policies. (How many other firms even allow employees to copy software off their workstations, let alone encourage the practice?) The last “incident” involved someone being asked to resign because he sent unsolicited pornographic e-mail offsite to someone else’s work address, and somebody there complained. This was about 4 years ago. Not wanting to blow my own trumpet or anything, but we have a bloody competent IT department here. I would suggest tentatively that draconian-ness of general IT policy varies inversely with competence of IT staff.

    So, I say: Justice for Melanie! What has happened is terrible, but she should not have been fired just because her husband is a jerk and some sysadmin is too incompetent to insist on using a secure Operating System that would have prevented this from happening.

  80. #80 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2008

    I really think everyone should WRITE A LTTER/EMAIL TO 1-800-FLOWERS suggesting that Melanie should have her job back.

    Seriously. Move on.

  81. #81 qbsmd
    July 16, 2008

    What a moron. I’d tell her to divorce his idiot ass and take everything he owns, but he’s probably broke.

    Posted by: I am so Wise

    If he’s Catholic enough to send threats over a cracker, they’re probably Catholic enough to not believe in divorce.

  82. #82 alan
    July 16, 2008

    This is my first comment on crackergate although I’ve read it all. I’ve got to agree with PZ here, this is unfortunate. It’s one of those unintended consequences. Yes, Mr. Kroll brought this on, but other people are hurt by his actions as well.
    I don’t see any of the things happening that I’d hoped for when this whole mess started. It seems that our eyes are no longer on the prize. I guess first and second, I’d hoped to see that Mr. Cook would face no consequences for what he did as we rationally were able to point out and show that it is “just a cracker” and were able to point that out to the people persecuting Mr. Cook. Finally, I’d like to know why the UCF is spending $40K a year to bring Roman Catholic mass and other religious programs onto their campus. I think Mr. Cook’s protest about that was a good one.
    Perhaps others have different ideas about what we should learn or accomplish here–but I feel no joy over this latest incident.

  83. #83 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    I’ve worked at several places where I’ve been assigned a laptop and in each case I had to sign a piece of paper acknowledging that it was company property and I was solely responsible for it, allowing anyone else to use it was a fireable offense, and if I let someone else use it then I was liable for anything that person did with it.

    Yep. That is how it is at any company that wants to protect itself. I deal with it everyday. And everyday people ignore the fact they’ve signed it.

    Though here it seems that she is paying the price of her husband’s outstanding display of dumbfuckery.

  84. #84 kryptonic
    July 16, 2008

    From the last paragraph of ckroll’s post, he seems to fantasize a lot about random terror killing. He has mental issues and should get help before he hurts someone or himself. I don’t know if he can get help now because he probably just caused his family to lose their health care benefits. I feel sorry for the wife and kids.

    It’s still just a cracker, ckroll.

  85. #85 AdamNelson
    July 16, 2008

    “misfortunes that befall you is God’s way of teaching you a lesson.”

    Well, d’uh. OBVIOUSLY this is a result of Original Sin, and is therefore further proof of God’s existence. In fact, now the wife can fall within good Christian lifestyle guidelines as a house-wench who can fetch Chucko’s beer for him, since she no longer has a job (damn those evil lubrulz for forcing women to work!)

    “Does that mean he has been suspended, or may be suspended?”

    The “facing suspension” bit is misleading. In cases of minor disciplinary actions on campus, generally the student is forced to face some sort of student-run advisory council (more serious crimes generally get deferred by campus security to the regional police). Said student council generally has some sort of talk with the person about their actions and how they plan to resolve themselves or the situation. Then, they are usually given token punishments such as probationary charges or something of the sort. When they say he is “facing suspension” that means that the student council, if it so chooses, can defer the problem to the dean of students if it’s serious enough, who *may* suspend the student.

    So in short, he is less likely “facing suspension” and is more likely facing the potential for more severe-than-usual punishment the next time he gets drunk and is caught pissing on the Chemistry building.

  86. #86 matt
    July 16, 2008

    what an apology! and by what an apology I mean /really/, it read like the guy was trying to put out a fire he started with a blanket covered in flames.

    at one point he said it was a gut reaction. as one of the blue collar comics is prone to saying, “there’s your sign.”
    think with your head, not your gut. there aren’t many neurons firing down in your stomach.

  87. #87 Lilly de Lure
    July 16, 2008

    Becca said:

    Eeek. I didn’t even contact 1800 flowers (out of a vauge worry about something like this) and I still feel guilty just watching this.

    It’s very sad for her but I’ve a feeling her job was toast the second 1-800-Flowers first heard about her husband’s email so I think we can clear the Pharyngulite emailers of having been responsible for getting her fired.

    Reputable companies simply can’t allow this sort of thing to be sent in their name without acting strongly, unless they want to cease to be a reputable company and they can’t sack the husband so . . . .

    That being said I agree with Matt Penfold about the people who did email in simply managing to make an unpleasant situation that much worse. I’m curious as to exactly what part of PZ’s behaviour over the last week or so led them to the conclusion that he was a delicate little flower who was suddenly incapable of dealing with this situation without their “help”?

  88. #88 Kampar
    July 16, 2008

    From the latest raving loony press release from the Catholic League (or maybe from Bill Donahue all on his own pretending to be a large crowd of people):

    “We hope Myers does the right thing and just moves on without further disgracing himself and his university. The letter I received from University of Minnesota President Robert H. Bruininks makes it clear that school officials want nothing to do with his hate-filled remarks.”

    Somehow, I really doubt that letter says anything of the sort. I’m sure PZ received a CC … maybe someone could post the text to show us all the truth of the matter (but please don’t post any address information ;-)

  89. #89 AdamNelson
    July 16, 2008

    “There is absolutely no way that anybody ever deserves to be deprived of their livelihood just for the actions of another adult which ultimately were beyond their control. That would be like punishing someone because someone else ran over a pedestrian with their stolen car.”

    But what if your employer lent you the car, and said you must use said car only for your own purposes? What happens then if, say, you left the keys in the car, which allowed it to be stolen and involved in somebody’s death? I agree that if it was beyond the wife’s control, she should not be punished. But that’s not the case: she has a duty to keep work equipment and resources private and secure, and out of the hands of childish man-boys who would play kindergarten-bully with them.

  90. #90 Riley
    July 16, 2008

    Bad luck on the part of the wife, but I hope that she gets her job back-this obviously isn’t her fault. Even better, I hope it serves as a warning for anyone who wants to send some death threats in the future (or at least from work emails.)-the pinnacle of stupidity.

  91. #91 qbsmd
    July 16, 2008

    It reads like a notpology to me. He still doesn’t think he did anything wrong it’s just that he got caught.
    It’s not his fault his wife got fired, it’s ours for sending emails to flowers. It’s not his fault he can’t control his anger but PZ’s for provoking it.
    A simple ” I’m sorry” would have said more than all his crocodile tears.
    Posted by: tsig

    He actually did:

    Upon reflection, and reading many of the comments made, I feel that no matter how mad I was, it did not make it right for me to use the language or tone I used. In fact, I think there would have been many more constructive things I could have done, the angry email was just the simplest way.
    And I’m sorry.

    Of course, most of the rest of the email was a web of deceit anyway, so why trust any of it?

  92. #92 Scote
    July 16, 2008

    “She should take the company to court for unfair dismissal. There is absolutely no way that anybody ever deserves to be deprived of their livelihood just for the actions of another adult which ultimately were beyond their control. That would be like punishing someone because someone else ran over a pedestrian with their stolen car.”
    ———-

    No, it is more like if someone knowingly **let** her rash and quick to anger husband use a company car and he rammed someone for driving too slow.

    It is sad that Melanie got fired because she trusted her douche bag husband, but she is the one who let him have access to the company email. Company policy was violated and she was responsible for the access to the account. There is one person ultimately responsible: Chuck. But the company doesn’t have a contractual relationship with him, they do with Melanie.

    And it may not be over. Chuck has damaged 1-800-Flowers reputation and can be sued by them for that damage to the extent they can prove financial loss due to his criminal activity using their servers to transmit a death threat.

    (This, of course, presumes that the “confession” by Chuck is legit.)

  93. #93 Bee
    July 16, 2008

    I read ckroll’s ‘confession’ It’s pretty clear that he still hasn’t recognized how serious it is to email/mail/phone someone with threats of physical violence. In fact, he vaguely continues with the threats in his confession. He’s sorry his action got his wife fired, but blames everybody else for it, not himself. He needs some concrete evidence that he’s committed a crime, and it looks like a visit from the police is the only way that’s going to sink into his thick skull.

    I hope the woman gets her job back, and possibly she will, since a fair number of supporters of PZ have expressed the same sentiment. I’ll bet someone from the company is watching the reaction to her firing, and maybe she’ll get a second chance. Most people know couples where one partner is arguably not as sane as the other, or perhaps Mrs. Kroll wasn’t aware that her husband was a complete nutter when it comes to religion. I do feel sorry for her. Being fired is hard to take, especially in this kind of circumstance – makes it hard to find another job with a reference like this.

  94. #94 John
    July 16, 2008

    I think a company is completely within its rights to fire somebody who leaves company IT resources open to anybody who wander by their PC at home.

    Now, if the company didn’t have some policies and instructions for home workers about what they should be doing to secure their PCs, she might have grounds to complain about wrongful termination.

  95. #95 dinkum
    July 16, 2008

    Let’s see here…

    Give Melanie her job back.

    She’s still married to Chuck.

    Chuck’s the prince who sent the email from Melanie’s work account and got her fired.

    Chuck accepts no responsibility for Melanie losing her job.

    Chuck now has access to the same email system he sent the threat from.

    Is anybody else having trouble seeing why any sane company would do this?:

  96. #96 zaardvark
    July 16, 2008

    “so called professor … crazed person in a position of responsibility … so called teacher … so called intellectual … insane, divisive, and maybe even criminal … disturbing creature … crazed professor … good professor”

    Oh, FFS, please press charges against this ass.

    “In closing I still maintain that if mr. myers. Or anyone, who is encouraging people to desecrate the Eucharist, or if he is doing so himself, I would like to beat his brains in, would I? I don’t know.
    I’ve never done so before. Though, at that one moment when I was reading his statements..?
    I suppose If I caught him doing it, I would try to stop him.”

    So he’s apologized by essentially making a second threat…

  97. #97 Christophe Thill
    July 16, 2008

    … and some more silliness to brighten your day with irony:

    I’m sensing the creation of a new word here.

    To kroll (trasitive verb): to impersonate someone, esp. on an electronic communication medium, in order to send pseudo-anonymous death threats.
    “Hey, what’s that’s crazy e-mail you sent me yesterday?”
    “I swear it’s not me! I got krolled…”

    Remember… you read it here first…

  98. #98 Jack Rawlinson
    July 16, 2008

    I feel sorry for Ms Kroll. Not just because she got sacked for something she didn’t do but also because she’s married to such a monumental asshole.

  99. #99 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2008

    Bill Dauphin: I don’t thin you are allowed to disagree with my opinion of a private email that to my knowledge only the sender and I have read. His description is garbled, and form it it is not possible for me to discern what exactly he is talking about. Honestly.

    I had considered pasting the email on the blog, but I don’t have a policy that says “if you email me I can blog it.” I’m not sure if I want that policy.

    Regarding Mr. Kroll’s public post, this is the phrase I have the most trouble with:

    “, or even atheist.”

    Like that needs to be said. To paraphrase a great man, “Atheists are the nigger of the world of western belief systems.”

    (Did I say that out loud?)

  100. #100 AdamNelson
    July 16, 2008

    “We hope Myers does the right thing and just moves on without further disgracing himself and his university.”

    When will these dorks learn that PZ can do whatever he wants (legally) in his private life? Can they not separate the man from his work? I mean, seriously, the university doesn’t own the rights to all of PZ’s thoughts and opinions, and I’m sure he doesn’t call people “creotards” in class. As long as university resources aren’t involved in his activities, the university can’t do nothin’ ’bout it. Nor should they.

    Gah, some people are just dumb.

  101. #101 decrepitoldfool
    July 16, 2008

    Oy… I just skimmed the non-apology. Let’s see, to put it in terms that Mr. Kroll might understand:

    1. Husband gets mad, decides to send death threat.
    2. Grabs a sheet of company stationery, types threat.
    3. Puts it in company envelope and mails it using company postage.
    4. Doesn’t understand what the company is so het’ up about.

    What he did is the electronic equivalent. OK, now I do have some marital advice: he should be grovelling and begging his wife’s forgiveness.

  102. #102 Chris
    July 16, 2008

    @AJS #79
    > She should take the company to court for unfair dismissal.

    Actually, it is not.

    As has been pointed out before, she most likely had to sign for the computer/laptop acknowledging responsibility for the machine itself as well as any liability for anything being done with it.

    She signed it, she violated it, she got “caught,” she got fired. It’s as easy as that.

  103. #103 Nick
    July 16, 2008

    I’ve got to be honest, I find the outpouring of regret here rather ironic. PZ, what did you honestly think was going to happen when you posted those threatening e-mails complete with full contact information? Granted you probably hoped that most of your readers were mature enough not to do anything offensive, but I can’t honestly believe someone with your ‘net experience couldn’t foresee the likely outcome. And to everyone else who joined the feeding frenzy, ask yourself: did you REALLY feel that you personally had to get involved because of the sheer weight and importance of the crime committed, or did you just get off a little on the idea of a little eye-for-an-eye action? It seems a little naive to unload the way this board did the other day and to then after the fact get all remorseful and sympathetic.

  104. #104 soonquadruples
    July 16, 2008

    As to the question of whether the U of M accepts money from
    the state, I humbly suggest that anyone who is asking this question first read:

    http://www.michaelberube.com/index.php/weblog/academic_freedom/

  105. #105 AdamNelson
    July 16, 2008

    “It seems a little naive to unload the way this board did the other day and to then after the fact get all remorseful and sympathetic.”

    I believe what most people are remorseful here is that the wife became collateral damage. Through little fault of her own, her husband cost her her job. If it were just Chucko’s actions resulting in Chucko’s punishment, I would feel less sorrowful.

  106. #106 Epinephrine
    July 16, 2008

    I think it’s unfortunate that Ms. Kroll was fired for letting her husband use her account. If he had sent a joke in poor taste it might not have been so severe a reaction, but a death threat gets their attention. That’s the unfortunate part to me, that her punishment was made worse because of *what* was sent, not because something was sent at all.

    Did she deserve some form of punishment for leaving her email logged in/allowing access to her husband? Probably – a good dressing down, a written apology, a mark on her record – but if it’s the first offense I can see keeping her on. The unfair part is that she’s being punished effectively not for the violation of company policy so much as for what was sent – and that’s where my sympathies kick in.

    Mrs. Kroll, I’m sorry that you are paying the price for your husband’s poor judgement. I fully support Dr. Myers right to freedom of expression, yet I’m sorry that you were hurt in the process of defending it.

  107. #107 Randy
    July 16, 2008

    tsig @ #18:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. I imagine we’ve all known people like Chuck; they simply cannot learn from their own mistakes. Or, for that matter, really admit to them.

  108. #108 Chris
    July 16, 2008

    @John # 94
    I think a company is completely within its rights to fire somebody who leaves company IT resources open to anybody who wander by their PC at home.

    Actually, I can get fired if someone is using my company issued computer at work (in my office) as well.

    I can even get fired if I let my wife drive my company issued car, regardless of whether there is an accident or not.

    I do feel sorry for her for losing her job, however she DID violate company regulations by letting this asshole access her computer.

    Some people need to learn the hard way that there ARE consequences to your actions.

  109. #109 Sarcastro
    July 16, 2008

    “In closing I still maintain that if mr. myers. Or anyone, who is encouraging people to desecrate the Eucharist, or if he is doing so himself, I would like to beat his brains in, would I? I don’t know. I’ve never done so before. Though, at that one moment when I was reading his statements..? I suppose If I caught him doing it, I would try to stop him. “

    Oh? You wouldn’t turn the other cheek? You wouldn’t let him who is without sin cast the first stone?

    What I find most astonishing about this so-called confession is the complete lack of awareness that physical violence is against the teachings of Jesus.

  110. #110 Michelle
    July 16, 2008

    @#88 Kampar: “The letter I received from University of Minnesota President Robert H. Bruininks makes it clear that school officials want nothing to do with his hate-filled remarks.””

    …In other words, “Look buddy, we don’t care. It’s not our lawn and we don’t care what you think so LEAVE US ALONE.”

    See? That also means that the school officials want nothing to do with his remarks. :P The hate-filled remarks… that’s just Donohue’s opinion

  111. #111 Christophe Thill
    July 16, 2008

    “What I find most astonishing about this so-called confession is the complete lack of awareness that physical violence is against the teachings of Jesus.”

    Mr Kroll seems to have discovered a previously unknown verse of the famous Sermon on the Mount. It goes :

    “Unhappy those who tamper with my Holy Bread,
    for I’ll beat their brains in.”

    For whatever reason, though, many people think it doesn’t sound quite right.

  112. #112 AdamNelson
    July 16, 2008

    “See? That also means that the school officials want nothing to do with his remarks.”

    Agreed. They WANT nothing to do with them because they HAVE nothing to do with them. Why can’t people grasp that?

  113. #113 clinteas
    July 16, 2008

    @ No 87 :*waves back at Lilly de Lure*

    Lilly said :

    //I’m curious as to exactly what part of PZ’s behaviour over the last week or so led them to the conclusion that he was a delicate little flower who was suddenly incapable of dealing with this situation without their “help”?//

    Thats what has me baffled over this whole mess.Way too much Testosterone released,and people running off being jerks.I suspect some of those who ran off with their swords drawn were not from our side tho,although i cant prove that.Just the impression I got from all the aggro floating around when I and others suggested that this might not be a wise move without knowing who sent the mails.

  114. #114 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2008

    Couple more comments:

    You would be amazed at how little money the UMN takes from the state. Some major colleges are this far (holding fingers very close) to being totally non-state funded. This is because the state under largely Republican rule has reduced funding for the U again and again. This is part of the explanation for the close similarity between state U tuition and private school tuition.

    Regarding the getting fired for someone else using your email thing…. yes, yes, yes, technically, this is all true, what you’all are saying. But I personally want to live in a world where the arbitrary and capricious application of rules is LESS, not MORE likely. Therefore this is, to me, an example of how such rules are a bit silly.

    Yes, this guy screwed up (of course) and did something bad (obviously) but please, please don’t let this fuckup become an excuse for making the use of computer/IT resources on incremental step harder.

    Nonetheless, it is a very very good idea to use your own email to send death threats. Always.

  115. #115 Lilly de Lure
    July 16, 2008

    Kampar said:

    “We hope Myers does the right thing and just moves on without further disgracing himself and his university. The letter I received from University of Minnesota President Robert H. Bruininks makes it clear that school officials want nothing to do with his hate-filled remarks.”

    Somehow, I really doubt that letter says anything of the sort. I’m sure PZ received a CC … maybe someone could post the text to show us all the truth of the matter

    I’d put good money on this letter being a bog standard “employees personal opinions, expressed outwith their job are nothing to do with us” statement that just about any institution will give out when asked to comment/take action on employees private lives.

    In other words I’m guessing he just got a brush-off letter telling him that UMM were not going to act on his complaint and is trying to big it up so that it sounds he’s been told something other than “pray off”.

  116. #116 Celtic_Evolution
    July 16, 2008

    @ Nick #103.

    Umm…. wha???

    There’s nothing wrong at all with feeling pity for an innocent person caught up in a bad situation, while still understanding the importance of what had to be done and why.

  117. #117 Loudon is a Fool
    July 16, 2008

    I regret to inform you . . .

    For a moment I was concerned PZ’s abused and malformed conscience might be reasserting itself. But no.

    Good work, Chuck! You cost your wife her job!

    Maybe a recap is in order.

    1) Fat bearded atheist nerd becomes enraged that someone in the world believes in God. Offers to commit act of sacrilege to show just how much the God he talks about an awful lot doesn’t matter one bit to him.

    2) Although the occupations of most normal people might be jeopardized by public displays of asshattery, in academia asshattery is an indicator of street cred and evidence that a fat, bearded, atheist, nerd, though still fat, bearded, God-hating-fearing, and nerdy, is down with with his peeps.

    3) People who take God as seriously as the fat bearded atheist nerd but just don’t hate Him, knowing that his immature antics are more likely to result in promotion to full professor than the sort of discipline that would exist in any properly managed profession, strike out with empty threats to beat the nerdy God-hater.

    4) God-hater, being petty and under the impression he can finally get back at those jocks who gave him a dirty swirly back in middle school, posts the email address of a middle-class, hard working Catholic who showed the poor sense of responding to the ravings of the sociopathic God-hating bearded nerd.

    5) Nerd hordes send multiple threatening emails to hard working Catholic and the employer of his wife.

    6) Wife gets fired.

    7) Nerd hordes show mixed reactions. Some show remorse, but most feel that whatever bad befalls Christians at their hands is ok because, well, they’re Christians.

    Either way, ye God-haters should be proud. Way to go.

  118. #118 Rick T
    July 16, 2008

    There are many folks that read, and biog. at this site who are not religious, perhaps you feel it’s silly, outdated, or superstition, fine. This is your right, but for people in positions of responsibility and with the power to encourage captive undeveloped minds to attack their neighbors beliefs is just insane, divisive, and maybe even criminal.

    He admits a right to disagree with superstition but issues a death threat when it is done.

    He also doesn’t like the idea that someone should attack their neighbors and yet this is what he has admitted threatening to do.

    Let me fix his quote for him. “There are many folks that read, and blog at this site who are not religious, perhaps you feel it’s silly, outdated, or superstition, fine. This is your right, but for people like me who do believe, to attack their neighbors unbelief is just insane, divisive, and maybe even criminal.

    There, with a little help he has now owned up to his error.

    One last thought, why are college students considered to be young, undeveloped, impressionable children when it suits people like C Troll. “Think of the Children”.

  119. #119 Glen Davidson
    July 16, 2008

    Will the good people never escape persecution?

    It’s just more unfairness for Xians, don’t you know. Good kind folk sending threats of bodily harm out of their love for evil atheists. Sob.

    Glen Davidson
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  120. #120 Phaedron Rising
    July 16, 2008

    It should have been almost immediately clear to anyone that sent a message TO Kroll’s email account (as I, admittedly, did) that the email from that address had not been sent by its’ owner.

    My email was followed up by an auto-reply informing me that she was away for a week and a half (presumably on vacation or at a conference), and not to return for another day or two. At that point, I sent another email to Kroll’s account, informing her that I thought someone had used her computer without her permission.

    I also emailed the company – who were doubtlessly being inundated by angry Pharyngula fans – to inform them that I had reason to believe that a threatening email coming from Kroll’s account may not have actually been sent by Melanie herself.

    I’m not trying to wash my hands of this, but I don’t think any of that was done in bad faith or judgement.

    Still, it’s not hard to see how PZ’s posting of those addresses might have been interpreted by readers as a sort of call to arms… Until he reposted, asking readers to stop. By then, I’d already sent him an email telling him that one of the accounts that he’d posted may have been hijacked.

  121. #121 Dan
    July 16, 2008

    There’s a lot of sympathy for Melanie in this thread. Allow me to buck that trend. I have no sympathy for Melanie Kroll whatsoever. Not one iota. Nothing. Nadda.

    Allowing old Chuck to use your email is one thing, but this woman was dumb enough to marry (and have Children with) a man who finds free speech so offensive – he sends DEATH THREATS. As far as I’m concerned that shows a lack of discrimination so serious it means your genes should be out of the pool.

    I mean, he could have said “Hey, PZ, that was some fucked up shit you wrote, Man – please don’t do it again?” Oh no, that’s not good enough for old Chuck. I mean, WTF!! Who the fuck does this guy think he is?

    Screw her, screw him, screw their doubtless indoctrinated kids and screw their crackerass nutjob religion.

    A plague on all their houses.

  122. #122 Candy
    July 16, 2008

    But she works for a flower delivery service. I think even as a paranoid crypto guy, I’d sorta look at that and say: okay, bad, silly user, here’s a slap on the wrist for you… And oh, tell your husband, specifically, there’s some gentlemen headed over with the federal warrant…

    Well, it’s a privacy issue. If he had access to her email, whether she left it unprotected or whether she actually gave him her password, he might well have had access to confidential customer information, such as credit card/bank account information. Due to the level of intelligence displayed by Mr. Kroll, he might not have thought of embarking on a credit jacking enterprise, but it would be pretty easy to use someone else’s credit card number. He’s not bright enough to realize how easy it would be for him to get caught doing this. She’s probably a customer service/order taker working from home, so it’s likely that she had such information on her computer.

  123. #123 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2008

    117: You don’t know the UMN. PZ’s politics are not likely to endear him to the system. He’s taking a risk.

    And he’s not particularly fat. Big boned.

  124. #124 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    Still, it’s not hard to see how PZ’s posting of those addresses might have been interpreted by readers as a sort of call to arms..

    Call to arms maybe, but who says you need to pick up the sword?

  125. #125 MikeF
    July 16, 2008

    Whilst I agree Mr Kroll sounds like a sorry excuse for a human being, I feel Mrs Kroll should not have had to lose her job over this. I’m sure Mrs. has learned her lesson, even if it is evident Mr. hasn’t nearly begun to learn his.

    What we all can agree on is this episode was the work of one foolish individual and had nothing to do with 1-800-FLOWERS. There is no public perception that their company had anything to do with this fiasco, and we hold no animosity towards their business. I can’t help but feel the decent thing would be to write 1-800, telling them so, and request Mrs. Kroll’s probational reinstatement. We’ve defended PZ’s job. Why not go one further and take this opportunity to prove just how moral atheists can be without commandments telling us how to behave?

  126. #126 Scote
    July 16, 2008

    “2) Although the occupations of most normal people might be jeopardized by public displays of asshattery, in academia asshattery is an indicator of street cred and evidence that a fat, bearded, atheist, nerd, though still fat, bearded, God-hating-fearing, and nerdy, is down with with his peeps.”
    ————

    Aw, Chuck, you really should have quit with your last “confession.”

    Ok, so you may not be chuck, just someone who shares his Poor Impulse Control. Hope you don’t get **your** wife fired through some sort of predictable idiocy on your part.

  127. #127 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    And he’s not particularly fat. Big boned.

    Respect his authoritaaaih

  128. #128 raven
    July 16, 2008

    The Krolls got off easy.

    1. Sending death threats by email is a felony. There are a lot of people doing multiyear jail sentences for it.

    2. It is also a sueable civil tort. Cameron Moore not only went to prison for threatening the Delfinos, he lost a civil suit and owes them 1.1 million dollars.

    3. The company had no choice. They may also be liable for huge monetary damages. If they enable or collude, they certainly would be.

    Death threats are just terrorism. They and 1800flowers are lucky they didn’t get sent to Guantanomo to while the time away amusing interrogators by playing a game (it isn’t torture because Bush said so) called waterboarding.

    If they are smart, which they don’t seem to be, they will thank the FSM that nothing further happens, learn a lesson or two, and move on.

  129. #129 Muffin
    July 16, 2008

    Sad to hear that Mrs Kroll lost her job over something she – apparently – didn’t even do herself.

    I hope that she’ll get rehired (and those who did write to 1-800-FLOWERS to complain, please, do write again now to ask for this, too!), and that she’ll learn a lesson from this regarding her husband – and maybe teach him one, as well.

  130. #130 Scote
    July 16, 2008

    One thing people may wish to keep in mind is that 1-800-Flowers undoubtedly looked at Ms. Kroll’s email account when they looked into this matter. I would speculate that there may well have been additional violations of company email policies and it is quite possible that Chuck regularly used her company email. She may not have been fired just for that one transgression but rather it may have just triggered a quick investigation that led to other company policy violations.

  131. #131 clinteas
    July 16, 2008

    No 117 :

    //Fat bearded atheist nerd becomes enraged //

    Is there an argument here?

    //God-hater, being petty and under the impression he can finally get back at those jocks who gave him a dirty swirly back in middle school, posts the email address of a middle-class, hard working Catholic who showed the poor sense of responding to the ravings of the sociopathic God-hating bearded nerd.//

    I suggest you seek medical attention Sir,your delusions have gotten to the point that you are not functioning in society anymore and pose a risk to its members.

  132. #132 Snitzels
    July 16, 2008

    Poor woman… what a jerk of a husband. Of course it’s not HIS fault! He was angered by that awful PZ! I’m sure its probably not his fault when he’s “angered” at home and people make him do bad things… :/

  133. #133 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2008

    128: “The Krolls got off easy.”

    We don’t know that they got off easy. You and I are not going to know if here is an investigation until much later.

    Muffin, I agree about contacting Flowers.

  134. #134 AJS
    July 16, 2008
    [Firing Melanie for her husband’s actions] would be like punishing someone because someone else ran over a pedestrian with their stolen car.

    No, it is more like if someone knowingly **let** her rash and quick to anger husband use a company car and he rammed someone for driving too slow.

    If the laptop was running Windows (which is a fair presumption), I’d say it was more like her rash and quick to anger husband forced the (pathetically inadequate) locks on her company car and rammed someone for driving too slow.

    She may or may not have known that the factory-fitted locks weren’t up to the job; but as she is a florist and not an automotive locksmith, that’s really none of her business.

    The only thing Melanie is demonstrably guilty of is being married to a jerk, and you can’t be fired from a job for that. Personal Life is to Professional Life as Church is to State.

  135. #135 Michelle
    July 16, 2008

    I have to say, I DO feel for her, both for losing her job and being married to a psycho dolt but… I have to agree with some folks here.

    She deserved to be fired. Flowers did the right thing. That’s regular company regulations. If she was not careful enough with her company’s reputation and let someone else type messages with her account, it’s her fault.

    PS: Let’s face it though, 1 800 flowers did not need her man to get a bad rep. They already have it.

  136. #136 AdamNelson
    July 16, 2008

    Fool @ #118…

    Ok, let’s take this apart piece by piece.

    “Fat bearded atheist nerd becomes enraged that someone in the world believes in God.”

    Intelligence analysis: grade 6
    Also, that’s just plain wrong. PZ’s “enraged” at death threats over a wafer.

    “…evidence that a fat, bearded, atheist, nerd, though still fat, bearded, God-hating-fearing, and nerdy…”

    Why do I get the impression that YOU’RE either fat and nerdy, or aren’t but are massively insecure about it?

    “…strike out with empty threats to beat the nerdy God-hater.”

    Ok, how about I come up to your door one day and say “I’m going to kill you,” and walk away? That was an empty threat, but did you enjoy it much? Death threats are illegal, idiot, whether one had intention to carry them out or not. Respect the law.

    “…posts the email address of a middle-class, hard working Catholic who showed the poor sense of responding to the ravings of the sociopathic God-hating bearded nerd.”

    “But officer, he MADE me do it! He MADE me kill him! He’s a fat nerdy atheist!!” Do I need to explain why that doesn’t work? You guys should try some personal responsibility sometime. He had a choice to either not respond, or respond like an idiot. He chose the idiot’s road, and now him AND his wife are paying for it.

    “…but most feel that whatever bad befalls Christians at their hands is ok because, well, they’re Christians.”

    No, most if not ALL feel that, in a society of law, the law was carried out on an idiot who did something stupid. His fault, his repercussions. Take responsibility for your actions; no one *made* Kroll do something stupid, and, as a grown man, he should have enough restraint to not send threats of physical violence when his cracker is badmouthed.

  137. #137 windy
    July 16, 2008

    Call to arms maybe, but who says you need to pick up the sword?

    I hope you aren’t implying that Phaedron Rising did any such thing. I wish that PZ had done something similar to what he did, to check the source of the email before making the headers public, but I can also understand PZ wanting to take immediate action in his situation.

  138. #138 Bronze Dog
    July 16, 2008

    1. I do feel some sympathy for Mrs. Kroll. It’s possible she was just too trusting of her husband, and he betrayed that trust. Whether or not that trust is the result of foolishness, that sort of thing can really hurt.

    2. She does have some of the fault for not protecting her account. A company’s internet security and public face are serious matters for them. I don’t blame them at all for their actions.

    3. Mr. Kroll is especially jerktastic because death threats are definitely something a company would not want on their email records. If he had done something minor instead, his wife might have merely gotten a slap on the wrist and a warning to put up better barriers.

  139. #139 Damien
    July 16, 2008

    To everyone who’s suddenly sorry she got fired ask yourself one question: are you sad because it happened, or because it was supposed ‘collateral’ damage?

    I ask because, to be perfectly honest, there was nothing collateral about it. Kroll allowed her husband to have access to confidential and restricted email servers tied to her work, he used those servers to commit a federal felony, and she got fired because of it.

    The fact that 1800Flowers took the only action they could to try to show they didn’t aid in committing this felony shouldn’t surprise any of you.

    And #124: It’s called being a good Samaritan. Someone made a traceable threat to Dr Myers life. Expecting us not to act on that threat is just naive. There was no way to know it wasn’t legitimate, and informing the company of Kroll’s actions (both husband and wife) was the kind thing to do. Me… I’d have written to the FBI.

  140. #140 Michelle
    July 16, 2008

    @AdamNelson: *Whiny voice* But he threatened to kidnap geeeee-zuuuuuuus!

  141. #141 BG
    July 16, 2008

    I feel bad for Mrs. Kroll as well, but it is all 100% squarely on the shoulders of her husband.

    I don’t know what each and every person here did, but what I saw people self reporting was that they email 1800flowers and asked them to look into it and do something about it. That is not harassment.

    From his confession it is pretty clear he didn’t learn anything, he is just sorry his f’up was so monumental.

    I don’t see how any company can have a serious threat of violence sent through their email servers with the contact information of one of their employees and say “Gee, it was only the first foul mouthed violent threat sent via your email account, we’ll let it slide this time.” They had to let her go sad as that is, and it is sad for her and her family.

    However, as I said, Mr. Kroll is 100% responsible.

  142. #142 Celtic_Evolution
    July 16, 2008

    @ 117…

    Wow… what a fact-deprived, completely invented bucket of vomit.

    Let’s see… In #1, you left out the part where this had nothing to do with anyone’s belief in god, and more to do with bullying parishoners accosting a kid over a wafer, sacred or not. But hey, let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good rant, right?

    #2, along with the rest of the doofus brigade who continues to miss this point, what PZ writes on his blog has zero to do with his position at the University.

    #3, People who take god seriously seem to take Jesus far less seriously, and threaten bodily harm to a human being. I don’t remember that part of Jesus’ sermons… that you call them “empty” means nothing. If your child came home telling you that some kid at school threatened to “beat his brains in”, you would just dismiss it as ‘empty’? Doubt it. Nice attempt at rationalizing threatening, boorish behavior though. Well done by you.

    #4, did you give swirly’s when you were in school? Aww… I’m sure you did… and I bet you just expected the kids to just “shut up and take it”… right? You continue to expose yuorself here. More Christian teachings? Is that what you’re saying? And is that how you’re really gonna classify a death threat? As “poor sense”? Again… that’s how you’d classify a death threat made to one of your children? Think about that for a minute, genius.

    #5, Stupid decision to threaten someone in a cowardly fashion by hiding behind his wife’s identity comes back to bite him in the ass.

    #6, the only item you got even remotely factually correct.

    #7, Rational people have rationally mixed feelings about some numbnuts getting his wife fired for being a bullying, moronic sociopath. Fairly human nature. And again, whatever bad befalls this guy is OK not because he’s a Christian… but because he’s a cowardly, insipid, bullying, idiotic, evil piece of shit.

    Well done. Really. Give yourself a good-ol pat on the back. And feel free to refute anything I’ve corrected from your post with actual fact. Good luck.

  143. #143 Epinephrine
    July 16, 2008

    Whoa there, saying that we have sympathy for Mrs. Kroll is not saying that the right thing wasn’t done.

    It is exactly right to inform 1-800-FLOWERS that an email death threat appeared to originate from their system. And even to suggest that they look into it, as it has upset people.

    The company is perfectly in the right to discipline an employee over violating something like email access regulations (which we can assume there are). They’re probably even doing the most sensible thing, cutting Mrs. Kroll lose.

    That doesn’t mean we can’t feel a little for Mrs. Kroll. We all make mistakes that could end up causing trouble – leaving the car running for a few seconds to run back inside to grab something, forgetting to log off your station when you go to the water cooler – I don’t think anyone can claim never having had a lapse in judgement. Hers just happened to have serious repercussions. It’s unfortunate – not that she didn’t play a part in it, but it’s still sad.

  144. #144 Capital Dan
    July 16, 2008
    Indeed – the Divorce Court must look unbelievably attractive to her right about now (at the very least Chuck has some serious grovelling to do)!

    Maybe he can get her some flowers.

    Posted by: Dave

    Tears, man! You made me laugh so bloody hard I’ve got tears.

    I salute you, Dave! Perfectly played.

  145. #145 Dan
    July 16, 2008

    #129 You are kidding, right? She “did” do this. She “did” it by allowing (through action or inaction) her husband access to her PC, presumably in contravention of the company IT policy. I’ll be writing to 1-800-Flowers to congratulate them on a bang-up job in firing her ass – it was clear right from the off that it had come from their servers – you only had to reverse DNS the IP address.

    As for Chuck, I’d say he got off lightly. This is a felony offence, if she aided him or (whilst knowing about it) did nothing to prevent him, I imagine she’s an accessory to this felony!

  146. #146 AdamNelson
    July 16, 2008

    “*Whiny voice* But he threatened to kidnap geeeee-zuuuuuuus!”

    I LAWL’d.

    Also, Fool@ #117

    You don’t seemed too concerned that Kroll broke the law, making him a criminal. But since PZ’s a fat nerdy atheist, he’s more worthy of your scorn than a felon. Makes perfect sense…

  147. #147 AJ Milne
    July 16, 2008

    Well, it’s a privacy issue. If he had access to her email, whether she left it unprotected or whether she actually gave him her password, he might well have had access to confidential customer information, such as credit card/bank account information. Due to the level of intelligence displayed by Mr. Kroll, he might not have thought of embarking on a credit jacking enterprise, but it would be pretty easy to use someone else’s credit card number…

    This is fair enough. We don’t know the whole situation, and the company could have some pretty good reasons even beyond the fact that the optics pretty much demand they show they’re taking this seriously.

    And really, fair or not, it’s probably their safest move at this point: if there’s going to be an investigation, they really want to be able to say: we took direct, severe action immediately. This is nothing to do with us. Talk to our ex-employee and her husband.

  148. #148 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    The only thing Melanie is demonstrably guilty of is being married to a jerk, and you can’t be fired from a job for that.

    No but you can be fired for not following IT policy. Policies which typically state that you as an employee are responsible for your accounts, equipment and access that are under your control. Policies that you typically have to sign when hired.

    We don’t know for sure what their IT policy states, but I’m pretty sure it falls in line there.

    She left her PC open and her husband used it. Assuming the details of their policy, it is her responsibility to secure it. It sounds like he got on an unsecured computer, got all riled up, clicked on the link to PZ’s email which opened the default email account (her 800-flowers account) and hit send.

    Did he mean to send from that account? Who knows, but it seems not. Did she intend for it to be done? No probably not.

    But policy is policy and it was her responsibility as an employee to follow it.

    If it comes out he hacked her account or computer and sent it then that is another situation, but everything is pointing to negligence on her part and grandiose stupidity on his.

  149. #149 Quidam
    July 16, 2008

    Now let’s look at this from the perspective of 1800Flowers. Their servers and network have been used against their express instructions to commit a crime. This happened because an employee ignored their written policy and allowed the company’s email account to be accessible without entering a password – or worse gave the password to a third party. The crime has brought their company into disrepute and ridicule and possibly criminal charges for permitting it to happen – yes this can happen it you do not take due diligence and allow your property to be used for criminal purposes.

    Huge numbers of people contacted the company alerting them to the crime, many calling for the termination of the employee responsible.

    The company has no real choice and its actions are reasonable and considered. As an IT Director I would do the same – and unfortunately have had to do in a similar circumstance.

    It’s unfortunate for the employee who did not actually commit the crime, but it’s comparable to an employee who gives the keys to the company car to her husband who then drives it while drunk. The employee has a duty of care to the company.

  150. #150 TheOtherOne
    July 16, 2008

    The part of the article that gets me is that she said that anyone who had access to her email is “harmless”.

    Thanks, lady! I have complete confidence in your judgment that the person, whoever that is, who used your email account to threaten to bash my head in is incapable of actually doing so. Too bad they weren’t incapable of threatening it!

  151. #151 MissPrism
    July 16, 2008

    Greg #99 – oo, hee hee, he said it again, how rebellious and daring.
    By which I mean: you are being an arse.

  152. #152 DaveX
    July 16, 2008

    I’m pretty torn on all of this. For anyone who’d consider themselves a veteran net user (and PZ certainly falls in this category) you’re well aware of the implications of posting someone’s personal data online– you’re always going to have a minority of folks who take it too far, and issue threats, etc of their own.

    Allow me to turn it around for a moment. Say PZ had sent a disturbing letter to some church deacon. So the deacon decides to read the letter at services, and post PZ’s return address on the bulletin board… “purely for informational purposes”.

    C’mon, does that fool anyone? It’s a veiled threat, and everyone knows it. Some percentage of folks there will just send PZ an angry letter, but you might also have a few nutters who end up torching the garage.

    I can dig PZ’s approach from a “free information” standpoint, but I don’t think most of the world behaves like I do– frankly, I’m just happy nothing truly bad came of Kroll’s details being exposed.

    As for the guy who wrote the threats, I think he’s an idiot, and he’s ultimately responsible for his family’s problems. He further demonstrates a lack of appreciation for the seriousness of his behavior in his “apology,” which I hope his wife has the opportunity to read. He comes off like a real creep!

  153. #153 Glen Davidson
    July 16, 2008

    I don’t feel sorry for either one. The fact is that she’s responsible for the use of her computer, and anyway, it’s more a matter of the company having to protect itself than of “punishing” her, so far as I can tell.

    Marry a jerk, and you pay. So what’s new?

    My main reason for posting again is to point out that it seems even more so to have been an empty threat. It was fairly evident from the beginning, since it’s extremely unlikely that anyone would wait around for two-thirds of a month, then come pounding on someone. Kroll likely wouldn’t be angry enough, or even stupid enough (even though he seems pretty stupid–who makes threats containing your email address?), to carry out his threat in any manner at such a late time.

    What’s unfortunate, obviously, is that Kroll is one of the few stupid enough to get caught, or at least to get caught so easily.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  154. #154 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    The company has no real choice and its actions are reasonable and considered. As an IT Director I would do the same – and unfortunately have had to do in a similar circumstance.

    As have I. As a company you look after the companies best interests first. Policy is policy. If this was an innocent email accidentally sent on or servers, sure that would be taken into account. This is not the case with the Krolls.

  155. #155 Chris (in Columbus)
    July 16, 2008

    The entire story is unfortunate. The death threats, the lying-husband, the death threats, the firing…it’s all such a shame. None of it would have happened if human life were actually held at a higher level than damn crackers.

    PZ, I stand by you. It’s a frackin’ cracker! Not worth any of this!

  156. #156 firemancarl
    July 16, 2008

    Who says fundies aren’t good people?

  157. #157 Chris (in Columbus)
    July 16, 2008

    The entire story is unfortunate. The death threats, the lying-husband, the death threats, the firing…it’s all such a shame. None of it would have happened if human life were actually held at a higher level than damn crackers.

    PZ, I stand by you. It’s a frackin’ cracker! Not worth any of this!

    zschechfan.livejournal.com

  158. #158 Stanley
    July 16, 2008

    Yes, inquiring minds want to know: Does the University of Minnesota accept any money from the state?

    State legislators make it a point to never waste taxpayer dollars on something as useless as higher education.

  159. #159 Louis
    July 16, 2008

    Well, I didn’t send an email calling for Kroll’s head (like many others, I think the very idea of doing so ridiculous no matter WHO does it), but I WILL be sending an email asking 1-800-Flowers to reinstate her.

    Not because I disagree with PZ (I don’t). Not because I think death threats via email are acceptable (I don’t). And not because I think that she isn’t at least partly responsible for all the good reasons people mention above (I do think she is partly responsible).

    The reason I’ll send the email is because I hope she gets her job back, times are hard and she shouldn’t lose her job over what is essentially a relatively minor error of PC security. Simple human compassion (and like Greg, a general dislike of the “rules” being applied so apparently thoughtlessly. People fuck up: deal with it because sure as hell you fuck up too).

    Who knew we atheists were capable of compassion and humility too? Certainly none of the clueless trolls like Loudon is a Fool and his/her much morphed merry-makers. Ah well.

    Louis

  160. #160 Valhar2000
    July 16, 2008

    I am sorry too that Melanie lost her job, but the fact is that the company she works has the right to make that decision. I may dislike it, but they have the right to do it.

    The best thing Melanie could do for herself, it seems to me, is to drop that looser like a bad habit.

  161. #161 KC
    July 16, 2008

    @ #99: Yeah, I caught the same thing. `Or even Atheists?` How kind of him, to decide that atheists don’t deserve physical violence! And it’s written in a way that seems to say `yeah, those god-forsaken atheists, worthless bags of shit that they are; them too.`

    Feh. Quite the nonpology.

  162. #162 Vernon Balbert
    July 16, 2008

    I have sent 1-800-FLOWERS an e-mail telling them that if it is true that Ms. Kroll was not responsible for writing and sending that e-mail that she should not have been terminated. I don’t think she should be responsible for the actions of her husband, but she should be held accountable for maintaining security for her work e-mail account. Let the punishment fit the crime. However, if she is responsible, then termination was definitely the appropriate action.

  163. #163 Evolving Squid
    July 16, 2008

    I work in IT security, and I happen to think that Ms. Kroll losing her job is a little extreme, but within the realm of appropriate. Personally, if I would have pushed for a 15 to 30 day unpaid suspension and loss of computer access privileges for some longer time (6 months? a year?)… however, that latter might be the same as being fired in an internet business.

    Computer security nerds have been telling people about not letting third parties use your computer accounts for DECADES. “You will not let other people use your account” is written into pretty much every user agreement at every institution everywhere. It’s not magic, it’s not a surprise.

    If you think I’m being overly harsh, consider instead that she let her husband use her building pass to enter her workplace and cause some kind of ruckus that was grossly embarrassing to the company. That’s really no different than what was done with the email.

  164. #164 mayhempix
    July 16, 2008

    New term: kroll
    A “kroll” is a troll that sends or posts aggressive insults and/or physical threats.

    Sentence example:
    Chucko the Clown is an ignorant unrepentant kroll who cost his allegedly innocent wife her job and humiliated both of them in public.

  165. #165 Mus
    July 16, 2008

    The Kroll guy- I want to thank some of the level headed people that have posted here. Some who seem so super smart to me, it’s almost intimating!

    No shit, this guy’s a deluded, illiterate fool. Most people ARE super smart if you compare them to him.

  166. #21 People don’t hurt people. Crackers do

  167. #167 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 16, 2008

    I’m sorry that I haven’t time to read all comments, so perhaps this part has been commented on:

    In his notpology, c kroll says:

    There are many folks that read, and biog. at this site who are not religious, perhaps you feel it’s silly, outdated, or superstition, fine. This is your right, but for people in positions of responsibility and with the power to encourage captive undeveloped minds to attack their neighbors beliefs is just insane, divisive, and maybe even criminal.

    It is a fine insight into the cognitive dissociated mind; kroll, assuming it is he, claims he is supporting free speech and religion, when he is nothing but.

    Perhaps he is confusing PZ’s role as an educator (but why then “the so called professor”?) with his role as a citizen, but it is a poor excuse for a mind deluded by religion and bigotry.

    Note also that he is entirely reversing causality here – it was the student that got attacked by believers for studying a cookie, and it is this behavior that PZ propose to be discouraged.

    There is also the death threats which is ‘just jargon’, et cetera. I’m afraid that this is another mind mired too deep in confusion to be saved to a productive use.

  168. #168 yuval
    July 16, 2008

    it appears that the (relative)dispraty between the letter and the confession is one more proof of John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory :

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/

  169. #169 Eric
    July 16, 2008

    Frankly, I wonder about the response of Mr. Kroll’s employer, not 1800 Flowers.

    If my company found out I was issuing death threats to college professors – even ones a thousand miles away, even in my spare time, even on an account not associated with their company – they’d still probably fire me.

  170. #170 Celtic_Evolution
    July 16, 2008

    # 162

    I don’t think she should be responsible for the actions of her husband, but she should be held accountable for maintaining security for her work e-mail account. Let the punishment fit the crime.

    Unfortunately that sort of leeway doesn’t really exist in the IT world, especially at large companies. As Rev. BigDumbChimp and others have pointed out, being an IT manager myself, I’ve had to fire people for violations of our “acceptible use” policy that were far less than this incident. To acquire a Internet accessible network account, SMTP email address, and / or mobile computer at my company, you are asked to review and sign this policy, and it is there to protect the company from litigation in cases such as this. Unfortunately, that does lead to dismissals that may seem “trivial” or even unfair, but no-one can claim ignorance of the policy. You signed it, as did Mrs. Kroll.

  171. #171 kubenzi
    July 16, 2008

    OK if youre sending FLOWERS emails asking for her job back that is ridiculous.They are tired of hearing from you .Promise

    Also,ITS LIKELY SHE WORKED FROM HOME.She probably hasnt stepped foot in the place.they have legions of these people.she was entirely expendable,and fucked it up royal.

    Stop bothering Flowers.Its over

  172. #172 KevPod
    July 16, 2008

    I question the man’s adherence to the “faith” he espouses. It’s the same old love-god-or-die problem that’s undermined the validity of religion since the beginning.

  173. #173 john
    July 16, 2008

    Speaking of being fired…You wil be next PZ!

  174. #174 AJS
    July 16, 2008

    Now let’s look at this from the perspective of 1800Flowers. Their servers and network have been used against their express instructions to commit a crime. This happened because an employee ignored their written policy and allowed the company’s email account to be accessible without entering a password – or worse gave the password to a third party.

    Not necessarily. There is no evidence that Melanie did anything deliberate to allow this to happen. If that laptop was running any version of Microsoft Windows, the chances are that it would have been damn nigh impossible for Melanie to have prevented it from being misused in this fashion.

    With KDE (a popular graphical front-end for Unix-like operating systems such as Linux, OpenSolaris and FreeBSD) it is only possible to bypass the password protection on the screensaver (which can be set to start automatically in the absence of keyboard/mouse activity) if you already know the password for the logged-in user, or alternatively if you know the root password. The worst you can do is log in as a different user, and each user has their own individual e-mail account settings (which are not ordinarily accessible to any other user).

    The company has no real choice and its actions are reasonable and considered. As an IT Director I would do the same – and unfortunately have had to do in a similar circumstance.

    The company had the choice not to install an inherently insecure operating system. If they had chosen something with proper privilege separation, this probably would never have happened.

    It’s unfortunate for the employee who did not actually commit the crime, but it’s comparable to an employee who gives the keys to the company car to her husband who then drives it while drunk. The employee has a duty of care to the company.

    No, it’s comparable to an employee whose company car — of a brand world-renowned for the ease with which its locks can be overcome — is stolen by her husband who then drives it while drunk.

  175. #175 TC
    July 16, 2008

    As much as it sucks that Ms. Kroll got fired, she likely violated the company’s policies regarding their network resources – that is, she let someone else use her company email account.

    The problem isn’t that her husband sent a stupid email that brought bad PR (although that’s not good). The problem is that if she’s that lax with email security, what is she doing with other confidential data she may have access to?

    I’d fire her too.

  176. #176 Tulse
    July 16, 2008

    Another consideration regarding Melanie’s responsibility is that, according to her email auto-reply, she was away from her account for many days, but apparently didn’t secure her home machine during that time. In other words, she was out of town, but left herself logged in on her home machine, giving access to her husband. That seems to me like a fair bit of negligence, given that the computer may have access to more 1-800-Flowers info than just a corporate email account.

  177. #177 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    Speaking of being fired…You wil be next PZ!

    Way to contribute that schmear of feces John. Now kindly get some paper towels and clean it up.

  178. #178 Nobody
    July 16, 2008

    Mr. Kroll is an asshat for sending that e-mail.

    YOU are an asshat for driving him to it.

    But both of you are too proud to admit it.

    Does this say anything about Atheism? Or Catholicism? Or does it simply show that when two asshats meet in the cyberstreet, something ugly is going to happen?

  179. #179 Janine ID
    July 16, 2008

    Loudon Is A Fool, methinks your little recap is misguided. You are making a huge assumption that this is a just a ‘revenge of the nerd’ scenario. But you are showing a disturbing mindset with your analogy. You seem to think that people who are bullied should just take the abuse, that it is WRONG when such people fight back.

    So, Loudon Is A Fool, did it scare you when the kids you bullied dared to call you on you shit?

  180. #180 Matt Penfold
    July 16, 2008

    “Speaking of being fired…You wil be next PZ!”

    Ever heard of tenure ?

  181. #181 Zeno
    July 16, 2008

    Two years ago I received one of those forwarded e-mails alerting me to some deadly danger from which it was imperative I protect my family. It was arrant nonsense about junkies leaving hypodermic needles in the playgrounds of McDonald’s restaurants. To add to the fun, I received the e-mail by mistake because my last name was the same as that of the woman who sent it. She had mistakenly included me in a family distribution list.

    I wrote back to tell her that her warning was nonsense and not to forward any more of those “urgent!” spam messages, 99.99999% of which are fake. (I probably didn’t include enough 9’s.) As is my usual practice, I reply to e-mail spam with “Reply to all” in hopes of preventing further forwarding of the original bit of nonsense. The result was a series of extremely abusive e-mail from members of the original sender’s family. The messages were full of obscenities and threats of violence. Didn’t I appreciate the fact that the original sender was well intentioned? I should be grateful to receive nonsense if the sender’s motives were pure. Feh!

    It all died down eventually, but I see from my in-box that at least one of them forgot to purge me from the “family” distribution list. I’m getting chirpy e-mails about a new granddaughter. Perhaps I should write back to tell her I’m not interested in getting news of the little bastard. Yeah, that’s a good idea!

    My original post is here.

  182. #182 Janine ID
    July 16, 2008

    Mr. Kroll is an asshat for sending that e-mail.

    YOU are an asshat for driving him to it.

    But both of you are too proud to admit it.

    Does this say anything about Atheism? Or Catholicism? Or does it simply show that when two asshats meet in the cyberstreet, something ugly is going to happen?

    Posted by: Nobody

    But she was a woman who was showing off her body so I had to rape her. So she is to blame.

    nobody, you are a sad little nobody.

  183. #183 Evolving Squid
    July 16, 2008

    YOU are an asshat for driving him to it.

    Umm, no.

    If Bob says something you don’t like, and you do something stupid in retaliation, that isn’t Bob’s fault in any way, shape, or form, and there is absolutely no way an asshat can be pinned of Bob for that.

    People are responsible for their own actions.

  184. #184 BT Murtagh
    July 16, 2008

    I wonder how Fool@117 knows that the guy is hard-working. We know he’s foul-mouthed, bullying, dishonest, intolerant and careless with his spouse’s livelihood, but none of that implies a solid work ethic to me.

    I also wonder how Fool@117 knows people sent threatening emails to C. Kroll and his wife’s employer. I’ve been following Wafergate pretty closely, and I don’t recall that any of the self-reported messages contained threats.

    Perhaps I overlooked such a posting, but I doubt it; this sounds like a case of projection to me.

  185. #185 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    AJS. I disagree.

    First, none of us know the exact details as to how the whole thing went down so most of this is speculation. No where have I seen it asserted that he “cracked” a password or broke into her computer. Everything I’ve heard points to it just being open and him using it. Clicking on PZ’s email brining up the default email account (though there are reasons this sounds strange to me) and him banging out his rant and hitting sent not knowing it was going through 1-800flowers.

    Assuming this explanation is the case, her negligence is at least in part responsible for this.

    If something comes out about him breaking into the account or computer then that’s another story.

  186. #186 Candy
    July 16, 2008

    I WILL be sending an email asking 1-800-Flowers to reinstate her.

    Louis: Would you feel that way if the breach of security caused you to have the wonderful experience of attempting to clear up the credit and other problems resulting from your identity theft?

    Of course she should be fired for breaching security on a company laptop, even if it wasn’t a death threat. I’ve worked for several major corporations; when you’re hired, you have to take online courses in internet security and privacy policies and sign legal documents saying that you understand these policies. Companies are even more strict on off-site laptop use.

    One company I worked for even reprimanded you if you got up to go to the bathroom without locking your computer and your desk. Identity theft is a huge problem. Victims of identity theft suffer the after-effects for years. It shouldn’t be that hard to clear up, but it’s a terrible thing. It can prevent you from getting credit to buy a car or a mortgage. (Not that anyone can do that now anyway.)

    It’s sad, but she did a very foolish thing, and unless she’s as stupid as her husband, she knew she’d signed her rights to unemployment compensation away when she took the job. She was fired for just cause. She should go and sin no more, in a manner of speaking.

    This doesn’t mean I can’t feel some sympathy for her. She’s not the first damned fool to trust somone unworthy of trust. I’ve done it myself.

  187. #187 Citizen Z
    July 16, 2008

    From Mr. Kroll’s confession:

    I am going to write to mr. Myers and offer him my apologies for using such childish language, and the threatening way in which I presented myself to him. It is my hope that he will forgive me, or hold me accountable.

    I’m a little curious if he did write to you and if so, what did he write?

  188. #188 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    Mr. Kroll is an asshat for sending that e-mail.

    YOU are an asshat for driving him to it.

    And here we were having a pretty civil discussion of differing view points and mr. dumbfuck comes in.

    Easily one of the most moronic things written on the Internet today.

    “No officer, that man called me a booger head and I shot him. He drove me to it.”

  189. #189 galapagos
    July 16, 2008

    “the so called professor”
    “crazed person in a position of responsibility, charged with teaching children biology”

    This guy is an idiot, and he still has an attitude, even in his confession.

    “This is your right, but for people in positions of responsibility and with the power to encourage captive undeveloped minds to attack their neighbors beliefs is just insane, divisive, and maybe even criminal.”

    Insane? Divisive? Does anyone else see the irony in this?

  190. #190 Celtic_Evolution
    July 16, 2008

    @ AJS #174

    Are you kidding me?

    The company had the choice not to install an inherently insecure operating system. If they had chosen something with proper privilege separation, this probably would never have happened.

    This assertion is from several points of ignorance. 1) you have no idea what OS was used on her PC, so how can you make that assertion? Which OS would have been “secure enough” to have prevented him from doing this? 2) You don’t know that it was a PC that was the source of the violation. Might have just been an email account. Even if set up on a personal PC, that email account is property of the company and subject to its “aceptible use” policies. 3) you have no idea if Mrs. Kroll just gave her login info or email password info to her husband, which would pretty much invalidate your whole point. The company doesn’t have to take its direction from you or any other “internet expert” on which OS is secure enough. You sign the policy, you know the expectations. Please.

    No, it’s comparable to an employee whose company car — of a brand world-renowned for the ease with which its locks can be overcome — is stolen by her husband who then drives it while drunk.

    Yup… and you know what happens when an emplyee allows someone to drive their company car and that action results criminal damage? They can, and often do, lose their job. It’s called negligence and violation of company policy. Don’t confuse Mrs. Kroll’s getting fired for her getting criminally prosecuted. She won’t. Mr. Kroll likely will.

  191. #191 gburnett
    July 16, 2008

    I also feel for the obviously-married-to-a-moron Mrs. Kroll. She was probably in the middle of something when her barely-literate husband decided to get on the “internets”. I have also written 1-800-flowers and let them know that, as an atheist, I don’t think she should be punished for marrying poorly. She probably suffers enough living with the doofus.

  192. #192 Lorax
    July 16, 2008

    Why in hell is everyone defending Mrs Kroll out of hand in this? Obviously she violated company policy (didnt take them seriously enough like 90% of users) and most people realize that. But all these “poor Mrs. Kroll,” being married to a ______ (insert offensive adjective) man. Mr. Kroll is the offender here and should get appropriate punishments he earned. Mrs. Kroll should lose her job or be severely reprimanded for the same reason many people lose their job for directly reflecting poorly on their company.

    But why the immediate assumption that she is a nice endearing poor victim here. I know many couples and if one is a fuckwad the other isnt a 180° opposite of that. Based on my experience, she likely feels the exact same way Mr. Kroll does. She isn’t psychotic enough to send death threats, but she almost certainly supports the actions of Mr. Kroll. Do I evidence for that? Not really but the fact she’s married to a twit like Mr. Kroll supports my contention better than the nice lady hypothesis. So I’ll feel bad when there is evidence to suggest that I feel bad. It sucks for her she lost her job, but Ill look at the bright side, maybe someone more deserving who isnt married to a nutjob (and likely has nutjob tendencies herself) will now be hired to fill that position.

  193. #193 Enkidu
    July 16, 2008

    What has been accomplished here? A woman has lost her job in a declining economy. Sure, she somehow let he husband have access to her computer account, but I’ll bet the equipment was her own. And her dick-headed husband acted as dick-heads are want to do.

    She’s poorer, and less able to provide for her kids and they suffer.

    Dick-head is still a dick-head, he’s just meaner and has one more chip on his shoulder.

    Dick-head is not able to pick up the slack and make up for the lost income because he’s a dick-head, not a cardiac surgeon.

    1-800-flowers lost an otherwise good employee.

    If our goal is to punish people, we’ve done that. But if our goal is to make the world a better place, I think we’ve all lost.

  194. #194 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    Another consideration regarding Melanie’s responsibility is that, according to her email auto-reply, she was away from her account for many days, but apparently didn’t secure her home machine during that time. In other words, she was out of town, but left herself logged in on her home machine, giving access to her husband. That seems to me like a fair bit of negligence, given that the computer may have access to more 1-800-Flowers info than just a corporate email account.

    Or she has her laptop on vacation with her and him. Or she is vacationing at home… etc..

    Either way him having access. There are many possible explanations how this happened. Most of it is speculation still. I doubt we’ll know the full details ever and I bet we all survive that lack of knowledge. :)

  195. #195 Candy
    July 16, 2008

    I doubt we’ll know the full details ever and I bet we all survive that lack of knowledge. :)

    True that! :)

  196. #196 Bill Dauphin
    July 16, 2008

    Greg (@99):

    Bill Dauphin: I don’t thin[k] you are allowed to disagree with my opinion of a private email that to my knowledge only the sender and I have read.

    Right you are. I was referring to the “confession” that PZ linked to, which is what I thought you were referring to as well. Please forgive the error.

  197. #197 Brownian, OM
    July 16, 2008

    YOU are an asshat for driving him to it.

    Glad to know Catholics are such puppets.

    World, brace thyself, for with my legions of Angry Catholic Minions, I shall unleash waves of terror upon thee the likes of which have not been seen since, well, the last time Catholics held any serious power.

    I was about to comment on this being another case where the wife and kids are being punished for the misdeeds of the husband (1-800-Flowers’ policy on work email accounts notwithstanding), but the outcome would have been the same if it were the wife abusing the husband’s work email.

    I don’t know much about setting these things up, but what do people think about taking up a collection for the kids? I feel bad for them having to suffer for the actions of their guardians.

  198. #198 mayhempix
    July 16, 2008

    “Speaking of being fired…You wil be next PZ!
    Posted by: john | July 16, 2008 11:36 AM”

    Another Christian kroll shows his Christ-like forgiveness, attention to detail and astounding intellect.

  199. #199 Michelle
    July 16, 2008

    “Mr. Kroll is an asshat for sending that e-mail.

    YOU are an asshat for driving him to it.

    But both of you are too proud to admit it.

    Does this say anything about Atheism? Or Catholicism? Or does it simply show that when two asshats meet in the cyberstreet, something ugly is going to happen?

    Posted by: Nobody”

    You know, it reminds me of one scenario. There’s a big drunken asshole that beats up his wife and says to her afterwards “You made me do this.”

    IT’S NOT A JUSTIFICATION FOR DEATH THREATS. And let’s face it, PZ didn’t do anything. You guys are just so paranoid you think he did something that warrants a death threat or being fired. To a piece of paper. (I decided: hosts don’t even deserve the cracker status. Crackers are good sometimes.)

    Desecrating your little tasteless thingie is not an offense. It’s all in your religious head. And BOY do you guys put up a good show.

  200. #200 Warren
    July 16, 2008

    I posted this at Greg Laden’s blogthread about the idea of lobbying 1-800-flowers to get Mrs. Kroll rehired; I thought it might be relevant here as well.

    ==

    I’ll have to side with those who respectfully disagree. Apparently Ms. Kroll was working from home, which suggests a great deal of importance placed on network and network integrity, including proper management of computer login and email accounts. Irresponsibility on that front alone would probably be grounds for dismissal.

    That said, I doubt many seasoned net users have never been in flame wars, wherein language can get very savage, and apparent threats tossed around as readily as handshakes at an Amway distributors’ convention.

    It’s certainly worthwhile to pursue apparent threats and follow up with the possibility of law-enforcement intervention, but there’s also such a thing as being intemperate with stones in one’s own glass house.

    In other words, we might want to ease off a little on the general tone of righteous indignation about foolish utterances. Is it really sensible to suggest ending a marriage over something stupid one’s spouse sent in an email or posted online? How many of us would, were that advice followed to its entirety, suddenly find ourselves living alone?

    Finally, I don’t believe it’s in anyone’s interest to try to tell others what an “atheist” response should be, as atheists in general tend to reject preachers of any denomination. Including no denomination.

    My own atheist way, for instance, is to let Mr. and Mrs. Kroll decide for themselves how to handle this disruption in their lives, and hope that they’ll accept some responsibility for their actions, and learn from their mistakes, but I wouldn’t expect others to fall in line with that point of view.

  201. #201 Steve Caldwell
    July 16, 2008

    Greg Laden wrote the following on his blog:

    But seriously, the Christian way would be to make claims about forgiveness but start a hate campaign against 1-800 flowers, and insist that everyone be thrown in jail, etc.. (Following the Donahue approach). The Islamic way would be for most Muslims to say “we are a peaceful people” and a small number of nut jobs to issue a fatwah.

    The Atheist way would be to institute a mail in campaign to get Melanie her job back with 1-800-Flowers.

    So, has everyone written their letter to 1-800-Flowers? I did this morning.

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/07/pz_myers_death_threat_confessi.php#comment-988032

    This seemed like a good suggestion and it would show that we atheists are really more compassionate and kind.

    Here’s what I sent to the 1-800-Flowers using their web link that allows one to contact the board of directors:

    I read in the news today that your company has decided to fire Ms. Melanie Kroll for her mistake in letting her husband use her work email account.

    While I understand your corporate public relations concerns over the misuse of company computer resources, I would ask that you reconsider this firing decision. Firing an employee over the mistake of a family member can also cause negative publicity for a corporation.

    Please offer Ms. Kroll her former job and use this incident as an opportunity for employee education on proper computer use and security procedures.

    PZ Myers (the victim and recipient of Mr. Kroll’s death threat) isn’t asking for her to be fired based on the available press coverage:

    “[Prof. PZ] Myers did not take any satisfaction in Kroll’s dismissal. ‘This was not my intent to get somebody fired,’ he said. ‘She apparently did something stupid, which I don’t have sympathy for. I would just rather not see people getting fired over an e-mail message.'”

    http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/071608-woman-fired-over-death-threat.html

    If Professor Myers agrees with Ms. Kroll keeping her job, the graceful, generous, and honorable thing to do would be to rehire her.

    Thanks for your time and your consideration.

    The web link for contacting the board can be found here:

    http://investor.1800flowers.com/contactBoard.cfm

  202. #202 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    . Sure, she somehow let he husband have access to her computer account, but I’ll bet the equipment was her own. And her dick-headed husband acted as dick-heads are want to do.

    You sign IT policy when you get hired. You know your responsibilities as an employee. Should she have been fired? Who knows. HR assessed the issue and acted, we can’t possibly know all the details.

    1-800-flowers lost an otherwise good employee.

    That’s an assumption

    If our goal is to punish people, we’ve done that. But if our goal is to make the world a better place, I think we’ve all lost.

    If companies stop following policy, especially on incidents like this, the policy is worthless.

  203. #203 AJ Milne
    July 16, 2008

    If Bob says something you don’t like, and you do something stupid in retaliation, that isn’t Bob’s fault in any way, shape, or form…

    Oh, no no no. Children under the age of ten have explained this to me many, many times. This is a perfectly acceptable plea. See also: ‘He made me do it!’

    So, clearly, by playground logic, PZ is at fault here for saying something that made Mr. Kroll make threats of physical violence in such an eminently traceable fashion… Also, if I say ‘the pope is just a silly wanker in almost as silly a hat’, and someone loses it as a consequence and goes up into clocktower with a high-powered rifle, clearly, I bear at least some responsibility for several deaths. I know perfectly well there are armed, crazy people in the world. Thus, I shouldn’t say anything that might set them off… It’s just like yelling fire in a crowded theatre. (Or in a locked ward stocked full to the brim with the criminally insane, I guess.)

    But… who knows what might set them off? Erm… Speaking of which… Oh, fuck, I probably shouldn’t have just written this comment. The whole thing. Damn. Scratch it. Crazy people, please pretend you didn’t just read that…

    Awww, man… Who knows what I might have just done? I said nothing. I wasn’t here. Nothing to see, move along…

  204. #204 True Bob
    July 16, 2008

    Thanks Evolving Squid @ 183. We all know that no True Bob would ever say anything offensive. Unless you’re somekind of pus-brained fucktard.

  205. #205 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    Sorry Enkadu that sounded overly snarky and was not meant to.

    I’m coming at this from someone that sees the results of companies not following their policy. As soon as one employee skates by, the give and inch take a mile saying falls into place.

    I deal with a company that doesn’t follow policies they’ve spent money, time and resources to set up and have future employees agree to. All it does is cause chaos in the company and cause loss of revenue, respect and moral across the board. Companies have it in their best interest to enforce the policies they set forth. It’s not about punishment its about keeping the company running as best as possible.

  206. #206 Enkidu
    July 16, 2008

    If companies stop following policy, especially on incidents like this, the policy is worthless.

    Would you want to be judged on the one stupidest thing you did this year? I sure wouldn’t.

  207. #207 dkew
    July 16, 2008

    Meanwhile, what’s going on with Steve Montemurro, said to be the author of the other threat PZ posted?

  208. #208 Escuerd
    July 16, 2008

    Oi vey.

    I really do feel sorry for Melanie. PZ, I wish you’d only included the IP, or perhaps sent the full header to a few people you trust to responsibly keep it as a record, as well as to the FBI.

    I don’t feel a thing for the husband, who’s clearly attempting to shift any blame away from himself (it’s all the evil “so-called professor’s” fault). Perhaps he really didn’t mean this as a death threat. At the very least it shows that he has both a violent temper and poor impulse control, which might not make him much of a threat to a blogger, but are more worrisome for those who know and interact with him in person.

    It is interesting to see him backpedal the way he does in his comment, describing the tone of the email as merely “terse”, and qualifying his threat to “beat [PZ’s] brains [sic] in” as merely a playful euphemism for assault and battery (disregarding, of course, that inconvenient reference to PZ’s short life, which is hard to misinterpret in context).

    And now that he’s cost his wife her job (the only person he’s truly hurt in a significant way, which is one too many), he attributes that to not knowing which address he was using to send the email. If he’s actually too bumbling and incompetent to know which email address he’s using, then perhaps the intertubes are not the place for him.

  209. #209 Matthias
    July 16, 2008

    Oh shit. I’m amazed that anyone here could express Schadenfreude about this woman losing her job. What a shitty attitude! This is the same vengeful, intolerant, eye-for-an-eye attitude I despise Donohue and his extremist followers for.

  210. #210 Celtic_Evolution
    July 16, 2008

    @ Enkidu

    Would you want to be judged on the one stupidest thing you did this year? I sure wouldn’t.

    Whether I’d want to or not, I might be… so I’d better make sure I heed policies I’ve signed and agreed to.

  211. #211 Glen Davidson
    July 16, 2008

    But seriously, the Christian way would be to make claims about forgiveness but start a hate campaign against 1-800 flowers, and insist that everyone be thrown in jail, etc.

    Nah, you make a movie about how it’s Nazi to maintain any kind of standard or policy that would ever throw out bad religious ideas or Xians with lax security, etc.

    Expelled II.

    And if people want to push for her to get her job back, I wouldn’t stand in the way. It does seem to me that there should be a little more concern about whether or not she is generally a decent person married to a jerk, and perhaps a bit lax on security, or if she’s merely sorry that her moron of a husband left a trail to her computer and not sorry about the death threats.

    We don’t know if this was the last straw, or if the company was too quick to wash their hands of someone who trusted her idiot husband too much. For all I know, she was already on probation for numerous violations. Or she might be a saint.

    Atheists aren’t particularly about forgiveness, especially for repeat offenders (which she may or may not be). This is no time to forget about the importance of evidence. If the evidence supports the idea that this is her one failing in several years, fine, give her job back (not really my position, but I don’t mind). If she’s just another jerk who is just sorry that her husband is stupid and vile, rather than smart and vile, she shouldn’t be reinstated.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  212. #212 Chiroptera
    July 16, 2008

    Loudon is a Fool, #117:

    Let’s see if I got this straight: harassment and death threats are acceptable reactions to one’s outrage when one feels blasphemy has occurred, and expressing outrage over those death threats is further provocation which will only result in more death threats, which again are to be accepted.

    This has been coming up a lot on these threads. Is this Catholic dogma or something? It has the same confusing quality as that Trinity thing.

  213. #213 ryogam
    July 16, 2008

    I’m sorry if this comment echoes others comments, but I’ve read to comment 136 and just wanted to say this: PZ and his “Nerdy hordes” did not get Ms. Kroll fired. Her job with Flowers was over as soon as her husband hit send. There is NO realistic way that Flowers would not have found out that Ms. Kroll’s account was being used to send terroristic threats unless PZ completely ignored the threat, which whould have been insane. PZ did not know if this threat came from a mild-manner 90-year old confined to a wheelchair in Reykjavik or a three time murderer with a shot-gun sitting in his car down the street using his laptop to write. PZ had to tell someone. And if he was smart and contacted the police or FBI, or decided to handle it be himself and and use his local computer nerd, someone would trace the address back to Flowers. Once that was done, Flowers was going to be contacted, either by a police investigator, or PZ asking just what the world was going on. And as soon as this occurred, Flowers would do an internal investigation and can her. It’s not a question of if she would be fired once her husband threatened PZ from her account, but a matter of when. PZ’s minions had nothing to do with it, except to speed up the process.

  214. #214 Escuerd
    July 16, 2008

    Lorax:

    Oh, I’m sure you’re right that mkroll is not a saint, so to speak, but that doesn’t make her any less of a victim of her husband (even if her views differ only marginally from his).

    You’re right that she is at fault, but it’s to a lesser degree, and I’d feel much better if the person at greatest fault were the one who most directly suffered consequences.

  215. #215 negentropyeater
    July 16, 2008

    Enkidu,

    If our goal is to punish people, we’ve done that. But if our goal is to make the world a better place, I think we’ve all lost.

    Geebus, the goal is not to “punish people”, but if a moron sends a death threat from his wife’s company email account, it’s kind of unavoidable nowadays with the internet that the company is going to find out very rapidly and take necessary action.

    BTW, if you had received very unpleasant harrassement emails accusing you of having sent death threats from your company email account and you were innocent, wouldn’t you have immediately reacted and taken this up with your company and tried to find within your household who might have done this, which would have been the most logical assumption, in order to at least try to avoid being fired ?

  216. #216 Freakin' Nerd
    July 16, 2008

    I know there have been 1000’s of comments on this issue and I have not been able to read them all, so if this viewpoint has been covered already then forgive me for the redundancy.

    I think many people look at the violence in the Mideast amongst Muslims and wonder how people can kill each other over some some doctrinal issue. But I’ve always asserted that people anywhere (even here in the “civilized” West are just a breath away from killing each other over similar issues. I believe that this whole fiasco gives us a glimpse into that. There are those out there who are willing to kill to “defend” their religion. A death threat is just the cowards way of approaching homicide.

  217. #217 Vaal
    July 16, 2008

    I am sorry to hear that Melanie Kroll has lost her job due to the crass threats of her deluded husband. I hope PZ can intercede on her behalf. I am sure he didn’t want Melanie to lose her job, unlike the bigoted, acerbic, and terminally stupid Bill Donohue’s vendetta against PZ.

  218. #218 Danny
    July 16, 2008

    #209

    PZ never sent anyone a death threat. So you are comparing apples to oranges.

    I feel bad for her for having a lousy husband. Unfortunately I don’t think there is a right answer. We all have to live with the choices we make…

  219. #219 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    Would you want to be judged on the one stupidest thing you did this year? I sure wouldn’t

    No. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be.

  220. #220 raven
    July 16, 2008

    Agilent was sued in 2003 by Mountain View residents Michelangelo Delfino and Mary E. Day, who claimed the company, along with employee Cameron Moore, was responsible for intentionally and negligently inflicting emotional distress against them through cyberthreats that Moore made.

    The employee allegedly sent anonymous threats to the plaintiffs through e-mails and postings on a Yahoo! message board primarily using the screen name ?crack smoking jesus,? which he later admitted to the FBI was his pseudonym.

    People who claim 1800flowers should reinstate Mary Kroll are wasting their time. They won’t and shouldn’t.

    The company is potentially liable for millions of dollars in damages for colluding and enabling the commission of a felony. They can’t afford to do this, nor do they have any reason to do so. Adults are responsible for their own actions and they have to make it clear that it was solely the Krolls who voluntarily broke the laws.

    The Krolls aren’t the only slow learners. Cyber death threats have been a felony for over 10 years. People go to jail all the time for these and are also liable for civil damages. Cameron Moore not only did prison time, he lost a civil case and owes his victims over 1 million dollars.

    At this point, the Krolls should be keeping a profile low enough to slide under a closed door and praying to their crackers that this all blows over. If it doesn’t, Chuck will be posting his slow witted nonsense from a federal prison cell.

  221. #221 BluesBassist
    July 16, 2008

    To all of you who assume Ms. Kroll allowed her idiot husband to access her company’s computer, do we know that for a fact? From what I’ve read, we don’t know that (correct me if I’m wrong.) It could be that the computer is a legitimately shared PC owned by them, from which Ms. Kroll can access her work e-mail account.

    I think that’s a very important distinction to properly assign negligence. For example, at the company for which I work, to use any company PC or laptop even off-premises, I need to explicitly enter a company password just to start the operating system. If I let someone else use that machine, it means I’ve explicitly given them my password and access to a company computer. That’s seriously negligent on my part, and I deserve to be fired, even if no improper e-mails were sent from my account.

    However, I also may work from home using my own PC. In that case, I can still access my company e-mail via a secure web interface. It’s still my responsibility to protect that e-mail account, but that’s easy to do, because it’s not possible to configure any non-company installed e-mail client to automatically access that account, I need to access it only through the secure web server, which always asks for a password.

    The point of all this, is that it’s difficult to assess to degree to which Ms. Kroll was negligent. Some of the blame may lie with 1800Flowers IT department security and (therefore) management. If the PC in question is owned by Ms. Kroll, and it’s technically feasible to configure an e-mail client to automatically access her work account without explicitly entering a password, then at least some of the blame lies with 1800Flowers’ management.

    If that’s the case, then her negligence is minor and more understandable, and I think it’s manifestly unjust that she got fired for her company’s sloppy IT security procedures. The company deserves part of the blame. OTOH, if she explicitly gave her husband access to a company owned computer and/or her work e-mail by giving him a password, then she got what she deserved.

  222. #222 Neurl T
    July 16, 2008

    I. So. Fucking. Nailed. It!

    If you refer back to the comments in the original post, I suggested it could be her husband.

  223. #223 MikeM
    July 16, 2008

    Well, I’ve never screwed up as badly as Mr Kroll has done here, but I have screwed things up in the past. That said, when I’ve had to apologize for things I’ve done, I don’t then launch on a 2,000 word diatribe justifying my errors.

    PZ drove me to it…

    PZ never goes after Islam…

    PZ is a so-called professor…

    Yadda, yadda, yadda.

    Here’s how you apologize, Mr Kroll: “I’m very sorry. I clearly screwed up. I have hurt people. I have scared people. I got my wife fired. Wow, am I an idiot. I will do my best to ensure this never happens again.”

    And that’s it. You show contrition, and stop.

    Having said all this, I think I’ve more-or-less decided that PZ’s promise to destroy a cracker was over the line. There, I’ve said it. It’s important to remember how we got here; PZ was merely defending the student. It’s not really the way I’d have chosen to defend the student.

    I have religious friends, mostly through my wife, frankly. Most of them are Buddhist. There are plenty of “silly symbols” in that religion, and I think if one of her friends did something demonstrably wrong, threatening to destroy symbols — even small ones — of the Buddhist philosophy, that’d pretty much make me look like a jerk.

    I see no reason to go out of my way to hurt people. Apparently, threatening to destroy a host would hurt the feelings of a lot of people. I still feel like it’s just a cracker, just as I feel the incense people burn at funerals is just a scented stick (but I wouldn’t go out of my way to, in effect, desecrate one).

    By the way, Mr Kroll, what you said about PZ and his relationship to Islam is completely wrong. You can look that up.

    As for me, I’ve made a personal decision to just lay off religion for a while. I’ll still be heartbroken if any of my family members decide to be saved, but I also see no reason to not let reason prevail. I still reject a spirit world, and will enlighten anyone who asks me, but as for overt displays, that’s done. No more FSM shirts for me.

  224. #224 Escuerd
    July 16, 2008

    Adults who use the word “nerd” as an insult are funny.

  225. #225 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    July 16, 2008

    Given Chuck’s obvious anger issues and apparently skewed morality, I have to worry about Melanie’s safety. Seriously.

  226. #226 Tulse
    July 16, 2008

    I have religious friends, mostly through my wife, frankly. Most of them are Buddhist. There are plenty of “silly symbols” in that religion, and I think if one of her friends did something demonstrably wrong, threatening to destroy symbols — even small ones — of the Buddhist philosophy, that’d pretty much make me look like a jerk.

    “If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him.”

  227. #227 Louis
    July 16, 2008

    @Candy #186

    Oh you’re quite right in many ways. I’m not saying that what she didn’t isn’t wrong, that allowing her husband (however inadvertantly) access to her work email is not a breach of IT security. Nor am I saying that such breaches cannot have serious consequences.

    BUT!

    a) There is no evidence that this breach HAD such consequences (unpleasant as C Kroll’s death threat was, no one is actually dead, I doubt PZ was immesnely disturbed, and it *could* charitably be seen as hyperbole. Whether or not one wishes to be charitable to such an obvious tool as C Kroll, as evidenced by his Notpology, is another matter). Yes it *could* have had tbad consequences, but as far as we know it *didn’t*. Not only that, this could have been a one time error on M Kroll’s part, a single lape on the part of an otherwise exemplary employee, or it could have been C Kroll’s genius hacking skills (unlikely)! Of course she could have been a slipshod liability too, but I have no evidence of that either.

    My point is that we have no evidence other than this one lapse. 1-800-Flowers might have it, but you and I do not. Under those circumstances I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt.

    b) Summary dismissal is quite a harsh penalty. A serious reprimand, retraining, suspension, etc are all valid penalties BEFORE dismissal. I am not saying M Kroll’s laxity (if such it was on this occasion) should go unpunished, just that the punishment is, in my opinion, quite harsh.

    I work in the pharmaceutical industry and I’m responsible for hiring and firing people in my dept by the way. When it’s been necessary I have fired people without remorse. However, I like to do so on the basis of more than one event which could easily be a simple error. If very serious errors are simple to make then some of the responsibility lies with me as the mananger for failing to make the systems involved as safe as possible. Responsibility works both ways. Minimum competence is expected from employees but minimum competence is also expected from management. Your mistake, perhaps, is in assuming my email to 1-800-Flowers has been some reason-free appeal for clemancy. It hasn’t

    c) I *have* been the victim of (quite serious) identity fraud in the early days of the web when things were a good deal less secure than they are now. It took ages to sort out and was unpleasant. And? Appeal to victimhood is a terribly poor argument for anything. I’m not saying I don’t sympathise with victims of various crimes (ID fraud and death threats via email among them), I do, but pretending that victimhood gives one’s arguments some force that non-victimhood does not have is a major logical fallacy. Just because I don’t agree with your assessment of just punishment in this case it does not follow that I am unaware/unsympathetic of/to various consequences.

    Cheers

    Louis

  228. #228 ZorkFox
    July 16, 2008

    At least he spelled your last name right in his confession.

  229. #229 sailor
    July 16, 2008

    “Dick-head is still a dick-head, he’s just meaner and has one more chip on his shoulder.
    Dick-head is not able to pick up the slack and make up for the lost income because he’s a dick-head, not a cardiac surgeon.
    1-800-flowers lost an otherwise good employee.
    If our goal is to punish people, we’ve done that. But if our goal is to make the world a better place, I think we’ve all lost.”
    Too true Enkido, one can only hope against all odds that Dick-head, suddenly realizes he is a dick head (he is far from realizing that now), becomes a responsible person instead of a dick-head (step one would be be realizing that sending the email was really wrong, not getting caught), and turns his life around. In this case there might be a long-term gain for all five people. In the meantime I wish them luck.

  230. #230 Celtic_Evolution
    July 16, 2008

    #221

    If the PC in question is owned by Ms. Kroll, and it’s technically feasible to configure an e-mail client to automatically access her work account without explicitly entering a password, then at least some of the blame lies with 1800Flowers’ management.

    Completely, totally, unequivocally and in all other ways false.

    Please re-read what has already been stated here about “acceptible use” policies. Stop trying to blame any of this on “poor security” by the 1800flowers IT group. Security for home-based employees is inherently difficult and nearly impossible to enforce (and remain practical) even with the best and most secure technology. This is why these policies exist. I promise you that use of company email addresses on personal PC equipment is covered in such a policy. And I promise you she sigend such a document, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to dismiss her so quickly.

  231. #231 BT Murtagh
    July 16, 2008

    #193:

    What has been accomplished here? A woman has lost her job in a declining economy…
    She’s poorer, and less able to provide for her kids and they suffer…
    1-800-flowers lost an otherwise good employee…
    If our goal is to punish people, we’ve done that. But if our goal is to make the world a better place, I think we’ve all lost.

    Cheer up. Ms. Kroll may have lost her job, but there’s no reason to think the position was eliminated, or indeed that she was otherwise particularly good at it. This may be just the stroke of luck some other unemployed mother needed, and 1-800-flowers might just as easily end up with a better employee as a worse one.

    In the meantime, two valuable object lessons (about the value of heeding IT policies and about not threatening harm to people who don’t believe your faith’s dogma) have been widely disseminated.

    All in all it’s entirely possible that the world has indeed been made a marginally better place.

  232. #232 Sean Wills
    July 16, 2008

    If the guy’s wife didn’t send the death threats and didn’t realize that her husband was doing it, I really don’t think it’s fair that she got fired. Okay, maybe it ostensibly because she let him use her mail account or something, but even still…

    On the other hand, the guy who actually sent the death threats is a complete moron. I just hope his children don’t suffer because of his stupidity.

  233. #233 kryth
    July 16, 2008

    Some one’s not getting any nookie for a long long time.

  234. #234 Ron Sullivan
    July 16, 2008

    Shorter Mister Kroll: See what you made me do? And I always feel bad afterwards, so that’s your fault too.

    Bet you a buck that’s what he says to the unfortunate wife after he slaps her around in the approved Catholic fashion too.

    Yeah, I do know what I’m talking about. I was raised Catholic. And it was my favorite liberal pastor who told Mom, “But you have to stay with him to save his soul.”

  235. #235 chancelikely
    July 16, 2008

    I’ve seen a lot of people trying to equate the actions of PZ/Webster Cook/Pharyngulite hordes with Bill Donohue/UCF Catholics/spouses of 1800flowers employees, but I think the analogy falls flat here:

    Who made the death threats?

  236. #236 MartinM
    July 16, 2008

    Summary dismissal is quite a harsh penalty. A serious reprimand, retraining, suspension, etc are all valid penalties BEFORE dismissal.

    Which, for all we know, she may have had previously.

  237. #237 Joe Cracker
    July 16, 2008

    Lighten up people, it’s just a FREAKIN’ cracker! Losing your job is much worse than taking a cracker home. Donahue is very wrong on this.

    Give the poor lady her job back, let her punish the deranged husband.

  238. #238 karen
    July 16, 2008

    It was fairly evident from the beginning, since it’s extremely unlikely that anyone would wait around for two-thirds of a month, then come pounding on someone.

    Meh. Somehow, I think it would take Kroll at least that long to figure out where Minnesota is located.

    I started out feeling sorry for Ma Kroll, but after reading through the entire thread, I’ve come to the conclusion that she should have protected her computer against usage by others, even family. The points brought up about access to accounts and credit card info, and the possibility that a trace might show that this was not the first time her account had been misused all gave me pause. I think she has given FLOWERS reason to believe she can’t follow the IT security policy.

    As for I-did-it-but it’s-not-my-fault Pa Kroll, I hope the FBI shows up at his door, and I hope that they also have a copy of his notpology.

    I do feel bad for the 3 kids and whatever hardships they have to endure with Mom being out of a job. It’s got to be bad enough, having a dad like Chuck.

    As far as the fallout from this generally? I’m ready for PZ to post others of the death threats so they can be traced. Unless he has already turned them over to the FBI himself.

  239. #239 Epinephrine
    July 16, 2008

    Some one’s not getting any nookie for a long long time.

    Ok, THAT one made me laugh! :D

  240. #240 Neural T
    July 16, 2008

    I think that it this point we should organize a campaign to get Melanie Kroll’s job back. Whether Chucky used her account accidentally or intentionally, she was the unfortunate victim in all of this. It’s the least we could do.

    However, this should send the message loud and clear: don’t fuck with PZ. Don’t fuck with us. Don’t fuck with any atheists by committing the callous crime of sending death threats. It could turn your life upside down.

  241. #241 Celtic_Evolution
    July 16, 2008

    # 240

    Not sure it would matter… from 1800flowers’ standpoint, I think the quick and decisive nature indicates there’s no room here… it’s unfortunate and we can share the sentiment, but I’m not sure, were I running 1800flowers, that I’d even consider it. And then, if you do hire her back, you give grounds for her to refuse and then sue for wrongful termination, given that the company indicated it may have made a mistake by attempting to re-instate her.

    However, this should send the message loud and clear: don’t fuck with PZ. Don’t fuck with us. Don’t fuck with any atheists by committing the callous crime of sending death threats. It could turn your life upside down.

    Nothing to do with messing with PZ, atheists, or Keebler elves. More precisely, don’t send death threats to people. Period.

  242. #242 Bob L
    July 16, 2008

    Let me guess, Chuck Knoll is such a wingnut he is unemployable, because he just has to tell everyone how it is. Melanie Knoll is Chuck’s wife and was supporting the both of them. That’s why Chuck was using Melanie’s e-mail account since they can’t afford one of their own. Now Chuck opened his big mouth and solved that problem, how sweet.

  243. #244 Bronze Dog
    July 16, 2008

    Let me guess, Chuck Knoll is such a wingnut he is unemployable, because he just has to tell everyone how it is.

    No, he’s unemployable because he’s a terrorist and a felon.

  244. #245 TheNaturalist
    July 16, 2008

    PWNED

  245. #246 Escuerd
    July 16, 2008

    Someone claiming to be Melanie Kroll just left a comment over at Greg Laden’s blog. They evidently also left a comment earlier under the name “Patricia”.

  246. #247 Adrienne
    July 16, 2008

    Is it me, or does Bill Donohue kinda creepily resemble Karl Rove?

  247. #248 Matthias
    July 16, 2008

    @218
    I’ve received threats of violence in my time. You get used to it after a while. It’s all part of the game. You can even use the treats for publicity, like PZ did.

    But it’s no longer part of the game when the flamefest leaves cyberspace and people actually get harmed in meatspace. It’s just no fun anymore, no matter on which side of the debate you are. That’s why I’m shocked to see that you (and many others) are as zealous as Donohue in wanting people to lose their jobs over a fucking cracker. Shocked.

    Someone bring back the real atheists! There’s only posers here!

  248. #249 mdh
    July 16, 2008

    He’s quite the victim for a self-described conservative.

    May he get the help he needs.

  249. #250 Bronze Dog
    July 16, 2008

    So, we’re not supposed to get worked up over felonies, Matthias?

  250. #251 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    July 16, 2008

    Summary dismissal is quite a harsh penalty.

    And sending death threats is a federal crime and can leave the company legally liable. I’m sorry. I’m no fan of summary dismissals, but sometimes I can see the point.

  251. #252 Scote
    July 16, 2008

    “I think that it this point we should organize a campaign to get Melanie Kroll’s job back. Whether Chucky used her account accidentally or intentionally, she was the unfortunate victim in all of this. It’s the least we could do.”

    I’d say that people should verify that she isn’t culpable first. Who knows what knowledge she did or didn’t have about the use of her email by her husband.

  252. #253 True Bob
    July 16, 2008

    Adrienne, it’s not just you. Separated at birth?

  253. #254 BluesBassist
    July 16, 2008

    #230:

    Security for home-based employees is inherently difficult and nearly impossible to enforce (and remain practical) even with the best and most secure technology.

    Completely, totally, unequivocally and in all other ways false.

    I just talked to my company’s IT department. They confirmed it’s technically impossible to configure ANY home PC e-mail client, such as Outlook Express, to access the company e-mail server. That is because, for security reasons, there is no POP3.

    Therefore, the ONLY way to access my company e-mail from home is to explicitly log into the company secure web server. And the only way to do THAT is if you know the password. Also, that web server can’t be automatically accessed when you click on an e-mail link in, say, a website blog.

    I stand by my original comment. If Mr. Kroll was able to automatically and inadvertently access his wife’s work e-mail account simply by starting Outlook Express (or whatever), then part of the blame absolutely lies with 1800Flowers’ sloppy IT procedures, period.

  254. #255 Graculus
    July 16, 2008

    If that laptop was running any version of Microsoft Windows, the chances are that it would have been damn nigh impossible for Melanie to have prevented it from being misused in this fashion.

    Bullshit

  255. #256 Jeff
    July 16, 2008

    Hrm, let’s see:
    1. She uses a home computer for work and (despite her claims on Greg Laden’s blog, if it is her) leaves it in states that allow corporate access.
    2. She has a “passionate” (I’d say “unstable”) husband who can’t be trusted with a shared-use computer, and committed a crime with it.

    So yeah, she deserved the firing. Every major company has explicit IT policies employees are required to read (and usually sign that they’ve read them), and undoubtedly she violated it. She demonstrated untrustworthiness with confidential data and invited lawsuits and criminal prosecution on the company through her irresponsibility. No sane company would retain such an employee.

    Hopefully she learned the lesson. It’s clear from his “apology” her husband hasn’t a freaking clue. It’s unfortunate for any kids they have, both the economic hit and the idiot father. Melanie probably deserves better, I don’t know a single woman that wouldn’t consider behavior like her husband’s serious grounds for divorce.

  256. #257 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    I just talked to my company’s IT department. They confirmed it’s technically impossible to configure ANY home PC e-mail client, such as Outlook Express, to access the company e-mail server. That is because, for security reasons, there is no POP3.

    YOUR company. This is not the case with ALL companies. I know companies that allow access via POP and many (us included) that do not.

    But from the comment linked to above it appears that flowers has her logging in over a VPN (same as what I have our outside sales people do for us) using her RSA key and her exchange client (be that OSA or Outlook). So she is claiming that somehow it sent from her email without being connected to the VPN.

    I am extremely careful with my applications and have been a valued ( thought i was) employee for 7 years. Once i completed what i needed to do, i logged off ALL applications. My email is password protected, my RSA log in is password protected as well as my VPN and NO ONE has my complex passwords. My husband went on to the drudge report site that he reads and clicked on a link and came across that man pz’s notice and responded as he always does when he is upset. Was his text extreme yes it was, would he follow through, never. I want to clear the air and tried to with my company. I was not logged into work when this happened and somehow when i logged off my exchange server email i use i set it as my default (must have clicked on yes as it does ask upon sigh in). So when my husband click on the email address to respond to the newsletter it was coming from flowers email. I am not sure how as i was not connected to VPN but that is neither here nor there and something i will take up with them. My personal email(optonline) has always been my default.

    My bet is this will further descend into speculation and people asserting things that have no bearing on reality. We are unlikely to ever know how it happened.

  257. #258 Moses
    July 16, 2008

    Actions have consequences. Melanie, and her loser husband, have both learned that lesson.

  258. #259 BlueIndependent
    July 16, 2008

    Wow, an angry conservative moron swings at his idol of ire, and instead of hitting the intended target, he hits something important to him, damaging it in impressive fashion.

    Unintended consequences. I thought only liberals were capable of that…

  259. #260 Chiroptera
    July 16, 2008

    Matthias, #248: That’s why I’m shocked to see that you (and many others) are as zealous as Donohue in wanting people to lose their jobs over a fucking cracker.

    Well, from I have seen, if anyone here supports Ms. Kroll’s termination, it’s because of a death threat. Maybe Ms. Kroll shouldn’t have lost her job over the death threat (PZ Myers doesn’t seem to think so — and there is the issue of letting an unauthorized person have access to her work computer), but surely people’s call over her termination is a bit different than Donahue’s call for Myers’ termination.

    But it’s no longer part of the game when the flamefest leaves cyberspace and people actually get harmed in meatspace.

    I agree, it sucks that Ms. Kroll was harmed because of her husband’s actions — let’s keep in sight just what the cause is, namely that she is married to a fanatic with insufficient self-control. On the other hand people do need to be accountable for the decisions they make, even when the decisions seemed to be a good one at the time. She did marry the cretin, and even if she didn’t realize what a creep he was it’s simply a fact of life that these types of decisions have repercussions. Hopefully she is also learning something about this.

    On the other hand, I acknowledge that she might be part of an abusive or co-dependent relationship and is being harmed in a relationship in which she doesn’t have a lot of control; if that’s the case, I sincerely hope that she manages to get out of it.

  260. #261 rev. bigdumbchimp
    July 16, 2008

    that first paragraph is meant to be in blockquotes

  261. #262 JStein
    July 16, 2008

    Clearly her husband is an idiot, but more importantly, she has failed on a number of levels for marrying that guy.

    I don’t like to claim that someone is “guilty by association,” but she’s almost certainly got some issues that she can use her freetime to work out.

  262. #263 Celtic_Evolution
    July 16, 2008

    I just talked to my company’s IT department. They confirmed it’s technically impossible to configure ANY home PC e-mail client, such as Outlook Express, to access the company e-mail server. That is because, for security reasons, there is no POP3.

    Therefore, the ONLY way to access my company e-mail from home is to explicitly log into the company secure web server. And the only way to do THAT is if you know the password. Also, that web server can’t be automatically accessed when you click on an e-mail link in, say, a website blog.

    Irrelevant. Do you work for 1800flowers? If not, then what your crack IT staff just told you is how things are done by them.

    Having done this now for over 15 years, I can tell you that there are dozens of ways to access email… and older style Exchange servers, older Notes servers, and some other 3rd party mail servers, do sometimes, and in some cases still, use POP3, which can be configured in Outlook express. It’s logical to assume that 1800flowers might use SMTP only email, but I don’t know what they use, so to assume I could guess would be just ignorant, and to assume they do what “my IT staff” does is equally ignorant.

    Moreover, nowhere in my rebuttle did I make any statements about exactly how the email was accessed. It could have happened several ways. She could have left her laptop running, logged in, with her email open, connected to the secure VPN. She could have simply given her husband access and password info. In either case, how is the IT staff at fault for those scenarios because of any technology they employ?

    Hint: They aren’t. And as I said before… THIS is why these policies exist… because even if the most secure measures and technology were put in place, and she went ahead and gave him logon info, there’s no amount of techology that can help that. We good?

  263. #264 John
    July 16, 2008

    @209:

    Is schadenfreude the right word for what I’m feeling? Hmm…

    Yes, I think it is. And it feels so juicy and warm.

  264. #265 Celtic_Evolution
    July 16, 2008

    the word in that last paragraph in #263 is “technology”. I need to stop drinking for today…or drink more… not sure.

  265. #266 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    Watch me play the speculation game…

    Does she have a blackberry?

  266. #267 me
    July 16, 2008

    Let me guess, Chuck Knoll is such a wingnut he is unemployable, because he just has to tell everyone how it is.

    So that’s what he’s been doing since he retired from the Steelers. Who knew?

    Maybe his next threat will be to send Mean Joe Greene or Jack Lambert around to “visit” PZ. :-)

  267. #268 AJS
    July 16, 2008

    @ Rev. BigDumbChimp,

    All the computers I set up where I work (Debian with KDE) are configured so that not pressing a key or moving the mouse for 1 minute starts up the password-protected screensaver.

    There are three ways to get out of screensaver. The first, obvious one, is to enter a password. The second, not so obvious one, is to open a text-mode console (which most people never see), run ps aux, find the PID of the screensaver process and kill it. Of course, in order to get a bash prompt, you first need to enter your login name and password. The third way is pretty much the same as the second, but you have to be root — and only two other people besides me know the password for that user.

    Before the timeout was instituted, we just warned people of the need to log out at the end of the day. But this wasn’t enough. One time, an employee left his machine logged in after he had gone home. In order to demonstrate exactly why we wanted people logging out, I created some extra, empty folders with provocative names such as “pr0n” and “pirate vidz” on his desktop; then primed another member of IT staff to “investigate” the next day. All in front of as many people as possible, of course.

    When he admitted leaving the machine logged-in, I confessed to the set-up. And then set up the timeout to make sure it was unlikely to happen again. It was a bit of fun — at his expense, admittedly, but the point being proved — that it could have been much, much worse — was a case where the end justified the means. Lessons learned hard aren’t forgotten easily.

    If Melanie deliberately handed over details to her husband in order for him to send the e-mail, then I agree that she was complicit in the incident. But there is no reason to suppose this is the case. Obtaining unauthorised access to a badly-set-up Windows PC is most often as simple as switching it on when nobody is looking. If this is what happened, then she could not reasonably have been expected to prevent it and the company’s IT department are at fault. I’ll repeat my earlier assertion: The more clueful the IT department, the less draconian the wording of their policies. There’s no point banning people from doing what you’ve already made impossible!

    I realise that there are a lot of “if”s here. The only things we know for certain are (1) the person who actually sent the e-mail is a jerk, and (2) sometimes things are just unfair.

  268. #269 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Summary dismissal is quite a harsh penalty. A serious reprimand, retraining, suspension, etc are all valid penalties BEFORE dismissal.

    You’re assuming that a company that lets its workers work from their home computers doesn’t have a policy that expressly states that abuse of their company e-mail system will result in termination. Having worked for such a company in the past, I know I had to sign a waiver stating exactly that, without equivocation. It doesn’t matter if you abuse it or if you allow the abuse to occur through failing to protect access. In the eyes of the lawyers for 1-800-FLOWERS, the situation is simple. They had an employee who couldn’t protect her home computer from unauthorized use, they fired her, and as such no abuse of their system will come from that source again. It s a matter of liability, and when it comes to that, companies interested in staying out of court generally do not take those matters lightly.

  269. #270 Berlzebub
    July 16, 2008

    It’s possible this isn’t the first time Mr. Kroll has done this. Here‘s acomment in a thread a couple of years ago, and here‘s the smackdown.

    It may not be the same person, but the misspellings and abuse of grammar fit.

  270. #271 Louis
    July 16, 2008

    @Naked Bunny with a Whip #251:

    1) Great name btw.

    2) A fact I am fully aware of, and indeed agree with. My point remains that I personally am not aware of any evidence that the lady who got sacked is herself entirely culpable. That she is at least partly responsible I don’t deny in the least.

    Imagining for a second that this went to an actual court of law, would C Kroll’s one single stupid email actually count as a serious, felony liable, death threat? My guess is that I doubt it. IANAL though, so am happy to be wrong. I would guess that it would fall under the same very broad category as other passionate exclamations like an “I’m gonna kill you, you little bastard” from a father to a son who has just sprayed said father with a hose. I’m not saying it’s appropriate, nor am I saying that I think his actions/words are good, I’m just saying that it would IMO most likely be viewed as the impotent stupidity it undoubtedly is. Perhaps it’s all an issue of perspective.

    No actual harm has come to PZ (apart perhaps from being a little perturbed by these horrid emails), no actual harm that we know of has come from M Kroll’s possibly lax PC security (although as Candy rightly pointed out above, it definitely *could* have), and thus far no lawsuits have been filed. Under those circumstances I think a reprimand/supsension or perhaps even dangling a “dismissal pending consequences” over M Kroll are more than sufficient. It’s really a matter of opinion, one I am happy to differ with you and other on.

    Remember though that based on everything we know thus far M Kroll herself did not send the email and did not allow her husband to. Whatever happened we don’t actually know, be it mistake, malice or mendacity. I’m willing to give M Kroll the benefit of the doubt, and, no matter how unpleasant her husband’s emails and apparent Notpologies are, ask 1-800-Flowers to reconsider their dismissal of her. Although, whoever pointed out that this could lead to 1-800-Flowers being liable for wrongful dismissal has it bang on AFAICT, so I doubt anything will change.

    Like PZ, I think this is a regretable outcome of a stupid affair. I think if people read what PZ actually wrote before ranting off about him inciting theft (which he didn’t by any reasonable measure or reading of his words) and took a slightly more measured approach in their responses (unlike that of the odious Donohue or C Kroll) that this lady might have kept her job. Something perhaps to think about.

    Louis

  271. #272 uncle frogy
    July 16, 2008

    I read slow so I have not finished
    reading all the posts on this latest development.
    If I received an e-mail of similar character I might do the same thing if I could , posting the whole thing online. I see no reason to be worried about what might happen to the sender. If they were being honorable, honest nothing to be afraid of.
    I have been threatened by idiots myself and full discloser works best. I tell everyone about it.
    I do not expect the idiots to change and become all of a sudden reasonable, rational people. They might even feel more resentment towards me and do more stupid things or take it out on someone else. I can not help that, doing nothing or excusing what they did will not help either.
    Prof Myers you did nothing wrong it is sad all the way around . From the first post on this story to today I do not see it going any other way. sooner or later the results would have been the same. I doubt this controversy will just go away any time soon either.
    The world seems to be involved in some kind of period of “religious war” and this is just a part of it, kind of depressing.

  272. #273 Soybomb
    July 16, 2008

    The first clue that an apology is insincere is when they say they say they’re unsure if they’d want to “beat someone’s brains in.” Mrs. Kroll seems to be reasonably dense herself as she doesn’t believe her husbands words were a direct threat.

    *sigh* hateful violent people…

  273. #274 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    July 16, 2008

    So she is claiming that somehow it sent from her email without being connected to the VPN.

    Well, of course she is.

    Let’s face it. Given the headers on the email, there are three possibilities:

    (1) She left the computer logged into the VPN, intentionally or not.

    (2) Her husband is very familiar with email systems and faked the headers implicating his wife.

    (3) PZ faked the headers so well that 1800Flowers can’t tell.

    Do you really think there’s a need to speculate over the most likely scenario.

  274. #275 Neural T
    July 16, 2008

    Posted by Chuck Kroll back in 2006:

    listen real close you moron, One I doubt you know the secrete troop movements of the United States Navy, and If you do, and wrote about them it is a felony. And Just so you know, my little brother is on one of the ships you wrote about. If anything happens to one of those kids, I’m coming after you. And I’m putting it in writing, I don’t care. God help your fagot communist ass if something happens to even one of those brave kids. I know where you work, it can’t be that hard to find someone as ugly as you.

    More Christian love.

  275. #276 Candy
    July 16, 2008

    I guess the best that can come of the whole sorry business is that it will serve as an object lesson to others who might be tempted to issue death threats.

    On the other hand, at least a death threat is a warning and gives the threatened person a chance to take precautions and make law enforcement aware of the problem. I guess maybe the ones who don’t issue threats but simply act are the ones to worry about.

    If I had the time, I’d do a little research into Paul Hill and Eric Rudolph. I’m curious as to whether or not they made threats before committing thier respective atrocities.

  276. #277 Celtic_Evolution
    July 16, 2008

    @ AJS

    The more clueful the IT department, the less draconian the wording of their policies. There’s no point banning people from doing what you’ve already made impossible!

    That is a position that no IT manager would ever agree with, including myself. That sort of naive belief will end you up in litigation quicker than you can say “disgruntled employee”. No matter how secure your practices, technologies, and procedures, one thing I’ve learned in this business is that nothing is ever foolproof, and all of your security measures are for not if some idiot gives out ID and authentication information. This is why “social engineering” occurs so rabidly at large companies, where hackers try to coerce ID and login info out of unwitting employees. So at the end of the day, you’d better have a policy that broadly defines the responsibilities of the end-user, and no-one, not you or anyone else, is going to tell me that protecting my company’s assets from litigation by having a comprehensive “acceptable use” policy in place is “draconian”. Feh.

  277. #278 Jeff Schmidt
    July 16, 2008

    @270

    Wow, Chuck’s seriously troubled. I wonder if his wife knows about all crap he writes online. She obviously knows about this one, and knows he goes on Drudge-fueled rants, but he’s one dangerous moron. Melanie has one more child in her house than she thought she had, and he needs a timeout on his internet privileges, damn.

  278. #279 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    All the computers I set up where I work (Debian with KDE) are configured so that not pressing a key or moving the mouse for 1 minute starts up the password-protected screensaver.

    All of your endusers are on Linux desktops? Nice. I wish I could get there but that ain’t going to happen.

    Secondly, I bet the end users hate your guts for the 1 min time out. That is just not feasible in my environment. Customer service reps constantly go from computer to catalog to brochure and back. 1 min times out would so slow productivity it would be ridiculous. Ours are at 10 mins.

    But this is remote users we are talking about with Mrs. Kroll. She says she works from home on her own personal PC with Flowers apps. We have no idea what that means. Is that a VMWare apps package? is it citrix? SOOO many ifs.

    If Melanie deliberately handed over details to her husband in order for him to send the e-mail, then I agree that she was complicit in the incident. But there is no reason to suppose this is the case.

    She’s said it is not for what that is worth.

    Obtaining unauthorised access to a badly-set-up Windows PC is most often as simple as switching it on when nobody is looking.

    Same with a liunux machine. Badly set up is badly set up. The ftp server here where I work was wide ass open when I started here. Running on Red Hat.

    If this is what happened, then she could not reasonably have been expected to prevent it and the company’s IT department are at fault. I’ll repeat my earlier assertion: The more clueful the IT department, the less draconian the wording of their policies.

    Depends on how much your legal department wants to make sure their ass is covered in all cases.

    There’s no point banning people from doing what you’ve already made impossible!

    No reason not to if it covers your ass.

    Again, more speculation on all sides doesn’t really tell us anything.

  279. #280 Sven DiMilo
    July 16, 2008

    Wow, Berlzebub (#270)–interesting find. Almost certainly the same guy–Huntington Station and Brookhaven are both on the North Shore of Long Island.
    What a maroon.

  280. #281 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    July 16, 2008

    would C Kroll’s one single stupid email actually count as a serious, felony liable, death threat?

    Maybe not. I suspect that 1800Flowers’ primary concern is being wide open to a civil lawsuit, and the burden of proof required for a guilty verdict and a hefty fee for that is much, much less than in a criminal trial. Not to mention the bad publicity.

    Keep in mind, I’m not cheering this decision. It sucks when anyone who isn’t plainly deserving loses their job. I’m just looking at it from the company’s perspective given the culture they exist in, which is insanely fucking litigious.

  281. #282 Aquaria
    July 16, 2008

    Don’t feel too sorry for ol’ Melanie. It turns out she’s just like her husband. It’s all PZ’s fault, and her husband done nothin’ wrong and he’s a great guy and he didn’t threaten anybody, wouldn’t have done anything.

    Yeah. Sure. Keep telling yourself that Melanie.

    You’re as much of a deluded coward as your husband.

    Pray off.

  282. #283 Rieux
    July 16, 2008

    For whatever it’s worth, a person purporting to be Melanie Kroll has posted a lengthy comment on Greg Laden’s blog regarding the present controversy:

    http://tinyurl.com/5a9h63

  283. #284 Epinephrine
    July 16, 2008

    To Neural T, #275

    Nice find there!

    Good to know our man Chuck is out there loving his neighbours.

  284. #285 Jim1138
    July 16, 2008

    1-800-Flowers should have given Melanie Kroll assertiveness training and a Taser.

  285. #286 Rieux
    July 16, 2008

    Okay, so I was only 46 minutes behind Escuerd @ #246. Phooey on these interminable comment threads.

  286. #287 JayGilb
    July 16, 2008

    PZ –
    I feel sorry that she married a man who would risk his spouse’s career, but those are her husband’s actions.

    You should take the high road and contact 1800 Flowers to try and get her job back.

  287. #288 Louis
    July 16, 2008

    @ Naked Bunny with a Whip #281:

    Ah yes, the civil lawsuit is one thing I had not considered. I forget that the USA is as litigious as it is even though we seem to be trying to emulate that facet of that great nation here in the UK.

    Like you, I definitely see the company’s perspective, and sympathise entirely, whilst at the same time finding the decision regrettable.

    Dammit, it seems we sort of agree. This is obviously wrong because now nobody can Win At Teh Intarnetz.

    Do All Our Base Now Belong Communally?

    ;-)

    Louis

  288. #289 aarrgghh
    July 16, 2008

    my husband went on to the drudge report site that he reads and clicked on a link and came across that man pz’s notice and responded as he always does when he is upset.

    well, there you have it. he reads the drudge report.

    definite asshat.

  289. #290 Neural T
    July 16, 2008

    If you read his half-hearted apology and the comment he made a few years ago, you can start to building a psychological profile for this Chuck Kroll. He’s your typical rabid conservative religious zealot type, with a preoccupation and unhealthy hatred of “godless liberals,” and anger management issues.

  290. #291 Aquaria
    July 16, 2008

    I feel sorry that she married a man who would risk his spouse’s career, but those are her husband’s actions.

    I don’t feel sorry for her one whit. She’s defending him, even saying that he didn’t threaten anybody. I guess she and Chuckie have a different interpretation of “bash your brains in” than the rest of us.

  291. #292 scote
    July 16, 2008

    “Someone claiming to be Melanie Kroll just left a comment over at Greg Laden’s blog. They evidently also left a comment earlier under the name “Patricia”.”

    For some reason I don’t trust people who don’t use paragraphs…often the sign of a crackpot.

  292. #293 Celtic_Evolution
    July 16, 2008

    my husband went on to the drudge report site that he reads and clicked on a link and came across that man pz’s notice and responded as he always does when he is upset.

    This is the way he always responds when he’s angry? What a joy. She needs to get away from him and quick.

  293. #294 Aquaria
    July 16, 2008

    my husband went on to the drudge report site

    Can you imagine how upset these two crackers were about Bill Clinton’s blow job, and how unlikely they thought it was that their priest might be asking all the little children to “come unto me?”

  294. #295 Mike Pack
    July 16, 2008

    Why is this even a debatable issue, it’s really astounding. The man made threats against PZ’s life. It doesn’t matter if there was real weight behind them. In a free society such as the US or Canada, you shouldn’t have to live in any kind of perpetual fear of harm. Period. Make threats, you pay the price.

    Yeah his wife lost her job, that’s unfortunate and I’m not being sarcastic. However I think it’s justified and as an employer myself I would have done the same. She was negligent to leave the computer or email access in her husband’s possession. Regardless of who actually wrote the message, the company name is attached to it and that’s all that matters.

    Also, who here can say for sure it wasn’t her? If your wife was caught with her hand in the cookie jar, why not say it was your hand no matter how ridiculous it might be, at the extreme off chance you get away with it? Or she could have been standing behind him cheering him on, they could have had a good laugh about threatening another man’s life afterward, who knows, but not you.

    Lesson learnt: Don’t say stupid shit on the internet that you normally wouldn’t say in person. If everyone just followed that incredibly easy rule, things like this would never happen!

  295. #296 Sven DiMilo
    July 16, 2008

    All of these recent developments suggest a new interpretation for this comment, on the original mail-dump thread, from, one “Chuck”…

  296. #297 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    July 16, 2008

    Dammit, it seems we sort of agree. This is obviously wrong

    Don’t give up hope. If we keep talking, we’re bound to find something to fight about! Just as if we were dating.

    …Which might explain why I’m a Single Naked Bunny with a Whip.

  297. #298 Aquaria
    July 16, 2008

    Actually, the lesson learnt is not to give too much credit for good sense to people who get their teachings from men in funny dresses who don’t know their dick from a hole in a boy.

  298. #299 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    Nice grab Sven!

    PZ and Greg should compare IPs to see if they’re the same.

    Actually, on second thought… There’s been enough of all that.

  299. #300 Maggie
    July 16, 2008

    I feel kinda sorry for the wife, it’s hard to lose a job because of someone else’s actions

    I don’t. I did seasonal work for 1800Flowers (it was awful), and one of the first things you have to do is sign a Non Disclosure Agreement. You’re also explicitly told – multiple times – that is incumbent upon you to keep your computer secure and make sure that NO ONE can access your work accounts.

    If you’ve got two neurons to smash together, you lock your computer down to a fare-thee-well and you DON’T let ANYONE use your computer. It’s just not that hard.

  300. #301 swangeese
    July 16, 2008

    Linux would not have helped in this situation.

    1.KDE does not ask for a user password by default when someone tries to exit the screensaver.

    Plus you can configure Windows to ask for a password upon boot and to resume a session from the screensaver.

    2.If she gave out her password, then Linux isn’t going to save her from a dumbass husband. It’s possible that she works from a family computer.

    I like Linux ,but you can harden Windows and Linux isn’t bulletproof. And perhaps the software the company uses isn’t ported to and supported in Linux.

    People use the tools that work best for them. In some cases Linux is best, but in others its Windows or OSX.

    I hate operating system wars as much as I hate browser wars and KDE/Gnome/whatever desktop wars.

    Anyway I’m sorry that she lost her job. The only person that should be punished is her stupid husband.

    As someone said upthread, this guy is only sorry that he got caught. You’d think that the LED light in his brain would’ve flickered on that sending something that could be construed as a death or violence threat wouldn’t be a good idea.

    And all over a cracker.

  301. “Other than that Mrs. Kroll, how did you like your vacation?”

    On another note…

    I used to like coming here and reading every blog comment, now it’s a chore. Thanks, Chuck!

  302. #303 Neural T
    July 16, 2008

    So let’s review:

    1) Bill Donohue calls for PZ myers to get fired.
    2) The wife of one of his Catholic whipping boys gets fired.

    Excellent work, Bill. What’s your encore?

    (Let’s remember that this is all connected. Donohue called attention to the frackin cracker comments, inciting volumes of rage among Catholics, and bringing it to the attention of various media outlets, including the Drudge Report, where Chuck Kroll found the story)

  303. #304 negentropyeater
    July 16, 2008

    The sad result of years of weekly Eucharistic worship and religious endoctrination on the Kroll’s brains :

    Melanie Kroll talking about her husband just after having been fired by his fault ;

    – he “always responds that way when he is upset” and he is “very passionate about his religion”

    Well maybe THAT’S the problem ?

  304. #305 Danon
    July 16, 2008

    Actually CKroll might have confused Jesus’ teachings. He thought that “I have not come to bring peace but a sword..”(NetBible Matt. 10:34) was wholly acceptable here instead of “to the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other as well”(NetBible Luke 6:29). (Just in case /sarcasm off)

  305. #306 Christophe Thill
    July 16, 2008

    Sez Ms Kroll:

    “my husband went on to the drudge report site that he reads and clicked on a link and came across that man pz’s notice and responded as he always does when he is upset.”

    Now I really feel sorry for her. I hope she doesn’t make her husband upset too often, or else!

    Oh, and concerning Fool#117:
    I don’t really see whant could make anyone think that Mr Kroll is “hard working”. I may be wrong, but it looks like he’s a man with much too much time on his hands for his own good. And his family’s.

    And now, everybody shout with me like crazy:
    “The Krolls are coming! The Krolls are coming!”

  306. #307 hf
    July 16, 2008

    Neural T: yep. Just another reminder that “karma” is really a blind machine. Actions have consequences, but those consequences don’t necessarily land hardest on the people most responsible.

  307. #308 Scote
    July 16, 2008

    “And now, everybody shout with me like crazy:
    “The Krolls are coming! The Krolls are coming!””

    Darn Internet Krolls…

  308. #309 RM
    July 16, 2008

    I think Chuck needs jesus to get his temper under control. Feed him a cracker.

  309. #310 aarrgghh
    July 16, 2008

    unfortunately for the krolls, and for many folks, this type of life-disrupting experience is often necessary to force them to critically examine the path they’re on.

    both are obviously in the initial denial phase (“we’re not really bad people”), at different temperatures, but hopefully this jolt will be enough to get them to try a bit harder when it comes to being a responsible member of the human race. if not, the next jolt might actually cost someone their life.

  310. #311 onclepsycho
    July 16, 2008

    Alright now, let’s figure out where Chuck works…

  311. #312 Brownian, OM
    July 16, 2008

    “If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him.”

    Good point, Tulse. As I noted in another thread, Zen is chockablock with stories of students burning their masters’ relics to demonstrate (among other things) the meaning of non-attachment.

    Though most of the various sects of Buddhism are full of symbols and symbolism, on the whole I’d say they’re less idolatrous than any of the Abrahamic religions.

  312. #313 Chiroptera
    July 16, 2008

    On a lark, I googled “catholic league danish cartoons” and found a press release:

    Five days later, I issued a news release saying, ‘The decision of most mainstream media outlets not to reprint or show the controversial cartoons is the right one: the Catholic League sides with the U.S., Britain and the Vatican in denouncing the inflammatory cartoons.’ I concluded by saying, ‘As for Muslims offended by the cartoons, they should learn what a civilized response entails.’ [Bolding is mine.]

    Sounds sort of consistent behavior, I guess, (and this is the strange part) I can’t find a press release where he gives Catholics the same advice that he gave the Muslims.

  313. #314 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    Alright now, let’s figure out where Chuck works…

    sigh

  314. #315 Epinephrine
    July 16, 2008
    Alright now, let’s figure out where Chuck works…

    sigh

    Rofl! Sorry Rev., I took it as satire… I don’t think it was a serious suggestion.

  315. #316 kubenzi
    July 16, 2008

    I think the recently uncovered comments by chuck troll where he made threats in the past as well should also be posted up at the top on this blog.this just gets better and better really.

  316. #317 horse-pheathers
    July 16, 2008

    If I were Mrs. Kroll’s supervisor, I would have fired her over this as well. (Though I would have felt bad about it.)

    The reason being, her negligence allowed someone to use company resources to commit a federal crime opening the company to possible criminal and civil liability. Since her negligence in securing her email account from outside use directly threatened the company’s well-being, I would have no choice but to see her out the door — that way if charges are presented that indict the company, the company can point to the disciplinary action taken to show good faith in the matter and reduce their culpability.

    Yeah, it sucks. This sort of thing is one of the reasons why I have in the past turned down offers of management positions. Part of a manager’s job is to protect the company interest and in these circumstances, the supervisor really had no choice.

    /My sympathies to Melanie, especially for the asshat husband.

  317. #318 Les
    July 16, 2008

    Personally, I’d be more than happy to write the 1-800-Flowers people a nice email asking them to rehire Melanie just as soon as her husband Chuck develops the personal responsibility to admit that he’s at fault for his wife’s problems instead of blaming everyone else. He owes PZ and, more importantly, his wife a big fat sincere apology.

    What he did is a felony and he’s probably lucky that his wife getting fired is the worst thing to happen to him. Owning up and accepting responsibility for it would be a big incentive for me to lift a finger to help out.

  318. #319 rev. bigdumbchimp
    July 16, 2008
    Alright now, let’s figure out where Chuck works…

    sigh

    Rofl! Sorry Rev., I took it as satire… I don’t think it was a serious suggestion.

    Yeah could be. It’s getting harder to tell.

  319. #320 Patricia
    July 16, 2008

    #292 – Eek! It wasn’t me. I was twirling!

  320. #321 Steve_C
    July 16, 2008

    Yeah. We can stop feeling bad for Melanie. If that’s who’s posting over at Laden’s blog. She’s almost as bad as Chuckie.

  321. #322 Cleon
    July 16, 2008

    1) Fat bearded atheist nerd becomes enraged that someone in the world believes in God. Offers to commit act of sacrilege to show just how much the God he talks about an awful lot doesn’t matter one bit to him.

    A couple of things:

    1) PZ’s really not at all fat. I wouldn’t even call him “pudgy.”

    2) Being a nerd and having a beard are not bad things.

    3) The start of this whole fiasco was not that PZ was “enraged that someone in the world believes in God.” This whole thing started when someone else had their life threatened for disrespecting the communion wafer.

    2) Although the occupations of most normal people might be jeopardized by public displays of asshattery, in academia asshattery is an indicator of street cred and evidence that a fat, bearded, atheist, nerd, though still fat, bearded, God-hating-fearing, and nerdy, is down with with his peeps.

    Responses:

    1) You still seem to be caught up in the “fat, bearded, nerdy” bit, even though only “bearded” and “nerdy” apply (and neither one is a bad thing). I suggest you find some other way to attack PZ.

    2) Like any other organization, public or private, a university doesn’t care what an employee does on his “off” hours. As long as I’m not on company time, and not claiming to represent the company I work for, I can be an outspoken atheist, Catholic, Jew, communist, Freemason, or fat, bearded nerd

    3) People who take God as seriously as the fat bearded atheist nerd but just don’t hate Him, knowing that his immature antics are more likely to result in promotion to full professor than the sort of discipline that would exist in any properly managed profession, strike out with empty threats to beat the nerdy God-hater.

    As much as I admire your repeated use of the terms “fat,” “bearded” (didn’t Jesus have a beard?), and “nerdy,” the above makes no sense that I can tell.

    4) God-hater, being petty and under the impression he can finally get back at those jocks who gave him a dirty swirly back in middle school, posts the email address of a middle-class, hard working Catholic who showed the poor sense of responding to the ravings of the sociopathic God-hating bearded nerd.

    1) PZ is an atheist. This means that he doesn’t believe in God. He cannot hate something he doesn’t believe exists. I don’t believe in unicorns. That doesn’t mean I hate them.

    2) The “hard-working, middle-class Catholic” sent a death threat. They didn’t just send him a nasty email. They threatened him with bodily harm.

    You can classify PZ’s actions a number of ways, but “petty” is not one of them.

    5) Nerd hordes send multiple threatening emails to hard working Catholic and the employer of his wife.

    6) Wife gets fired.

    Right, it’s the people who complained about the death threat that are the problem, not the person who sent the death threat.

    7) Nerd hordes show mixed reactions. Some show remorse, but most feel that whatever bad befalls Christians at their hands is ok because, well, they’re Christians.

    Not being an atheist myself, I often have disagreements with PZ and many of the posters here. However, nobody in this thread has expressed the sentiment you claim. Nobody.

  322. #323 Feynmaniac
    July 16, 2008

    Poor woman. She’s married to an aggressive idiotic man who doesn’t even know how to properly send death threats properly. Something tells me this is probably not the first time she has suffered because of her husband’s antics.

    His confession had several grammatical, spelling and factual errors wrong. I mean, he can’t even confess and apologize to his death threat right!

    “That Islam is the largest religion in the world is of no matter to this professor.
    why is that?”

    Nope. Christianity is the world’s largest religion.

    “My feeling is that mr.myers would never dare attack Muslims, or their beliefs.”

    Wrong, Wrong , Wrong .

    “It’s somewhat amazing to me, that a guy responding (albeit brutishly) )to
    a news article about a crazed professor who was encouraging his students and others to
    desecrate the American catholic church, could turn into this orgy of innuendo, and an attack on an innocent, hard working mother of three, and a company that hires many underprivileged people, and single mothers as a matter of policy.”

    Is brutish is a euphemism for sending death threats? Also, Myers never asked his students to do anything. He also never asked his readers to desecrate anything, just to send him holy crackers.
    Finally, I think you do the most harm to that innocent, hard-working woman you described.

  323. #324 Amy
    July 16, 2008

    @#271 – I know personally a guy who emailed death threats to Terri Schiavo’s husband and the judge who ordered her feeding tube removed. He did end up in a court of law for that. And he did end up spending time in prison. Neither the judge nor Mr. Schiavo ended up dead, but they still saw fit to prosecute and imprison him. I don’t think Mr. Kroll would be seen any differently than my ‘friend’.

  324. #325 onclepsycho
    July 16, 2008

    “Alright now, let’s figure out where Chuck works…”

    Yes, of course that was satire.

  325. #326 Ghost of Minnesota
    July 16, 2008

    A guy like Chuck probably prefers for his wife to be unemployed and in the kitchen anyway.

  326. #327 Endor
    July 16, 2008

    “Yes, of course that was satire.”

    Because he likely doesn’t work. Can people with derranged anger management issues keep a job?

    ;)

  327. #328 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    “Alright now, let’s figure out where Chuck works…”

    Yes, of course that was satire.

    Ok well that’s a sign I’ve lost any sense of humor. Time to run away.

  328. #329 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    July 16, 2008

    Beat me to it, Endor.

  329. #330 Geoff
    July 16, 2008

    A guy in my office says that speaking out is an action and there are consequences for it.

    I don’t know where to even begin with that. Does that sound like a backhanded justification to anyone?

  330. #331 E.V.
    July 16, 2008

    ” Eek! It wasn’t me. I was twirling!
    Posted by: Patricia ”
    Oh? Would you care to elaborate? (heh,heh)

  331. #332 Steve_C
    July 16, 2008

    Not feeling bad at the moment for Melanie, at all.
    If that’s her that posted over at Greg Laden’s Blog,
    she’s insinuated she might pursue recourse against PZ.

    Too Funny… and expected.

  332. #333 Kate
    July 16, 2008

    Please, everyone stop saying Ms. Kroll was fired for something she *didn’t* do. That’s not the case here. She had a responsibility, and a signed agreement with her company to that effect, that she would not allow anyone other than herself to use her company’s resources.

    She is most certainly responsible for losing her job. She deserves to lose her job and she does *not* deserve any pity or sympathy.

    She is a grown woman and she ought to know by now that she is responsible for herself and her actions and that binding agreements are binding. If she was too lazy to read the agreement she signed, that’s *her* fault. If she ignored the agreement she signed, that’s *her* fault.

    She is not a victim here, she is an idiot who got what was coming to her.

  333. #334 Troublesome Frog
    July 16, 2008

    I agree that it’s a bad situation that somebody lost her job over a relatively minor error in judgment on her part, but I think that people are missing the point when they look at it as a matter of justice. Firing somebody over an infraction like that isn’t about “punishment” or some form of cosmic justice. It’s simply the one and only rational decision a business can make.

    People often mistake gestures businesses make toward their employees for something they’re not. You didn’t get a raise because you “deserved” it in some moral sense. You got a raise because your company believes that you’re likely to become less productive or leave if they don’t, and you’re valuable enough for them to try to prevent that. You weren’t fired because you’re a “bad” person or “deserved” it. You were fired because it cost the company more to keep you than you were worth to the company.

    Even if it’s over a relatively minor mistake, becoming a major liability is going to get you fired. Justice and fairness don’t enter into it. It would be nice if they could, but they just can’t.

  334. #335 Kenny P
    July 16, 2008

    It does seem odd that followers of the pro-life Catholic religion would threaten another human’s life.

    I guess it is just another inconsistency of religious belief.

  335. #336 mrjo
    July 16, 2008

    There are several people to whom we could potentially assign blame for the firing of Mrs. Kroll:

    Kid in Florida – for taking a cracker.

    Fundie catholics in Florida – for harassing kid over cracker and starting this whole mess.

    Bill Donahue – For being an ass about the cracker business and escalating it to an internet phenomenon.

    PZ – For posting Mr./Mrs. Kroll’s e-mail on teh internets

    Pharyngula commenters – For reacting so enthusiastically to the publication of Mr./Mrs. Kroll’s e-mail.

    Mrs. Kroll – For not properly securing her e-mail account.

    Mr. Kroll – For being a stupid asshole and sending a threating e-mail from his wife’s account.

    Morally speaking, i.e. not according to the letter of the law (or IT policy) but according to how you feel, what percentage of the blame would you assign to each party?

    Here are my thoughts on the matter: The blame rests primarily with Mr. Kroll because there is no excuse for his behavior. Mrs. Kroll is partly to blame for not being more careful with her e-mail account, but only a small part because I don’t think she is an IT security expert like some of the commenters here. I see her mostly as a victim in this mess.

    I don’t blame anyone in Florda for the firing, nor do I blame Donahue (even though I’d like to because he is such a dick).

    PZ is in small part to blame. He should have known how his readers would respond to him posting Mr./Mrs. Kroll’s e-mail, that they would go on a spam campaign against the sender. If he had any concern about the authenticity of the sender’s address or identity, he shouldn’t have posted it. Also, even though the e-mail was threatening, I doubt PZ really felt afraid for his life (though this is only speculation on my part), so, to me, posting the e-mail seemed unnecessary, though I suspect many will disagree with me on this point.

    Phryngula commenters are also partly to blame. Many sent requests to FLOWERS suggesting that they investigate the source of the e-mail out of concern for PZ and the law, and these commenters were right to do so. However, a few others seemed to revel in a perverse joy over trying to have someone they didn’t know fired. Many concerns about the sender’s identity were raised in the comments, and PZ pleaded with people not to spam FLOWERS, but it didn’t matter. Some were simply out for blood. It is strange how commenters here so vociferously complied about how some catholics ignorantly threatened PZ’s livelihood, yet so readily went after the livelihood of another even when that person’s identity was unclear. I have seen ugliness on both sides and this mess has left a bad taste in my mouth.

    So here is my breakdown:

    Mr. Kroll – 80%
    Mrs. Kroll – 5%
    PZ – 7%
    Commenters – 8%
    The rest – 0%

  336. #337 raven
    July 16, 2008

    Not feeling bad at the moment for Melanie, at all.
    If that’s her that posted over at Greg Laden’s Blog,
    she’s insinuated she might pursue recourse against PZ.

    If that is Melanie, it is not just dumb, but extremely dumb. Her husband is way into felony territory and there is a mountain of evidence. Any prosecutor would love a case that can be disposed of in an hour or two.

    First rule of screwups, “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” Bill Clinton and Libby could have saved them a whole lot of trouble at the start if they had remembered that.

    Don’t feel too sorry for her. Sounds like she and Chuck deserve each other. Karma.

  337. #338 cicely
    July 16, 2008

    At first, I thought maybe Chuck had posted in drunken anger and, having sobered up, would feel at least some chagrin over his ill-considered actions; but apparently, not so. Drunkeness wouldn’t absolve him of responsibility, but then, it doesn’t appear that he’s big on taking responsibility for his actions anyway, so drunk or sober, it’s all the same. It doesn’t look to me as if he regretted making the threats (since, after all, it was Dr. Myers’ own fault for provoking him), though he may be regretting the possible legal repercussions of getting caught (and the loss of his wife’s income). He can comfort himself by feeling all martyr-y; I have no sympathy for him.

    With a range of culpability from ‘virtuous employee diligently locked her laptop in her desk before leaving town to visit her ailing, aged mother, only to have her dipshit husband pick the lock to take the company computer out for a spin’, to ‘habitually negligent employee who lets her husband surf the Web on the company computer all the time, and is standing over his shoulder laughing her head off as he types the offending letter’, I don’t see any way to know how much sympathy Melanie has coming.

    If the company takes their responsibility for the security of their customers’ information seriously (not to mention, the security of their own financial data), I don’t see that they had any other option but to fire her, regardless of the PR hit the company will have taken. That would just be another compelling reason.

    Whether they can or should re-hire her would depend on those other factors we have no way of knowing, as well as what other punishments company policy may allow.

  338. #339 windy
    July 16, 2008

    Commenters – 8%

    Did it escape you that you’re a commenter?

  339. #340 cicely
    July 16, 2008

    @#234:

    “But you have to stay with him to save his soul.”

    And because of the kids. *theatrical armwaving* Oh, please, won’t somebody think of the children! */theatrics*

    Plus, if she’s a conservative Catholic, she may not think of divorce as being an option. I’m pretty sure that their church wouldn’t consider, “stupid asshole threatened someone and cost me my job” as just cause for divorce. I’m not sure, but do they recognize ‘irreconcilible differences’ as just cause? Or is it all still adultery, or unacceptable levels of consanguinity, or such?

  340. #341 Carlie
    July 16, 2008

    Also, even though the e-mail was threatening, I doubt PZ really felt afraid for his life

    But the thing is, you never know. There’s no way to tell over the internet whether someone is blowing off steam or is certifiably crazy and will stalk you down. Chuck and Melanie saying “Oh, it wasn’t serious” is basically saying “Oh, I lie a lot, never listen to me.” No, the default in society is to take people at their word, not to assume people are always lying to you. Had PZ not posted it, and had Chuck gone over to his house and started a fight, people would be blaming PZ for not taking it seriously; I mean, who would be so careless as to wave away a death threat? No. You get in trouble for yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, and you get in trouble for sending death threats to people. Full stop. No. Victim. Blaming. The fault lies totally with the person making the threat.

  341. #342 Steve_C
    July 16, 2008

    That’s fucked up. Commenters and PZ are more to blame than Melanie?

  342. #343 Sven DiMilo
    July 16, 2008

    I believe the company itself stated that Ms. Kroll was fired following an internal investigation. I don’t recall them saying it was because an (unquantified) bunch of “commenters” (actually, that should be “people who read Pharyngula”) e-mailed them. I think we can conclude that their internal investigation turned up something that violated company policy, and that the e-mailers really had nothing to do with it. “It” being Ms. Kroll’s termination.

  343. #344 Kagehi
    July 16, 2008

    You know.. I seem to remember a lot of whining bullshit from “God fearing” Republicans not too long ago about how the country is going to hell in a hand basket because people no longer take “personal responsibility” for their actions, and then blaming this on **liberals**. I always found this to be the single most hypocritical and insane statement of “all” of the ones being bandied about, and both ‘whatsits a fool’ and the moron who sent the letter are perfect examples of why. There is “no” personal responsibility for these people. Both think its PZ, atheists, some guy stealing a cracker, or, who knows, what else, that is somehow “responsible” for them acting like completely fracking idiots and/or threatening people with death.

    We *are* taking responsibility. PZ did when recanting his policy and telling people to stop being idiots. Those of us that may have sent anything are regretting doing so, due to the consequence. But, this is what we are getting from the other side:

    Melanie – I am sorry, someone must have hacked my computer. (This one **is** forgivable, it shows a common, “Hackers can walk through walls, telepathically link with computers and get through passwords with a wave of a magic wand!”, sort of thinking that isn’t uncommon amongst both people who only know how to use the machine for work, and those who fall for the anti-hacker BS that the conservatives especially love to feed the media. She may also not have realized the extent of *her* responsibility in keeping the account secure. For this I allow that she didn’t deserve any of what happened, at least to the degree that anyone else did.)

    Donahue – Nothing I ever does is wrong, but everyone else is! (Enough said.)

    The husband – I regret that my wife lost her job because you vile people ***made me*** post bullshit.

    The church that started this mess – We regret that it got on the news, but nothing we did is wrong.

    Cook – I didn’t realize how stupid people would get from my doing this. (I have no idea how much regret or lack of it he might have, but if I was him, with the huge number of idiots running around about this, and the escalation of stupidity, my main regret would be having been born fracking human. I might regret, to some degree, not having come up with some other way to protest the BS going on at the school. But, I would also be, given what was being protested, only regretful of the collateral damage, and not of exposing the insanity and stupidity of everyone else involved.)

    Or, do the concern trolls and “I hate all you damn angry atheist” types really so fracking clueless as to fail to grasp that, if this kind of vile anger, hate and thoughts of murder exist among the supposed faithful, you **should** maybe take a hard look at all the damn claims you make about how faith makes you better people? If it wasn’t over a stupid cracker, it might have been over something more serious, and then we would be seeing dead people, not whining bullshit from the Catholic League.

  344. #345 Geoff
    July 16, 2008

    I bet Kroll blames Al Gore for inventing the internet too.

  345. #346 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 16, 2008

    …Which might explain why I’m a Single Naked Bunny with a Whip.

    Posted by: Naked Bunny with a Whip | July 16, 2008 2:09 PM

    Careful! Presenting cogent arguments, combined with being naked with a whip and being single is a sure-fire way to get yourself proposed to here! ;)

  346. #347 Patricia
    July 16, 2008

    Raven – Is she still posting with my name?! This is about to give me the vapors. I was on another thread admiring Rev. BigDumbChimps bacon. (and twirling, EV you naughty thing.)
    Ugh! :(

  347. #348 Neural T
    July 16, 2008

    Yeah, if Melanie Kroll “pursues legal recourse,” there could be an immediate counter suit: terroristic threatening. I doubt she wants her husband to go to jail.

  348. #349 Smoohy
    July 16, 2008

    I think Bill Donohue should be blamed in part for this for inciting that nincompoop into writing that threatening message. Ya reap what ya sow!

  349. #350 Damian
    July 16, 2008

    I do believe that I have found another comment by Chucky — Manchester, New Hampshire:

    this woman who is the principle of this middle school should be fired on the spot, ther is no need to make a determination to who is responsible.
    When the person in charge of the school is responsible.

    You see womwn can not have it both way, demand equality and respect, then ask for understanding because ” I was flustered by a reporters phone call”. If she get’s flustered by a phone call, then imagine how she would handle a terror situation, or an emergency.

    perhaps this will make some people in this state wake up, and see that these people we have abdicated our parental duties to, could care less about these children.

    As long as they can get their six to seven months a year off, teach our kids that America sucks and it’s ok to have two mommies public education is fine, but if you want good old fashion morals reading, writting and math skills. well that’s another thing.

    What’s next field trips to whore houses.

    Let’s wake up New Hampshire, and let’s do what we shoud have done a long time ago, run all these scum bag socialists from our state back to mass where they belong
    – chuck kroll, manchester

    Clearly a lovely fella.

  350. #351 the strangest brew
    July 16, 2008

    “She is most certainly responsible for losing her job.”

    Mainly cos she married a idiotic Catholic sycophantic troll that authored that diatribe…He probably thinks he has earned enough brownie points to book his repose in the garden of Eden…or at least get a pat on the head by his local ju ju man for being… ‘a good catholic believer’…

    His mentality seems a fairly accurate reflection of the type of hysterical wannabees that cheered and jeered and got ever so slightly holy and hot to trot when they heard the screams while they burnt widowed elderly women for being wise in the ways of healing…and not so very long ago…

    The guy is mentally deranged and imbecilic …simple like so..his missus gets the blame and the grief….but she is married to a catholic…what did she expect…he will dine out on the story with his co-deluded…and get a special dispensation from his church for being such a Jesuit hero…

    He ain’t sorry…that kind of religiously motivated idiot are never sorry really…they just blame everyone else for being godless and carry on the good work for holy Mary mother of god…whilst chewing on his cracker…

  351. #352 Longtime Lurker
    July 16, 2008

    Crackers and Crullers, a plethora of baked goods. I am amazed at the life this sordid melodrama has taken on (and the evolution of Crackergate as the Florida situation metastasized when Donohue got his flabby paws on it).

    Time to move on, maybe PZ can take some Baha’is to the cleaners next.

  352. #353 Azkyroth
    July 16, 2008

    I am sorry too that Melanie lost her job, but the fact is that the company she works has the right to make that decision. I may dislike it, but they have the right to do it.

    Thinking this fact is in any way relevant to criticisms of the company is a sign of brain damage. I guess Kroll caught up to you?

  353. #354 Neural T
    July 16, 2008

    Why is it that the people who constantly babble on about about teaching morality, reading, writing and arithmetic in schools are the worst at it? Our man Chuck is semi-literate at best, and I don’t think death threats are a family value.

  354. #355 craig
    July 16, 2008

    Others have found clear death threats online by a “chuck kroll.”
    If this is the same guy, he has serious issues.

  355. #356 Nana
    July 16, 2008

    Hope you’re happy, Mr. Bill of the Catholic League, for posting PZ’s email addy for any wacky cult follower to send death threats.

  356. #357 Sarcastro
    July 16, 2008

    So she is claiming that somehow it sent from her email without being connected to the VPN.

    That would be what SMTP servers… you know… DO.

    My off site clients certainly do not have to VPN in to check and send mail. They simply hit the IMAP and SMTP servers from the internet. Yea, they’re SSH secured but that info is stored in the client. Nobody has to enter it after the initial setup unless something has gone wrong.

  357. #358 jimmiraybob
    July 16, 2008

    As I said over there – I’ve never seen better justification for the admonition against worshiping false idols. Whoever came up with that one hit a bullseye.

  358. #359 kubenzi
    July 16, 2008

    “my husband went on to the drudge report site that he reads and clicked on a link and came across that man pz’s notice and responded as he always does when he is upset.”

    In my opinion this comment was clearly typed by non other than Chuck the Troll Kroll.Anytime his “wife” defends him there is always a hint of the self-congratulatory.

    with all these older posts of his surfacing i have to say this is some of the most epic pwnage ive seen on the interweb to date.This is exactly why PZ should have posted the emails,and exactly why i begged him to.

  359. #360 jimmiraybob
    July 16, 2008

    Oh yeah, when they call do not commit to going on O’Reilly’s show. Nobody but Bill can win in that casino.

  360. #361 oriole
    July 16, 2008

    You can send an email to 1-800-flowers at http://ww12.1800flowers.com/serviceform.do

    I’ve already sent one asking them politely to please consider re-hiring Ms. Kroll, with a warning if they wish, since it is difficult for someone working at home to constantly protect their email address from other family members (any sudden household emergency could have caused her to leave her computer abruptly, unprotected) and it is certainly not Professor Myers’s wish that she be punished in any way for the reprehensible acts of her husband.

    Hope lots of my fellow atheists/Pharyngulites have done or will do the same.

  361. #362 oriole
    July 16, 2008

    You can send an email to 1-800-flowers at http://ww12.1800flowers.com/serviceform.do

    I’ve already sent one asking them politely to please consider re-hiring Ms. Kroll, with a warning if they wish, since it is difficult for someone working at home to constantly protect their email address from other family members (any sudden household emergency could have caused her to leave her computer abruptly, unprotected) and it is certainly not Professor Myers’s wish that she be punished in any way for the reprehensible acts of her husband.

    Hope lots of my fellow atheists/Pharyngulites have done or will do the same.

  362. #363 oriole
    July 16, 2008

    You can send an email to 1-800-flowers at http://ww12.1800flowers.com/serviceform.do

    I’ve already sent one asking them politely to please consider re-hiring Ms. Kroll, with a warning if they wish, since it is difficult for someone working at home to constantly protect their email address from other family members (any sudden household emergency could have caused her to leave her computer abruptly, unprotected) and it is certainly not Professor Myers’s wish that she be punished in any way for the reprehensible acts of her husband.

    Hope lots of my fellow atheists/Pharyngulites have done or will do the same.

  363. #364 Feynmaniac
    July 16, 2008

    Funny thing is if he was just viweing pornography on the internet (which was what it was intended for) instead of using it to follow his religion his wife would still have a job. God works in mysterious ways I guess.

  364. #365 Phil
    July 16, 2008

    Too bad. I’m having a hard time feeling sorry for them though.

  365. #366 oriole
    July 16, 2008

    You can send an email to 1-800-flowers at http://ww12.1800flowers.com/serviceform.do

    I’ve already sent one asking them politely to please consider re-hiring Ms. Kroll, with a warning if they wish, since it is difficult for someone working at home to constantly protect their email address from other family members (any sudden household emergency could have caused her to leave her computer abruptly, unprotected) and it is certainly not Professor Myers’s wish that she be punished in any way for the reprehensible acts of her husband.

    Hope lots of my fellow atheists/Pharyngulites have done or will do the same.

  366. #367 oriole
    July 16, 2008

    You can send an email to 1-800-flowers at http://ww12.1800flowers.com/serviceform.do

    I’ve already sent one asking them politely to please consider re-hiring Ms. Kroll, with a warning if they wish, since it is difficult for someone working at home to constantly protect their email address from other family members (any sudden household emergency could have caused her to leave her computer abruptly, unprotected) and it is certainly not Professor Myers’s wish that she be punished in any way for the reprehensible acts of her husband.

    Hope lots of my fellow atheists/Pharyngulites have done or will do the same.

  367. #368 Danio
    July 16, 2008

    Oh please, may I join in the wild-assed speculation? FWIW, I think Sven @343 has it right.

    I don’t know how reliable Networkworld.com is as a news source, but if one accepts that the quotes they ascribe to the parties involved are accurate, I think these are the most telling tidbits:

    She said that her work e-mail was set as the default address on her computer and that is why it appeared to come from her, adding that the threat was “empty” because “the people who could have used my PC are harmless.”
    After an internal investigation, the Internet retailer decided to terminate Kroll’s position, according to Steven Jarmon, the company’s vice president of brand communications. “All 1-800-Flowers.com associates are instructed that any misuse of company systems or equipment for personal purposes is potential grounds for dismissal,” he wrote in an e-mail.

    So, Melanie admits that the email came from her account, but dismisses it out of hand as ‘no biggie’ (my bold emphasis, above). If I’m her employer and she starts of with this defense, it’s crystal clear to me that she has no idea of the seriousness of the situation, in terms of either company policy or federal law. I am concerned about her judgement, with regard to both, and I’m motivated to look into the matter further.

    I’m guessing that the results of the ‘internal investigation’ may have played out differently had she been appropriately shocked and contrite about these offenses (both the actual death threat and the misuse of company email).

  368. #369 Sven DiMilo
    July 16, 2008

    Say, does anybody know a URL I can use to send an email to 1800Flowers?

  369. #370 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 16, 2008

    oriole,

    Five identical posts is quite enough.

  370. #371 themadlolscientist, FCD
    July 16, 2008

    I’d recommend Gmail but somehow Hotmail seems to be a better fit for you. After all, Google’s corporate slogan is “Don’t be evil.”

    Even Hotmail is too good for this asshat. I say he should go to A-O-Hell.

  371. #372 Aegis
    July 16, 2008

    “Can people with derranged anger management issues keep a job?”

    Ann Coulter? Bill Oreilly?

  372. #373 oriole
    July 16, 2008

    You can send an email to 1-800-flowers at http://ww12.1800flowers.com/serviceform.do

    I’ve already sent one asking them politely to please consider re-hiring Ms. Kroll, with a warning if they wish, since it is difficult for someone working at home to constantly protect their email address from other family members (any sudden household emergency could have caused her to leave her computer abruptly, unprotected) and it is certainly not Professor Myers’s wish that she be punished in any way for the reprehensible acts of her husband.

    Hope lots of my fellow atheists/Pharyngulites have done or will do the same.

  373. #374 raven
    July 16, 2008

    Patricia #347:

    Raven – Is she still posting with my name?!

    I got that quote from someone else on this thread, so I don’t know. Doesn’t matter, she seems to be incapable of learning even the hard way.

    And poor Chuck is going to have to find a new hobby. The Death Threat one isn’t getting him anywhere.

  374. #375 Dave
    July 16, 2008

    Oriole and everyone else who feels sympathy for Ms. Kroll:

    Send all the letters you want, shes not getting her job back. She wasnt fired because Pharyngulites sent in emails complaining about her. She was fired because an internal investigation revealed violations of company policy. Violations that lessened the value of the corporate brand and that put the corporation at risk of a lawsuit. While that investigation may have been triggered by Pharyngulite emails, more emails wont undo the investigation. That genie wont go back into the bottle.

  375. #376 Danio
    July 16, 2008

    Oriole (x5)–I think it’s obvious that we don’t know all the facts in this case. As such, I don’t feel nearly well informed enough to tell 1-800-FLOWERS their business when it comes to personnel decisions or company policy. I have enough doubts (see my comment #368) to warrant some caution before firing off more ardent missives to prove what a nice forgiving non-believer I am.

    Sven @369–that was funny!

  376. #377 Sven DiMilo
    July 16, 2008

    Say, does anybody know…

    aaah screw it.

  377. #378 wwyoud
    July 16, 2008

    #73 is spot-on. Melanie was responsible; she either left her system open while away from her computer, or she gave her husband her password. She of all people knows what an asshole he is, and she chooses to stay with him–that’s her choice. But it’s 1800flowers’ choice not to employee someone who can’t keep her violent, homophobic husband out of her work. Could he get the personal information, including credit cards (post 122), from customers and start tracking down presumed gays and atheists? He’s a nasty piece of work, judging from that so-called apology in which he trys to incite further attacks on Myers and nearly promises that if they had been in the same room when Myers insulted the cracker, Kroll would have (and still might) violently attack Myers.
    The man made a death threat – not just a cliché, but a threat with a timeline. Melanie allowed him access to her work email to send it; she should be lucky if being fired is all she gets–I understand the FBI doesn’t take such threats lightly anymore…
    The ONLY way I’d write 1800flowers in support of her getting her job back is if she either works in the office exclusively or has a finalized divorce decree. Working at home is a real privilege, and those doing it must be even more conscious of representing the company well. 1800flowers and its other employees can’t afford to have such abuse happen, even once. Besides, I’ve only seen one person say she was a sweet woman, and that was Kroll himself (sorry, no time to read all of these posts:)). There’s a lot of assumption here that Mother Melanie is a sweet, clue-less, submissive woman trapped by her religion in a bad marriage. For all we know, she completely agrees with him. Would you still feel sorry for her?

  378. #379 molecanthro
    July 16, 2008

    I was hoping that I could find someone out there who could tell me how to contact 1-800-flowers. Any suggestions?

    (actually, I would definitely not ask them to rehire her)

  379. #380 Danio
    July 16, 2008

    Fat chance, molecantrho (#379). You’d have better luck tracking down contact info for Dick Cheney. Rumor has it there’s a toll-free….no…I’ve already said too much.

  380. #381 Adobedragon
    July 16, 2008

    Dick-head is not able to pick up the slack and make up for the lost income because he’s a dick-head, not a cardiac surgeon.

    You don’t know that. Sometimes the biggest assholes can find a decent job. Many of them are in middle-management.

    1-800-flowers lost an otherwise good employee.

    You don’t know tha either. For all you know, she was barely competent and the company was looking for a reason to fire her.

    The goal for those who wrote to 1-800-flowers was to let the company know that someone was committing a crime using company resources. This is legitimate. No decent person is going to stand around a let a crime be committed. Yes, the wife is apparently collateral damage as it were, but so too would be the family of any lawbreaker. You don’t just let somebody break the law because you’re afraid turning them in might hurt their family.

    Companies have policies and are well within their rights to enforce them. My husband works for one of the big national labs and you can bet your sweet patootie that his ass would be immediately unemployed if somebody–him, me, the family dog–used company email to send death threats.

  381. #382 the strangest brew
    July 16, 2008

    I wonder if ‘Chucky’ has contemplated the irony of his actions…

    While demanding that someone else loses his job…ends up costing him his wife’s job…maybe he might consider how god does indeed move in mysterious ways…maybe the supernatural was not best pleased with him sinning like that…and it was a sin however it is dressed…

    So what has this cult taught him all these years?

    how to write?…

    what was the dogma they instilled in to him…

    do unto others which ends up being done on to you?…

    where is the teaching of holy church and where is the boast that only the religious truly know how to moderate themselves to be good god fearing folks…?

    guess they forgot to impart that lesson…or maybe they have a problem with disseminating that knowledge…or maybe because they can they only control with fear or threats…and those lessons might be easier to learn then others…

    And does his priest know that he is a bigoted..ignorant ..right wing poser that wants everyone to lose their jobs because they do not believe the same fairy story that he does….?

    Probably…but at least he is a Catholic….

  382. #383 JeffreyD
    July 16, 2008

    Read about half way through this thread and a couple of things stand out to me.

    I have seen people say that 800-Flowers must have gotten a huge amount of mail. Do we know that they did? I have seen a few self reported, but honestly do not recall that many. We have no idea how many emails they received about this issue nor do we know what they said.

    We do not know what 800-Flowers found when/if they reviewed Mrs. Kroll’s use of her computer. Nor should we, but we do not know. If this was the only incident, I would like to see her get her job back, possibly on a provisional basis.

    We do not know that Mrs. Kroll is not as hate filled as the Mr. I hope not, but we do not know.

    I see a lot of assumptions that this is over. Not necessarily as charges can still be filed against Mr. Kroll for his initial threat. This could go much further. I do not think, yes think – no facts, that PZ intends to take legal action. It seems to me that the point of PZ posting the emails was to strip away the anonymity.

    Mr. Kroll has shown zero remorse in his notes. Where it me, I would file charges against the little empty sacked mucus ball, but no one ever accuses me of being nice.

    Pax Nabisco

  383. #384 Bill Dauphin
    July 16, 2008

    Danio (@380):

    Now that’s funny, right there; I don’t care who you are! ;^)

  384. #385 Gary Bohn
    July 16, 2008

    I don’t think we have been introduced to Melanie Kroll quite yet, so making value judgments about her attitude and stand on this issue may be a bit premature.

    I suspect that both Patricia and MK over at Greg Laden’s site are actually Chuck in drag trying his damnedest to brown nose the flower shop and convince the commenters to work toward restoring his wife’s job. He made a mistake by not hiding his own posting quirks which made his wife look as bad as him. Support took quite a dive.

  385. #386 Neural T
    July 16, 2008

    The more that I mull over the rants that he wrote in the past, and his “apology,” the more I hope this doesn’t just end with his wife getting fire. I hope he’s investigated by the police, if they aren’t doing it already.

    You can’t just yell “fire” in a crowded theater, and after a bunch of people get trampled, say, “But I was just kidding. My intentions were harmless.” Sorry, 9/11 changed everything, as the Republicans are fond of saying. A threat is a threat, and they’re all taken seriously by law enforcement these days.

    I say turn this information over to the police.

  386. #387 Carlie
    July 16, 2008

    We also don’t know if there have been any other infringements before. I accidentally got someone fired from a job when I complained about service; I was horrified, and tried to backpedal and beg for the guy’s job back, thinking I couldn’t keep it on my conscience that I had gotten someone fired just because of my (somewhat minor) complaint. Finally the manager told me that no, this was just the last straw; this guy had been complained about before. We don’t know if Melanie was already on thin ice with her company.

  387. #388 cory
    July 16, 2008

    This sad affair makes me wonder what sort of relationship the Krolls have, or had. My wife works from home frequently, logged in to company servers, and has given no thought at all about securing her computer from ME if i happen to be home. We call that trust.

    On the other hand, this could make my cyberstalking of the entire female cast of Firefly that much easier….

  388. #389 Alan
    July 16, 2008

    @cory #388 – Good to know I’m not the only one Ms. Jewel Staite has issued a restraining order against…

  389. #390 Neural T
    July 16, 2008

    I should point out that I’m not advocating jail time. Probation with mandatory psychological counseling would be sufficient.

    Maybe he could start exploring the early childhood psychological abuse that Catholicism has inflicted on him which created these anger problems.

  390. #391 kubenzi
    July 16, 2008

    First there was the Duckroll

    Then came the rickroll

    Now we have the chuckkroll,that is where you click an email link and your wife gets fired

  391. #392 Escuerd
    July 16, 2008

    #350:

    Heh, did Chuck get six or seven months off every year when he went to school? It might explain his “writting” skills.

  392. #393 Aerik
    July 16, 2008

    But remember guys, according to Nisbet, PZ is the don imus of the situation somehow…

  393. #394 Escuerd
    July 16, 2008

    Windy #339:

    Did it escape you that you’re a commenter?

    This could mean the total culpability of commenters. I think it was evident that he was primarily referring to those commenters who sent emails. I’d imagine he’d assign zero blame to those who didn’t, and some fraction of the 8% to those who did.

    How he came up with his numbers, I can’t say.

  394. #395 Jeff
    July 16, 2008

    Nisbet, what a tool. He filters blog posts, so mine never made it… I asked him that if it’s ok to call it “Don Imus atheism”, has he embraced “Neville Chamberlain framing” now?

    I guess denigrating black women is exactly the same as mocking cracker worship.

  395. #396 cory
    July 16, 2008

    Alan#389, you should see the creepy shrine to Morena Baccarin that i have in the dank subcellar that i have dug by hand beneath the basement of the run-down shack i have in the woods….

    But of course i never cyberstalk from my work. At the gun shop.

  396. #397 SEF
    July 16, 2008

    It seems to me that the point of PZ posting the emails was to strip away the anonymity.

    No no, the cephalopodic master moves in mysterious ways which are ineffable and unknowable without first performing the ritual of calamaritisation correctly.

    Seriously though, there was also the little matter of some commenters (back a few threads and days!) claiming PZ was making it all up and that he hadn’t been receiving death threats over this at all. But of course I don’t really know why PZ chose to lift up that particular rock to look at the trolls crawling underneath it.

  397. #398 True Bob
    July 16, 2008

    Sheesh. Mrs. K does not deserve and will not get her job back.

    1800flowers would have discovered her mistakes wrt security through the appropriate criminal investigation of a death threat. They must protect themselves, and hiring her back implies firing her was wrong. She won’t be working for them for a while at least.

    Chucklehead deserves most of the blame, as he apparently committed a crime.

    Mrs. K violated her employment terms. AND, importantly, she had prior knowledge of Chucklehead’s style. At the very least, she should’ve told him, “Make damn sure you don’t go near my 1800flowers email when you’re going psycho”.

  398. #399 Becca
    July 16, 2008

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone know why Chuck chose to confess to Greg Laden rather than here on Pharyngula?

  399. #400 Longstreet63
    July 16, 2008

    @375
    Correct. The woman ain’t getting her job back, ever. Doesn’t matter what she did to whom or didn’t do. She wasn’t fired in retaliation. She was fired because she demonstrated herself a liability to the company. They didn’t do it for us, or you, or PZ, but for the company’s well-being. Doesn’t matter if she was a saint and twice the worker of anyone else with nary a black mark on her sterling record.

    All the company can see is that if they don’t fire her, and it happens again, they are in one serious world of hurt, legally.

    It doesn’t even matter if she broke no policies.

    She is almost certainly an at-will employee and the worst that can happen to the company for firing her is to have to pay unemployment.

    If they don’t fire her, or give her the job back, they’d be asking for trouble. This thing just as it stands is probably going to cost them points off their stock price. That makes important people really mad.

    Still, I’ll bet she’s got pictures of Jesus plastered all over her work space, that the computer was a company issue machine, and they she routinely used it as her personal computer.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised to see this blog show up blocked on the company’s proxy servers.

    All over a werecracker. I still think silver bullets are the way to go.

    Steve “Even a Jesus who is pure of heart…” James

  400. #401 NP
    July 16, 2008

    Gotta feel sorry for Melanie. Not only is she married to a violent, pigheaded jerk, but she’s now lost her job.

  401. #402 Seeker
    July 16, 2008

    Carlie @ 387: We don’t know if Melanie was already on thin ice with her company.

    After re-reading her message over at Greg Laden’s Blog, i wouldn’t be surprised if she was:

    i was on vacation until 7/14, i was called on friday evening and informed that some work was due and the deadline was monday morning. I was also apologized to for being asked to work during my vacation of which i take far and few between. […] If i hadn’t been the dedicated employee i was i would have said “heck no, im not working on my vacation” but i am not the type and felt it my duty to make sure my annual reviews were in time for my team members to receive their annual raises.

    So she didn’t have the foresight to do the annual reviews before going on holiday? That doesn’t look like the “whoops, we’re in some kind of a pickle, could you please help us out” situation she made it sound like at first. It does sound like the kind of “oversight” that could get you in a difficult situation with senior management, though.

  402. #403 Kel
    July 16, 2008

    What an idiot, and while it’s a shame that his wife had to suffer because of his idiocy, he has to understand that his actions have negative ramifications. Death threats are a big deal, and sending them through a company email has ramifications for that company. He put the company and his wife’s name into the threat by using her email. He’s completely at fault for her being fired and the damage done to that company’s reputation. No blameshifting to PZ for his actions, he’s wholly responsible.

  403. #404 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Becca:

    I think he knows he wouldn’t have lasted more than a post or two before flying into another one of his rages and possibly committing another crime. Seriously, I think we’d have all gotten death threats by the time that one was finished. Now that I think about it, I’m kinda disappointed that he didn’t spill the beans here.

  404. #405 inkadu
    July 16, 2008

    Is terroristic a word? Could we change it’s so it’s not a word? I don’t like it. It sounds like a word a second-grader would make up.

    Also, Enkidu, your premise is completely wrong. The world is a better place for Melanie losing her job over this. And I don’t say this to be cruel and heartless, but sweet Jesus, this guy goes around threatening people (and has a history of it) and his wife seems to think this is normal behavior. From a purely ethics-of-society standpoint, this is a good thing.

  405. #406 chgo_liz@yahoo.com
    July 16, 2008

    @381:

    < >

    Exactly! I didn’t contact the company because it was clear to me that they had already been notified of the CRIME. That’s what happened. People here saw a crime being committed and they notified the proper authorities. Well, apparently PZ hasn’t gone to the police, as he has every right to do, but you know what I mean.

    @402:

    Good catch! Why in the world did she go on vacation without doing her most important annual task first? Not employee-of-the-month material, obviously.

  406. #407 jb
    July 16, 2008

    Great job, Goon Squad! And all this time I thought ‘rationalists’ didn’t believe in the efficacy of witch’s curses hurting innocent people. Silly me.

    …and so the dotty old mother of Ray Finkle in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective finally got her comuppance for saying, “Dan Marino should die of syphilis and rot in hell.”

    Ooooohhhh! It must have scared the poopy right out of Dr. Myers when he discovered he could be as hated as Dan Marino! It’s a good thing he’s got an army of iGoons on his side. He might have gotten his itty feewings hurt! It’s much, much better that some innocent woman gets hurt instead.

    Disgusting display all around.

  407. #408 Grammar RWA
    July 16, 2008

    Charles Kroll is an imbecile, with or without criminal charges.

    My anger at what he (Myers) was doing, and the fact that there seems to be a double standard used by these so called intellectuals such as Paul Myers to attack the religion of millions of Americans, and to encourage others to do so made me see red. Pardon the pun.

    Pardon the pun.

    Pardon the pun.

    Lock him up, far away from children and their captive undeveloped minds.

  408. #409 inkadu
    July 16, 2008

    Seeker – Excellent point. She is way too smug about being totally incompetent. Imagine working for her, “Oh, yeah, thanks SO much Melanie. It was really good of you to come back from your vacation, which you take ever so rarely, to address a significant piece of paper work that is a fundamental part of your job and affects our personal lives. Thank you so very fucking much.”

    I also look forward to PZ posting that 70% of “Save Melanie Kroll’s Job” users are mysteriously posting from the same IP address in New York State.

  409. #410 dreikin
    July 16, 2008

    (I stopped reading at about #125, so apologies if this is done already or somesuch)

    Wow, that sucks. PZ, can you, if you’re so inclined, contact 1-800-Flowers and let them know your take on this?

    While I agree with the “show all” policy PZ (in extreme cases – eg, that guy who was [is?] running around threatening people), I think it might be wise to, when you make use of it, also mention very clearly this incident so people know WHY they shouldn’t mailbomb (because with your amount of readers, that’s what it is) the addresses being shown. Including those wise enough to understand e-mail headers – and if they are that wise, they should know damn well the computer security mantra that no computer is secure if someone else has physical access (or if it’s been compromised but not wiped). And that (l)users are lazy, stupid, and trusting. (post-it notes with passwords, “password” as password, and giving away passwords for free stuff [yes, a lot of people will do that if you offer something to them in, eg, a mall, and yes, there is a study out there proving that], respectively.)

    Jackal: See here for an article from a blog from one of our local papers that went up yesterday. Since it’s the middle of summer semesters, it’ll probably be a little while yet before a decision on suspension is put up, since the issue also has to go through the student govt stuff.

    AJS: “a rather graphic and close-to-the-edge demonstration of exactly why this is important, the first time someone left a machine logged in” – What exactly did you do? ::eagerly waits to take notes::

    Alan: “UCF is spending $40K a year to bring Roman Catholic mass and other religious programs onto their campus.” Which part of the budget are you referring to? I’ve found one part that references “ADR-MASS” which is “Multicultural Academic & Support Services” that has the right value, but nothing on religions in particular yet. That’s probably part of the Student Activities & Service Fee stuff (which also sponsors, eg, the campus freethought alliance). Here’s (pdf) the Operating Budget for all of UCF for 2007-2008 (wherein I discovered we spent 6.5K USD on the ID card service alone and 29.1M USD on Intercollegiate Athletics General Operations), and here’s (.xls) the year-by-year summary.

    But most importantly, here’s the broken down budget for the (Student) Activities & Service Fee. The religious organizations don’t really get all the much – “Campus Crusade for Christ” (probably the biggest christian religious organization on campus here) was given 9K USD for 2007-2008 (most of which [8K] was spent on a conference in Atlanta), the Muslim Students Association got 10.4K USD, the Caribbean Students Association got 12K, and the Greek Council got $39K (the Catholics only got $3.5K – same as the chocolate club). And that’s excluding all the SGA stuff (like homecoming, multicultural awareness, etc) that regularly ran in the six (and even seven) digits. The total budget for just the Student Organizations here was 359.7K USD, the SGA was 13.2M USD, and the total for Student Activities was 15.9M USD.

    Universities – Particularly major ones – spend a LOT of money (and still, even at 268M USD in Financial Aid, still wish there was more..).

  410. #411 Longtime Lurker
    July 16, 2008

    “He might have gotten his itty feewings hurt! It’s much, much better that some innocent woman gets hurt instead.”

    jb, who exactly hurt this innocent woman? Care to elaborate?

  411. #412 LisaJ
    July 16, 2008

    Oh wow. I actually feel pretty bad for her. But hey, I guess this is what you get for being stupid. There are always consequences.

  412. #413 MTran
    July 16, 2008

    “There is absolutely no way that anybody ever deserves to be deprived of their livelihood just for the actions of another adult which ultimately were beyond their control. That would be like punishing someone because someone else ran over a pedestrian with their stolen car.”

    AJS, you made the same complaint on another blog. I am responding to it here, just in case anyone else has no experience in the world of employment, corporate responsibility, vicarious liability, death threats, or federal felonies related to criminal use of the mail, telephone lines, internet connections, or other instrumentalities of interstate commerce.

    Your “stolen car” analogy has it backwards.

    In most US jurisdictions, you are civilly liable for injuries caused through the use of your vehicle regardless as to whether you authorized the activity. This has been true for more than 50 years. And although you may have certain defenses to the presumption of liability, you should expect to be found liable. If it’s a company vehicle that was stolen due to your negligence or violation of company policy, expect to lose your job.

    See, for instance, Ross v Hartman 139 F2d 14, a 1943 federal appellate case where an employee failed to secure his employer’s vehicle and a thief injured a pedestrian. This case is a favorite of torts professors because it is only about one page long yet lays out the facts and legal rationale quite clearly so even first year law students can follow it.

    Further, certain criminal violations (e.g., selling or transporting drugs) can result in your vehicle being confiscated and you being criminally prosecuted, even if you didn’t know that your vehicle was being used for illegal purposes. I do not support those confiscatory drug laws, but they are successfully invoked every day by law enforcement.

    Also, none of us know what M Kroll’s work history is. But if her wacko husband used her computer and email account for this purpose, neither he nor she can be trusted to handle corporate property and corporate accounts in a legal, let alone reasonable, manner.

    1800Flowers acted in the only way a responsible corporate employer can act. The last thing they need is to retain an employee who creates opportunities for felonious activities to be committed under the corporate imprimatur.

    My own guess is that the dim witted husband, if he thought about it at all, assumed no harm would befall his wife because she wasn’t the “author” of the threats. Too bad, doesn’t work that way.

  413. #414 inkadu
    July 16, 2008

    Oh, yeah, and one other thing: The attacks on PZ’s supposed love Islam are likely entirely based on an answer to a recent interview on how cracker desecration was any different than a us soldier pissing on a Koran. PZ’s response was something about private property, which sounds like a dodge because it really doesn’t address root question, “Would it be ok to commit sacrileges against Islam?” It was kind of a confusing question, because it’s more about conduct of soldiers rather than an exercise of free thought. The Catholic League’s article makes use of that quote to paint PZ as an Islamic sympathizer. So that’s where THAT’S coming from.

    Though “He Loves Islam” is in the same league of other empty rhetorical tropes such as, “Bill Clinton did it,” and “Saddam Hussein gassed his own people.”

  414. #415 uray
    July 16, 2008

    I saw this happening the instant I saw the 1800flowers in the original Email PZ posted. Frankly, I would have stuck to Emails from more generic addresses, such as hotmail, yahoo and such and would not have posted one with an obvious company affiliation. The response from the readers of this blog was to be expected and I’m surprised PZ didn’t see this coming.

    It’s a pity that Melaine has become a casualty from all of this. So far she’s gotten the most hurt out of this whole affair, and probably knew nothing about it until she was fired.

  415. #416 Danio
    July 16, 2008

    uray @415:

    Do you have any evidence that the Pharyngula readership (which itself has yet to be verified or quantitated in any way) had any influence on 1800FLOWERS’s decision to fire Ms. Kroll? Isn’t it just as likely that, regardless of any ‘external pressure’, her breach of company policy was quite sufficient to justify her termination?

    She’s being painted as quite the hapless victim in these comments. I guess I’m one of the few who sees a lot of gray area between “hardworking innocent wife and mother who did everything by the books and was unjustly penalized for other people’s actions” and “willing co-conspirator who logged onto her company account and chortled over crazy hubby’s shoulder, line by line, as he pounded out his wholly disturbing missive to PZ”.

    Let’s not make her a martyr, people. That’s not really our bag, now, is it?

  416. #417 Danio
    July 16, 2008

    The first line of 416 should read: “Do you have any evidence that the E-MAIL RESPONSE FROM the Pharyngula readership…”

    Clearly, there is ample evidence that the readership itself is legion :)

  417. #418 JoJo
    July 16, 2008

    jb #407

    Ooooohhhh! It must have scared the poopy right out of Dr. Myers when he discovered he could be as hated as Dan Marino! It’s a good thing he’s got an army of iGoons on his side. He might have gotten his itty feewings hurt! It’s much, much better that some innocent woman gets hurt instead.

    Perhaps you are unaware that communicating a threat on the internet is a felony. Perhaps you are unaware that Mr. Kroll admitted to committing this felony. Or perhaps you are an idiot.

    My guess is that all three are correct.

  418. #419 kubenzi
    July 16, 2008

    hey JB
    Did you really just compare Chuck the chuckroll troll kroll giving pz A)an ultimatum and B)a one month deadline to carry said out in order to keep from being assaulted ,to the equivelent of being told to go to hell?

    Are you really that fucking stupid?

  419. Why do we have to write to 1-800-flowers to get her re-hired? Can’t the Krolls just pray for it to happen?

  420. #421 Farb
    July 16, 2008

    Well, I have two words to say about this whole matter:

    Paul. Mirecki.

    (Of course, there are more following:)

    PZed, you were right in exposing the IP data on the death threats. As the Mirecki case shows, law enforcement can not be trusted to protect a counter-cultural activist against right-wing threats of violence.

    We have to hang together, or we shall all certainly hang alone.

    Sure, the company went CYA about the IT violation, but they didn’t have a choice. Had the nutjob actually acted out his threat, and the company been shown to have acted negligently, liability and damages would close them down.

    Perhaps this will have a chilling effect on the trolls and other bullies who stalk people who express their opinions. Having been so stalked myself, I feel no pity for the nutjob, or his look-the-other-way wife.

    The nutjob is obviously deranged; the wife, an enabler; the student who got the whole thing started, confused; PZ, overzealous in his pursuit of justice (but, truth be told, Jesus of Nazareth [WARNING: please turn off your irony meters!] did exactly the same thing when he drove the money-changers out of the Temple! The establishment regarded it as blasphemous interference in the process of religious atonement. And we all know what happened to him [How ya like them apples, PZed? I just compared you to Jesus Christ!!]).

    But if Bill Donoghue actually practiced his vaunted Catholicism, he would close down his astroturf operation for good in remorse. Bill Donoghue, faux-common-man-defender-of-all-things-Catholic, is the real villain here. He saw an opportunity to stir something up to give himself street credibility, and got his fellow-travellers worked up over the offense. He should have known that he was inspiring unhinged individuals to take action.

    King Henry II did exactly the same thing to St. Thomas à Becket, and the Pope made him do penance over it (Ha! Another comparison! I’d better stop before I compare you to St. Thomas More or Galileo!).

    But I think absent in all of this (and I haven’t read the volumes of posts about Wafergate) is a little theological common sense: the transubstantive act at the Consecration of Communion isn’t an act of magic, or even léger de main, it’s an act of the faithful made in the context of corporate worship.

    Fine, you can call it superstition: it doesn’t affect you, and I’m not going to make it affect you. In fact, it doesn’t affect anyone outside those who faithfully participate, except perhaps, as their lives are positively affected by the faithful.

    This ain’t a Catholic prayer (it’s Episcopalian), but it applies: Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for renewal.

    The big uproar over the wafer-snitching should have been nipped in the bud right away by any competent priest. Instead, it was permitted to balloon into its own act of desecration, far beyond anything the snitcher, or you, ever intended. The holier-than-thous need to stop looking at your intended blasphemy–they’ve committed more than enough blasphemy of their own, by turning the sacrament into a mere magic show.

  421. #422 ajani57
    July 16, 2008

    I quit reading after about 250 posts because I want to say this first… 1-800 Flowers is a company built solely on the trust of its customers in their ability to keep their data safe. The name of the company alone tells you that there are no stores where you can pay cash. It is all done by credit card and security of customer data must be the number one priority if the business is to continue to exist. The employee allowed a breach to occur. It is not in the best interest of the company to allow compromised security to go unpunished.

    On another topic… when people get all in a tangle about a cracker, what do they think god is doing while they are firing off these emails? Do they think he is smiling at them, pleased that another soldier is doing his work? “Good work, my child,” says God with a gleam in his eye. “The crackers thank you for your bravery in this important mission.”

    And another thing… What would god do if the priest guy says the blessing over the crackers and then drops from a heart attack, spilling the crackers on the floor? Do we save the priest or pick up the pieces of Jesus? I’m hoping the service would stop and someone would call 911. Which means the blessed crackers would be ignored and god would say that’s okay, right? Surely we can leave the crackers on the floor and maybe even allow the paramedics to step on them while hooking up Padre to the machines. I’m just saying, if the goose can take it so can the gander.

    I’m on a roll… About the original offense, the guy who wanted to show the cracker to his friend… Does god really keep track of how many seconds each cracker is in the hand of every catholic person in the world each Sunday? Really? That is one micro-managing god y’all have there. No wonder he doesn’t have time to cure any diseases or stop earthquakes. He’s got to mind the crackers.

  422. #423 cicely
    July 16, 2008

    @406

    Good catch! Why in the world did she go on vacation without doing her most important annual task first? Not employee-of-the-month material, obviously.

    Posted by: chgo_liz@yahoo.com

    Unfortunately, I’ve run into just this sort of situation all too many times; doesn’t-give-a-damn employee goes off on an extended vacation (I remember one case where the vacation in question was 2 months long!) leaving vital papers unsigned, heedless and uncaring of the harm done to others.

    Which may or may not indicate anything about our current subject’s attitude to her responsibilities.

  423. #424 Farb
    July 16, 2008

    I direct acolytes. We call 911. The Body of Christ can wait for us to help each other. It’s not going anywhere. “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

    God doesn’t micro-manage. Man does. Man creates the anal-retentive worship rules he thinks will please God.

    I’m fairly certain God is mortified by all this pseudo-religious crap. “This is my Body, which was given for you. Do this in rememberance of me,” doesn’t make wafers into bite-sized Jesus snacks. Such would turn the mystery of the Eucharist into cannibalistic human sacrifice. The mystery of communion is in the communion, not the ‘accidents’ of bread and wine.

    Snitching a wafer, therefore, was not any attempt to ‘kidnap’ Jesus, nor would any indignity committed to that or any other consecrated wafer represent any act violating Jesus.

    The real reason Xians respect the elements is their respect for a belief in God’s presence in the act of corporate worship, not some abstract notion of magical transformation.

    Of course, even within the faith, we wage constant struggle against this kind of pervasive misunderstanding. I know too many who only show up for the “magic show;” some of them are also heavy donors.

    Personally, I’d prefer they go worship some nice alien squid god, or Thor, or Zeus, or Marduk, but clergy do like to get that paycheck. We all compromise our principles.

  424. #425 llewelly
    July 16, 2008

    ajani57, #422:

    … when people get all in a tangle about a cracker, what do they think god is doing while they are firing off these emails?

    It’s probably a knee-jerk anger response. Think of it as a poorly controlled cognitive disorder. There is most likely no conscious thinking involved. Yeah, it would be cool to catch the act in an fMRI. But it will be a while before it can be understood.

  425. #426 Azkyroth
    July 16, 2008

    Irrelevant. Do you work for 1800flowers? If not, then what your crack IT staff just told you is how things are done by them.

    You know, it sounds like even if employees can be fired after the fact when it happens, not doing it the way Bassist’s company does exposes their customers’ confidential data to a fair amount of risk – and if what Bassist is saying is true, this risk is unnecessary with proper security procedures. You feel this is unblameworthy why exactly?

  426. #427 Goldfishflakes
    July 17, 2008

    Wow, this is better than reality tv! lol

  427. #428 wobert
    July 17, 2008

    And after all that,

    it’s still a fracking cracker (giggle giggle snicker snicker)

  428. #429 bastion
    July 17, 2008

    I hope that someone in law enforcement does get involved and charge Chuck with a the crime(s) he’s committed.

    If nothing else, a court could insist that Chuck get some counseling and treatment,

    [playing psych doctor on the internet]

    as it seems pretty obvious that Chuck has some major psychological problem, either a mental illness or personal disorder.

    [end of playing psych doctor on the internet].

    And if a court ordered some kind of supervised probation and ordered Chuck to stay away from computers for several years, that would be good too.

    His threats, especially combined with his failing to appreciate, or perhaps not caring about, the potential consequences of his actions; and his failure to take responsibility or show real remorse for his actions, is truly a potentially dangerous combination.

    And, if that really is his wife posting in support of Chuck on Greg Laden’s blog, she’s an enabler and could use some counseling too.

  429. #430 bastion
    July 17, 2008

    At #429 bastion wrote:
    it seems pretty obvious that Chuck has some major psychological problem, either a mental illness or personal disorder.

    Bastion wrote that because not only is bastion a lousy typist, but bastion is an even lousier proof reader.

    What bastion meant to write was:
    it seems pretty obvious that Chuck has some major psychological problem, either a mental illness or personality disorder.

  430. #431 eddie
    July 17, 2008

    This is probly a coincidence but 1800flowers stock price shows some signs of recovery;

    http://www.investorguide.com/stock-charts.cgi?ticker=FLWS

    OASN – What about all the other threats and even some of the nastier emails short of death threats? What proportion of them were sent in breach of some policy or other?

    I guess we’ll never know. The point is that PZ has shown an immense amount of tolerance and restraint. Ideals that the cracker nuts claim as their own but can’t or won’t live up to.

    PS – don’t take this as an endorsement of the website above. It was just the one that came top in a web search.

  431. #432 Ichthyic
    July 17, 2008

    I’m fairly certain God is mortified by all this pseudo-religious crap.

    oh?

  432. #433 MTran
    July 17, 2008

    “Imagining for a second that this went to an actual court of law, would C Kroll’s one single stupid email actually count as a serious, felony liable, death threat? My guess is that I doubt it. IANAL though, so am happy to be wrong.”

    Louis, let me make you happy.

    Cyber threats are crimes covered by the US Code:

    18USC§875(c) Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to … injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

    This means such threats can constitute federal felonies. Felonies are serious business as far as courts and prosecutors are concerned.

    In prosecuting a “threatening communications” case under 18USC875(c), the prosecutor generally only needs to “prove” that the defendant intended to make the communication and understood the meaning of the words sent.

    “Intent” is normally demonstarted by the actions taken by the defendant, since we cannot actually read minds. If he wrote the threatening email and sent it to the person he was threatening, then there is virtually *no* chance that he will be found “innocent” or “lacking criminal intent.”

    Even if he claims, “I didn’t really mean it!” that is not sufficient to vitiate the action.

    I don’t see any circumstances where intentional email death threats from strangers would *not* be a federal crime. Even if the guy lived next door, telephone, DSLs and cable modems are instrumentalities of interstate commerce, which means it turns into a federal case. But here, the guy lives in NY and PZ is in MN. Clearly federal jurisdiction.

    State cyber threat laws may be different, but probably not very different from the federal laws.

    Whether it gets prosecutorial priority is a separate matter, but it’s such a slam-dunk, it would take little enough effort, even for a young, inexperienced prosecutor.

  433. #434 Dave
    July 17, 2008

    Shouldn’t that be ‘send death threats’ and not ‘sound death threats’..?

  434. #435 Christophe Thill
    July 17, 2008

    Once upon a time, you had to be a very original and talented artist to become famous. Or you could be a great leader. Or sometimes, even, a great scientists.

    Today, such is the magic of the Internet that you just have to be a jerk to get almost instant celebrity on several continents. Not an evil genius worthy of universal hate, mind you. No, just an ordinary, boringly obnoxious, whiny, poorly spelling jerk.

    I’m not sure that’s what Andy Warhol had in mind when he predicted 15 minutes of fame for all. I think he thought more about harmless nobodies. But that’s the Internet for you.

  435. #436 Aegis
    July 17, 2008

    @397:
    “I was hoping that I could find someone out there who could tell me how to contact 1-800-flowers. Any suggestions?”

    Have you tried calling 1-800-Flowers :)?

  436. #437 Christophe Thill
    July 17, 2008

    Worldwide celebrity: I has it ! :-)

    The Kroll story is now on the French “PC World” website see here.

    Too bad they didn’t get the whole story. Too bad they say That “Paul Myers is known for his creationism”. I tried to correct them, I swear!

  437. #438 DingoDave
    July 17, 2008

    Melanie Kroll wrote:

    “First off, it is amazing at all the speculation out there. Number one, i will not be leaving my husband due to this mistake. Number two he is not a crazy lunatic, but a very passionate man when it comes to his party and his religion. He’s a great person, great father and yes feels absolutely horrible about what has happened to me. As his wife, am i worried about any threats.. no i am not as i know it was just a rage via email. Did he directly threaten anyones life, no he did not…Everyone has their opinions but the things that have been posted about my company and myself are herrendous (sic) and quite frankly is making me physically ill. Please enough with the harsh comments about me, my husband and my former employer. ”
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/07/pz_myers_death_threat_confessi.php#comment-988489

    Does this remind anyone else of Warren Zevon’s song ‘Excitable Boy’?

    Well, he went down to dinner in his Sunday best
    Excitable boy, they all said
    And he rubbed the pot roast all over his chest
    Excitable boy, they all said

    He took in the four a.m. show at the Clark
    Excitable boy, they all said
    And he bit the usherette’s leg in the dark
    Excitable boy, they all said
    Well, he’s just an excitable boy

    He took little Suzie to the Junior Prom
    Excitable boy, they all said
    And he raped her and killed her, then he took her home
    Excitable boy, they all said
    Well, he’s just an excitable boy

    After ten long years they let him out of the home
    Excitable boy, they all said
    And he dug up her grave and built a cage with her bones
    Excitable boy, they all said
    Well, he’s just an excitable boy

  438. #439 Christophe Thill
    July 17, 2008

    Mrs Kroll sez:
    “Did he directly threaten anyones life, no he did not…”

    Mr Kroll said:
    “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.”

    It’s true, it’s not “directly threatening someone’s live”. You can be seriously brain damaged, and still live. And even send e-mails (although clumsily).

    On the other hand, Mr Kroll’s e-mail title was: “your short life”. A threat? Well, maybe it’s just a kind of prediction, made innocently. Who knows?

    He’s just passionate. Means no harm. A good, loving guy. A wonderful brain-beater. Oh, sorry…

  439. #440 Brian W.
    July 17, 2008

    Perhaps this doesn’t match the experiences y’all have had but it’s rare that i meet a couple where only one of them is an asshat. I find it tends to be all or nothing.

  440. #441 Louis
    July 17, 2008

    @MTran #433

    You have made me very happy indeed! Thanks!

    Prosecutorial priority? Hmmmm, is that a convenient legal term for “we wouldn’t waste the court’s time on an obviously impotent, minor league, malcontented internet kook like C Kroll”?

    ;-)

    Louis

  441. #442 truth machine, OM
    July 17, 2008

    his party and his religion

    Must be the party of personal responsibility, heh heh.

    Did he directly threaten anyones life, no he did not…

    Ms. Kroll is weaseling in the dark.

    Everyone has their opinions but the things that have been posted about my company and myself are herrendous (sic) and quite frankly is making me physically ill. Please enough with the harsh comments about me, my husband and my former employer.

    As opposed to the sweet nothings that the “great person, great father” emailed from her address.

  442. #443 clinteas
    July 17, 2008

    Lots of weaseling going on here now by the Krolls,trying to construe some sort of mishap at the home PC,blaming Bill Gates for designing rubbish software(well,duh !),arguing “your short life/bash your head in” is not really a death thread,its just that Chucky gets excited at times,he didnt mean it seriously….

    Got to say,my initial sympathy for Melanie for getting fired over this has somewhat waned seeing their lame responses.

  443. #444 truth machine, OM
    July 17, 2008

    Got to say,my initial sympathy for Melanie for getting fired over this has somewhat waned seeing their lame responses.

    Ditto.

  444. #445 Christophe Thill
    July 17, 2008

    “its just that Chucky gets excited at times,he didnt mean it seriously….”

    If the man is Chucky, then his wife should be Patricia…

  445. #446 Lilly de Lure
    July 17, 2008

    Clinteas said:

    Got to say,my initial sympathy for Melanie for getting fired over this has somewhat waned seeing their lame responses.

    Agreed, although for me the kicker was this:

    came across that man pz’s notice and responded as he always does when he is upset. (emphasis mine)

    Excuse me? He always sends threats of physical violence to people when he gets upset – or if that’s an exageration it certainly implies that he has, to her knowledge done this sort of thing before.

    She apparently sees nothing wrong with this (or didn’t until her husband’s charming little habit came back and bit her in the butt) as he is merely:

    very passionate about his party and his religion”.

    I can’t remember where I’ve heard a cuter sounding euphemism for “bullying fanatic” – anyone else?

  446. #447 Patricia
    July 17, 2008

    #445 – Are you trying to be cute?

  447. #448 Ktesibios
    July 17, 2008

    I’d recommend Gmail but somehow Hotmail seems to be a better fit for you. After all, Google’s corporate slogan is “Don’t be evil.”

    And another cool feature of free Web-based email services is that when you use one to send a semi-coherent spittle-flecked threat the “originating IP” field in the headers will point directly to your ISP, your IP and your computer.

  448. #449 Christophe Thill
    July 17, 2008

    This has nothing to do with you Patricia (or I hope so). It’s a horror movie geek reference to the “Bride of Chucky”. The murderous doll’s girlfriend is named Patricia. And, yes, they’re a very well assorted couple.

  449. #450 Chiroptera
    July 17, 2008

    inkadu, #414: The attacks on PZ’s supposed love Islam are likely entirely based on an answer to a recent interview on how cracker desecration was any different than a us soldier pissing on a Koran. PZ’s response was something about private property, which sounds like a dodge because it really doesn’t address root question, “Would it be ok to commit sacrileges against Islam?”

    The main difference between the two situations is that the Muslims were being “interrogated” and didn’t have the option of not seeing the Qur’an desecrated. No one is being forced to go to PZ Myer’s website or go to he Secret Atheist Fortress of Evil to see any wafer-abuse.

  450. #451 PZ Myers
    July 17, 2008

    There are two issues being confused.

    One, the hypothetical suggesting I walk into a mosque and rip up their copy of the Koran is ridiculous — that is their book. I also wouldn’t propose walking into a Catholic church and bashing up the candlesticks. People have the right to do as they will, within reason, in their own private spaces.

    The other is my prior objection to the Mohammed cartoon incident. I defend people’s rights to doodle up any imaginary deity they want; my objection in that case was that the cartoons didn’t seem to be so much a protest against absurd religiosity, but were more an ugly ethnic caricature — let’s portray the Muslim immigrants as dirty bearded bombthrowers!

  451. Tenure sucks

  452. #453 sinned34
    July 17, 2008

    Gee PZ, you’re getting more and more famous. Even the online tech-related rag theinquirer.net picked up on this one!

  453. #454 Sven DiMilo
    July 17, 2008

    Tenure sucks

    because it makes it hard to get people that don’t agree with me fired.

  454. #455 Danio
    July 17, 2008

    sinned34@453

    Thanks for posting that link. I’m dedicating the next few days to using the term ‘evolutionist boffin’ as frequently as possible. Now that’s framing :)

  455. #456 Brian Coughlan
    July 17, 2008

    My contribution to the Drama …. CrackerGates first Victim!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU-R_VCK5Yw

  456. #457 Laura
    July 17, 2008

    If she does work over e-mail and allowed her husband to send death threats using her work e-mail, she should lose that job.

    If she (and her husband) issued a sincere apology to both PZ and 1800flowers, and she promised to keep her e-mail details secret from her husband in the future, and PZ told 1800flowers that he accepted that apology and didn’t wish any repercussions to fall on Ms. Kroll, then 1800flowers might consider allowing her to stay on. She would have to be a pretty valuable employee though.

    Honestly, I suspect that Mr. Kroll intentionally used his wife’s e-mail to deflect suspicion from himself and to give his threats the authority of a large company.

  457. #458 decrepitoldfool
    July 17, 2008

    Does god really keep track of how many seconds each cracker is in the hand of every catholic person in the world each Sunday? Really?

    He probably does. After all, He’s fascinated by not only what we do with our penises but what we think about doing with our penises. Can’t get more micromanaging than that.

  458. #459 Longtime Lurker
    July 17, 2008

    If she (and her husband) issued a sincere apology to both PZ and 1800flowers, and she promised to keep her e-mail details secret from her husband in the future, and PZ told 1800flowers that he accepted that apology and didn’t wish any repercussions to fall on Ms. Kroll, then 1800flowers might consider allowing her to stay on.

    Maybe they should rehire her, giving her a position more in keeping with her trustworthiness. Maybe swabbing out the toilets in corporate HQ, with no computer access. That would conform somewhat to Max Verret’s hyped-up Dickensian imagery.

    Funny, the more I hear from/about the Krolls, the less sympathy I can muster for them. Hopefully the kids are old enough to be leaving the house soon.

  459. #460 thalarctos
    July 17, 2008

    If she (and her husband) issued a sincere apology to both PZ and 1800flowers, and she promised to keep her e-mail details secret from her husband in the future, and PZ told 1800flowers that he accepted that apology and didn’t wish any repercussions to fall on Ms. Kroll, then 1800flowers might consider allowing her to stay on.

    Call my managerial style old-fashioned, maybe, but if I were hiring right now, with the economy the way it is, I bet I could find lots of people equally qualified to do the job, and without the potential legal liability of a spouse with such an, er, interesting hobby, even when he’s not actively using company resources to pursue it.

    Especially when you consider how convincing his not-pology was in demonstrating that he’ll never do it again, too.

  460. #461 Kevin
    July 17, 2008

    Some of you people expressed the sentiment that she should still be fired simply for walking away from her computer without signing out of her email account. Some of you people are the most self-righteous, penal-minded, SMALL-minded fools I’ve encountered on a science/atheism blog.

    At least PZ finally echoed my original stance that it’s a shame a person should lose their livelihood over words in an email. I’d wish he was feeling guilty right now if I was as vindictive as some of you.

  461. #462 Steve_C
    July 17, 2008

    Boo hoooooo. *sniff* She posted over at Greg Laden’s Blog. Don’t feel bad for her at all.

  462. #463 DingoDave
    July 17, 2008

    Lilly de Lure wrote;
    Clinteas said:
    “Got to say,my initial sympathy for Melanie for getting fired over this has somewhat waned seeing their lame responses.”
    Agreed, although for me the kicker was this:
    “came across that man pz’s notice and responded as he always does when he is upset…”

    “I can’t remember where I’ve heard a cuter sounding euphemism for “bullying fanatic” – anyone else?”

    Nope. Neither can I. I wonder whether his own family are afraid of him as well? If not, then they should be.

  463. #464 decrepitoldfool
    July 17, 2008

    Some of you people expressed the sentiment that she should still be fired simply for walking away from her computer without signing out of her email account.

    For an Internet business that handles people’s confidential information (such as credit cards and when weddings are taking place and homes will be unoccupied) you better believe it matters. The company account should be treated like a door – locked when unobserved!

  464. #465 Christophe Thill
    July 18, 2008

    And the last word goes to the LOLKroll :

    SENDING DEAF FRETS:
    UR DOIN IN WRONG.

    (Just waiting for the appropriate pricture to be created…)

  465. #466 Seeker
    July 18, 2008

    —LOLChuck—
    I IS IN UR MAILZ:
    LOSEN UR JOBZ

  466. #467 Jeff H
    July 19, 2008

    I don’t get the “she shouldn’t have lost her job” crowd. At all. I think nearly everyone recognizes that 1800Flowers, if they’re at all sensible, have IT policies that are designed to protect their customers’ data and their company’s integrity from the various dangers that can result from letting non-employees get their hands on their network. What I’m failing to see is why anyone thinks this situation should be some sort of exception to those policies. This situation is EXACTLY WHAT SUCH POLICIES ARE THERE TO *PREVENT*! It’s not a case where they shouldn’t apply, it’s a paradigm example of a situation where they *should*.

  467. #468 Shell Goddamnit
    July 19, 2008

    Cripes, PZ, be careful. There’s no question but that Chuck will blame YOU for his wife being fired. It’s standard for these crazy blusterers. They are too fragile to really accept the blame for their own behavior.

    It sucks that the woman got fired over this stuff, but I’m sure the flowers people felt that they wanted to make clear to both their customers and their other employees that continued employment depends on following security protocol. Even if members of the employees family are the only ones with access.

  468. #469 Seth Manapio
    July 22, 2008

    Here’s the thing…
    It doesn’t matter how much sympathy we might have for the Krolls, their children, their bank account, the long hard winter ahead short of the extra salary, etc. etc. etc. Once 1-800-FLOWERS became aware of this, it stopped being about PZ entirely.

    Someone representing themselves as a 1-800-FLOWERS employee committed a federal crime. They did this with the employee’s permission (tacit, in this case, but permission anyway). Furthermore, the employee was sharing confidential company emails with a third party. Based on the disclaimer in the original email, I’d have to say that she violated company policy in a fairly serious way, first by using or allowing to be used company resources in the commission of a crime, and second by violating any confidentiality agreements that she signed when joining 1-800-FLOWERS.

    Given that, she’s either going to get a reprimand or get fired, depending on company policy and the details of the transgression. Since the act in question is a felony, it would be a reasonable assumption that company policy was pretty clear.

    It doesn’t matter how many people sent a notice to 1-800-FLOWERS, or whether the threat generated bad PR. If PZ had not put that death threat on the internet, but did show it to a single friend, and that friend sent a single email to 1-800-FLOWERS HR, that would have been enough to get her fired.

    The fact that it all happened so publicly might make it worse, but really… if you or your representative sends a death threat from company email, at any company, and your boss finds out, I’m not betting on your continued employment.

  469. #470 Robin Lionheart
    July 23, 2008

    Thank you for posting that link to send e-mail to the 1-800-Flowers board. Lest they only receive e-mails suggesting reinstating Melanie, I sent an e-mail of support saying I thought they acted appropriately and responsibly to her negligence in securing her access to corporate servers.

  470. #471 grumpy realist
    July 27, 2008

    Given some of Mrs. Kroll’s comments, I have rapidly less and less sympathy for her. The company she was working at MUST be extremely careful about computer security. One can argue that by her actions, she violated that security.

    Given that it was “so easy” for her husband to post from her account, how easy would it be for him to get access to customer data, including credit card data and equivalent? I’m sure the lawyers at the company thought about how many potential customers would ponder that as well.

    And then you’ve got the potential of a alleged felony being committed using company computers….

    Yeah, not surprised at the result. And I wouldn’t request to rehire her, either. I think there’s a good argument for demonstrated negligence at the very least (if not recklessness) and thus an exposure of the company to legal liability (not to mention the actions of her husband.) I believe keeping her around AFTER this would expose the company to much higher potential liability since they would be acquiescing to a known risk. (Also one who, based on her writings, seems singularly unwilling to admit a problem with her husband’s behavior. Lady–death threats are a FELONY, capisce? You don’t get to blow it off by muttering something about his “passion for his religion”.)

  471. #472 Dreadneck
    July 28, 2008

    I propose a new term in honor of Mr. Kroll.

    Kroll(n.): unrepentant religious fucktard who shamelessly advertises his/her lack of intelligence, class and judgement via the internet.

  472. #473 Siggy
    August 10, 2008

    http://breakingspells.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/employee-of-1800flowerscom-issues-death-threats-to-professor/#comment-447

    I like how he does not seem to know when to quit. Here’s a link to another of ckrull’s posts, where he suggests that he should contact the FBI… for people talking about him? what an asshat.

  473. #474 Siggy
    August 10, 2008

    http://breakingspells.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/employee-of-1800flowerscom-issues-death-threats-to-professor/#comment-448

    One more from our friend ckrull. What a wackjob. copied below-

    ckroll, on July 21st, 2008 at 1:00 am Said:
    oh, and before I turn in for the night, some of us work after all. I wish pz would try to go after me for anyting, I would simply love it. In fact I would love any of you nice folks to just stop by an have a chat any time you would like.
    what would be really great, is if you guys were spending all your time next week writting angry blogs over the fact that pz had lost his job. and let me get this right, he has a right to tell people to attack the church, and I can’t get mad and tell him I want to beat his brains in when he does, your right it’s getting crazy. . and maybe y’all can come up with something besides
    “he’s really bad at spelling.” when you attack an idea.
    and for all of you that gave personal advice to Melanie, she wanted you all to know that, you’ll be happy to know that we spent a lovely weekend together with our children, out on the boat fishing friday and saturday, then today sunday, we all went to church and then down to the harbor in Northport for some Ice cream. And you know what, pz myers never came up once. In fact God provided another Job for Melanie almost right away. And it even pays more. Thanks PZ and all you fine folks out their with your auto emailers for making the Kroll summer a little sunnier.

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