My very first death threat

A reader is displeased by my criticism of torture.

[See updates: “Kim Currier” appears to be the name of a male person.]

This weblog enjoys, for the most part, a comfortable obscurity. We’re widely enough read so that writing here doesn’t feel like just shouting at the TV, but not so widely as to make news or attract unpleasant attention. So it was a little bit surprising to see this in my in-box, purportedly from one “Kim Currier” (not otherwise known to me), with the email address

My ordinary policy is to quote none of my correspondents by name without their explicit permission, but under the circumstances I’m sure Ms. Currier will pardon me for quoting her verbatim. (I haven’t even cleaned up the typography.) It’s not quite a death threat &#8212 that is, the threat is general and conditional &#8212 but it’s close enough.

I wish you people would wake up. and smell the bullshit you are feeding

everyone. I don’t give a rats ass if they torture enemy combatants, and if they have to do that to get information, them so be it. I LOVE my safety, and my freedom. I(f you do NOT like what happens in war, I suggest you do NOT cover it, and or leave our great nation, and fight

against us with weapons. I don’t think you can do that. You dont have the courage, nor the brains to keep your country free from anim,als. THat is all these pieces of human scum are… ANIMALS!!!!!!!!

And I think you should be tried, and hung for your treason like actions in the media. IF it wasn’t against God’s Law, and civil law… you would have already been shot …

I guarantee one thing… If we are attacked again on our own soil, because reporters and media are aiding and abetting the enemy. Reporter’s will start showing up dead all over the world. Don’t you idiots get it? We are TIRED of your Bullshit.You would think that you would get it by now. We don’t buy your papers anymore. we don’t watch network TV, or news. Wake up man, before you are killed by the very freedom that allows you to get others killed!!!!

Has anyone run in to “Kim Currier” before? Note the conflation of blogging with commercial mass media. Note also that, not having a reputation to defend, Ms. Currier can actually say what much of the wingnutosphere actually believes: that our opponents are subhuman, and that torture is OK. (That torture is forbidden by civil law doesn’t seem to bother her. That it’s forbidden by God’s Law I can’t confidently assert, since unlike many of my countrymen I don’t have a direct line to Heaven, but if it isn’t then I’m going to have to toss my dictionary and find one with different definitions of “wise,” “loving,” and “benificent.”)

I confess to being just a trifle more concerned because of a weird phone all I got yesterday. The phone rang, a man’s voice not familiar to me said “Is this the Mark Kleiman from UCLA?” and then, when I said yes, said “Good!” and hung up. Naturally, the call was from a blocked number. No, I can’t see any direct connection, just two oddities coinciding.

Footnote for Kim Currier No, you don’t think I should be “hung.” I’m already extremely well-hung. The word you want is “hanged.” You could look it up.

Update Before posting, as a precaution against the possibility that someone had tampered with headers to make the message appear to come from “Kim Currier,” I sent a reply to her email, saying simply:

Just checking to make sure this is a valid email address and that the message below is actually yours.

To this I received the following response (again verbatim)

Mr. Kleiman;

Indeed this is a valid email address. I wrote the message, and I infer nothing of MY intentions, but of the intentions of our enemy. THey don’t care about you, or me, even though they seem to help you, by giving you this information. DO you not realize that insurgents, and Islam are interested in nothing more than eliminating the United States? I am just amazed at how many of you guys out there do not get it. I as well as others do NOT want to see any more carnage, nor reporters and news media eliminated, but they WILL do it when they have used you guys UP! I do not care whether you are conservative, or liberal, although, I lean MORE AND MORE right, and am VERY Christian, and I will not tolerate being minimized by you and your associates. I feel you are as much as a destructive force to our nation, as the terrorist pigs that are trying to kill us all. Why can’t you report the good things that are happening in this war on terror?? Screw the bad guys!!! They have NO rights unless they are a UNIFORMED country at war, and follow the Geneva Convention laws…. This is a fact you cannot deny, or repute. Just because you do not believe that good is right for the American people? Why don’t you let THEM decide… report both sides, of course, but for God’s sake, look at what institutions you are trying to destroy that protect every Americans rights…..

I am inclined not to believe a word that most reporters publish. The agenda is clear. Help Terrorists at all cost. Even the security of our Nation.


I think that means that Ms. Currier denies making a threat. Note that my email was sent before this post went up, and said nothing about a threat; perhaps on re-reading her own screed she found in it an implication she wanted to deny.

Her position, as best I can make it out, is that I deserve to be shot, and that she or her friends would shoot me except for the little matter of divine and civil law standing in their way, and that I ought to be “hung” for treason, but that she isn’t actually threatening either to shoot me or to have her big brother do so. Instead, she’s merely warning me that the “animals” she wants to torture would do so after their victory, which she sees me and the rest of the Big Media trying to bring about.

Can you say “projection”? I thought you could.

Note also that her enemy isn’t “terrorists”; it’s “Islam.” A billion “animals” in human form. Who knew?

Since, according to the Holy Bible, the Inerrant Word of God, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Prov. 15:1), I kept my reply gentle:

VERY Christian? And you consider fellow human beings — each one, according to Genesis, the Image of God — “animals” fit to be tortured? No, Ms. Currier, I very much doubt that you are VERY Christian yet. Keep trying.

Here’s a suggestion: take a deep breath, read the Sermon on the Mount, and stop writing threatening emails to strangers.

P.s. “Infer” is not properly a synonym for “imply.”

Footnote What are we going to do about the educational system? Much as I’d like to believe that Ms. Currier was home-schooled or went to some Christianist/ segregationist madrassa, the odds are that we spent $60k or so in tax money “educating” her, and wound up with nothing better than this level of (sub)literacy and (in) capacity for logical thought. Money thrown down the drain. Dammit, for the taxes I pay the least Im entitled to is threatening letters in decent English.

Another update Kim Currier responds (to my email, I think, rather than to this post):

I NEVER threatened you. I stated an opinion. I am entitled to it, as you are. You are no more elite than I am in this country. What give you the right to tell me what I can think, and what I think should happen? I have listened to your left sided doom and gloom for over 50 years, and I have watched your destructive side cause havoc, instead of reporting truth, and letting we as a people decide. You think we are Stupid, and we are not paying attention. Let me tell you again, sir, that the day will come when you will find out who is truly correct. The silent majority in this great nation will outwit, and out fight anything the left can do to destroy our heritage, and our sovereignty. I find it difficult to understand why you, and those like you, are trying to destroy it. I find your values insulting, and arrogant.

You don’t believe in this war, or the war on terror, do you? Do you think that if we just slap their hands, and let them go, they will leave us alone? What university did you get programmed at? Do you believe in capitalism? Or Marxism? I suppose you would like to see the Marxist, Hillery Clinton in office… You think that she is a God? Obviously, the news media thinks so. I tell you she is a communist, and you are one who is playing right in to her hands…. Go ahead. I am old enough to know what communism truly is, and I am confident that you will eventually know it, and when you do, you won’t like it.

Sigh. Poor Hillary Clinton! The most conservative and hawkish of the current Democratic field, and my fourth choice at best, gets blamed for what I say by people who can’t even spell her name. Life is unfair.

“I have listened to your left sided doom and gloom for over 50 years.” Well, at least this isn’t a case of a recent decline in educational standards.

Last update Thanks for the expressions of concern. So far, I’m treating this mostly as comic relief. Several correspondents point out that “Kim” is a sex-ambiguous name. I’m sure if I actually got that wrong in this case I’ll hear about it.

Update after the last update Nothing from Kim Currier, but a helpful reader suggests that Currier may be identical to Cowboy2Love, also known as the great former international recording artist “Kim Anthony,” whose comments here do seem to match the tone of the emails to me.

My apologies to women everywhere. Just another illustration that defective andreia is not a sex-linked trait.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: