Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Beware who you threaten...
Published on December 30, 2004 By Draginol In Home & Family

I get threats of various kinds pretty frequently. Sometimes it's because they really dislike my political points of view. Others because they are mad because I moderated one of their posts.   And other times they just plain hate me for reasons that I cannot even begin to fathom.

But I get enough of these that I have to take them seriously. When I was younger and had more free time (and a lot dumber) I'd call their bluff. I'd tell them "Go ahead, make my day, coward."  I've met enough on-line people that I've found a very distinct corolation between how nasty and aggressive someone is on-line and how cowardly they are physically.

Now that I'm older, have a family, and know that indeed, while most of these people are just cowards, some of them may be truly violent sociopaths, I use more discretion.  So I tend not to try to "egg them on".  But make no mistake, someone comes to my house after making such a threat I can't reasonably make the distinction of whether they are coming to "confront me" in person, merely to try to "beat the shit out of me" or to "kill me and my whole fucking family" (as various threats go). 

And so if anyone reading this is ever tempted to "confront me", make no mistake, I cannot afford to wait and see which type of assault you're planning to make. I'll do whatever I have to do to defend my home, family and myself and ask questions later. Anyone who threatens me or my family and follows it up with an unwelcome visit can be assured it would be the last action they'll ever take.

And anyone who knows me personally knows I mean that. I am not easily intimidated, certainly not physically. So to anyone thinking of sending me some threatening email or private message or on IRC or via instantt messener realize this - I get threats regularly and you may think making such threats is a form of intimidation that you don't mean very seriously. But you can be assured that they won't instill fear but that I will still take it very seriously. I get some threats that sound pretty serious (and specific).

And so  I have to assume that every threat is a serious one and be prepared for. I'm not going to shut down my website or quit going on-line because some sociopath doesn't like me.

So my advice to the rash - don't threaten me. And certainly don't threaten me and try to come over to my house to try "give me a scare".  I can't afford to wait and see if you're just bluffing or serious.


Comments (Page 2)
on Dec 30, 2004
Brad's story reminds me of the short time i worked for AOL as a LAN admin. (when i would get bored, they would let me run amuck on the network to moderate chats and enforce TOS)

I used to get threatened by all kinds of folks. Nazis, militia nuts, religous kooks, and everyday folks who were just having a real bad day. I fear no one, and expect no one to fear me.
The internet makes even the meekest appear frightening because of the anonimity factor. It's not like they're staring you in the face and threatening you. Most of them dont have the cajones to do anything about it most of the time. But there are exceptions to every rule. And every nut has his/her breaking point.

I think i understand where you're coming from Brad. Been there.

And yes Grey...Thank the big man for CC laws!
on Dec 30, 2004
Well Brad, i've delt with these kinds of punks too, and 99% of the time, they turn out to be skrawney little 14 year old rejects with bad tempers. Just tell them "I hear your mom calling, the cookies are ready." and they usually be quiet. Its that 1% of idiots with no lives and bad tempers you have to watch out for. I had a friend get his house burned down by a customer he pissed off about 10 years ago, and inside were his dogs and cats, and pet bird, and everything he owned.. So it DOES happen as you probably are aware.

Something to think about here... Maybe its time you lower your public profile? If someone makes a threat to Stardock, they end up threatening Random_Moderator_in_Austrailia_9882 instead of the CEO of a fairly substantial company?

I'm incredibly private, you won't find a picture of me on the internet, you won't find my address anywhere, and you won't find my phone number. We have *GREAT* security measures in place at my home, and everything that leaves my house is shredded in our Xerox commercial shredder. Some consider this paranoid, I consider it good basic habits... We even have a 7 zone alarm system tied to the fire alarms and a panic button in each room too. Nothing scares me, certainly nothing physical, you've seen me, i'm huge. But I don't like idiots, and I don't like idiots knowing anything about me.

You are fairly high profile, and as such, i'd lower your profile a bit, and increase awareness/security overall, and do things to make it much much harder for people to find you. Not out of fear, out of precaution and basic habit.
on Dec 30, 2004
Agreed!
on Dec 31, 2004
Whatever you do, do not lower your public profile or give into these freaks in any way. It's because good men and women such as yourself give in because it's the safest, most expedient way, that we live in a world were these freaks feel safe to say what they are saying to you. We need people like yourself, and we need you to fight back, hard and relentlessly and never give in, not a millimetre, not at all.

Only through determination and never backing down, can your chidren ever be truely safe. This is the problem. It seems that to protect those that you love, you cannot take a stand because if you do, they may be harmed. But if you do not take a stand, then they will be harmed and be in constant fear of harm even more so than they are right now later on. It is just a matter of time.

This sort of reminds me of the premise of "The Invincibles". (I haven't seen it, but intend to... I've read the reviews though ) Litigate greatness into hiding. Threaten greatness into hiding. Same thing, only one is government sanctioned....
on Dec 31, 2004
it would be the last action they'll ever take.

And anyone who knows me personally knows I mean that.


Isn't that a death threat? Made over the Internet? From my humble perspective this article itself looks like an attempt to intimidate.

And in the event of "the last action they'll ever take," a good D.A. could use this article as evidence of premeditation.


Litigate greatness into hiding. Threaten greatness into hiding.


The Dark Knight Returns tackled that concept a decade earlier.
on Dec 31, 2004

And in the event of "the last action they'll ever take," a good D.A. could use this article as evidence of premeditation.

Not exactly.  If you are making a statement of how you protect yourself in self defense, it is not a threat.  If you said, "John Doe, this is the last action you will ever take" it is a threat, but is useless (especially if it is on a public forum, not in private email) unless there is an action taken. It would also be really hard to prove premeditation if a person that you never met, nor knew their real name came to your door and started threatening or abusing you.

My last law teacher gave me a great bit of advise: If some loon comes to your house and tries to harm you or your family, make sure you shoot to kill.  A dead person can't dispute when you say "he said he had a gun and was going to kill me and I thought I saw a gun in his hand"   The NRA has taught me other things, but that's a different topic......

on Dec 31, 2004
As various people did mention, Draginol, you are a public figure. One internet loony threatening another internet loony rarely ever goes anywhere. Idles threats are just that..but yeah, more people know about you, can get the info on you, and it only takes 1 person out of one million to go 'postal' and badaboom, badabing..[sing]here comes pyscho-claus, here comes, physcho-claus, right down pyscho-claus way..[/sing]

The fun part is when you catch a loon in the act (threatening you) and you gleam their entire public record's history and kindly call them and ask nicely to be left alone.

Always good to have a nice gun vault, well stocked. That helps.
on Dec 31, 2004
Whatever you do, do not lower your public profile or give into these freaks in any way.


Its not giving in, its called being prudent and diligent. So somehow, you think its Brad's job to tackle the retards of the world, and fight back the scum and lifeless idiots of the internet? Then worse, that somehow, this is supposed to make him and his family stronger? You've been watching too many movies, Brad isn't Charles Bronson or something, hes the CEO of a substantial internet firm and a busy guy, and doesn't have time to waste thought on low lifes...

As Stardock grows, Brad will become an increasingly bigger target for the idiots of the world, its a fact of life, and it will happen. As such, I think its only wise to start evaluating how open he is to the public and the internet as a whole. If I told you today that I will give you money to contact the CEO of Radioshack, and you have 7 days to accomplish this task regardless of the means, how successful do you think you would be? Having met the man, I can assure you, that you would fail in this task - miserably. Radioshack too big of an example? Then try the same thing with the CEO of Fileplanet (Do you even know his name?) and see how far you get there.. I've had companies i've done business with in the past for years, and if I had to contact the CEO, I couldn't even begin to tell you how. Think about that....

Now nobody is saying Brad should go into hiding.. Quite the opposite.. All i'm saying is, as the company grows, I personally feel its prudent for the CEO to have a reduced profile and be much harder to contact directly - I call these "BS Filters". In sales, I have to pass through dozens of "BS filters" in companies to get to the bosses, and sometimes, its almost impossible. I appreciate companies that have openness, but most of the openness is just perception and not reality. I can tell you with some authority, that its percieved. CEO's can appear open, and appear to have high profiles, but not actually have them. Ben and Jerrys icecream is a fine example of this - its like you almost know the CEO's personally - but you don't and if you try to contact them, you will fail.. Its all about "Perception" here.

Once again, this is just my opinion on the matter, useless or otherwise, its my opinion.
on Dec 31, 2004

I'm not going to lower my public profile.

There are a lot more negatives in doing so than not doing so.  For instance if I used some anonymous handle or whatever, eventually someone would find out it was me and then I would get accused of "hiding behind aliases".  Heck, I just wrote an article a couple weeks ago where I got accused of "hiding" behind an anonymous user - when in fact I wasn't, it was someone else.

Gene Nash writes regarding this article itself:

Isn't that a death threat? Made over the Internet? From my humble perspective this article itself looks like an attempt to intimidate.

A warning is not a threat. Moreover, my first concern is the protection of my home and family. It is, btw, perfectly legal to defend yourself with lethal force if you believe your life or the life of your family is in danger. What I am trying to do with this article is make the potential unwelcome violent visitor aware of the end result of their actions.  Because I do get death threats, I cannot afford to wait and find out whether someone trying to force themselves into my home is just "trying to put the fear of god into me" (as one guy once wrote in email) or literally out to murder me and my family. 

on Dec 31, 2004
But Brad, the point I was trying to make is that you could put yourself well above all of this. If someone makes an attack, its because they think it might bother you, and that you might actually read it - and care. Its basically gradeschool antics they are trying to drag you down to. This all comes down to what we discussed in another one of your blogs - you are a success, they aren't, and it bothers them - and they want your attention... If someone goes to a forum and posts that "Bill Gates is a liar and idiot", its not long before they realise they are wasting their time - Bill Gates won't read it, and he won't care - Bill Gates is a success, they aren't, and the world knows this and they look like a fool. If Bill Gates suddenly started responding to everyone, then it would fuel their fire, and make his life miserable, much less take away from his business focus.

In otherwords, i'm saying that if *I* were you, i'd simply put myself far far above all of this. Lets face it, you run a substantial, and rapidly growing company, you are a busy guy dealing with all of the aspects entailed in running a corporation. Every second a whiney brat distracts you, thats another second not spent on business or family - and it can't be recovered. Brat thrive off of the attention, and knowing that he got under someones skin - the internet is a great vehicle for these idiots unfortunately.

Just my opinion... Have a good new year!
on Dec 31, 2004

Kobrano - I can't exaclty prevent people from sending me email.

I think it dangerous to try to assume that all of them are using "gradeschool antics".  Like I said, I get threats regularly, and have for YEARS. I got threats when we were a tiny OS/2 ISV. 

I get threats because of my POLITICAL VIEWS all the time for instance. What does that have to do with me being a CEO? Nothing. The more you write about anything, the more people you are exposed to.  I'm not going to quit doing what I enjoy doing because some nutcase doesn't like what I write.

In fact, nearly all the threats I get have nothing to do with my day job. They just find out who I am in real life. Moderating an unrelated tech site or some blog site has nothing to do with my day job.  These are my hobbies.

Public figures have these kinds of problems. It's a fact of life.  As for distractions, I'm on vacation. If I want to write an article warning potential lunatics the end point for their actions if they were to carry out their promise to "come visit me some time" is not a distraction from work.  I'm not some robot. I have a lot of other interests besides my job.  And I spend plenty of time with my family. 

People have to have hobbies and interests. In other words, people need to have a life. My hobbies are writing political articles, tech articles, helping moderate tech websites, etc.  My hobbies involve a lot of on-line communities that expose me to all kinds of people. Some % of them will be nut jobs. There's no way around that.

on Dec 31, 2004
I wasn't indicting you for your lifestyle in any way, I was merely pointing out how these idiots love to get under our skin and how the internet seems to breed new one daily.

But anyway, they seem to think the internet is this great anonymous void where they can make threats and not face any retribution, thats simply not true. I've read many stories of people being arrested for making threats over the internet.. Its serious business nowadays. You've probably noticed this too, but when you actually meet some of these people at conventions or something, and they associate your name with a face, they tend to act differently - at least thats what i've noticed in years of BBS'ing, and going to BBS conventions.


on Jan 01, 2005
I find it sad that people who use this or any site would then take the step to threaten any person who expresses a point of view different to their own. While I almost never agree with Brad, I do understand where he is coming from as I do with many others who may not express my ideas, and I believe if we are to act as civilised people we accept these differences, argu with them but above all respect the persons right to express them unless they are so incitefull that they should be censored. I have always believed that a true sign of a civilised community is judged by their ability to get on with and care for their fellow humans and the planet in general, not by their level of wealth or development, civilised people do not hurt, maim or kill others they do not agree with or understand, maybe when we all understand this, including individules, businesses, and governments and religions, the earth can really become "CIVILISED".
on Jan 01, 2005
A warning is not a threat. Moreover, my first concern is the protection of my home and family. It is, btw, perfectly legal to defend yourself with lethal force if you believe your life or the life of your family is in danger. What I am trying to do with this article is make the potential unwelcome violent visitor aware of the end result of their actions. Because I do get death threats, I cannot afford to wait and find out whether someone trying to force themselves into my home is just "trying to put the fear of god into me" (as one guy once wrote in email) or literally out to murder me and my family.


No doubt about that at all. Family is the most important thing a man or woman has and I, like yourself and most others, would do ANYTHING to protect them.
Great, great article.
on Jan 01, 2005
If your looking for family protection, nothing says "I love you honey" like a Mosberg pump shotgun!

Keep punching...
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