Others have written far better than I on the issues of real threats. To sum up, if a threat is real, there must be a cause for the mythical reasonable person to believe it is real. In other words, if I “threaten” to beat up the current MMA heavyweight champion, a reasonable person ( again, a hypothetical person) would have to believe I’m serious. And truthfully, a reasonable person might believe it. I run a personal security concern. I’m an avid biker and ride with members of various motorcycle clubs. So maybe a reasonable person would believe it is true.
Now if I said I would buy Walmart, just to fire a manager, then a reasonable person would laugh. I suspect the people who could manage to get a controlling interest in Walmart is tiny. And any hypothetical reasonable person wouldn’t think I’d be one of them. Not a real threat.
So I found a threat on the Internet. The question is, is it real. Here is the threat.
If it turns out he lied, I will eat one of his eyeballs as he watches with the other.
Bill Schmalfeldt on his blog concerning the anonymous blogger Paul Krendler
Now is that a real threat? It would depend on which set of facts you have. If you view the threat only in terms of Bill Schmalfeldt, an old man with advanced Parkinson’s, then a reasonable person would not think it is real.
But if you knew that Bill had filed for a a subpoena to reveal Krendler’s identity to force him to appear in Bill’s home state and get him to face Bill in person, suddenly the reality of the threat is clear. Bill is doing everything he can to get Krendler within arms reach, so it is reasonable to assume he is serious about eating an eyeball. Even more damning is that while Bill himself may not be able to subdue Krendler himself, Bill associates with people who have a, shall we say, sketchy past. As such, it could be reasonable to assume that it isn’t idle, that he may have help waiting when and if he can force Krendler to appear.
Now I’m not telling anyone what to think or do, but if I was the anonymous blogger Paul Krendler, I might use any contacts I might have in Maryland to file a peace order, or file a motion in the counterclaim lawsuit against him to squash the subpoena on the basis of the threat.
But I’m not Paul Krendler. Or anyone else the followers of Bill Schmalfeldt have accused me of being. I’m just a observer of the festivities.
Side note: Post body updated to include Bill’s associations as reasonable to believe the threat is real.