The Sciences

Have we seen the last tweet from "David Mabus"?

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitAug 18, 2011 12:33 AM


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Incredibly, it looks like the long, long story of David Mabus may be drawing to a close. He is notorious in the skeptic community: for years he has posted comments, emailed, and tweeted anti-skeptic and anti-atheist diatribes, mostly incoherent. I would commonly see many spam tweets from him filling my feed, sometimes over a dozen a day. It was very irritating, but that was all. However, more recently his spam escalated into death threats. I've received them myself. When I got them I contacted the local sheriff's office, but since Mabus (a pseudonym) lives in Canada, I couldn't make much progress. The same was true for many other skeptics as well. But then things changed... and I'll let you read Tim Farley's post about how it all came about. Tim gives an astonishingly detailed and thorough account of what happened. There are copious links and images there to give you the entire story. But the bottom line is that the Montreal Police just today announced they had made an arrest in the case, and Tim has confirmed the arrest was of Mabus himself. I don't have much to add to what Tim wrote, except this: I don't want to see Mabus tossed into jail. I'm not a psychiatrist, but it's clear the man has mental problems. We tend to stigmatize mental illness, but that's unfair and unhelpful; it's a prejudice that may blind us to how that person's condition can be mitigated with attention and care. My fondest and most sincere hope is that this arrest leads to an evaluation of Mabus and that he gets the help he so obviously needs. I am not breathing a sigh of relief quite yet, either. This arrest is another step in this long journey, but it may not be the last one. There are any number of ways this could play out, but I am very hopeful that given the importance of this new development we'll see real progress made.

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