Besides being enormous threats to public health, anti-vaccine zealots are also threats to people’s security. A couple of days ago, Ren published a blog post describing how a takeover and takedown of a Facebook anti-vaccine page happened. So many anti-vaccine activists were caught up in that takedown that they decided to lash out against anyone who mentioned the takedown. Because Ren had written about it, one anti-vaccine activist took exception and posted Ren’s home address and home telephone number in another anti-vaccine Facebook page named “Vaccine Resistance Movement”:
Later, this same idiot posted Ren’s cellular phone number.
It was all fun and games until the anti-vaccine idiot decided to call Ren. Here’s how Ren described it to me via email:
“I had just finished talking to my wife when the phone rings. It’s him. He asked if I was looking for him. If you see the post he’s now deleted, he claims that someone from my area code called him, so he called me. Frankly, I don’t know how he got my cellphone number, but I’ve put it out there a couple of times. (LinkedIn?) Anyway, he tells me that he’s not afraid of me, blah, blah, blah. He then says that he’s from Texas, as if that’s supposed to scare me. I told him, “Good. I’m from El Paso.” He was quiet for a few seconds and then raised his voice, yelling at me that he was in Dallas and that I’d be — in his words — “spitting out buckshot” if I went looking for him. (Why would I do that? Who willingly goes to Dallas for anything?) He then cursed at me a few times. I tried to be calm and reason with him, but he wasn’t having any of it. He then hung up the phone. I promptly blocked his number. I hope he has a nice life.”
Ren is a saint, in my opinion. The guy that doxed him has a very public (voted #1 by some group) band in the Dallas, Texas, area. I doubt that the people who try to employ him see what kind of hatred and vitriol he spews against people. And the whole thing about posting private information? What the hell?
That wasn’t the only threat Ren got, and the anti-vax band member from Dallas wasn’t the only one who posted the information. A couple of other anti-vaccine activists posted it too. I don’t know what Ren will do, but I think he shouldn’t worry too much. The overwhelming majority of these jerks run scared the other way and hide behind empty threats.
I offered Ren to bombard the jerk’s band Facebook page with screen captures of the jerk’s actions, but Ren has asked that neither I nor a couple of his friends who offered to do similarly stoop to that level. Yet that’s how nasty and vicious the anti-vaccine crowd can be. They really do think that it’s them against the world, and so, just like a cornered animal, they lash out without weighing the consequences of their actions. What if someone decides to do harm to Ren? How would the jerk who posted his information feel? (He probably wouldn’t think he did anything wrong, even as doxing is illegal.)