How anti-vaccine zealots act

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”:

antivax_doxxing

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.)

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17 thoughts on “How anti-vaccine zealots act

  1. This had already happened to Ren, by the way. A particularly creepy man decided to email everyone at the health department where Ren worked, with some upsetting consequences for Ren:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/08/22/the-consequences-of-blogging-under-ones/

    Check out the man’s comments in Orac’s blog post, by the way. He really seems unhinged. In a comment, he posts links to some horrible snuff-film-like videos of his “research” into the evils of humanity:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/08/22/the-consequences-of-blogging-under-ones/#comment-158235

    • Unhinged? To judge from that comment, he’s never been on the hinge.
      He most certainly isn’t running on most of his cylinders.
      Not only not playing with a full deck, what he’s got is a deck of jokers.

  2. The anti-vaxxers are not the only looney tunes. I have been harassed via my employer by AIDS deniers trying to get me fired. Abbie at Aetiology on science blogs wrote a few years ago that one AIDS denier showed up at her job! People be crazy!

    • John Stone, from Age of Autism, has been looking to find out who I am for a while now. Someone with a British accent called my office at a health department asking to know if I worked there. I don’t know if it was him (he’s in England), but someone was asking a lot of questions. Hence, I keep my current employer’s information private as much as I can.

  3. Since VRM appears to be run by a lone Canadian of highly questionable mental health whose own contact info is easily obtained via whois, it might be a good idea to tip off the Canadian health authorities before he does himself or someone else a possibly terminal mischief.

    • I have colleagues at CDC Canada looking at his pages and such all the time. Some of them, and us here in the States, have infiltrated them. We can then tip off our local colleagues with nurses who won’t vaccinate and spread vaccine misinformation, pox parties, and scams on how to avoid vaccine requirements. So, yeah, we’re watching him. He is kind of weird.

    • Same here, Rene mentioned the issue earlier and I showed him how he was doxed. I explained how to remove the offending information that was supposed to have not been present.
      I’m half tempted, during my relocation, to walk around the Dallas metro area wearing an Epi Ren tee shirt over my Kevlar vest. The state is open carry, he’s welcome to try to engage me.
      My prior occupation involved terrorizing terrorists, so it’d be no contest.

      Should something happen to Rene or his wife, there will be disappearances.
      That is well within my military skill set.

      • For the record, I only suggested a lawless reaction to a lawless action.
        Lawless acceptance of such an action in a lawful society is not suggested.
        ish.
        When dealing with lawless people, there is a response that is effective.
        Terrorizing the terrorist.
        I have medals I’m not permitted to wear in public for such environments.

        So, I offer counterforce to the force accepting.
        Lest we devolve then into anarchy.
        Or more simply, being the SOB from hell that I am.
        And suggesting a probable course of action, while I’m dining with a judge.

        I am *not* suggesting that any other pursue such a course of action. Ever. At all.

    • I can’t speak to which group it was, I didn’t even know of the screen capture, but when Ren asked me how his PII could be available, the first thing I did was open a terminal window on my Linux box (which currently are the only operating systems I run) and ran a whois of his domain.
      I nearly fell out of my chair, the domain registrar put his name, address, telephone number, e-mail address in his domain registration.
      As Ren asked the question in his blog comments, I noted there that I sent what I found via his gmail account.
      In the e-mail I suggested that he “raise merry hell with your domain registrar”.
      His domain information is now safely anonymized.

    • Yes. They basically add anyone who has ever defended any kind of scientific principle to that list and then pass it around as if we are “enemies of the state.” Joke is on them, though. They let me into their super-secret groups all the time. They don’t check that list to see who is who.

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