Things not to do with your spouse’s email account

Like send death threats to public personas, or anyone for that matter. It turns out that one of the death threats sent to PZ Myers has resulted in a swift firing of the employee who owns the account, Melanie Kroll. Apparently it was her husband who sent the threatening email from her computer. You could hem and haw about whether or not she is liable for the email since her husband sent it, probably without her knowledge. (Hey honey, can I threaten the life of someone with your business account?? OK Thanks!) But the short answer is that she’s out of a job, and he confessed to the crime.

Upon reflection, and reading many of the comments made, I feel that no matter how mad I was, it did not make it right for me to use the language or tone I used. In fact, I think there would have been many more constructive things I could have done, the angry email was just the simplest way.
And I’m sorry.

But then his confession turns bizarre and he starts talking about Muslims… who ever mentioned Muslims in this issue? It sounds like a complaint that they think one religious group gets to make death threats but their group cannot?

As mr. myers, should know, and most intellectually honest people do know, attacking the Muslim religion or advocating attacks of it’s symbols and traditions would not have resulted in a stupid but boorish email from a “Nutjob whacko, and all-around asshole catholic ” as ole ylooshi here, so eloquently posted above.

It may very well have resulted (if the recent 30 or so year past is any indication) with the good professor hearing the words Allah Akbar shouted into his ear, while not so nice things were happening to him, perhaps things like, being shot in the lobby of a travel agency, being thrown overboard of his cruise ship, or being shot at the airport ticket counter at lax, or maybe being driven over by a student in the college parking lot, could be the bus he rides would have been torn to shreds by a homicide bomber, or even being murdered while riding his bicycle to work, or perhaps he would have been sitting at his office computer, when one the offended folks drove an airplane through his window.

Wow, look at that. It simply must be the Muslims’ fault – I mean a few guys flew planes into the World Trade Center and that’s why Chuck Kroll had to threaten the life of PZ…? Yeah, whatever floats your boat. What I find interesting is that this guy, although he is saying that he’s sorry for, well, committing a federal crime, he’s indicating that he’s really not sorry. Instead of threatening PZ Myers directly, he is veiling his threat behind The Mythical Muslim Menace™ and using them to scare the professor.

And while admitting that he bears full responsibility, he demonstrates that his apology is instead a notpology:

However, this whole incident has caused someone who had nothing to do with the email to mr.myers,.a wonderful, sweet person who would never threaten anyone terrible troubles. Great harm has been done to this wonderful lady, without proof or a question asked, you just accuse, and assume. Wow and I thought you liberal folks were supposed to be the open minded ones.

It is my hope that since the mystery is now removed, and now that the Identity of the horrible person who dared write such crude things to the mr. myers is known, that the same people who put so much effort into harming Melanie Kroll, will use as much effort to right the wrong that has been done to her.

Yes, the wrong that was done to her was totally the fault of everyone else. probably fired her because they did not want to get into the business of figuring out to what extent she was at fault, and couldn’t guarrantee to themselves that it wouldn’t happen again. And that’s totally classy – to blame the firing on those outside sources that complained about getting their lives threatened. Sounds like someone else might get fired, from their marriage. Yikes. I’d better make sure to include “I pledge never to send death threats through your work email” to my vows this Saturday!

Update: Five minutes later, I see that Melanie Kroll stopped by Greg Laden’s Blog. Defending her husband, she says:

First off, it is amazing at all the speculation out there. Number one, i will not be leaving my husband due to this mistake. Number two he is not a crazy lunatic, but a very passionate man when it comes to his party and his religion. He’s a great person, great father and yes feels absolutely horrible about what has happened to me.


My husband went on to the drudge report site that he reads and clicked on a link and came across that man pz’s notice and responded as he always does when he is upset.

Great… that’s how he always responds when he’s upset. Sounds like a dynamite fellow!

Update 2: Simon addresses the question – should bloggers post emails sent to them?

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Karl Haro von Mogel

Karl Haro von Mogel serves as BFI’s Director of Science and Media and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. He has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from UW-Madison with a minor in Life Sciences Communication. He is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar researching citrus genetics at UC Riverside.