Atheist bloggers and forum owners are breathing a sigh of relief right now at the news that serial cyberstalker Dennis Markuze – AKA David Mabus – the seriously disturbed troll from Montréal with the obsession for Depeche Mode and Nostradamus (hence the dubious “Mabus” thing – DM, see?) has been arrested for the second time. He was first picked up last August and given a thirty-day psychological evaluation plus an eighteen month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to sixteen counts of criminal harrassment, though it took a five-thousand-signature-strong petition before the Montréal Police actually took the case seriously. Part of his sentence stipulated that he must stay well away from internet discussions and fora, which he did – for two months or so. Then it was business as usual.
He is infamous for spamming atheist blogs, message boards, fora and email inboxes with incoherent rants, obscene death threats and (perhaps most worryingly) random Depeche Mode videos and pictures of a Henry Hoover, all sprinkled liberally with triumphant crowing about how Nostradamus beat the James Randi Million Dollar Challenge. By “spamming” I don’t mean simply posting the same thing over and over; that’s amateur stuff. No, what set this guy apart, other than the Norman Bates ranting, was the sheer volume of his output. At the height of his career – a word chosen deliberately, as he was clearly out of control – Markuze must have spent literally hundreds of hours doing nothing else but venting his vitriolic vomit on the internet. Even automated spambots need a break now and then… well, okay, no they don’t, but it still takes nothing away from the fact that this is not normal behaviour. Particularly when he escalated from posting online death threats to showing up in person to atheist events, most notably when biology professor and outspoken atheist blogger PZ Myers, whom Markuze has been targetting for almost twenty years, attended the 2010 AAI Conference in Montréal. Luckily all he did on that occasion was make gun-fingers at the lady who papped him with her camera and then bugger off. It might have been a different story.
Many bloggers and forum users got seriously worried for the state of his health, especially his mental health, which is where the petition came in. Clearly he wasn’t going to seek help of his own volition, so the authorities were eventually persuaded to step in. Good thing too, since his psych evaluation diagnosed “bipolar disorder, compounded by alcohol and substance abuse”, which won him a spell in rehab.
Bets are now being taken on how long it’ll be before before he breaks his court order again.
PS – It’s become something of a tradition that, just like the famous Drury Lane Theatre’s “Man in Grey” whose materialisation guarantees a play’s success and longevity, so Markuze’s appearance is (or was) a sign that a blog or forum has made it, puts it on the map as it were, become something worth bothering about. Wonder what would happen if I said his name three times in front of a mirror..?