There is a strange obsession with the Coyotes that a group of disturbed Canadians have, they express their obsession nearly constantly on Twitter, Facebook and Internet bulletin boards dedicated to their negative fascination with the Coyotes. Some are rational, many more are semi-rational and many are disturbed enough to personally attack people such as Glendale council members doing their jobs.
Some are odd enough that they will use photographs of Coyotes fans and their children, some children younger than TWO, to add to their street cred with the other trolls. Sad, really, but cyberbullying is a fact of life in social media.
Once in awhile, though, somebody will cross a line and law enforcement will get involved.
Haters Gonna Hate
Here’s a November 20, 2012 tweet from the person who may be the queen of Internet trolls obsessed with the Phoenix Coyotes:
@CoyotesClubber URGING all #Nordiques fans! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and pretend you are a raging #Coyotes fan demanding YES vote!
A picture was attached to the tweet:
Here is the link to the tweet and the associated picture, it may or may not be active depending on the level of seriousness the troll feels she should give to a police investigation:
Right around the same time the above tweet was posted, an email was indeed sent to CM Knaack. That email was, indeed, following the guidelines laid out by the troll in question. The timing is SO close, in fact, and required preparation to send, that one could assume that it was indeed the same person sending the email that posted the tweet.
Why Would A Human Do That?
Whether a human would, in fact, perform the above series of behaviors is debatable because the jury is out on the human/sub-human/cockroach nature of the Internet troll beast. But…
By way of background, CM Knaack is likely to be the deciding vote on Tuesday, November 27 in the effort to ratify the arena lease agreement between Glendale and Hockey Partners. There is an inordinate amount of Canadian interest in this vote, partly because “Nordiques” (a defunct NHL hockey team) fans feel the Coyotes may be a likely tenant in the arena their government will be building soon.
The tweet in question has two “hashtags” (words/phrases preceded by a pound sign) in it, “#Nordiques” and “#Coyotes”. Hashtags are used to follow a particular subject, users of Twitter will add the hashtag to their “feed” to watch the commentary of other users. In this case, the troll wanted the request to send fake emails to CM Knaack to appear in the feeds of people interested in both the Pacific Division Champion Coyotes and the extinct Nordiques.
The screenshot of a tweet from me and one from Greg Dunaway show that we were trying to reduce the amount of emails being sent to CM Knaack from any of “our” people. Through a conversation with CM Knaack (something that no troll has bothered to manage) we found out that she had already received a series of emails from Coyotes fans regarding her vote. She was of the opinion that the emails “weren’t helping”, so we tried to cut them off. There was never any concerted effort to harass CM Knaack from real Coyotes fans while we see there was definitely plans afoot from the troll side.
Just The Facts
On Friday morning, two detectives from Glendale visited Darrold Larson. The subject they were interested in was an email sent from “email@example.com” to CM Knaack:
From: Darrold Larsen [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 9:58 PM
To: Knaack, Yvonne
Subject: DONT SCREW THIS UP!!!!
Twitter is saying that you are voting no!!! I knew you were going to screw this up for the Coyotes!!!! Dont be a stupid bitch!!!!! VOTE YES or nobody will ever come to Glendale again!!! Stop being anti-Coyote!!!
As you can see, the name is spelled incorrectly, undoubtedly spelled using the metric system PROVING the email originated in Canada. After a very short visit with Mr. Larson, the detectives left after assuring him he had nothing further to worry about. They didn’t even bother to check the IP address of Mr. Larson’s connection or look at any of his computers. As you can also see, the body of the email follows the same pattern as the tweets of many of the more prolific Internet trolls obsessed with the Coyotes. The language, while mild by their standards, is also a clue.
Impersonating someone for this threatening purpose is much more serious than:
- Mocking them by poorly photoshopping their picture.
- Saying things such as “Enjoy unemployment you stupid cow” (a Mike Phelan classic).
- Making crude remarks and posting photographs of people’s children.
- Calling council members “classless slobs” and much worse.
- Mocking people’s disabilities while ignoring their own.
This is, undoubtedly, actionable should someone decide to file a complaint. I’m not sure if the source of the email turns out to be Canada that some US federal agency (Homeland Security perhaps?) wouldn’t become involved. One would expect the Canadian government to cooperate fully, of course.
Twitter offers little help:
If contacted by law enforcement directly, we can work with them and provide the necessary information for their investigation of your issue.
You can point local law enforcement to our Law Enforcement Guidelines (https://support.twitter.com/articles/41949).
We’re sure that the Glendale PD has the ability and knowledge to be able to track the source of the email. I’m sure Yahoo has the facilities to provide information such as when an email account was opened and from where it was opened, assuming the actual source WAS Yahoo. If not, email headers and a wealth of information is contained in the email received by CM Knaack, as it is in every single server between the house of the “perp” and Glendale City Hall.
Regardless, the entire Glendale City Council and the mayor are completely aware of the situation and the background information. Being that it’s a holiday weekend, police reports and complaints are a little behind schedule. That will all change on Monday when business begins for the week.
I’ll update when/if I feel like it and as police reports become available.