Twitter threats - any advice?

The Internet’s favorite Hate Machine is focusing on a teenage girl of my acquaintance. An 18-year-old boy and his coterie of female sycophants are bragging publicly about how they are going to assault her once school starts up in the fall.

I don’t know where these kids live, so I can’t just go and personally administer some Old Time Religion, as much as I might like to. And if I were to accost them at the school, I’d probably get shot by the school “safety officer”. But my state’s educational system is a zero tolerance hellhole, so if I report this to the authorities, their response will be completely out of proportion to the crime; I can’t in good conscience be a party to that. All that kid needs is a sound thrashing, he doesn’t need his entire life wrecked over mere words.

Advice welcomed. I’m flying to Seattle soon, though, and then going offline again for a couple of weeks, so I won’t have a lot of opportunities to respond to questions.


Report to law enforcement. Demand they query the teenagers parents.


I’m pretty sure that if I do that they will be automatically expelled, and given a binary choice of either dropping out or attending the state’s “special” school where you get to learn about the difference between catchers and pitchers. I used the phrase “zero tolerance hellhole” advisedly.

I don’t want to be party to destroying a child’s education because of childish threats. I want to prevent the threats from becoming a reality without wrecking anyone’s life.

Take copious screenshots of said threats. Then try and figure out who their parents were. Then call their parents. Not doxxing, not stalking, simply and literally asking connected people, “do you know the Facebook or Twitter ID of John Snows parents?”.

If the threats are specific, contact LEO right away.

Twitter has a good page on this:

And yes, if it is specific or imminent Twitter advises going to LEO immediately as well.

If neither of those work, call the school with your evidence in hand. Real life abusers must be called out, and parents, LEO, and then zero tolerance is a graduated response I believe is fair.


I call horseshit. This stuff has been costing kids their lives. If the local LEOs, with the school, can’t figure out how to curb it – maybe sending a few kids to a detention center will make the next group think twice.

Isn’t that how our legal system works? By scaring people into compliance?


Not really… It destroys your ability to get a job, vote, or rent an apartment.


Leaving you with no options but to buy a gun.

Let’s not go down this rathole too deep :smile:

General threats should be taken up with family and social circles. Specific threats should be handed to LEO.


It’s good on you for reaching out to others in trying to make the best decision in a tough situation.

You said these are threats to “assault.” That’s no-fooling language. We’re not talking about harassment or hazing - we’re talking threats of bodily harm.

Otherwise known as an adult male.

This is an adult male threatening a teenage girl.

Sounds like the victim knows who her harassers are. So she can name them and their parents.

What’s more important, your abstract feelings about the politics and policies of your jurisdiction, or the safety of a young woman close to you?


Hey, I don’t promise I’ll do what people suggest, but I really appreciate anyone else taking the time to tell me what they would do in my shoes. Seriously.

This isn’t abstract. Zero tolerance is real, I’ve seen up close and personal what it does to families, and it’s far more harmful than any threats. It would be immoral for me to knowingly cause real permanent harm out of fear of what might happen if I don’t. It’s a disproportionate response to mere words.

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If I didn’t know the threatener, then, to me, any speculation about whether or not he deserves to face the justice system is an abstraction. In the absence of knowing whether he’s Schrodinger’s Angel, I would err on protecting the younger woman who is being threatened.

At the least, I would want to inform her parents/guardians of the threats, and provide screenshots / urls. I have presumed that you’ve already exhausted that route.

I wish you the aid of angels or leprechauns or whatever spirit animal you subscribe to.


If you don’t want to go to the authorities, why don’t you approach the guy doing the threatening and tell him you will (and advise him of the consequences thereof) if he doesn’t stop pronto?

I can’t see what else to suggest, other than ignoring it and hoping that they don’t do anything.

That’s what @jlw did to me and it straightened me right up.


Expert advice:

Video for bullies from said group:

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As much as I loathe internet trolls, sending kids to a detention center won’t make the next generation of kids think twice. It will however fuck up those kids and keep them locked in their current mindset.


Why are you trying so hard to protect the chief perpetrator (who appears to be the only male in the situation?) and not the victim, who was actually scared enough and brave enough to reach out to an adult for help during her summer vacation?

You see this as an immature boy making a mistake. He’s technically an adult, who has brought in accomplices, to commit various misdemeanors against a minor.

Why does he get the benefit of the doubt?

Think of it this way: will this girl ever trust another adult again?


When the girl drops out of school, and/or starts taking drugs or cutting herself, runs away from home, or kills herself, will you really still think the possibility of this man getting in trouble with the law FOR BREAKING THE LAW is more harmful than the harm he has already caused her and has promised to continue to cause her?


Because I’ve seen what zero tolerance means. I’m certain you’d feel the same way if one of your children had been through that satanic mill. Intolerance is not a virtue, it’s a weakness, a disease.

Most people have to be taught that they must not make threats. This is part of growing up. You learn it just like you learn not to steal; nobody is born knowing that stealing is not permitted in a just society. Some of us have good parents who teach us not to steal and threaten when we are quite small, others have to be taught later in life. If you’re born in a ghetto and raised by a TV, you’re going to think threats are perfectly normal behavior and acceptable anywhere… until someone either teaches you better or destroys you.

As yet, nobody has been harmed. If anyone is actually harmed, then the situation becomes much simpler, although not in any desirable way.

[quote=“chgoliz, post:17, topic:62119”]
When the girl drops out of school, and/or starts taking drugs or cutting herself, runs away from home, or kills herself[/quote]

My experience is that the things you’ve mentioned are far more likely to result from zero tolerance enforcement than from high school threats.

If I may briefly editorialize, the complexity of this problem does not result from Internet technology or from high school misbehavior, it’s because we have a police force composed of state-sanctioned murderers and a legal system that is fundamentally unjust. If I could trust the law and the school system to handle adolescent idiocy intelligently, I certainly would be a lot happier.

@daneel, yeah, I am trying to find the meatspace location of the threatener for just this purpose.

@japhroaig, thanks for the suggestions. I am working on it!

And yes, I do have screenshots.

Tell the kid you will contact the authorities if he doesn’t stop. And don’t bluff, do it. Sometimes you just can’t go back to those lovely times, someone has done something to make the situation worse and there’s no going back. When it comes to that be ready to involve the proper authorities and see this through so the damage is limited. It’s sad, but it’s the lesser of evils.

I’m sorry for the dilemma you’re placed in and I hope your friend can feel safe, just remember who the victim is and who is not in control of this situation. This 18 year old kid is, and he is the sole person who has the power to make this stop unless the authorities are involved. These are the options you have of confronting to make this stop.


Better plan than Yoda,

“For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep”

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