Taking 'Flamewar' A Bit Too Seriously: Man Drives 1,300 Miles To Burn Down Home Of Online Critic

from the yeah,-maybe-let-that-one-go dept

Online flamewars certainly can get nasty at times, often boiling over into quite a bit of rage -- but it's still pretty rare (and amazing) to see that anger then boil over into the real world. Last year, we wrote about a case in the UK where someone drove 70 miles to attack the guy he was sparring with online. The press referred to it as "web rage," though, rage doesn't tend to last that long. Or, perhaps it does. Here in the US we do things in bigger ways, apparently. A guy in Virginia who got into a flamewar online decided to make it a bit more literal, and drove 1,300 miles to Waco, Texas to burn down the home of one of this online enemies from a (no, this isn't a joke) picture sharing community. Not only that, but the attacker took photos of each "Welcome to State X" signs and shared them online as he made his way across the country -- to let others in the community know he was serious about going after the other guy. What did the one guy do to piss the other guy off? Apparently he had different political views and posted a silly photo claiming the other guy was a nerd. Nerd or not, he's now a convicted arsonist. He's been sentenced to 7 years in prison for burning down the other guy's home -- but it doesn't sound like the intervening time or pending jail time cooled this guy down. As the sentencing was happening, the arsonist used his cameraphone to take snapshots of the guy whose home he tried to burn down, apparently to post online as well (though, the court ordered the photos destroyed). So, while the typical admonition to those engaging in flame wars is to remember that it's a real person on the other side, we'd also like to add "who may be so crazy that they'll come burn down your house."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 7:43pm

    i believe the comment i am looking for is, OMFG get a life people, wah wah wah you made fun of me, so what make fun back!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 7:45pm

    I have nothing bad to say.

    This guy is a psychotic lunatic and a potential murderer. But I have to admire his genuine dedication to online photo-sharing and his follow-through and solid determination to make his point. You get a single clap, sir!
    -Give me a clap, Vasili. One clap only, please.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 7:47pm

    Or just burn their house down.
    =|

     

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    Lucretious, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 7:55pm

    it may have cost the guy dearly but he accomplished what he set out to do. That guy in Texas won't be calling anyone a nerd anytime soon.

     

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      Old BZ, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 4:00am

      Re: Wacko Waco Nerd?

      Do you think,maybe this guy is a huge MF biker,named Tank and this was the last straw,an attack on his intelligence.So,in true manly fashion its time to get even and then one.Don't you just love how simple we really are,piss me off and i get even.And you get your 15 minutes of fame,but what a price.

       

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    Paquito, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 7:57pm

    People have a lot of free time

    Hi, I think the subject of this post clearly explain my position regarding the news... People have a lot of free time and they're quite bored actually... And please, do not flight to Spain to hit me because of my opinion! :-) Thanks for the info and kind regards from Spain :-) Paquito. http://paquito4ever.blogspot.com

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 8:03pm

    Not to say the guy had it coming to him, but what kind of idiot gives out his home address on an online photo sharing site?

     

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    Hyrulio, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 8:06pm

    -_-

    There is no comment, there is only lol.

     

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    ScaredOfTheMan, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 8:06pm

    Why?

    Is it just me, or do a disproportionately high percentage of people in Waco seem to think fires are some sort of Solution?

    What is it about going to that town that makes people want to set fires?

     

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    Jimi Spier, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 8:17pm

    This is concerning..

    I would be willing to bet that this man has not only been abusive to his male friends but has probably has abused any women in his life.. I hope this man stays in jail and does not get out anytime soon.. I really hope that no children were or have been involved with this man..

     

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    Antagonist, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 8:33pm

    Startin'

    Oh Mike Masnick, you're such a Bush loving NERD!
    Now that I got that out of the way, I've recently moved, I now live at 358 Ocean View drive, Hemshaw Indiana. You should see the place, it's beautiful! Made of dried logs and old gas tanks.

     

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    Brett, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 8:42pm

    Since when are prisoners in possession of camera phones during sentencing? All such items are taken during processing and not given back until after release as far as I know.

     

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    PhysicsGuy, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 8:58pm

    eh...

    they're all a bunch of nubs.

     

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    Miztaken, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 10:09pm

    It's only a trailer.

    I beat he felt good after he burnt down the man's trailer.

     

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    Elohssa, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 10:30pm

    Most importantly...

    ...did he save the porn?

     

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    darc1, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 11:05pm

    which grp?

    I would love to review the posts that led up this! Does anyone happen to know where on Usenet this went down?

     

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    Very Nice, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 11:31pm

    Burning down the house

    I find it sad, however funny as hell at the same time. As I tell my son: "You think you know the faceless people, but you really don't. I ask questions such as; who is father, mother, what is the hair color hair of this person mother. All these people you convert with are preditors in way one or others. There is an old quote "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" - (revised) and keep you online associates as far away as possible and reviel nothing.

    I been an IT professionly for 14 yrs and I can tell you don't know these people, you may think you do, but you don't.

    One more piece of advise - Be careful who you F with, they may be smarter than you think. Example: A young boy decided exploit an hole in an application I was running on my Linux box web server. Not very smart. Had issue resolved in 15 to 20 min. Than I begin my trace on him. I found a lot if info within 3 hour. I knew where he lived, his home phone number and his email address and I even found the name of his girlfriend (haha). I had a converation with him on MSN Messager. For 15 min the boy had no idea who I was and then I let the bomb on him and informed him of the information I had on him and I was very aware of his action against me and I have a mass amount of data prove it.

    Remember, any body can be who ever you want to be, behide a keybrd.


    Peace all

    And Brett is correct: they only have a few items when going into court: jump suit (no pockets), shoes, underwear and handcuffs. Makes one wonder where he hide the cellphone?

     

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      PhysicsGuy, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 1:21am

      Re: Burning down the house

      "All these people you converse* with are predators* in way one or others"

      now that's a little sensationalist, wouldn't you say?

       

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      Old BZ, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 4:05am

      Re: Burning down the house

      *maybe he had the new anal phone,very smart, when it farts you answer.? Don't you love the new hi tech stuff from................/.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 11:42pm

    Oh..

    "flame war"

    I just got it after reading this a couple of times...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 12:55am

    Badass. It’s rare you see someone that committed to something these days.

     

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      Old BZ, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 4:08am

      Re: Committed

      *what about the the Army man in the oil war in Iraq?,It is against his wishes to be there,but he is over there,doing his job,that is committent,that man is to be commended!!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 12:58am

    I can imagine the guy thinking "he's just googling pictures of those state signs" until he smelled something burning.

     

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    Paul, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 1:15am

    Well

    On the one hand, the guy obviously has something wrong with himself mentally.

    On the other hand, his perseverances is awesome.

    On the third hand, thank you Mike for not posting something entirely sensationalist or patent related.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 5:17am

      Re: Well

      On the third hand, thank you Mike for not posting something entirely sensationalist or patent related.
      Yeah, that kind of stuff threatens the system.

       

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    Anonymous, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 2:43am

    INTERNET - VRY SRS BZNS

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 4:14am

    WHAT

    are you trying to start a flamware with me already >?????

    >:o

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 4:29am

    While many people take the piss out of this situation or find it funny, which it is. It does raise a good point, just because YOU are a pussy and think no one will actually come after you it doesn't mean that the person you're sparring with is a pussy.

    So don't give out your real name and address unless you really are willing to have some psycho come to your house and murder you in the night.

     

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    Overcast, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 4:41am

    There is no comment, there is only lol.

    Very well said!! LOL

     

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    George W. Bush, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 5:32am

    Well at least he got caught and I didn't. On to my next victim.

     

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    Real World, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 5:51am

    You all need to quit.

    ...all of you. But down the keyboard. Go outside. Enjoy life. GET AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER!

    It will be good for you.

     

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    tareofLIFE, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 6:04am

    LOL

    B&HAMER

     

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    Cixelsid, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 6:40am

    Fire water burn

    The Roof! The Roof!

     

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    Mike Masnick's biggest fan., Jul 28th, 2007 @ 6:58am

    I'm on my way!!

    Antagonist I'm looking for your house as I type on my Blackberry here! If you don't believe me look at my Facebook, it has all the proof in pictures, even has the latest welcome to Indiana sign. Don't suppose you could help me out a bit though? I can't find ocean view drive anywhere. I keep circleing around the whole state looking for an ocean, where the hell is it!!?? I'd like to show you what I think of you but how can I do that if I can't find your house, did you give me a fake address?? Loser

     

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    Mr. Anderson, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 8:19am

    Da Roof

    da roof, da roof is on fire!
    Da roof, da roof, da roof is on fire!

     

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    Just a Guy, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 8:59am

    Hey Brett the guy might not have been in jail for the time of the trial he might have posted bail and released because they may not have deemed him a flight risk and then he would have been able to bring in a cell phone as long as the ringer was shut of during session.

     

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      FH Harris, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 9:56am

      Bail and the like

      Hard to believe arson, prob attempted murder, out of state, bail???? I want to practice in that court.

       

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    Just a Guy, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 9:04am

    Also we need more people in this country like him in the sense of dedication to finishing something LOL

     

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    ecoshift, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 9:12am

    jay and silent bob meme

    Must have been watching too much Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back...

     

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    Ntlgnce, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 9:27am

    Fighting online.

    Fighting online, is like racing in the Special Olympics,,,,
    Even if you win your still retarded...

     

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    Roland, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 10:04am

    1300 miles....

    Ya, but did he wear a diaper to get there?

     

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    MIke, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 10:05am

    I'd do it

    If someone REALLY pissed me off online and I knew where they lived, I'd go and fuck em up too, should have nailed the doors shut before he lit the fire tho...

     

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    Jacob Buck, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 10:40am

    I think we need more accountability for what morons and little kids say online, so I say kudos to the arsonist. People need to start being afraid to piss off others.

     

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    mavi, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 10:55am

    That's what I call revenge of the nerds :)

     

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    B, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 1:09pm

    Site

    What site did this happen on?

     

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    Commentator, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 2:37pm

    Flamers and Trolls

    It has to be said. There are a lot of juvenile sociopaths (of various chronological ages) on the Internet who enjoy flaming and attacking others for the pleasure of the others' discomfort. They feel safe behind a firewall of bits and seeming anonymity.

    This event, however illegal and to be condemned, should let the flamers and trolls know that they aren't as safe as they think they are, and that a "firewall" (whether real or social) isn't always fireproof (pun intended). This extends to anonymity--there are lots of ways of breaking through it by a skilled, determined, and offended netizen.

    This observation also extends to the arrogant geniuses who consider those of lesser intelligence "lusers". They, too, aren't immune from the consequences of ticking off the wrong person.

    Mutual respect is the hallmark of productive internet exchange.

     

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      Eileen, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 5:29pm

      Re: Flamers and Trolls

      It's no different than bullies in schools... most people get picked on at one point or another, and part of life is GROWING UP and learning to deal with it in an adult way (not arson), hopefully with a little humor (take it like a man and dish some out of your own ;) )

       

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 7:16pm

    Rule #14 of the Internet

    Do not argue with the trolls - it means that they win

     

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    Gizmondo, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 2:14am

    14

    If you talk shit. You better be prepared for ANY consequences that may occur by you opening your trap. People don't function on the same value system as you do. And you saying one thing and thinking its nothing, to another, will get your shit burned down.

    As they say in "la familia" don't carry a gun, if you aren't prepared to use it.

    Dude got what he deserved. And I mean both of em.

    So be it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 7:23pm

      Re: 14

      Open and shut case.
      It's like the end of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
      Or like Uwe Boll beating the snot out of his critics in the boxing ring.

      Everyone thinks they're faceless on the internet. But everyone wants to go out and kick someone's faceless ass sometimes.

      May this be a lesson for everyone. Flaming can get you messed up. There's no doubt that if people automatically had their personal info displayed, they'd either stop talking shit, or a lot more asskicking would go down. You know you've wanted to.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2007 @ 3:04am

        Re: Re: 14

        There's no doubt that if people automatically had their personal info displayed,...
        Of course, you'd be exempt. Right?

         

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    riff, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 6:33am

    How much can you believe

    We've all heard the comment that a story gets more embellishment with each telling? How many courthouses have you been in these days that allow camera phones through the security checkpoint? How much mor of this story is pure BS as well? Who knows?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 9:39am

      Re: How much can you believe

      How many courthouses have you been in these days that allow camera phones through the security checkpoint?
      ALL of them that I have been to.

       

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    The Marcness, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 11:11am

    o.O

    Over being called a nerd and having a different political view? I am glad the fucktard is in prison. If someone else gets so bent out of shape over being called a nerd, it just goes to prove that maybe they are one, taking something as online chat/photo sharing as gold. I don't see anything wrong with being called a nerd anyways. Nerds rule this world. Look at Bill Gates for example.

     

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    EP, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 12:45pm

    How many gallons to Waco at $3.25 a gallon?

    If I have been released on bail, I can come to court in a suit, etc., and could easily get in with something in my pocket (e.g. a cell phone with a camera function).

    And if you disagree with me, well, not a good idea. I am an insane psycho, like you, and I have a full gas tank. I am not saying I am inclined to drive to Waco, though: I am only so insane.


    Oh, please, people, there is plenty of real opportunity to be "committed" or "hardcore", if one gets out into the world at large and has a look around. If you want to test your mettle, get out of the sandbox. Get out of your comfort zone.

    And if that is not your choice, remember you chose to be in the sandbox and its company by choice.

    But I assume this guy is a statistical outlier in human terms, an exception, an error. cheers

     

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    Jasper, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 5:12pm

    Flaming on the Net

    May I point out the fact that you are all wasting time and storage space discussing this pair of complete idiots, makes you all seem a little, well lets say, special.

    My address is 1060 West Addison, Chicago IL

    Come and get me...LOL

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 5:19pm

    As somebody else has said, anyone stupid enough to post any real details about themself on the net deserves what they get.

     

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    :(, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 7:11pm

    I bet the guy that got his house burned down was a COMPLETE asshole. He probably had that shit coming.
    But, so did the arsonist.
    Seriously thought, it should be a lesson: STOP BEING A DICK ON THE INTERNET

    (I'm looking at you, leetnetworks.com)

     

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      Jade, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 7:20pm

      Re:

      The guy who had his trailer burned down WAS a complete asshole. He has a page on a site called orfay, and he did very nasty things to people on there. It was only a matter of time before he provoked the wrong person. This man would take pictures of peoples children and threaten to do inappropriate things with them.

       

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    :(, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 7:37pm

    In that case, awesome. Now I'm even more glad someone pwnt his ass. I would find it extremely unbelievable that the guy that got his house torched was someone that didn't suck. If you can push a guy so hard he wants to murder you with fire, then you probably won't mind when someone pisses on your grave.

     

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    Chris, Jul 29th, 2007 @ 8:18pm

    That's scary

    Is posting controversial information on the Internet going to increase insurance prices?

    Nerd Forum

     

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    Flameguy, Jul 30th, 2007 @ 3:04am

    "Flaming"

    Man this is scary. What if you piss someone off and give them the address of someone you hate? Like your neighbour?

    Then you can have your neighours house burned down by some online psycho and you wouldn't even be at fault.

    Scary...

     

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    Leander Richmond, Jul 30th, 2007 @ 8:34am

    My philosophy

    Arguing online is like running in the special olympics.

    Even if you win,

    You're still retarded.

     

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    Amazing, Aug 1st, 2007 @ 12:08pm

    Strangers on a Train

    Flaming's comment reminded me of the movie "Strangers on a Train" with Robert Walker and Stewart Granger (?). Robert Walker murders Farley's enemy or whatever and expects Granger to murder his parent or something (great movie, am fuzzy on the details decades later). Gosh, think about all the possibilities the internet provides! What a Pandora's Box we have opened!

     

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