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empathy deficit entitled babies harassment threats

Sacramento gamer could be jailed for up to five years for violent online threats

If you find yourself doing this on a regular basis, please get help.
If you find yourself doing this on a regular basis, please get help.

A Sacramento video game enthusiast was arrested earlier this month after allegedly making violent threats against employees of game company Blizzard Entertainment, as well as fellow gamers and, in a lovely final touch, their children, Polygon reports.

Stephen Cebula is currently being held without bond, and could face up to five years in prison if convicted of making the threats.

As Polygon notes, Cebula’s alleged threats to fellow players of Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm included:

“I will bomb the new york twin towers [sic],” “Go back to cotton picking” and “You make me want to shoot up an elementary school;” Cebula also threatened to rape and kill the children of his opponents.

After Blizzard banned him from chatting with other players, he allegedly sent the company a message warning that if the company continued

silencing me in Heroes of the Storm … I may or may not pay you a visit with an AK47 amongst some other ‘fun’ tools.

Polygon adds,

This is not Cebula’s first run-in with the law. In March 2015, he was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department after telling deputies of his intention to kill someone at a local park, according to the court documents. As a minor, he was also charged with threatening a school staff member.

It’s good to see the FBI and local police taking online threats as seriously as threats delivered offline. Because here’s the thing:

  1. A threat is a threat if you make it to someone’s face
  2. A threat is a threat if you send it by mail
  3. A threat is a threat if you make it over the phone
  4. A threat is a threat if you write it in icing on a cake
  5. A threat is a threat if you make it on the internet
  6. A threat is a threat even if some dude on the internet tells you it’s just a joke

The internet: Part of real life even if some people would like to pretend it isn’t.

H/T — r/GamerGhazi

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Paradoxical Intention - Mobile
Paradoxical Intention - Mobile
4 years ago

As someone from Sacramento: Good.

Let this serve as an example to other departments as to what to do when someone feels the need to threaten people.

Though Blizzard should have banned him instead of just silence him on their game.

pitshade
pitshade
4 years ago

Well actually it’s about ethics in who gets labeled a terrorist.

The Thousand Cock Stare
The Thousand Cock Stare
4 years ago

One down, several thousand to go.

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko
4 years ago

I recently got back to online gaming, and remembered pretty quickly why I usually steer clear of it.

Sadly that’s just one guy, one drop in a an ocean of shit that gamers have to swim through on a regular basis. Seems that private games are the only safe games.

I guess the problem is one of education ? We’re taught how to behave in society but somehow the Internet doesn’t count as part of it, and behind a pseudonym anything goes. Might be time we start teaching kids that the Internet isn’t, in fact, some miraculous wonderland where acting like a shitstain magically becomes fun and makes you look cool.

Yeah I know, it’s pretty sad that it’d have to be taught in the first place.

ETA : @The Thousand Cock Stare
(by the way your name made me chuckle)

One down, several thousand to go.

This.

EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

What an asshole. I really feel sorry for him; I can’t imagine how miserable and cut-off he must be to do such things.

Not that that excuses it, of course.

peaches
peaches
4 years ago

Yaayyyyy, glad it’s being taken seriously by the police.

This is one reason I stick to the fanfiction community and not mess around with games much. Fanfic comms can also be full of drama, but death threats are rare. Unless you’re in One Direction fandom.

ViolinlessHoax
ViolinlessHoax
4 years ago

Unless you’re in One Direction fandom.

Not sure if joke… o_o

Anyway, yeah, finally. I hope it’s one in a line of many many many many to come. Although I can’t help but feel that it’s just because Blizzard and its employees were threatened. Big companies like to throw around their weight. I’m not sure it’d happen if, say, a small indie dev got threatened.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
4 years ago

\o/

Things get better, even if at an awfully slow rate.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
4 years ago

@ViolinlessHoax : hard to be sure, but in the past Blizzard, and other high profile company, had threats like that, who did not ended up with any legal consequence. So the movement have started. Perhaps it would mostly be for people with enough money to have permanent lawyers, but there’s good hope that it will spread.

AsAboveSoBelow
AsAboveSoBelow
4 years ago

Unless you’re in One Direction fandom.

Whaaaaaat?

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
4 years ago

I continue to be amazed at some of the fanfic topics out there.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@pitshade
Ya know, I really should be bored of the whole ‘really about ethics in’, satire thing. But, like… It’s official, that just never gets old

Cygnia
4 years ago

Odds the cops acted that this was serious because it was men getting threatened for a change? :-/

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
4 years ago

@Sinkable John : if I believe my mother, who professionaly do customer service by phone, it’s not limited to internet. From time to time, I wonder if the jackassery on phone line is not even worse than on internet, but less visible.

snork maiden
4 years ago

Good, about time the law started catching up.

I suppose in real life individuals have to moderate their behavior because they can’t predict the reactions of those around them. If you’re sitting on a bus and you’re inclined to threaten a complete stranger, you have no idea if they’re going to physically attack you in response, or ring up friends for backup; online you can just say what you like and they apparently can’t reach you. That’s the only reason I can fathom that online trolls say the things they would never say in public life; unless it’s Milo Y of course.

Iseult The Idle
Iseult The Idle
4 years ago

@Cygnia – maybe not men, but a large corporation. Money talks, etc.

Often it’s a matter of empathy. “Knowing” that there’s a real person behind the chat box/pixel toon/message board avatar, a real person you’re tearing down, is not the same as feeling it.

But this particular person seems like he doesn’t have great impulse control, for whatever reason, so there’s likely more to it than general asshattery.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
4 years ago

@Iseult : not seeing the face of the people you’re tearing down is a big thing in my opinion. I believe it’s one of the problematic side effect of veiled women too.

banned@4chan.org
banned@4chan.org
4 years ago

As someone who grew up trolling–good. Even among trolls, threat-making idiots like this are garbage.

BritterSweet
4 years ago

Hey, funny how a post involving video games is up today. So is the newest Tropes Vs. Women.

And I’m going to use your point from now on, David: A threat is a threat, whether it’s in person, on the Internet or written in cake icing.

OoglyBoggles
OoglyBoggles
4 years ago

What lovely news, so since people are going to frame this as a matter of free speech instead of you know, an unstable individual with a record threatening people’s lives and children.

So I find any possible counter argument for this to boil down to “restrict internet freedoms.” “It is our constitutional and inalienable right to send death threats to company employees.” “If we start treating the law like it affects the Internet the government is going to take err freeze peach.” “You can’t catch all of us.”

Except as established that posits the idea that the Internet is uncontested waters as agreed upon by all relevant bodies. Or that if there’s enough criminals doing it don’t bother cause too many. Let’s see where this goes, I want a conviction, it’ll help set a precedent, legal consequences against this plague on the interwebs.

Oh please let there be someone against this to come, I would actually enjoy a conversation to see why this person should not be convicted.

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

@EJ (The Other One)

What an asshole. I really feel sorry for him; I can’t imagine how miserable and cut-off he must be to do such things.

Not that that excuses it, of course.

What??? You feel sorry for this guy? Not the players he harassed, not the employees he threatened, but this guy? What makes you think he’s miserable and cut-off?

I know a troll. The kind who hurts people intentionally for fun. He’s not miserable. He’s not cut-off. He’s very sociable, an extrovert actually. Know why he does it? He thinks it’s just words on a screen and thinks it’s funny when people get upset. It amuses him. That’s all. Don’t waste sympathy on assholes. They’re not downtrodden; they’re just assholes.

invivoMark, Men's Rice Activist
invivoMark, Men's Rice Activist
4 years ago

Tangent, but related to people being shitty to people they don’t know:

I was vaguely amused by Blizzard’s decision in Hearthstone to not allow direct typed communication with your opponent, but only allow communication through canned, “polite” statements like “thank you” and “I’m sorry.” Of course, as soon as people get hold of the game they find ways to make even those statements rude and offensive, e.g. by saying “thank you” right as you beat someone.

I just don’t understand the human compulsion to be mean to people for no good reason.

OoglyBoggles
OoglyBoggles
4 years ago

@invivoMark, Men’s Rice Activist
Sadism and power mostly.

joekster
joekster
4 years ago

Good. We need more accountability on the internet.

There are only two problems I see:

1) The threatened party, as was pointed out upthread, was a major corporation.

2) (TW: ableist language) If he was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold, what do you want to bet that this gets portrayed as ‘one crazy person doing crazy things’, and the actual issues of online jackassedry (I may have just made up that word) get swept into a corner?

Reminds me why I always turn off chat in WoW and go quest by myself. Haven’t done dungeons since medical school.

peaches
peaches
4 years ago

Not sure if joke

Honestly, neither am I. You hear terrible things in that fandom, but I’m never sure how far it actually goes, and I’m in it. I’ve been in over-enthusiastic, super-invested music fandoms before, but this one has a nasty edge. One of the members of the group got enough Twitter-hate that it influenced his decision to drink heavily.

Ooglyboggles
4 years ago

@joekster
Yeah I clearly understand that in terms of context, it’s really just looks like a big corporation dealing with a nutter when viewed by onlookers. Though for a start, if this case comes through, maybe it can start setting a precedent for more common cases like Anita’s, Briannu Wu’s, Zoe Quinn’s, and countless others.

EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

@kupo:
I’ve read through those arrest papers and the statements he made, and it just feels… bleh. The man comes across as pathetically thin-skinned and unable to tolerate even the slightest opposition, insisting on people swallowing his abuse and flying off the handle whenever he isn’t acknowledged as the unquestioned master of the cosmos.

I’m not trying to armchair-diagnose and I’m not going to say anything mental health related; but from a strictly human-empathy point of view this doesn’t feel like a man who’s sociable and thinks it’s funny. This feels like someone desperate who’s lashing out at the world. I could be wrong, of course.

No matter how unhappy he is, it doesn’t justify him being an asshole. He is causing harm to a lot of people by doing this. As you’ve correctly pointed out I feel for his victims, and also for those who are put off even trying games because of his activities. They didn’t deserve it and they certainly shouldn’t ever have to live in an environment where they run the risk of being his victims.

Among his victims, however, I believe we must include him.

ViolinlessHoax
ViolinlessHoax
4 years ago

by saying “thank you” right as you beat someone.

Or “good game” in League of Legends.

PeeVee the Sarcastic
PeeVee the Sarcastic
4 years ago

He also admitted to having “fantasized about oral sex and sexual intercourse with his five-year-old niece.”

Read the accompanying documentation.

It’s not just Blizzard.

They may literally have saved his sister and his niece from grave harm.

EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

Addendum:
I think I phrased that badly. Our first duty of care must be to his victims, and to prevent this happening again. Nobody should ignore them in their rush to look after a white boy who’s upset because the world doesn’t belong to him any more.

However, he is still human, and (if he is as miserable as I think he is) then I feel that as my fellow human, I shall grieve also for him.

Because everybody else had already said the first bit but nobody had said the second, I felt I should add it. Does that make sense?

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko
4 years ago

@Ohlmann

Point taken. We should probably broaden it to any form of communication that doesn’t involve physically facing the other person.

Hey hey, that also includes violent, abusive “journalism” ! Who knew ? Hello, Milo.

ryeash
ryeash
4 years ago

@EJ (The other one)

The man comes across as pathetically thin-skinned and unable to tolerate even the slightest opposition, insisting on people swallowing his abuse and flying off the handle whenever he isn’t acknowledged as the unquestioned master of the cosmos

That’s exactly how my troll of an abusive ex was, and he was also sociable and extroverted, like kupo describes. He’s apparently breaking into local politics, and when we dated, he would go on internet tirades heavy with slurs (racial ones especially) against anyone and everyone–for fun usually, not even because anyone set him off. I remember the first time I was really scared of him, he’d set up a macro to message this girl’s phone with an endless barrage of death threats, telling her to kill herself, all sorts of nasty shit. Afterwards, we went out with his group of also highly-social friends, to whom he bragged openly about it.

Abusers tend to be thin-skinned and intolerant of opposition. It’s actually pretty much their M.O. They can also be incredibly charismatic and even capable of pretending that they care about anything other than themselves long enough to attract a group of loyal friends.

Joekster
Joekster
4 years ago

@violinlesshoax: what’s wrong with ‘good game’? I never played league of legends, but in Starcraft it was just something you said when you knew you’d lost the game.

Paradoxical Intention - Resident Cheeseburger Slut

@Joekster: I think they were referring to someone who won saying that, and possibly meaning it in a very condescending manner.

throwaway
throwaway
4 years ago

Color me cynical, but I’m betting the only reason law got involved was because it involved Activi$ion/Bli$$ard.

Here’s how I imagine it going:
“Hi, we were threatened online.”

Officer: “Unless they actually gave a date, time, location, what they would be wearing, how gruesome your death would be AND they also mentioned they were part of BLM, we won’t do anything.”

“We have unlimited lawyer money. If anything happens we will own your fucking department.”

Officer: “We’ll get right on it.”

And I don’t care if someone else posted it before me. My cynicism is clearly not unfounded if others have the same concerns.

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

@EJ
I just feel like it’s messed up to come into a thread about how the law is finally doing something about a huge problem that affects women and POC far more than men and express sympathy for the white, male, entitled, abusive asshole who broke the law and made people fear for their safety. Plenty of people go through much more than he has and still manage to take it out on other people.

OwenSohmer
OwenSohmer
4 years ago

Meh, I think the only reason he was actually arrested (is that the term here? me no englando) is Blizzard probably handled all of the legwork by tracking the harasser and just pointed the cops at him once they got tired of his shit.

On a completely different topic: I normally use good game (ggwp) at the end of every match regardless if we won or lost, just kind of a nod to the other team, as a “hey, I had fun” unless something ruined the game (leavers, ragers, etc).
Also most people in league will say gg at the end of every game, normally starting with the losing team and being answered by the winning team, kind of the moment where you acknowledge you can’t win anymore.

That said if you wanna be an asshole to your team you could type gg at 3 minutes into the game for a petty reason or if you want to be a condescending jackass to the losing team go “gg ez”

TL;DR I go on a long off topic tirade of how context affects two letters being typed without intonation or clue on their actual meaning because I use those letters.

Hippielady
Hippielady
4 years ago

And then there’s this…

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/07/prominent-feminist-writer-drops-off-social-media-after-rape-threats-against-her-5-year-old-daughter/#.V5k6tgclGNc.twitter

She apparently isn’t getting any help from LE. So @Joekster sadly, you are probably right.

epitome of incomprehensibility

@Hippielady – That’s awful. And besides the horribleness of directing those threats against A LITTLE KID, it reads to me like intentional silencing.

That kind of thing – threatening people until they fear for their safety and have to retreat from public places – is harmful to free speech. Racist assholes like Milo being banned from Twitter? Not so much.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo

Is it just me or is Barrack Obama’s “don’t boo, vote” the quote of the campaign so far? It might be the quote of my entire life!
comment image

Fabe
Fabe
4 years ago

@Hippielady – That’s awful. And besides the horribleness of directing those threats against A LITTLE KID, it reads to me like intentional silencing.

That kind of thing – threatening people until they fear for their safety and have to retreat from public places – is harmful to free speech. Racist assholes like Milo being banned from Twitter? Not so much.

Yeah thats the manosphere for yeah ,they use threats and intimidation to try and silence women they don;t like then claim their freedom is being suppressed

Alpine, RN
Alpine, RN
4 years ago

You must not threaten on a boat, you must not threaten that poor goat, you must not make threats here, or there, YOU MUST NOT THREATEN ANYWHERE!

You mustn’t threaten on the ‘net, you must not threaten your cat’s vet, you must not threaten here, or there, YOU MUST NOT THREATEN ANYWHERE!

…I’ll show myself out

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@WWTH
She hits em 1st, he cleans up the next day. OTP if there ever was one
http://www.uptownmagazine.com/files/2012/01/Barack-and-Michelle.jpg

BTW, does she follow the Hillary model, ya think? Run for Illinois States Attorney or something a few years down the line. Not necessarily go for the presidency, but generally stick around. At this point, she could easily have pretty much anything she wanted

@Alpine
That was dope…

invivoMark, Men's Rice Activist
invivoMark, Men's Rice Activist
4 years ago

@Joekster,

The offensive GG is one of the deadly sins of gaming. Only the smuggest of assholes will drop an offensive GG, often before saying “EZ game.”

The game is only over when the loser taps out.

ryeash
ryeash
4 years ago

@kupo

I just feel like it’s messed up to come into a thread about how the law is finally doing something about a huge problem that affects women and POC far more than men and express sympathy for the white, male, entitled, abusive asshole who broke the law and made people fear for their safety.

http://blog.formstack.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/yes.gif#yes%20gif%20400×157

You seem a decent fellow, EJ, and I don’t mean to come off as harsh towards you specifically, but I’m sick to fucking death of all the sympathy for abusers EVERYWHERE else from EVERYONE else; this place is usually my respite from it. Rape and DV cases that actually end in conviction, you always hear about how the poor abuser’s life is ruined or thus-and-such happened in their lives to supposedly excuse their behavior. Someone gets fired for advertising their workplace on a social media account that they’re using to harass others and spread hate, and all you hear about is how unfair it is to the harasser that their actions cost them their job. All I hear as a survivor is people’s sympathy for my abusers. The problem with abuse is not the abusers’ pain–it is the pain they inflict on others. Could we please not be guilted–in this place, if nowhere else–into sympathizing with people who actively and knowingly harm others?

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
4 years ago

To echo the sentiment of others: as happy as I am law enforcement responded to threats made against others, the fact Activision and Blizzard were involved as well as the fact the person making the threats had psychological issues makes it feel less like…I dunno, would “victory” be the right word? People on social media, especially women, who get harassed generally don’t get support from law enforcement. Plus the fact many neurotypical people still defend harassment under the erroneous notion it is somehow “free speech” means we still have a long way to go.

Getting into conversation with GamerGaters about the nature of threats is one of the most surreal conversations I’ve had online. They’re the kind of people who will be totally dismissive about such whenever a female writer is getting a flood of death and rape threats, even claiming they “just made it up”, but will do a 180-degree turn and become concerned when it becomes clear to them the other party doesn’t buy their heinous logic. Of course, they won’t admit that it’s just shitty – they’ll play the false equivalency card and claim the “other side” does it “as much.” Nevermind they often lack the evidence of such, unlike the numerous women who are told several variations of “I’m going to rape you” and document such to prove that, yet expect others to take it as a given without question.

I remember seeing a clip where Kevin Logan was debating Carl “Sargon of Akkad” Benjamin, pointing out how hypocritical it was that he was completely credulous of Sam “Total Biscuits” Bains’ claim of being harassed while he is constantly disbelieving Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn when it comes to the threats they receive. Benjamin, lacking self-awareness as he does, accused Logan of “seeing the worst in people” and acted like he was on the verge of crying like he was John Boehner.

It really infuriates me when GGers and the like do this, when they’re such insensitive and inconsiderate jackasses towards people who are genuinely being tormented and suffering from it – yet start shedding crocodile tears and self-victimizing the moment they get called out on their shit. It’s absolutely pathetic for a bunch of people to constantly pat themselves on the back for being so “rational”, yet manage to have the most petulant hissy-fits imaginable and still have the fucking gall to accuse others of being “over-emotional.”

EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

Thanks for calling me on that, kupo and ryeash.

Bryce
Bryce
4 years ago

I recently got back to online gaming, and remembered pretty quickly why I usually steer clear of it.

Sadly that’s just one guy, one drop in a an ocean of shit that gamers have to swim through on a regular basis. Seems that private games are the only safe games

The main reason I won’t touch CS Go, being that it’s one the most toxic communities in existence.

Some people get a huge kick out of ridiculing and dehumanizing other players. It still has the power to affect someone even if it’s not directed at them.

ryeash
ryeash
4 years ago

@EJ

Thanks for being cool about it 🙂

ViolinlessHoax
ViolinlessHoax
4 years ago

@joekster

what’s wrong with ‘good game’? I never played league of legends, but in Starcraft it was just something you said when you knew you’d lost the game.

Like others mentioned, it’s possible to use it as an insult. I’ve seen it used in mid-game when one player manages to take down another (especially if it’s an instagib), they’ll go:
>good game
>good game
>good game

Needless to say, I mostly played LoL against bots :p