Richard Oliff - Poisonous e-mail left me rattled

Richard Oliff
Richard Oliff
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At the end of 2005 a disturbing email arrived that has bothered me to this day.

I still take it seriously and this is the first time I’ve spoken about it. It doesn’t contain many words: it didn’t have to. I’m possibly attempting to rid myself of its ‘mind worm’ quality yet, at the same time, curious to know who has to dislike one so much that they feel the need to put finger to keyboard in such a poisonous way. Apart from anything else I find the whole anonymity thing quite cowardly, an indication that such an action was perpetrated by a sad or inadequate individual. It would be difficult to tell you the full content of the mail purely because of its tone and nature, though the immaturity of the sender may be revealed by its closing words: ‘Now you will feel the yield….’ I’ve absolutely no idea what this was supposed to mean. All of my internet research on the subject has given me no clue. I though it may be from the script of Star Wars or Star Trek: it has that Darth Vader quality to it. Flash Gordon may have once been threatened by some random nemesis to ‘feeling the yield’. Other things in the mail were worrying. ‘Firstly, you were quick to ridicule’ it said.’ second, you smeared me. Third, you scuppered my opportunity’. I’ve wracked my brains. I can’t be that important to anyone. I took the mail so seriously that its arrival was reported to the police. I shall call my police contact Dennis, the officer in charge of such things, at that time, at my local police station. I told Dennis that I found the experience disturbing, threatening and slanderous, and wondered if he might be able to trace the culprit. I told him that I have no knowledge of the sender: not even a clue in the mail address and the whole thing had left me worried for both my family and my personal safety. Dennis then visited our home to give some reassurance. Now, if that little email containing so few words has managed to keep me curious for the past six years then what must it be like to receive more threatening or damaging anonymous filth on one’s computer. More people get far worse than mine in their in-boxes. We’ve all heard of cyber bullying: actions that can lead in extreme cases to the recipient taking extreme and unfortunate or self harming actions. So, what to do if you become a victim of such a crime? Well, you need to print out the offending messages and notify the police immediately, due to their threatening overtones. Give them to the police, as this will be treated as evidence that will be used against them in court. Remember that your interpretation of a ‘nasty’ email may be different to someone else’s level of toleration. None of that matters: if it’s seen as a threat or damaging to you: report it!