back to article Feds charge Man after FCC boss Ajit Pai's kids get death threat over net neutrality axe vote

A Californian man is accused of threatening the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai and his family, over the decision to rescind net neutrality rules in the US. Markara Man, 33, of Norwalk, just outside Los Angeles, was collared on Friday by the FBI for allegedly sending three threatening emails to Pai's …

  1. Zwuramunga

    He commited a Felony

    Really? Is Net Neutrality worth doing hard time? Is it worth MURDER?

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: He commited a Felony

      Not to me personally . . . YMMV.

    2. Marshalltown

      Re: He commited a Felony

      Yeah, "felony" by definition rather than content. Just goes to show that the jackassery of of Pai successfully triggered further jackassery. "Threats" are not treated as First Amendment protected speech here in the home of the "brave," although the immense majority of threats are uttered by frustrated people who never learned to curse, swear and utter Shakespearian obscentities. Otherwise he might have uttereed something more like, "the devil damn thee black thou Pai faced loon," or something similar.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He commited a Felony

        > "Just goes to show that the jackassery of of Pai successfully triggered further jackassery."

        So if someone does murder Pai's children, it will have been provoked by Pai's evil policies?

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: He commited a Felony

          "So if someone does murder Pai's children, it will have been provoked by Pai's evil policies?"

          Only if that was the case.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He commited a Felony

          That's what the author seems to be saying: Pai was being inflammatory, so no wonder people got enflamed. It's somehow Pai's fault too.

          Enoch Powell and his supporters used to use the same morally bankrupt argument.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: He commited a Felony

            Something can be consequential and still be morally or legally wrong. It often is.

      2. Byron "Jito463"

        Re: He commited a Felony

        "Yeah, "felony" by definition rather than content."

        No, felony by threatening to kill a man's kids over a political disagreement. He deserves to have the book thrown at him.

        1. Byron "Jito463"

          Re: He commited a Felony

          Wow, two thumbs downs already? Do you people really believe it's okay to threaten to kill someone's kids over a political disagreement? That's disturbing, to say the least.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: He commited a Felony

            I've noticed this coarsening attitude to violence toward others as well. It's the result of demonizing them for mere political disagreements, something the left does routinely these days.

            1. JLV Silver badge

              Re: He commited a Felony

              >the left does routinely these days

              I guess that whatever part of the brain manages irony isn't very developed with you, eh, BJ? Not that I have high expectations for the other parts.

              Now, had you said, many elements of the left and right do routinely these days, then I'd have to agree with you.

              This insistence on demonizing people who don't agree with you, for policy differences which are often trivial in nature (immigration aside, that's where "the right" likes to "shine" - but see Italy's hybrid abortion too), is royally effin up our democracies, just as much as self-awarded increasing monetary suck into the C-level management.

              If you managed to put together one or two sentences from time to time without resorting to name calling, but rather criticizing policies, you'd be taken a lot more seriously here and with people other than your fellow travelers. Shame you can't quite manage.

              1. JLV Silver badge

                Re: He commited a Felony

                To be clear, I have no sympathy whatsoever for the person who threatened Pai and took issue with the tone of this article from the start.

                Coming from BJ, of all people, I find this lament about "the left demonizing them for mere political disagreements" rather ironic however.

                Just as I don't really appreciate people generalizing the Charlottesville neo-nazis into a wider narrative applicable to "the right" in general.

                Civility doesn't hurt, even in political matters ;-)

  2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Coat

    Move over, Florida Man . . .

    . . . here comes Markara Man.

  3. Lt.Kije

    clowns to the left of me jokers to the right

    Difficult to say who is the bigger dick.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: clowns to the left of me jokers to the right

      Neither. It's smallberries all 'round.

  4. JLV Silver badge

    >while it is completely unacceptable to threaten officials and their children

    Markara is a jackass and his prosecution, or not, for making death threats should proceed as it is customary in these cases towards public officials, including taking into account the apology, circumstances and motivation.

    Personally, 3-6 months, suspended or not, would be ambly sufficient, unless there’s any indication he was planning to go through with.

    Pai’s well-documented tendancy to be a contemptible excuse for a public servant (and the outstanding questions re his potential corruption) should NOT figure in a ‘but’ or ‘while’ aside regarding Markara’s actions.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      It's the way it is these days. Government officials are "special" and especially Pai. They're all now demi-gods or so it seems and Markara will have the book thrown at him. I shudder to think what would happen if he'd threatened someone higher up the food chain.

      FWIW, apparently this wasn't a credible threat, just someone blowing off steam but then since the docs are sealed we have no idea what evidence is in it.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        It's not that officials are "special" or "demi-gods" it's because they're in a position to set policy. Making threats of violence to that official or their family in order to coerce or extort a policy position is little different from using indiscriminate violence or the threats of same to influence policy. Please note that the latter tactic, typically known as terrorism, is also a felony.

    2. Marshalltown

      The trial would be a colossal waste of public funds s it stands. The closed charges evidently provide hte Feds with time to manufacture evidence that the apology was a fake and that Markara was building an arsenal of cream pies and banana peels to use against Pai.

  5. Keef

    'angry at Aji Pai personally.'

    So he's angry at both Aji Pai and Ajit Pai.

    Clearly a man with problems.

    And, yes, I know about the 'Tips and corrections' link but it's a mailto: and I don't have an email client installed so it doesn't work.

    Why not make the Tips and corrections open a box I can post my tip and/or correction to. Not that hard and it would stop me posting corrections like this that will no doubt be deleted by a moderator.

    Just sayin'

    Cheers,

    Keef.

  6. Rob F
    Terminator

    I never understood the position of the 'victim' to have the position on whether to press charges or not. Regardless of the decision, the person did or didn't break a law. Why it matters how Pai thought on the issue should be irrelevant to whether charges should be held. I guess police would prefer to have the backing of the victim as they are able to get co-operation and conviction that way. Does anyone ask the family of a murdered person whether they want the case dropped or not.

    I despise Pai and all the self interested groups that have removed Net Neutrality and have had fantasies of making them suffer, but stooping to their level or worse will always come back to bite the other side in the ass. I wouldn't almost counter that they are banking on the over-reactions to justify the means.

    1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      In this sort of situation, the reason for involving the "victim" in charging decisions is that the concept of "threat" is highly subjective: if Pai didn't believe the language constituted a true threat, then the government would have a hard time proving that the crime occurred. Bottom line is that any competent defense attorney is going to want to depose the victim(s), and the government needs to be confident that the victim(s) are going to support the charges. So they check with the victim(s) before filing...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone who grew up in the south during the civil rights era...

    This article reminds me far too much of the articles I read when a black activist or their supporters were beat up or murdered. Same tone as this article, " you know it shouldn't have happened but they brought it on themselves by their actions ...." When Martin Luther King was killed the articles said he was just a trouble maker.

    A number of restaurants have made the news by refusing to serve Trump supporters or even those who work in the administration.Congresswoman Maxine Waters ( Dem California) has openly stated that restaurants not only have the right to refuse service to Trump supporters but they should.

    This led to the best political cartoon I have see in a long time. Maxine Waters is on one side of a lunch counter saying you have the right to refuse service to anyone and on the other side some KKK members are saying that for once they agree on something.

    AC for obvious reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As someone who grew up in the south during the civil rights era...

      Whilst I agree with you about the apologetic tone of the article, you are completely off-base with a comparison to Trump supporters.

      Trump supporters are not a protected species. Beliefs (apart, unfortunately, from religious beliefs) are not anti-discriminatory.

      It's rather telling that you think it's on the same level as racial, sexual, or homophobic discrimination. No wonder you posted anonymously for "obvious reasons".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As someone who grew up in the south during the civil rights era... @ac

        I notice two things about your post. First you posted as AC. Second you hide behind the law to support discrimination against Trump supports. At the time I am talking about it was quite legal to refuse service to a black person. It wasn't discrimination back then. It was just the way it was. The fact a black person walked into a while only business was causing a disturbance and cause for an arrest.

        This comment from you is very telling " Beliefs (apart, unfortunately, from religious beliefs) are not anti-discriminatory". You would have been right at home in Nazi Germany refusing to serve a Jew.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As someone who grew up in the south during the civil rights era... @ac

          I posted AC for other reasons, not "obvious reasons" (tm)

          You are a snowflake if you can even call it "discrimination against Trump supporters" as if it's a serious thing - way to go triviliasing a term.

          > At the time I am talking about it was quite legal to refuse service to a black person.

          > It wasn't discrimination back then.

          First strawman. If you can't win an argument based on facts, try and win in on lies instead. Trump would be proud. Read my post. I agreed with your first paragraph. However, I fail to see how you think Trump supporters existed at a time where it was legal to refuse service based on race.

          And nice Goodwin strawman. Regardless, learn your history - Jews were attacked by Nazis for their ethnicity, not their religion. You think the Nazis spared the Jewish atheists?

          As for the strawman, I was talking about people using religion as an excuse for their bigotry, hatred, and close-mindedness. But, seeing as you like silly strawmans, I suppose you are excusing ISIS for beheading infadels? --- It is their religious belief, after all!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            \@ac it looks like I hit a nerve.

            First off while it was true in the Soviet Union Jew was a nationality (religion didn't exist because it was an opiate of the masses) that was not true of Germany. Hitler also went after the Catholics but it wasn't' as successful . You really didn't agree with my first paragraph, it was very much like the Register article, I agree with you but... which was the point of my original post. You keep bringing up things like ISIS that had nothing to do with my original post.

            I know a number of people like me who voted for Trump. And like me they didn't truly vote for Trump, they voted against people who stole millions from the Haitians, who took full responsibility for the children burned to death at Waco. Who protected an FBI agent who shot a woman in the head who was doing nothing more than holding her baby. I know you are going to say that happened in the Bush administration and that is true but the legal resolution came under Clinton. And don't tell me Hillary is different than Bill. Hilliary would not exist except for Bill Auschwitcz and Buchenwald and various other places didn't come into place over night but they did come into place because of people like you. The whole concept of " you don't agree with me therefore I have the right to destroy you".

            Please keep posting, people like you is why Trump got elected.

            I have a rule that I only respond twice to a post. So what say you will you will not see a response from me.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: \@ac it looks like I hit a nerve.

              Geeze. There you go again making up things that didn't happen.

              First off, typical tribal Trumpist attitude. Why the hell do you assume I have any time for Hillary or the democrats? I don't.

              > "You keep bringing up things like ISIS"

              I mentioned it *once* in response to you mentioning NAZIs and JEWS (which also has nothing to do with the subject). And I did agree about the tone of the article, I didn't agree with your subsequent points.

              It seems reading comprehension isn't all that important to you.

              It's good that you are no longer posting - it's impossible to debate someone with no critical reasoning skills.

              Still, whether you post or not, you are the reason Trump is TANKING - and yes - anyone who still supports trump and all his disgusting bullshit is clinically insane.

  8. Mayday Silver badge
    WTF?

    What an idiot

    All views on net neutrality, the politician and everything else aside, this guy uses a Gmail from his own home, with his regular Gmail as the backup address? Linked to social media too?

    WWWWWWWTTTTTTTTTTFFFFFFFFFF?

    Did he want to get caught or something?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What an idiot

      Perhaps he was paid to do it. Follow the Money.

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: What an idiot

      In general people don't think well once they've worked themselves into a froth. Case in point, read this horrible verdict against free speech. I'd wager the angry person who used colorful language directed toward an asshole1 never thought much about the possible outcomes before calling the asshole1 an asshole1.

      WTF indeed.

      1. I make no claims as to whether he is actually an asshole or not; I am merely expressing my opinion that he is an asshole without intending to cause offense.

  9. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Not sure why Pai wouldn't press charges...

    ...yeah, Pai's a prick. But does that justify threats against his family? Does it take away from his right to seek legal remedies - bearing in mind that its the legal system that will provide the adult supervision needed to ensure a just sanction? The tone of the article suggests that because he's a prick he needs to just suck it up.

    I've definitely been insulted in my time and an apology... or better yet a pint... and we are good to go. But threatening assault? We have moved beyond a pint and a handshake, my friend.

    Threaten my kids? Be happy and feel genuinely fortunate if you're arrested. I respect human life but I grade on a curve, and there are a lot of abandoned mine shafts nearby... None of my mates will see a thing.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Not sure why Pai wouldn't press charges...

      This is a difficult one to admit, but I agree with Pai on this. There's absolutely no excuse for _not_ pressing charges.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Not sure why Pai wouldn't press charges...

      He got a mail threatening his children. With their school location.

      Sorry, but if I got a mail like that I would have law enforcement pursue to the end of the Earth. The fact that it is an asshole who got the mail is irrelevant to me. Nobody touches the children.

      The real irony is that if the guy had just threatened Pai, he'd likely have all the support of the Twittersphere and social media. But he did the unforgivable and now he's going to pay. Talk like a thug, walk (to prison) like a thug.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the brightest scholar

    While I completely disagree with Pai's abuse of power and decision to oppose Net neutrality, threatening people's lives over such issues is completely unacceptable. Threatening to remove a politician from office via a recall vote or similar is much more effective and legal. Time for people to get a grip on reality and not go "postal" over political decisions that occur everyday.

    1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: Not the brightest scholar

      FCC Commissioners cannot be removed by a recall vote or similar. To remove Ajit "Idjit" Pai from office, you'd have to be President, which requires a lengthy qualification process managed by Moscow...

      1. Byron "Jito463"

        Re: Not the brightest scholar

        "you'd have to be President, which requires a lengthy qualification process managed by Moscow..."

        Are you still on that crap? I never supported Trump, and in fact, switched my party allegiance of 21 years from Republican to independent after he became the nominee; and even I recognize the whole Russia thing is a made up "nothing-burger". If anyone colluded with Russia, I'd place odds on Hitlery Clinton first.

  11. Herby Silver badge

    Simple:

    Don't do the crime, if you can't do the crime.

    As for the threats, I don't think I'd like my kids threatened like this, names and school addresses. Not too good.

  12. james 68

    Pai is a gormless twat, but here (and I can't believe I'm saying this) he's in the right. Someone threatens you and it can be laughed off, no harm no foul. Someone threatens your kids on the other hand.... You screw em and you screw em HARD.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      I think you'll find that it's the law that's right, and not Pai in particular.

      Don't give him credit when none is due.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Someone threatens you and it can be laughed off, no harm no foul.

      Fair enough.

      > Someone threatens your kids on the other hand....

      How is it any different?

      1. james 68

        Seriously?

        An adult is capable in most cases of defending themselves against another adult or failing that devising alternate means of protection. A child is many times more vulnerable.

        At least threatening an adult because of an action they have considered and acted upon can be understood though rarely condoned, what pray tell are the children guilty of to merit such?

        Oh and congratulations, you've managed to use the standard pedophile defense with a straight face. Anonymous Coward indeed.

  13. JL1

    I certainly think that threatening to kill someone and their kids and sending specific information about the kids goes way over any reasonable line and deserves a lot more than a reprimand. This idiot should be prosecuted. I would certainly press charges.

  14. RGE_Master

    How dumb do you have to be to have your backup email your main account... Oh wait..

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, this article is bollocks.

    Crank makes death threats to Pai's kids. Pai calls cops. Cops nail crank. All good.

    Pai may be an arsehole. That belongs in a totally separate article.

    Read it back to yourself. 'A crank made death threats to Pai's kids, BUT let's not forget that Pai is an arsehole'.

    Shame on you. Do your job properly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sorry, this article is bollocks.

      This is victim-shaming; apparently Ajit Pai brought it all on himself.

      Is drinking from a big mug really inflammatory to the Reddit crowd? Pai was taking the abuse in good humor, there's a video of him reading out the most abusive Tweets.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBt84HNAGwU

      Maybe that's what drove them crazy.

  16. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Me, I just find it hard anyone allowed him to breed in the first place...

    Who?

    Either of them...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    think of the children!!!

    no, wait, not in that way.

  18. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

    El Reg fail...

    "And while there is absolutely no justification in ever threatening public officials and especially their children in relation to a policy decision, it is also worth noting that it may have been Pai who actively decided to press charges."

    "In short, while it is completely unacceptable to threaten officials and their children, the entire episode has served to highlight why people are so disappointed with and angry at Aji Pai personally."

    Major fail on the tone of this article, El Reg. You need to turn the first comma in each of those statements and delete the rest. How does anything that Pai has done justify this guys actions? Threatening to kill someone because you didn't get your way is unacceptable. Threatening someones kids, under any circumstance, is unacceptable. This guy decided to double up here - he is wrong, period.

    There's nothing left to say about it.

  19. ma1010 Silver badge
    Go

    From El Reg's mouth to $DEITY's ear

    It is just one more sign of a dangerous ramping up of rhetoric on both sides of the political divide, and one that you would hope federal officials would seek to dampen down rather than actively encourage.

    Please!

  20. karlkarl Bronze badge

    Think like a computer. Just like Pai.

    Will Pai's stupidity kill more people than himself and the number of his kids? (2?).

    - If so... then the computer will take the choice of killing Ajit and his kids.

    - If no people die from Pai's stupidity then the computer will choose not to eliminate him or his children.

    So the question is... will the death of net neutrality kill anyone? I imagine some companies may never exist because of it, so a lack of income. Hence perhaps cause homelessness? So perhaps death by exposure? Who knows.

    All I know is, if we want to beat soulless machine men like Ajit Pai... then we need to fight like soulless machine men. Take the lesser of two evils. Done.

    Personally the idea of being a machine man disgusts me. Ajit Pai disgusts me.

  21. Anguilla

    Beats me !!

    ...Why he just threatened - surely the most effective outcome - for him - is to deposit a bullet into a deadly portion of Pai's body - for which many Merkans' would be eternally grateful.

    Not being a citizen of Trump's crap overweight country - I'm not going to do anything against Pai's regime, but I must admit that in such a gun-crazy country, nobody hasn't stepped up to dispose of him.

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