On Friday, April 22, 2022, the Justice Department announced that the FBI had apprehended Jeremy David Hanson, a 34-year-old resident of Rossmoor, California, who had made numerous threats of violence against the Springfield, Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Due to these threats, the publishing company closed its offices for five days in October 2021 out of concern for employee safety after Hanson sent messages to saying things such as:
The imbecile who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot.
It would be poetic justice to have someone storm your offices and shoot up the place, leaving none of you commies alive.
as well as straight-up saying that:
You [sic] headquarters should be shot up and bombed.
and that he would:
bomb your offices
The reason he offered for these alleged threats of violence? Why, because the dictionary defines "woman" and "female" in ways that are inclusive of trans-people and thus, in his own words, part of a Marxist agenda.
Here's how Merriam-Webster defines "woman" —
1a: an adult female person
b: a woman belonging to a particular category (as by birth, residence, membership, or occupation)—usually used in combination [councilwoman]
3: distinctively feminine nature : WOMANLINESS
4: a woman who is a servant or personal attendant
5a: chiefly dialectal : WIFE
c: GIRLFRIEND sense 2
6: a woman who is extremely fond of or devoted to something specified
And their definition of "female" —
1a(1): of, relating to, or being the sex that typically has the capacity to bear young or produce egg
(2): botany : having or producing only pistils or pistillate flowers
b: having a gender identity that is the opposite of male
c: made up of usually adult members of the female sex : consisting of females
d: characteristic of girls, women, or the female sex : exhibiting femaleness; composed for female voicesa female name
e: designed for or typically used by girls or women
f: engaged in or exercised by girls or women
g: having a quality (such as small size or delicacy of sound) sometimes associated with the female sex
2: of a rhyme : having an unstressed final syllable
3: designed with a hollow or groove into which a corresponding male part fits
Hanson has been charged with interstate transmission of communications to injure the person, which carries a potential sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.
(Personally, I'm torn between my feelings about prison abolition and my surprise / relief that the Boston FBI office didn't try to flip the guy to use as an informant like Whitey Bulger or Tamerlan Tsarnaev.)
Image: Public Domain via Flickr