The blogosphere’s alight tonight with the story of Kathy Sierra and the threats made against her. Most of the big blogs have it – Mr. Scoble, Mr. Arrington, Mr. Rubel, Mr. Chapman, and more. Not much else that can be said in terms of expressing outrage in and of itself – lots of other people are doing that plenty well. A few thoughts.

I’m glad the police are involved. I’d encourage anyone with any information to contact the Boulder, Colorado police.

Boulder Police Department
1805 33rd Street
Boulder, CO 80301
303-441-3300

I hope any legal professionals at the top of their game offer pro bono assistance to Kathy and help her litigate the parties responsible into oblivion. Nothing says “zip it” like a $12M lawsuit.

Want to DO something? Encourage others to learn about and develop effective tools for dealing with the threat of violence. Go read the Gift of Fear by Gavin deBecker, one of the finest books in the genre, masterfully written, then gift it to someone you know who needs to read it. There’s a sequel if you’re a parent titled Protecting the Gift, also a great read.

Offer assistance and outreach in your community. Learn and teach self protection skills. Create a neighborhood watch in your community. For every Kathy Sierra, there are millions of women whose voices are equally threatened or worse, but don’t have the readership or “A-List” status that she does to give her voice. If you’ve got a truly solid constitution and the ability to keep it together under the worst strain, volunteer at a battered women’s shelter.

Online, take a stand against incivility. Be willing to step up and call bullshit on a keyboard kommando. Most of all, learn the tools of new media and the ability to influence crowds, and help guide people toward or away from online destinations which foster hatred. We will likely never get rid of hatred or violence, but we don’t have to subsidize web sites that encourage hate with our traffic. In the end, money and influence are powerful weapons that we have at our disposal. Use them.

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