Chatting With Disaster
Date Added: Nov. 25, 2002
A message has been circulating for more than 3 years that warns of a suspected serial killer who uses the Internet to stalk his prey. The case is real, but the warning misinforms more than it protects.
Subject: State Police Warning!!!!!! Serious
Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2001 11:46:44 -0400
This is something I received from the MD State Police Please read this "very carefully"...then send it out to all the people online that you know. Something like this is nothing to take casually; this is something you DO want to pay attention to. Think of it as a bit of advice too.
If a person with the screen-name of Slavemaster contacts you, do not reply. Do not talk to this person; do not answer any of his/her instant Messages or e-mail. Whoever this person may be, he/she is a suspect for murder in the death of 56 women (so far) contacted through the Internet.
Please send this to all the women on your buddy list and ask them to pass this on, as well. This screen-name was seen on Yahoo, AOL, and Excite, so far. This is not a joke! Please send this to men too...they can tell their loved ones, just in case! Send to every one you know! Ladies, this is serious.
John E. Robinson, a 56 year-old Kansas man, was arrested early in June, 2000, on sexual assault charges filed by women whom he met in internet chat rooms. His arrest and subsequent property search turned up 5 brutally murdered women's bodies. Robinson used the Internet nickname "Slavemaster." Despite this basis in reality, there are several problems with the warning above. First, it is anonymously authored and provides no verifiable facts, it was not issued by the Maryland State Police or any of the dozens of other law enforcement agencies to which it has been attributed, and it contains a lot of lies and misinformation.
Later versions of this chain letter erroneously cite other screen names (such as "SweetCaliGuy4ever," "Monkeyman935" and others) as the one to look out for. What better way to get even with a chat-room nuisance than to attach his name to a chain letter accusing him of being a serial killer?
The letter also states that he has killed 56 women. If he had, he would rank among the most terrible serial killers of all time, something that would certainly get him some TV time at the least. But instead, the only place you hear about him is through a three-year old anonymously authored and haphazardly forwarded e-mail? Doesn't make sense. Robinson was convicted on 3 counts of murder in Kansas in October 2002, and faces three indictments in Missouri. Though many new claims of sexual assault have surfaced since his arrest, no additional charges have been filed.
Unfortunately, cyber stalking is a very real and serious threat. It's vital to be careful in any Internet relationship. The internet provides a certain degree of anonymity that allows many people to abandon their inhibitions and do things they would never do in real life. There are many frightening and real tales of innocent netizens who have been victimized physically, emotionally and/or financially by someone they thought was harmless.
Instead of forwarding this grievous collection of misinformation to your friends, send them to sources of advice about defending themselves against cyberstalkers. WiredPatrol.org has great tips and guidelines for protecting yourself from online predators. Surf safely, ignore needlessly sensational warnings and continue to break the Chain!
References: Snopes.com, TruthMiners.com