The Adventures of Jimmyflathead

The Internet postings of Bruce Ivins.

Also in Slate, Farhad Majoo examines  alternative theories about the anthrax case.

The documents released by the Justice Department on Aug. 6 contain no direct proof that Army microbiologist Bruce Ivins, who killed himself last week, was the anthrax killer. But they contain ample evidence that Ivins was a ubiquitous presence on the Web, frequently posting bizarre or angry comments under such aliases as “jimmyflathead,” “kingbadger7,” and “goldenphoenix111.” Herewith, a first pass at compiling them.

Kappa Kappa Gamma. Ivins had a bizarre obsession with this sorority (or, rather, “women’s fraternity”), and investigators deem significant the presence of a Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter near 10 Nassau St. in Princeton, N.J., where the anthrax letters were allegedly mailed. One manifestation of this obsession was that Ivins spent a great deal of time battling with Wikipedia and other Web sites over what they wrote about Kappa Kappa Gamma:

Dec. 21, 2005:

It’s a common misconception that “Kappa Kappa Gamma” stands for “Key
to the Kingdom of God.” Actually, it stands for “Kalon K’Agathon
Gnothi,” which is Greek for “Know the Beautiful and the Good.” KKG is
big on the virtues of Plato: “THe Good, The True, and The Beautiful.”
The organization is one of the oldest women’s fraternities in the
country, founded in 1870 at Monmouth College. Famous alumnae include
Ashley Judd, Jane Pauley and Kate Jackson.
—Jimmy Flathead

Feb. 9, 2006:

I have reinstatedHistorical Miscellaneous Facts—In the late 1800s, the Kappa Call, Ai Korai Athenes! (The Maidens of Athena!), was introduced. It is still practiced in some chapters today.If you remove it again, I will request you to be blocked. Furthermore, I suggest that you sign in with a name. If my additions to this page continue to be removed, then I will begin to add things such as the hazing incident at DePauw, the Kappa chapter being kicked off the University of Maryland campus for drugs, the fact that a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army was a Kappa. I hope that I have made myself clear.—jf

July 25, 2006:

It is correct to assume that other fraternal organizations have “Other Facts” that they would rather people not know. For example, Symbionese Liberation Army member and confessed murderer Emily Harris was a Chi Omega. Charles “Tex” Watson, mass murderer and member of the Charles Manson “Family,” was a Pi Kappa Alpha. Many organizations have been cited for hazing violations. If people want to add such information to other Wiki pages, please do so. If these pages are intended to be honest and provide a look at a bit of the negative (as well as a lot of the positive) information about organizations, then good for honesty. If they’re meant solely to be commercials or advertisements, then that should be made clear, so that individuals reading the pages will know that what they read has been carefully crafted to present the organization in a totally favorable light.—jf

Aug. 4, 2006:

You have removed true and verifiable information from the Kappa Kappa Gamma page. Please do not remove content from Wikipedia. It is considered vandalism. If you would like to experiment, use the sandbox. Thank you.jimmyflathead

July 8, 2007:

Eelmonkey, I’m not a member of KKG, but at one time I had a copy of the Book Of Ritual. I’m familiar with their secrets and rituals, but I don’t think that the organization would want them revealed. I would respectfully suggest you ask the opinions of some of the Kappas who have posted here. jimmyflathead

Dave Twigg. On May 26,2006,a man namedDaveTwigg got entwined in a misunderstanding with a law enforcement officer of Virginia’s Department of Natural Resources while driving his truck in Tuscarora. The officer drew a gun on Twigg, searched his truck, and issued a citation stating (incorrectly) that Twigg had gotten caught “spotlighting,” an illegal form of hunting in which deer are blinded with bright lights. (In fact, Twigg had been looking for the top to his trash can, which had fallen off the truck.) Nothing came of it, but to Ivins it was the Dreyfus case all over again. Although his original postings to the Frederick News-Post  are no longer available, on Aug. 7 the paper retrieved and reported on them. Here they are:

I’ve known Dave Twigg for a long time, and he’s a great, honest, law-abiding guy. The DNR agent was more than a bit over-reactive and (testosteronal) in what he did to Dave. … Dave should sue the DNR and the officer involved for what happened.…Great … that’s all that night predators need to know: That they can stop anybody, anywhere, for practically any reason and say that they’re ‘DNR.’ Dave Twigg wasn’t running from anybody, so the ‘attempting to flee’ charge is completely bogus—What’s next? Arresting kids who have flashlights and are looking in their yard for nightcrawlers?”…[Y]ou can go online and purchase ‘police car’ lights for your vehicle. Scary, huh? Knowing that, how many of us would tell our loved ones to stop at night on deserted roads when unmarked, supposed police cars flashed their lights? As to comment in the previous post about ‘salivating lawyers,’ I think that the DNR officer’s actions would cause many reasonable people to consult an attorney.

The Da Vinci Code. Unlike most film critics,Ivins liked the Tom Hanks movie and reviewed it in a series of postings on the Frederick News-Post site (also not available anymore, but retrieved by the paper in that same Aug. 7 story):

Just as ‘Ben Hur’ and ‘Touched by an Angel’ were fictional, so The Da Vinci Code is fictional. It’s not theology or history, it’s a fictional suspense thriller. We were taught in gradeschool that Jesus was ‘a man like us in all ways but sin.’ So Jesus being fictionally given a wife would make him sinful? Please!… I just finished watching the first showing of The Da Vinci Code at the Westview theaters. It was a good, fast-paced, suspenseful movie. I recommend it, but people should read the book first, so that they can follow it more easily. (It moves VERY fast.) I didn’t see any protesters, thank goodness.…I saw it also, Erika, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. People forget that the movie and the book are FICTION. The Da Vinci Codes’s supposed blasphemy is that Jesus was a Jewish man with a Jewish wife and she bore him a child. Did Jesus sweat? Did he have cavities or get sick? Did he ‘go to the bathroom?’ We were taught that he was (a) person like us in all ways but sin, so having sexual relations with one’s spouse doesn’t seem sinful.

Family Origins. The Washington Post found an entry in from Aug. 2006 in which Ivins (posting as “Prunetacos”) bemoaned real or imagined “skeletons” in his family closet:

The skeletons are all out, 33girl. I’m having a devil of a time rounding them back up. Let’s see…how about mom who was an undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, a brother who was a wife-beater, who left her shortly before their baby was born - didn’t want to pay child support - and who was fired from several jobs for stealing? Is that bones enough? Oh…by the way…a few years ago he went to an SAE [ Sigma Alpha Epsilon?] house and tried to get into it, saying that he was a member. When they found out he was lying, they kicked his butt to the curb. Just like my brother….

The Mole. This is a reality TV series on ABC that someone the same age as Ivins who identified himself as “bruceivi” commented about on YouTube just one month ago. (The posts were found by True Crime Report.)

Maybe something really dreadful will happen to Kathryn Price. If so, she will richly deserve it! The least someone could do would be to take a sharp ballpoint pin or letter opener and put her eyes out, to complete the task of making her a true mole!…With that he should have taken the hatchet and brought it down hard and sharply across her neck, severing her carotid artery and jugular vein. Then when she hits the ground, he completes the task on the other side of the neck, severing her trachea as well. The “Blind” mole is dead and Steve is a hero among heroes! I personally would have paid big money to have done it myself.…Steve had a great chance to Kill Kathryn that would go down as the primo moment in reality TV. After the fake fainting he’d say, “Kathryn, do you know what a mole is? It’s a blind useless, animal that humans hate. And do you know what we do to moles? We kill them!”Sorry if my comments offended people. This occurred several years ago. It was meant as a macabre twist to a pretty lame reality show.

Juggling. This was one of Ivins’ hobbies. Five months ago, the poster “brucivi” was tickled to find an acquaintance named Deb demonstrating her juggling on YouTube. (This, too, was found by True Crime Report.)

Way to go, Deb!!!! You probably don’t remember me but I’m your sister Jen’s Godfather, Bruce. Where did you learn to do all that great stuff? Did you ever try two in each hand? Start with doing two in one hand, then do two in the other, then you can put them together, either alternating throws or throwing at the same time. I used to juggle as stress relief—it’s hard to think of other things when you’re tossing stuff in the air and trying to keep gravity from winning!—bruce

As we now know, Bruce Ivins was experiencing quite a lot of stress at that time.