the 12th (death threat), well, that’s the one that changes your life; it’s the picture of your home or your office, it’s the one with white powder in the envelope, it’s the one that mentions the hair color of your teenage daughter, or with screencaps of your teenage son’s Snapchats. It comes from a person who is really committed to fucking with you, the kind of crazy person you imagined was behind the first threat you ever received, it’s the one that makes the jaw of the cop who responds to your freaked-out call tighten as he tried to keep his poker face but you can tell he’s worried. It’s the one that makes you take an unscheduled vacation, or break your lease, or drop out of your political race or stop writing on the internet for a while; it’s the one that makes you question whether you should’ve been so sanguine about numbers one through 11, because maybe they’re more realistic than they sounded at the time.They’re the kind of threats that upend the basis of our democracy and our society, by silencing and scaring away and driving out everyone but the people who would never be silent or scared, no matter how realistic the risk—and, goodness knows, having rational actors who think through risk and reward is reasonably important in government—and by driving out the people more likely to receive the more serious threats. They’re the kind of threats that true public servants, even those who benefit, ought to condemn and discourage, not dismiss and ignore.Or else, you’re essentially guaranteeing that there will be more. And, with 2018 coming, there probably will be.