This exploratory thesis employs a contemporary scale to measure the existence of threats within mediated messages. In this study, human subjects from the general population rated the perceived presence and seriousness of threat in sample messages using a rating scale designed to evaluate threat characteristics. A set of eight paraphrased threatening and non-threatening messages were distributed to two different sample populations. The first was a convenience sample from a large southwestern university, and the second was a sample of individuals recruited through a snowball sampling method. Ratings were compared to determine the validity and discriminatory power of the rating scale, and to identify specific linguistic features that were perceived to be threatening. This study demonstrated significant classification accuracy in differentiating nonthreatening messages, warnings, vague threats, and explicit threats prior to applying this knowledge to contemporary big data assessment approaches.