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Atlanta Vampire Alliance [AVA]  |  Vampires & Vampirism  |  Vampire Community & Subcultural Discussion (Moderators: Merticus, SoulSplat, Eclecta, Maloryn, Zero)  |  Community Discussion: Not Firing On All Cylinders & Two Sides Of The Same Coin 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Community Discussion: Not Firing On All Cylinders & Two Sides Of The Same Coin  (Read 11454 times)
Merticus
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« on: December 19, 2011, 10:53:21 am »

Not Firing On All Cylinders & Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Mental impairments aren't uncommon to the vampire community but their proliferation seems to be increasing along with blanket acceptance by some who proclaim that any objection to permitting the expression(s) of said individuals is tantamount to oppression, bullying, or even fascism.  The purpose of this question is to examine situations where the unwritten policy or belief of inclusionism and absolute tolerance of verbal actions is counterproductive to the security, privacy, or peaceable functioning of the vampire community as a whole.

Consider These Questions:

1.) At what point does mental illness, impairment, or deficiency on behalf of community participants endanger others or the greater vampire community?

2.) When, if ever, is it acceptable to use one's condition as an excuse for behavior?

3.) When, if ever, do we look the other way?

4.) How do we determine if we're enabling?

5.) Under what circumstances, if any, do we attempt to inhibit or lessen someone's ability to participate by removing them from our websites, groups, etc.?  How about when others make false accusations for sensationalist effect against others of crimes, pedophilia, abuse, etc.?  How about when people choose to fake their own deaths?  How about when those who clearly aren't altogether there make threats against you or those you associate with?




December 21, 2011:

Now that the cat is out of the bag...

Stephanie Pistey Ruled Incompetent To Stand Trial
http://www.wjhg.com/home/headlines/135996463.html


The underlying reason behind the "Not Firing On All Cylinders & Two Sides Of The Same Coin" discussion is to explore a range of possibilities drawn out to the worst-case scenario of an actual community participant committing a crime and using the defense of mental illness or impairment.  Subsequently, others then being on record encouraging or enabling their behaviors through the courts after discovery of evidence (Facebook, forum, and other digital communications).

The uptick in "vampire" reported crimes has the potential to release a Pandora's box of legal challenges brought by employers, spouses involved in custody disputes, and those seeking retribution in relationships.  Bensley intends to claim he was in a drug induced state at his upcoming hearing in January but I've yet to be able to obtain any information on what defense Smith will mount.  If the Pistey case establishes any degree of precedent then the two sides of the same coin analogy would involve persons claiming to be vampires seeking to be declared incompetent to avoid or delay prosecution and non-vampires using the allegation of mental illness (as danger to self or others) to file lawsuits and seek to declare innocent persons incompetent, et. al. under the same pretense.

The admittedly sometimes heavy-handed moderation on forums and yahoo groups that once helped curb the frequency and platform of "crazy vampires" has all but been replaced by an unbridled array of social networking groups and sympathetic attitudes towards erratic behavior.  Challenges to these behaviors mounted by respected leaders, long-time participants, or the rational among us are being increasingly met with allegations of organized suppression and restrictions of their "rights" by a vocal minority.  How close are we until this reaches a tipping point and adversely affects us all?
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deacongray
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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2011, 01:58:29 pm »

The Precedent is what bothers me the most about this case. Like you said Mert, if they can say you are to crazy to stand trial for murder because you claim to be a vampire, then it becomes fairly simple for a family court judge to say the same thing. We are in a culture were the media has pretty much tried to link every odd news story to "vampires" because it gets hits and makes sensational news, those same stories are looked at and used to color what our government and judical system thinks about who we are.

A Dangerous Precedent
http://thegraveyardpress.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/a-dangerous-precedent/

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Oblivionburns
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2011, 09:46:32 pm »

The state of affairs is low, indeed, when one has to constantly consider whether or not their very existence will offens others.  We should not be treating people who claim "Dracula made me do it" as a "group" with "rights" akin to the mentally handicapped.  If we engender an attitude of tolerance concerning these flotsam, we will only weakan ourselves.  Ah, yes, the old "argumentative vampire state of mind".  If we are forced to consider every aspect of a situation, we become bogged down with the minutiae.  I will never worry about "At what point do we become enablers?"
This is because I am not torn by petty non-issues.  If vampirism is used as an excuse for behavior that becomes public knowledge, the person using that excuse has reason to fear... for if the supposed "higher state" endowed on them by being wampir is used as an excuse for bad behavior, I'm sure there are those who will see the ridiculousness of that argument & swat it away as one would a weak mosquito.  Just saying.
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Shadow hide you, moon watch over you, night cloak you, peace keep you.
Maloryn
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« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2011, 06:37:17 pm »

1st: There is no DSM or ICD diagnosis for vampirism, so anyone judged sufficiently mentally impaired would have to fall under some other diagnosis than "vampire". Those of us who self-identify as vampires can't decide what it means, why should we expect mental health professionals to be any better at it?

2nd: to address the questions presented...

   1. Question is to open-ended. Much would depend on the diagnosis / severity of the impairment or condition. This is especially true if there are substance abuse issues compounding mental health issues.

   2. Are we discussing vampiric conditions or mental health conditions? ... vampiric conditions, you're pretty much always responsible for your behavior ... mental health conditions are a bit different, if you have severe mental health issues I can see some leniency applied, especially if others are intentionally trying to "push your buttons". In general, this would not excuse violence, barring some other level of asshat behavior (ie don't fuck around with the paranoid ptsd vet, whether he/she's a vamp or not, he/she may blow your head off if you startle or threaten him/her)

   3. Any other time general politeness would dictate or if the person is causing no harm to themselves or others. Again, all about the context. Someone acting like an asshat on the internet has little do do with either vampirism or mental health concerns, and entirely about the fact that some people just can't handle anonymity.

   4. Much trickier question, best of the bunch. Flip the question on its head: what other options are open to us? What social responsibilities are we choosing to take on in regards to our "peers"? If someone says that they're only able to draw pranic energy when wearing a chicken suit, do I really care? Am I "enabling them" by not responding to everything I think it patiently moronic or am I just saving myself time and energy by not trying to discern if people's opinions / biases are just that far from my own they seem like internet trolls? It's an even sharper double edge sword given that a belief in vampirism is what draws us together, even if we can't actually agree with what it means Smiley

   5. Those of us who own / run the forums get to make the sometimes difficult call of when it is that we use the Ban Hammer™ and should recall that the Ban Hammer™ should actually never be used lightly and only ever with great force Smiley (or not used at all)  Those who choose to agree and participate on our forums should do so with the understanding that we aren't discussing their rights to free speech in America, but rather their right to color and interact in a medium that they are using for free. False accusations on the internet should be viewed the same way they are in any other media medium, as potential libel. Asshats and asshatery in general should be discouraged when possible, excepting sometimes when it exists for pure entertainment. It's usually best to go with the old "would I feel it justified if someone was punched once in the face for what was just said" rule. Faking their own death? Really? I'm so glad I'm out of touch. Guess we'll be discussing that one further offline. "Not altogether there" does not mean "not dangerous". It's much harder to tell over the internet. If they have the means and will to be a threat, they should be treated as one. If not, it's a much more slippery slope as casual disregard can put them from "not a threat" to "now a threat with something to prove".

3rd: Questions about the mental health of individuals are almost impossible to discern without knowing exactly what's going on with them "are they bug-nuts fucking crazy or not?" is generally a much easier question to answer than "are they suffering from a treatable condition / maintaining activities of daily living / are they at their baseline ?".

My $.02

---Mal
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CJ!
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2011, 04:41:30 pm »

Don't know if you guys noticed but there is nothing explicitly saying that Stephanie Pistey was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial due to her self-identity as "half vampire half werewolf." I would doubt that is the case based on her statement saying "I know this is going to be crazy" basically showing that she was lucid enough to realize that many will find her identification bizarre. I would suspect her mental incompetence has to do with unrelated matters.
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deacongray
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2012, 07:36:22 pm »

This is from her lawyer as it appears in the article "The fact is, with these oddball claims, I’m obligated to check under that rock, so to speak,” Stephenson, (Stephanie Pistey’s lawyer) said, referring to the evaluation.”

CJ read the article
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CJ!
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2012, 09:01:16 pm »

That statement is vague and nebulous and I still maintain that there is nothing explicitly saying that she was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial due to her identity as "half vampire and half werewolf." This only said that it was considered within the evaluation but not exact causality for the judge's decision.

You shouldn't make unwarranted assumptions. It will only make you look silly. 
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deacongray
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2012, 11:55:22 pm »

Good advice...us it...I think her own lawyers words speak for themselves. You can deny what her own lawyer said if like but who is judged Silly...well..
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CJ!
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 01:18:14 am »

What the lawyer said has always been acknowledged from the beginning. My point of contention is your assumption that his statement means and solely means that Stephanie Pistey was considered incompetent for trial on the sole basis of her identity as a vampire/werewolf. All that's needed is one successful counterexample to disprove the assumption. But I am generous, I'll give you five.

1. We have looked into the whole werewolf/vampire thing and it appears to be a manifestation of Ms. Pistey's greater schizophrenic symptoms. In this instance schizophrenia would be the reason why she is held incompetent.

2. We have looked into the whole werewolf/vampire thing and it appears to be a framework in which Ms. Pistey framed her sociopathic tendencies. In this instance her lack of understanding of right and wrong would be why she is held incompetent.

3. We have looked into the whole werewolf/vampire thing and it appears to be of no relevance to her deteriorating mental state. The stress of being charged for murder has rendered her in a catatonic state and is thus incompetent to be held to trial.

4. Further studies done with Ms. Pistey shows that she has the emotional maturity of a 4 year old and her identification of being part vampire and part werewolf is symptomatic of that. She isn't even in full realization of the gravity of her situation. In this instance she would be declared incompetent due to her severe lack of emotional maturity.

5. We have looked into the whole werewolf/vampire thing and it appears to be of no relevance to her deteriorating mental state. The realization of the gravity of her crime has shocked her into a psychotic state and she is incompetent to stand trial.

Bottom line is that there isn't enough information in the article to make such sweeping conclusions Deacon. An infinite amount of plausible counterexamples can be made using the same information given in the article. Yours could be the correct one. Just with the information given in the article, especially with Ms. Pistey's lucidity on the bizarre nature of her identity in the context of the mainstream I doubt its the correct one.


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CJ!
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 12:07:09 pm »

Upon further glance the quote from the lawyer was not included on the link to the article as supplied by this forum thread or your graveyard press article. Out of curiosity to see if there were any further details on why she was ruled incompetent I did a quick search and found the quote. However the article makes it abundantly clear that counterexample #1 from my last post more or less was the reason why she was declared incompetent.

Along with her belief of herself as vampire/werewolf, she falsely believes herself to be pregnant despite negative tests, and paranoia about being followed and being threatened. So in short its greater delusional thinking which made her incompetent rather than solely her identity as a vampire/werewolf. The identification was just a single manifestation of the greater problem. Thus no "dangerous precedent" has been set.
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deacongray
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 03:05:42 pm »

"Upon further glance the quote from the lawyer was not included on the link to the article as supplied by this forum thread or your graveyard press article."

Direct quote from the article on the graveyard press.

"Most of these articles are pure media sensationalism, but the court system see’s it a little differently. “The fact is, with these oddball claims, I’m obligated to check under that rock, so to speak,” Stephenson, (Stephanie Pistey’s lawyer) said, referring to the evaluation.”

I think this pretty well estbalishes you didn't read the piece very well.

You are correct, the first example you gave was indeed the very heart of the issue. If someone says they are vampire, that it might be a sign of a greater psychological issues that attributed to her crimes, according to her lawyer.  So then look deeper to people like R. who said hey was a vampire, and the courts ruled because of his he isn't fit to have sole custody, or at lest that a psychological evluations should be done. Where does this lead? Does anyone who every says they have a vampiric nature, need to have psychological evaluations conducted?

I think you were wrong with your premise because you didn't read the article fully...this is obvious since you missed the quote at lest twice.
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CJ!
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2012, 05:43:50 pm »

I was referring to the link on the graveyard press to the actual news article which did not contain that quote. My main concern was the source material and what I felt was a ridiculously alarmist and maudlin reaction to something we really didn't have enough information to make such conclusions with. Upon reading the Graveyard Press reaction I didn't find the lawyer's quote having enough significance to alter my conclusion that your article was needlessly alarmist and based on misconceptions. Since you made it a point of emphasis I was glad to tailor my argument to the quote but you offer no compelling reason why your article wasn't fretting over nothing.

As was stated in my previous post Miss Pistey had may different delusions and I highly doubt that only one of them led to the recommendation of the psychological evaluation.

As for R's case you in this thread nor in the Graveyard Press article stated the exact reasoning on why the judge didn't find R fit for joint custody of his kids due to vampiric self-identity. Perhaps its a matter of privacy but the greater point is that there isn't some great pogrom to stomp us out. We aren't some hapless persecuted group at the mercy of the whims of the great monolithic and bigoted society. Miss Pistey was mentally incompetent and R had incompetent representation. Many of us and our allies are very competent to the point where we can look at the reasoning behind the opposition's argument and demolish it. Step up people, take responsibility, and be proactive! We are in control.

BTW the article that had the lawyers quote that Deacon did not quote on his article.
http://www.waltonsun.com/articles/mentally-99220-newsherald-panama-slaying.html
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paindancer
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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2012, 08:22:16 pm »

Slightly back to the original post.

Say 'vampirism' does get more or less claimed by the fringe vocal minority.  So what?

Perhaps we just become more discrete, or move away from the identity and supplement it with another, less common and more descriptive terms?
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Paindancer
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deacongray
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2012, 08:55:09 pm »

Paindancer you might well have hit the nail right on the head. People really need to be considerate of the impact of coming out about their beliefs to the public. We have now seen that in the courts such claims are taken into consideration in serious ways.

CJ I am sorry I did not list the right resource link. I added it. 
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Maloryn
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2012, 09:50:07 pm »

As a point of interest, none of my responses had anything to do with the article in question, only the original points Mert brought up. To be honest, I'm not sure I even considered it other than thinking "oh damn, another one".

Has the term vampire ever NOT been claimed by the vocal / fringe minority?
We use the term primarily because it's convenient and the closest approximation of an accurate term in the English language, not because it's perfect.

---Mal
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