Crossroads – Plain speaking ~ Revised

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Presented by

Tim

African Mammals

October 11, 2015

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
Firstly I would like to thank everyone who took the time, so far, to review this commentary. I think we can all agree that the subjects raised are such that we cannot ignore them and we cannot sweep them under the rug. It is, I believe, everyone’s responsibility to aid the fight against abuse in whatever form it might manifest and wherever it may be found. Silence helps no one.

Secondly; It has come to my attention that some of the graphic content in the editorial has had the effect of making some readers unable to read it fully, it has made them feel very uncomfortable and has brought back, for them, some extremely bad memories that they have fought long and hard to eliminate from their lives.

I sincerely apologise for any discomfort that this piece may have caused, it was never my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable nor to recall past horrors in their lives.

To this end, please find herein a revised edition of the editorial with graphic content toned down. I think that the message, overall, needs to be shared in every corner and with every person possible to reinforce the need for us all to take heed and, if we can, help in the fight to eliminate the abuses that happen all around us every day.

Thank you for your feedback dear readers.
Deepest respects,
T

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Revised editorial

In 2010, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States issued an alert after a 16-year-old girl, Paige Brewer, from Faribault, Minnesota ran away with the infamous Johnathan Sharkey. The alert described Brewer as an “endangered runaway”. Brewer’s mother eventually won a court order keeping Sharkey away from her daughter, who was taken into custody by police [1] and returned home.[2]

In 2013 Nelson Carrizo, who had been convicted of child pornography charges in 2012, lured an underage Palm Beach girl; who he had met online via VampireFreaks.com, to Miami for sex.[3]

Predators; predators of the worst kind and, unfortunately, a very real problem for the entire VC/OVC. I have been told that we, as a sub-culture, are a, “microcosm of the real world”, if that is true then we need to be equally as vigilant and equally as condemning should we discover such people amongst our own. If there is shame in having such people amongst our number it is not shame from having them but rather the shame that will follow if we DON’T do something about it when we find it.

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A great deal of work has been done on making our sub-culture presentable, if not exactly palatable, to the mundane “real world” but the truth is that if we, as a sub-culture, let ourselves be lax in “tending our own garden” then it WILL come back and bite us and, like it or not, ANYONE who goes under the name “Vampire” will, once more, be tarred and feathered with the same brush and bucket.

YOU need to ask yourself, dear reader, do you wish to be considered in the same light as convicted child-molesters? Do you want to considered, in the same light as murderers and rapists?

“My friends, this is much, it is a terrible task that we undertake, and there may be consequence to make the brave shudder. For if we fail in this our fight he must surely win, and then where end we? Life is nothings, I heed him not. But to fail here, is not mere life or death. It is that we become as him, that we henceforward become foul things of the night like him, without heart or conscience, preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best.”
Bram Stoker’s Dracula [1897] edition, from Mina Harker’s Journal, 30th September.

I used this passage from the great novel by Stoker in an editorial in February of 2013, the subject of that piece was whether modern living vampires were actually predators or not. I was joined by several noted guests and, in general, regarding the question of association the following observations were made. As the character in the novel notes;
“But to fail here, is not mere life or death. It is that we become as him, that we henceforward become foul things of the night like him…”

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In the editorial for RVL we offered up the following question;

“In your opinion, as long as we are using the term “vampire” to describe ourselves will we be able to shed the popular image as developed through fiction and entertainment?”

These were the responses from our guests;

ZN: Most likely that term will never be modified. I was initiated into Wicca in the early 80’s. That was a hard time to be practicing magic. I was harassed in public many times. People didn’t understand what we were and often thought we were worshiping Satan. Education became our best weapon. Nowadays most people, even Christian churches, know the truth about witches. I believe the same can happen for vampires. It is just going to take some time and initiative with education to get there.

JM: No. In the minds of the masses, you can’t separate one from the other. You can’t remove a word from its common perception, especially when that perception is ongoing and reenforced in fiction and pop culture.

VN: No. Look at how long it has taken most nations to shed the hypocrisy of the ideal of a superior race, or an inferior one. In many places the peoples and cultures still hold to such ideals and the bile that is the life of them. Ignorance is ever the seed and breathes of hatred and aggression. As long as we are known as “Vampire”, there will be the negative opinions and beliefs that go with it.

JL: I suspect that it will be difficult, particularly given that a vampire was traditionally an undead creature that had risen from the grave to suck the life force from living beings. The main stumbling block to comparing the modern “vampire” sub-culture with the folkloric vampire is the “undead” part. From what I understand, most individuals who associate with vampire movements or are sanguinarians, do not claim to have risen from the dead.

The “community” has weathered, over the last few years, a number of highly negative episodes, both internal and external and the fact remains is that the battle to justify ourselves is, in reality, no further advanced than it was prior to any of these occurrences. Now, again, with the allegations surfacing from New Orleans, the sub-culture looks set to be pitched headlong into another P.R. nightmare.
Responsibility as a Sub-Culture

There are many that would; and do, argue that as a sub-cultural identity we are permitted to express ourselves as freely and as openly as anyone else and that, in essence, may be true but when that “expressionism” transcends what is considered to be good, moral, ethical and legal responsibility then we open up, by our actions, ALL of our brothers, sisters, families, acquaintances and associates to guilt by association.

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We have a duty to seek out, expose and expunge the elements of our own society that bring the sub-culture into disrepute through their heinous, self-serving and borderline criminal conduct and if we don’t do that then WE are just as guilty as the perpetrators are.

Anyone who has knowledge of activities that go beyond the norm of decent and civilized behaviour have a responsibility to make that information known and if we’re not going to follow that path then we become just as guilty of those selfsame transgressions. Let’s not, by our silence, by either implied or tacit approval that comes from such silence, condone or accept such activities.

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It is way past time to clean up, either that or we continue to wallow in a cesspool of our own making. Apathy and complacency are the enemies of our time and of our modern Vampire society, are we going to face the enemies or are we going to let them grow, fester and destroy?

Copyright RVL 2015
1. Van Denburg, Hart (February 18, 2010). “Jonathan Sharkey’s teen girlfriend taken into custody by Faribault police”. City Pages.
2. Van Denburg, Hart (February 23, 2010). “Paige Brewer released to mother, Jonathon Sharkey rides Greyhound out of town”. City Pages.
3. http://www.miaminewtimes.com/ Kyle Munzenrieder, Friday, March 8, 2013.

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