Thoughtless Acts & Crime Ruin Vampyre Public Image

(Originally posted October 14, 2010) Every time some serial killer is labeled a “vampire” in the papers, every time some kind of vampiric attack is reported in the media, it chips away at the non-threatening image our community is trying to build, and places Vampyres firmly in the minds of both the media and the general public as a danger and a threat.
In a disturbing news report, circulated around the world, it was reported that a couple of “vampires” had been arrested in Phoenix for stabbing a man who refused to let them drink from him. It made me think about all the other similar crimes I have seen in the media in the past few years, and I have to admit, it didn’t make me feel very good about the way people view us.

Not only is this behavior contrary to Mundane laws, but it is also in violation of Vampyre laws as well. The Black Veil, a uniform code of behavior among Vampyres, expressly emphasizes that donors are to be fed from consensually, by agreement, and treated with respect and dignity. Like other community guidelines, it also emphasizes that the choice to donate or not belongs to donors, and is theirs alone.

Now I’m not saying that any of these folks are Vampyres. They may sound like they could be, and they may believe they are, and they may well be Vampyres. But they also might not be.

This sort of news is very bad for our community, because it breaks down the hard work of community leaders and groups who are trying to get Mundane society to take our community seriously and present us as not being a threat to them. When faced with incidents like this, regardless whether these two people really are Vampyres or not – how can the rest of us who live responsibly and treat donors and Mundanes with respect, abide by community rules and guidelines – hold onto our credibility when making this claim?

It is reckless behavior of individuals like these that causes the real Vampyre community to be viewed as predators and a danger. As a community we are somewhere between being in the shadows and having one foot in the open, being a blip on the radar of Mundane society and just about on the verge of being taken seriously – and not just as a special interest of mental health practitioners or as a splinter group of the goth sub-culture – but as a valid identity group on our own.

How long will it take for such incidents to generate a sentiment of intolerance, fear and resentment to build up to the point where conservative groups and policy-makers start to crack down?

A few years ago, a Senator in the USA introduced an anti-vampire law in his state after a much publicized case where a man invited minors to parties at his home – and siphoned blood from them. I’m not sure whether this law passed or not, but if this sort of reckless and imprudent behavior continues, or even continues to escalate, we could indeed get our wish to be taken seriously – but as a threat.

Is that what we want? Did these people even think that far? That is, if they are even part of the community at all. Were they? They seem pretty convinced. Are only nice people allowed to realize they are Vampyres? Or are we intent on disowning people who cross the line and then claim, somewhat conveniently, that they were never one of us to begin with? We need to be careful when saying such things, because if we do so, we call into question our own legitimacy as individuals and a group.

Every group can be divided into good or bad, benevolent and malevolent. No single group is all good or all bad. And likewise, no single group is all law-abiding, or all criminal. And certainly, as has been adequately demonstrated in the most recent case, not all of us are very smart.

We live in a society where Mundanes in general struggle significantly with the trivial issues faced by other people and their sexual orientation and gender. Some can’t even process the fact that some people happen to be quite happy loving someone with the same genitalia as theirs – imagine how they will deal with wondering who around them might be a dangerous predator? Given cases such as the Chandler assault, can we even blame them? Should we?

There has been a noticeable increase in this sort of incident over the past few years, with killers appearing in court rooms all over the world being billed as “the Such-and-such Vampire”. And while certainly there are also regular reported incidents of people being attacked simply on suspicion of being Vampyres – far more is made of the attacks by people claiming to be Vampyres, or labeled vampires by the media.

Obviously, the media is focused on Mundanes and their interests. The facts show that the media will give every case a slight sensationalist spin – after all, the “V” word sells almost as hot as “sex” does – but especially in cases where people are brutalized or killed by Vampyres – or people claiming to be, or made to look like, Vampyres. And of course, this is big news – and it travels around the world very fast.

The important thing here is to realize that Mundanes know there is a Vampyre sub-culture – they are being made increasingly aware of it by books and movies and documentaries, by our own efforts – and through violent incidents like these – and they connect people who do things like this with the rest of us.

Is that what we want?

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