Use of “V”-word In Crime Reports Bad For VC Image

(Originally posted February 10, 2011) Most people don’t see any harm in criminals and sociopaths being associated with Dracula and other fictional vampires – after all, it seems fitting sometimes, doesn’t it? Most reporters who do that, don’t really believe there are real vampires out there – they’re the stuff of fiction, aren’t they? Well, maybe…  But there is a global community of people who identify as real Vampi(y)res – and it doesn’t take a PHD to figure out that every time public media associates a crime with the real Vampi(y)re community, that this will make us look bad.

The news media has known of the existence of real Vampi(y)res for some time now, and many reporters ignorant of the facts tend to associate real Vampi(y)res with some sort of cult practice or occult religious group. Yes, there are crazies out there, but come on – it is really far-fetched to claim or insinuate that real Vampi(y)res fit the stereotype they cheerfully paint for us.
The same tactic has been used by numerous powers in the past against various groups of undesirables throughout history, and to my mind this appears to be increasingly the case with the VC. Of course, the motive might simply be to sell copies – and nothing sells papers quite like blood and the ‘v’-word – well, except for the ‘s‘-word.
I’ve been keeping track of the crime reports that use the ‘v’-word (that’svampire of course) and portray the criminal (or sometimes the victim) as a “vampire” of sorts, or focus on the similarities between the actions of the perpetrator and compare them to those of a vampire – whether deservedly or not.
In some cases, the perpetrators even claimed to be vampires, before being bundled into neat white jackets and carted off to a nice rest-home where they could play with silly putty all day, with the option of wearing a funny hat.
Before I get to this year’s list, please let me state for the record that I am no authority on vampire-related crime, nor a criminologist nor an expert on crimes associated with vampirism. These are just my personal observations. First, let’s just look briefly at the preceding three years.
I found 3 incidents of this type for the whole of 2008, and 4 for 2009, with none occurring before March. In 2010 – there was a total of 11 incidents of such reporting, none having occurred before the end of February 2010.
It is now only part-way through February of this new year, and already there have been 6 reports covering crime around the world in which the ‘v’ word has been used to describe the crime and the perpetrator, or the actions of the perpetrator. I shudder to think what the final tally might be by year end.
Let’s go over my list from January 1 2011 to the present:
January 10: Arizona, USA – Jarrod-Lee Loughner, the 22 year-old who attempted to assassinate Congresswoman (Dem) Giffords, and who also shot dead 6 bystanders, including a Federal judge and a 9 year-old girl and wounded 14 others at a constituency rally on 9 January, was described by an online Republican news agency as fitting “into the classic satanic/vampire cult wannabe mould.” The unfair and unjustifiable comparison of real Vampi(y)res to Loughner is beyond an inoffensive explanation, but it therefore seems implied that Vampi(y)res are a) assassins, b) brutal killers or c) lunatics. Not bad for an opening act for the new year.
February 1: Sheboygan County, USA – In an incident which caused Vampi(y)res yet more discomfort, Mark R. Adams Jr. made three bite marks on the neck of a 3-year-old boy he was babysitting. Adams claimed he was “playing vampire” – and then blamed the whole thing on an episode of “True Blood” which he had been watching with the boy. Of course, this sort of thing plays right into the hands of right-wing anti-fun pressure groups who are already crying that there are way too many vampires on TV. That’s right Don, it’s all those darn “occult” vampire TV shows fault.
February 2: Pietermaritzburg, KZN, South Africa – Two men charged with a triple murder, dubbed the “vampire” killings, at the Sacca informal settlement in December 2010, appeared in the city’s magistrate’s court. They are charged with the murders of three men on December 16 and with the attempted murder of a fourth as well as the unlawful possession of a firearm. One victim was shot in the head, while another was found lying in the middle of the road with a bullet wound to his neck. The third was found under a bush along a footpath, shot in the head. The surviving victim sparked the “vampire” rumor in Sacca after he told journalists last year that one of the attackers sucked blood from his wound. He also told police that one of the suspects had taken the bread he had been carrying and dipped one of the slices in the blood gushing from his wound, and ate it.
February 3: Australia – The mother of a girl who was murdered by an internet predator in 2007 called on social networking sites to better protect users. Sonya Ryan told a federal parliamentary committee hearing the previous week that networking sites should also allow for stricter privacy settings, to protect the vulnerable from the growing number of cyber predators. She urged a zero-tolerance approach be taken with cyber crime, fearing others would suffer the same fate as her daughter. “How many innocent children will fall victim to these types of perverts. Murder may not always be the outcome but there is also rape, assault, kidnapping.” Carly Ryan, 15, was killed in 2007 by Garry Francis Newman, who used a false name to communicate with the teenager on a “gothic vampire” website. No mention of parental responsibility for explaining the facts of life to teens, or to check their surfing habits was made, but the association of course paints Vamp(i)yres as online predators, and social networking sites as their playgrounds.
So let’s tally up – by now we have incidents suggesting that Vampi(y)res are crazed, child killing, occult lunatics. But wait, there’s more…
February 9: St Petersburg, Russia – A man stabbed 15 women, aged between 16 and 28, in the back of the neck on underground trains before telling his terrified victims to ‘be careful’. There are unconfirmed reports that the man licked their blood before disappearing into the crowds. The ‘vampire’ was caught by police after victims shared details of their attacks on the internet. Some victims had more serious wounds than others, suggesting he may have used needles or pins – and in some cases sharpened knitting needles. Police reported the arrest of an unidentified 28-year-old man from Lviv, in the Ukraine in connection with the case, and that he confessed to the attacks. The police also say that they are trying to understand the motive for the attacks. The news articles used the ‘v’-word several times.
February 10: Melbourne, Australia – A young Melbourne university student who preyed on nine young underage girls he met online was jailed for more than four years. Arran James Mark Wratten, 24, of Carlton, discussed sexual activities including vampirism, exchanging blood, and meeting up for vampire sex, with nine girls aged between 11 and 14. When police seized his laptop at the time of his arrest in February 2010, they found at least 600 images of adolescent girls and in excess of 6000 text messages between himself and his victims. Psychiatrists on the case apparently do not believe Wratten is a pedophile but are divided as to whether he is a hebephile (someone who has a sexual attraction to adolescents). Thank goodness they didn’t use “Renfield’s Syndrome” as well as the ‘v’-word.
I believe that this increase in crime reporting associating violent crime to real vampires and vampirism is to the detriment of the real Vampi(y)re Community world-wide. I say this because I feel that without a doubt it will be used by self-proclaimed “experts” such as vampophobe Don Rimer to support his claim that “vampire” or “occult-related” crimes are on the increase, when by all accounts the perpetrators are neither real Vampi(y)res, nor members of what some claim to be “the vampire cult” or even members of any actual VC structures.
It is easy to jump to a conclusion and say that more nutcases are out committing crimes of this sort, but I have to wonder if more reporters are not just applying a hint of “Vampi(y)re” to aspects of an otherwise ‘ordinary’ crime in order to sell otherwise uninteresting news.
Needless to say, regardless of whether the perpetrators really are Vampi(y)res, the growing incidence of gross silliness and brute stupidity out there is truly alarming.
I have also noticed a staggering increase in volume of total entries per year over the past decade – not just of crime reports, but also of media attention, new products coming onto the market, new books, movies and TV series, new species being named – all using the ‘v’-word. But of course, it is to be expected – vampires are the hot topic right now, and sometimes the glare of the spotlight can make us a little uncomfortable.

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