A con was threatened, but don’t attack symptoms and make a problem worse.
by Patch O'Furr
There were lots of reasons to celebrate in Reno, on May 14-17, 2015. 2400 furballs tumbled across the desert to Biggest Little Fur Con, making it the 6th largest con after three short years. I spoke to the Chair, who said that they were very lucky to have the extravagant layout of the Grand Sierra. Happy vibes filled it up. There was a group photo of 700 fursuiters. I jumped in to hug as many as possible, and it was like a spin in a dryer on fluff cycle.
Swept away from the outpouring of Furry friendship, there was one little black speck of pain. While others acted out their inner feelings in colorful costumes, one lonely guy let his inner demons out. He went to make an outburst with threats of violence. It was a cry for help. But the community could only help itself, and he was detained and escorted away. Everyone else’s happiness could only be a mirage in his personal desert.
The internet bubbled over with drama and rumors, but it was invisible at the con itself. It seemed to call for a neutral write-up. The story had already developed for a long time among people who know the guy in a local community I know. The more we talked about it, the sadder it seemed:
- He’s known for online trolling that isn’t very lucid, even lurking in person outside a meet. It has scared some people and caused warnings.
- There were headlines about a threat to bring guns to Anthrocon. It was enough to get FBI attention, but community members didn’t take it seriously and the story had no developments.
- Some rumors blamed him for the Chlorine attack at Midwest FurFest, but that’s untrue. He made claims to get attention, but no story developed.
- He doesn’t have an easy way to get places, and people seem mystified about how he got to BLFC.
- There was no gun in this incident, only a toy. As far as I know, nobody was physically hurt.
- There were minor charges like trespassing and perhaps restraining orders before he was let go. He is on shared ban lists of cons.
- There’s said to be a mental condition diagnosis that isn’t public. Lack of money and family may add private issues.
- Doctors would consider it important to keep confidentiality so treatment can happen, allowing the possibility of staying healthy.
- At least one person tried to get help for him from the mental health system. They didn’t help. Few people care, and those who do have no resources. Help can be very remote for poor, isolated people in the USA. We have solutions for crises, but few for general health.
More than a few people think he can be helped if he wants it, but they can’t force him to cooperate. That would be a quandry. If someone needs support and friends, it can come from a community- but this community isn’t made of doctors or professionals, and isn’t a social service resource. Sometimes you can give temporary help, but it’s a waste if you can’t fix things that are broken.
Scared, angry people have good reasons to wish for punishment for this guy. It sucks to deal with harassment, and it can make your blood boil!
If you can’t find sympathy for him, think about the people who try to help or might not even have a choice. It’s not the responsibility of a hobby group – but is there anyone? Imagine having this guy as your brother, and being powerless to help your family. A lot of people see family members sink into homelessness or worse beyond their control, and it’s a tragedy.
I think hating on him doesn’t fix mental problems, and makes them worse. It’s attacking symptoms. If you see something happening, please be careful and don’t react. Either gently show the guy how to get help, or tell someone who can.