Millionaire Milestone »« Dear Salon – Science Does Not Disprove Unicorns Either

PTSD and Me(lody)

PTSD is a funny beast.

To suffer from it is not a form of weakness. It is your body and mind settling on a new norm.

[warning]This is about PTSD and in particular my take on it. I debated writing this. Then I was linked to the Daily Mail, Thunderfoot and A Voice for Men. And I did so to show solidarity. In addition? My comment policy is back. This is a red topic. Safe zone with topics germane to the conversation. [/warning]

How you cope with it is different too. Some revel in it and use it as a source of strength. They fight it and mock it and push themselves to not be held back by it. In many cases normalisation of routine helps PTSD sufferers by getting them up and about and back into routines. It was once considered cruel and counter-productive. In time it became the gold standard of treatment. It helps them stop avoiding the things that trigger it.

But then there are some people who avoid their triggers. That’s okay too it is a way of coping. I honestly don’t care how you live your life and cope with the beast as long as you live your life. Whether you harness the beast or you cage it it is up to you. It’s your monster, it’s your choice on how to fight it. I do know that it isn’t healthy and it wasn’t for me.

My PTSD is due to war and in other sufferers there is a range of reasons for PTSD. Some get it due to suffering wounds. Some get it due to seeing their friends die. Some due to the fear of artillery… the infamous shellshock and bomb happy. I was born and lived in Kuwait and I was a refugee from the first Gulf War. These are the traditional view of PTSD. It’s old names were shell shock or bomb happy.

 I suffer from it due to the actions of others and trauma inflicted. But I suffered it as a kid and it wasn’t fun dealing with it then. People are cruel. I often use the example of people throwing fireworks or popping balloons to trigger PTSD as an example of dickery because it was how children behaved towards me. I thought they were arseholes growing up, growing older? I think they are just children being children. They thought what they were doing is harmless. Luckily I survived.

I will also tell you that I never really celebrated birthdays. Or enjoyed Diwali or Guy Fawkes or New Year’s Day. I even had to be wary around match days where football clubs may have a fireworks display. I often still go, after having mentally prepared myself for the onslaught.

There is a greater acceptance of PTSD today but historically people suffering from it were usually treated as cowards. As draft dodgers. As those who didn’t want to do their duty.

But not everyone goes to war or is raped or is in a car accident before they get PTSD. There are some who get it over the weirdest things. A discarded and broken doll. A dead cat on the street. It’s not that incident that breaks something inside you but a slow application of stress and terror and abuse that eventually  breaks something. It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. What we see is someone saying that they got PTSD because of a broken doll, when in reality what we see is the tip of the ice berg and ignore a plethora of pre-existing trauma. PTSD is often silent, the patient is unaware of changes and differences to their routine. I know a young lad who post-Iraq thought it was nothing to sleep with a knife under his pillow due to the paranoia and fear.

The dialogue about PTSD is almost exclusively military. Because here is a demography with a specific trauma trigger that we can relate to. We have enough “War is Hell” movies to show the sort of thing that creates their PTSD. We also have enough mass media to understand (to a great extent) the trauma of being hostages or rape victims. We have all been around or in car crashes or in accidents so we know the trauma of those too.

Many people get it due to work. Doctors, Nurses, Fire Fighters.

And there are those we puzzle over. People who have gotten it from a doctor’s visit or a dental visit. But remember what I said? The final straw was those things. The underlying issues and experiences have a role to play too.

It seems puzzling to us that something as harmless as a dental visit can cause PTSD but I know people who fought wars where the thing that broke them was not artillery, blood and killing but something as banal as a dead kitten or an abandoned doll. That was the point their minds rebelled. That was the point they had their first attack. The first time they realised something wrong was a disproportionate response to something banal and humdrum. Because there are underlying stresses and pressures that contribute to a slow grinding of a person’s psyche. That a past trauma can slowly destroy you until some little thing pushes you over the edge. Think of it as a house where the support beams and load bearing walls are destroyed by some other person to the point you can knock it over with a tennis ball.

It’s an iceberg of a disease.

Now here is the thing. Let us take a doctor who gets PTSD due to a traumatic work load. Being a doctor didn’t make him get PTSD, the trauma he witnessed did. Same for the soldiers, the fire fighters and the others.

Also? PTSD is not about the severity of the trauma but how you react to the trauma. No one holds down veterans and shows them people who were injured in similar incidents but who don’t have PTSD and then claim that they are weak and useless and faking it. They used to.

So what’s all this about? Melody Hensley’s PTSD. Want to know my take?

I don’t care. I really don’t. My PTSD is my issue and how I deal with it is my business. I know how much it sucks and I know that if you really wish to pretend to have PTSD then go right ahead. It is not affecting me, it is not affecting anyone else. It sucks, for fuck sake I am a grown man who flinches at the sound of balloons bursting and for whom a balloon being blown up is scary. Do you think I enjoy this? Fuck No. And I bet it’s the same for Melody. I don’t think she is enjoying this. This is not a pleasant feeling. Just as I would not want some dick weasel chasing me with balloons and fireworks, she probably doesn’t want her version of this wanker triggering her

We know cyber-bullying exists and I myself have charted examples of the stellar behaviour of people. We agree that it is traumatic or else Melody Hensley is the least of our worries. We should be out there telling GLAAD and Stonewall and It Gets Better to knock it off because gay kids aren’t traumatised by cyber-bullying and that it doesn’t exist. So we do agree that you can get twitter from the cyberbullying and harassment that comes with being a woman online. This means that we can condense this into the technically accurate statement

“Twitter Can Cause PTSD”. This is the statement of the anti-FTB and anti-Melody brigade (because there is a fair overlap). That it wasn’t their constant tweets, harassment and cyber stalking but twitter itself. There are two different strategies being used.

The first one implies that TWITTER (the microblogging platform) caused PTSD which is just so idiotic and vapid as a statement. The second one is an attempt to downplay the actual harassment.

I feel the second one is the lie you tell yourself to justify your actions. Of course you can’t be the villain, Melody is. What you are doing is not harassment, it’s criticism and suggestions. You aren’t like all those people suggesting those horrible things. Your things are  constructive.

Your Trauma Is Not Real Enough.

Is is hard to listen to someone with a Trauma you consider lesser. Imagine telling a story about how you were wounded by enemy fire and saw your friends get hit and one of them die near you and the next person tells you about a bad dental visit. Even within the army  there are those who lost limbs who are more capable of dealing with their PTSD than someone who merely witnessed trauma.

And often the feeling described is how pathetic you feel that your trauma isn’t as bad as others. Which is why PTSD is never compared. You never compare yours to others. It doesn’t help you, it doesn’t help others. If we start sitting around wondering whose trauma is real and whose isn’t then I am afraid we would make PTSD worse for all and reduce the number of people seeking help for it.

But we don’t know about the iceberg. Sometimes PTSD’s cause is loud and clear. Sometimes it’s a variety of things all precipitating it. And pop diagnosis on line doesn’t make things better.

I didn’t intend to write anything about PTSD and Melody, but I fear that not writing will encourage people like this. Oh, I know the anti-FTB brigade were rather interested in my PTSD claim. If they do read this, it’s simple. I was born in Kuwait. Site of the first Gulf War where I was a refugee. Due to my parent’s jobs they were captured and held because “Doctors Are Very Useful”. One day we were given a car and tried to leave. We left on the night of the 16th of January. We didn’t know what was coming.

I lived through Allied bombing and the Iraqi retaliation. The lack of information meant we drove along Highway 80. To those who lived through it, it had another name.

The Highway of Death, a shooting gallery of American long range bombardment and air strikes. After we saw one, we turned back. We drove to Saudi Arabia instead. Where we were held in a filthy room and treated like animals (I was fed a single boiled egg over a day). Until hell broke lose. A scud missile had struck a nearby building. We took the time to leave. Some kind soul unlocked the door. We assumed the war was between the Saudi and Iraqi sides. So we fled to Basra and then onwards through Iraq to the Israeli border with Jordan. At every stage we were subject to the fear that the Saudis would bomb us. It was there our luck ran out. We were not allowed into Israel. My parents say the white brits we were travelling with were separated from us. We got to go to Jordan, to a Red Cross camp set up to take in refugees near Amman. It was filled with Palestinians. And it was there we learned about the war. The bombings were by us and the Americans. After 6 months the UK found us and brought us home. A year later we went back to Kuwait.

After 6 months of living in occupied Kuwait I had been shelled and starved. Food and water was rationed and scarce. Fights and even murders occurred over it. The only reason we survived was that my parents could translate their skills as doctors into barter. And that at least one kind Iraqi lad was nice enough to protect us from something he knew was coming. I survived Kuwait from August the 2nd to January the 16th.  I had lost friends, one being shot and another having his house shelled while he was still inside it. I lived through all of this. I was bombed out both by the Allies and the Iraqis.

I was told this by my parents, I myself don’t remember the trauma. Partly because I was 5 and partly because I later found out that PTSD causes you to blank out incidents. By the time we were evacuated in August, a full year after the war began I had lost nearly half my body weight, was severely constipated by a lack of balanced diet and covered in sores and ulcers. I had scurvy and the beginning of Vitamin A deficiency (my parents would starve for a day every month to get a tin of sardines and force me to drink the oil). I weighed less than 12 Kg.

Now there are two responses to this story. You may go “That’s awful, I am glad you made it mate”. And then there is the other.

“You are a liar, you are a cheat, you just want to have PTSD for sympathy”. Which is fine, but I never wanted sympathy. I never got sympathy. 1990s were the time when PTSD was beginning to be diagnosed. And it certainly wasn’t for civilians to begin with. The fact is that there were thousands of refugees out there during that particular war and many other wars. I may not remember with perfect clarity all the horrors as those blend together but I remember the kindness. And what I chose to define my trauma was with that kindness.

It is why I still do all of this. To be a little piece of kindness to kids who experience the same things that I did and maybe give them the same chances I got.

And I have heard people say the same sort of things as what is being told to Melody Hensley. This isn’t real, this isn’t true, this is just fantastic. I don’t believe you have PTSD. And all I have to say “you are entitled to your opinions”.  But it hurts, it hurts when someone doesn’t accept that you are in pain. It hurts when someone refuses to accept your issues and makes light of them. Parents used to excuse their kids by saying that the balloons would “fix” me. It did, I had a choice. I got used to it. It affected me less and less to the point it causes apprehension but not crippling fear. And it forced me to fight back.

So when I hear the arguments being made about Melody’s “fake” PTSD, it throws me back to my childhood where people thought I was faking my fear of balloons. Now like her, I cannot point down the precise point of trauma that triggered mine. Maybe it was watching a kid get killed by a land mine, maybe it was that tent fire that roasted that family alive, maybe it was the building that fell on me, maybe it was the dead bodies. Maybe it was the fact my Birthday (You heard it here first!) is on August the 3rd and that Kuwait was effectively invaded a few hours earlier. It was a traumatic year.

Or maybe it was just the balloons. I just don’t know when it really started.

So what I see when Melody’s “fake” PTSD comes up is people who would say

“Don’t be Stupid Avi, you can’t get PTSD from balloons”

What I see when people try to trigger her are the kids who would would chase me with balloons because they wanted to see me run.

What I see when people defend the above as criticism, are the parents of those kids who downplayed the bullying.

What I see are people like Thunderfoot, Dean Esmay and Sara Malm (of the Daily Mail) supporting all of this and encouraging angry harassment because in their vast training as Biologist, Professional College Hater (seriously? Guy whinged about my University Education) and Journalist; they have an intimate knowledge about medical diagnosis of psychiatric conditions.

And what I see are victims of PTSD falling into the bad habit of comparisons of trauma, when they themselves should remember that it’s not the Trauma but how we respond to it. And the victims of PTSD forgetting that once their own traumas would have been treated the way they are treating Melody.

What I see are armchair psychiatrists making pop diagnosis online and then calling themselves skeptics who applaud when I make the same point about Anti-Vax and other quacks.

What I see are people who would state that I shouldn’t go to places with balloons because there may be arseholes who chase me with one..That I should not have Birthday Parties because sometimes balloons are there. That one cannot have the cake and presents without the inflated rubber bladders.

You may think of us as weak and effete. Of requiring smelling salts. But I am impressed with what Melody has done. I don’t run anything important. Hell, I barely have 2000 hits a day! She’s done things that thousands of atheists get involved with.

That’s an achievement in itself. I can’t do that. I am too ornery, angry and prone to the Jeremy Clarkson school of solving problems (Shouting and hitting things with hammers) to be of any use to such an environment.

TL;DR

I support Melody Hensley and think the people suggesting she avoid Twitter in order to deal with Twitter Harassment is forgetting that the real goal should be to avoid Harassment rather than Twitter. If you want to give money to support PTSD research. then check this link out.

Comments

  1. Steersman says

    Sally Strange:

    Why don’t you actually try quoting what you’re referring to? Then we can decide whether I’m using too many “fancy, fancy words”, or you’re just being careless – or uncharitable – in your reading. Or are you going to “double down” again?

  2. Steersman says

    Holms: So you acknowledge that people have been ‘gratuitously nasty’ to her, and that she justified in characterizing her treatment as being harassment. Oh oops, no, only some justification, whatever that means.

    Yes, I’ve acknowledged that several times now, more or less – you want it in a larger font and in colour?

    However, you may wish to re-read what I said there, and carefully note that I said “many people … have been gratuitously nasty to her”, and that “[she] seems to be rather too quick … to characterize all of the negative responses to her as bullying and harassment”, i.e., do note the qualifying adjectives: many people, and all negative responses. If everyone making any negative responses had been gratuitously nasty then I wouldn’t have said some justification, and would probably have said “entirely justified”. But that isn’t the case so I didn’t. You may wish to spend some time trying to understand that difference and its ramifications.

    Neptune: “How is [your supposed PTSD] as painful as my PTSD from rape, sexual abuse, and molestation?”

    Holms: So, directly questioning her PTSD by comparing the apparent severity of their respective triggers. This Neptune Fallen has as good as called her a liar outright – by buying into the idea that the triggers are in any way indicative of the severity of PTSD.

    You might refer to the video that that is from [@ 1:37] and note that all she said there was “How is it as painful ….”; that “[your supposed PTSD]” was my interpretation of what she intended or meant by “it” as the context seemed ambiguous without further research. In any case, I fail to see how asking a question about Hensley’s PTSD, even with the prefixed “supposed” which I think is more or less implicit in the question which is why I used it, qualifies as calling her a liar – maybe you have your thumb on the scales?

    In addition, as maybe a minor point, it’s not a question of the “severity of the triggers” – which are what presumably initiates the experience – but one of the severity of the symptoms themselves. Which as the clinical psychologist Caleb Lack – over on Skeptic Ink; you did read the post, didn’t you? – noted in several places, “PTSD (like all other mental illness) is more accurately viewed as continuum of symptoms and severity (dimensional; how much PTSD do you have?) ….” You may wish to challenge him on the point if you’re so inclined.

    But if you accept that – the better part of valor if you ask me – then it hardly seems unreasonable to ask a civil question, particularly of an employee of CFI whose claim to fame is “free inquiry”, about a phenomenon that they supposedly have first-hand knowledge of.

    Holms: That’s it? This is the basis for your claim that she is going ‘off the rails’? Three measured sentences, of which only one is really germane: “This is harassment”.

    Since you apparently didn’t watch that video of Thunderfoot’s – which I’ll concede is a little heavy-handed and unfair– I would suggest you do so sooner rather than later. And you might note that she has already contacted at least one “commanding officer” and has already “blocked dozens of accounts of people telling me I don’t have PTSD” so the number of commanding officers might well be even larger. While she is, of course, entirely entitled to do the latter, I wonder whether the former is in her job description. But even the latter is highly questionable if the offending tweets were no more innocuous or offensive than the one from Neptune – which certainly seems plausible.

    Holms: A single ambiguously disingenuous question tweeted at Hensley becomes the sole basis of your defense of harassment against her, based on whether it could be characterized as part of the campaign of harassment against her which you concede does indeed exist.

    The question isn’t the problem – it’s her responses – plural – to the many questions that are. But a “campaign”? No doubt hatched within Party Central of “Teh Patriarchy!!11!!” And I hardly conceded that it exists – to repeat, I’ve conceded that some people have been dickheads in expressing their “displeasure” with her statements, but I’ve argued many people have reasonably expressed reasonable criticisms. You might try wrapping your head around the fairly important difference there.

  3. Holms says

    #32
    And one could say that someone “has the condition” of being in pain whether they have a hangnail or they have had their leg blown off. You going to accept then that the first person has as much claim to consideration or sympathy as the second one?

    Now I know from experience that you love making ignorant / borderline dishonest comparisons and then defending that comparison with ‘but but analogy! Like a geometric shape with enlarged dimension but identical angles!’ But here is where this particular ‘analogy’ fails. Is the pain in question enough to be considered debilitating enough to alter the ability of that person to function? Not necessarily. The pain scale doesn’t compare, because while pain can be described as a continuum – the similarity to PTSD you attempt to invoke – not all of that range is severe enough to be considered life intrusive.

    PTSD’s scale on the other hand by definition is entirely pathological, because anxiety is only considered an anxiety disorder (of which PTSD is one among many) beyond the point that it becomes life intrusive. PTSD – along with any other anxiety disorder for that matter – begins at the point that it is considered pathological and then gets worse.

  4. says

    Steersman
    Really, I understand what an analogy is. You apparently don’t.

    And why wouldn’t you or Melody accept that claim, at least provisionally?

    I absolutely DO accept that claim. I expect people to pay the same courtesy to Melody. It’s not a get out of jail free card.

    – hard to see how any question might qualify as an “illegitimate criticism”

    You did not understand my question:
    How is that criticism AT ALL?
    And how is that question supposed to be answered (if it shoukd be anyway)? I see you conveniently glossed over that part of my analysis.

    Wikipedia article on burns

    Yeah. You notice something? You need to know both in order to compare them. And they are caused by the same sort of wound. Just because there’s some reasonable scale of pain (yes, a papercut hurts less than a broken bone hurts less than losing a leg) does not mean that you can easily compare each and every pain since many of it is fucking individual, especially when talking about psychological pain.

    In addition, one might also suggest that the supposed efficacy of torture is predicated on that scale

    Actually, credibly threatening torture quite often gets you already the same results as torture. So much for harsh words.

    Did you even look at that article by Miri?

    Yes, I noticed that you did, too.

    why shouldn’t others contact CFI to raise a question or two about her actions?

    I don’t know, have they?

    Seems to me that all she had to do, all that she should have done, in response to that question about the difference between that other person’s rape and her PTSD was to acknowledge that there was a spectrum of symptoms, and to state or allude to the general nature of hers.

    Why? It’s none of that person’s business. Because it’s exactly that: private medical information.
    Oh, and just for the sake of the argument: what if her symptoms are worse than those of the rape victim? Does that show that harassment and bullying is worse than rape?
    What sort of answer, what sort of evidence could possibly satisfy a person who asks such a question unless it’s a “mea culpa” from Melody?

    And she could have even acknowledged that her symptoms were generally less severe than those of many individuals, notably those of many veterans.

    And you know that they are? And did you read the OP where Avi quite convincingly argues that PTSD is not a dick-meassuring contest?

    In any case, I fail to see how asking a question about Hensley’s PTSD, even with the prefixed “supposed” which I think is more or less implicit in the question which is why I used it, qualifies as calling her a liar

    Does, in your opinion, “supposed” mean “true”? If not how does the adjective not indicate that the person does not believe Melody’s claim? And how is it ever acceptable to ask a stranger on the internet about their medical information, especially given that there’s a lot of assholes out there who will use each and any bit of information in order to hurt her more? I don’t know if you’ve heard about it, but there’s a blogger who disclosed that for him the sound of bursting balloons is triggering and the next thing somebody did was to send him a video of bursting balloons.

    “PTSD (like all other mental illness) is more accurately viewed as continuum of symptoms and severity (dimensional; how much PTSD do you have?) ….”

    Yes, we all have. And we all agree. It’s only that you seem to read it as “Melody is definitely on the lighter end and shouldn’t make such a fuss” when that’s clearly not in that quote. I wouldn’t expect a qualified professional to do an internet armchair diagnosis anyway.

    Schlumbumbi

    If “attention” is the currency you’re dealing in, that’s exactly what you’ll get from claiming to have PTSD.

    Yeah, I notice the attention she’s getting. Really the thing you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

    That exact element of “betrayal” is the reason why PTSD (and it’s devastating consequences) in military folks is seen as such a sensitive topic. Insult @ Injury.

    Yeah, if you read everything I wrote you’d realize that I’m all for them getting adequate treatment. But I refuse to worship them as heroes for doing something I consider to be fundamentally wrong, i.e. killing innocent people in foreign countries. Also, I’m not ‘Meriun, I can hardly “betray” them.

    However, getting that sort of unwanted attention doesn’t give you any protection from criticism – she has been criticised, rightly so, by many people. And that criticism is not only valid, it’s neccessary.

    I’m still waiting for any evidence and instances of that. Criticism that targets behaviour, criticism that accepts that she has a medical condition and that works on that basis without demanding her medical records nor tells her how to deal with her medical condition.
    I won’t hold my breath, though.

  5. Holms says

    Yes, I’ve acknowledged that several times now, more or less – you want it in a larger font and in colour?

    However, you may wish to re-read what I said there, and carefully note that I said “many people … have been gratuitously nasty to her”, and that “[she] seems to be rather too quick … to characterize all of the negative responses to her as bullying and harassment”, i.e., do note the qualifying adjectives: many people, and all negative responses. If everyone making any negative responses had been gratuitously nasty then I wouldn’t have said some justification, and would probably have said “entirely justified”. But that isn’t the case so I didn’t. You may wish to spend some time trying to understand that difference and its ramifications.

    When you say something like ‘much of the dialogue has been hostile against her, but…’ and then go on to focus entirely on the ambiguous cases, your not-quite-absolute wording becomes a weasel word. You are paying lip service to the fact that she has ample reason to suspect an incoming agressive question to be yet another piece of incoming harassment, which you then ignore to obsess over whether she was right in her characterisation of this one comment amongst …hundreds?

    Hell even your own appraisal of your own weasel words includes more weasel wording: “I acknowledged that several times now, more or less – [patronising insult].”

    But here I am, surprised that Steersman might make use of semantics to argue something irrelevant! Silly me.

    You might refer to the video that that is from [@ 1:37] and note that all she said there was “How is it as painful ….”; that “[your supposed PTSD]” was my interpretation of what she intended or meant by “it” as the context seemed ambiguous without further research.

    You’re the one using that tweet as part of your argument, so that was your lapse in research, not mine.

    In any case, I fail to see how asking a question about Hensley’s PTSD, even with the prefixed “supposed” which I think is more or less implicit in the question which is why I used it, qualifies as calling her a liar – maybe you have your thumb on the scales?

    The implied accusation of dishonesty did not arise entirely from the ‘supposed’ you included in that tweet. If that word turns out to be a mistake on your part, then the dishonesty angle only evaporates partially. By attempting to measure their respective anxiety disorders against one another (“You got yours from twitter? Pfft, I got mine from rape“), it remains that Neptune Fallen is still calling into question the legitimacy of Hensley’s claim.

    Further, setting aside from all our wranglings as to whether that tweet is or is not an instance of harassment, I hope we can agree that there is some abiguity to that question. With that in mind, I find it quite reasonable that Hensley – a person in the midst of a tide of vileness on twitter – viewed it uncharitably and took it to be harassment. She is not an armchair pontificator, analysing the tweet without emotional entanglement; she is a fucking PTSD sufferer, the target of a fucking campaign of harassment questioning the validity of said PTSD, recieving what could easily be yet another disingenuous piece of shit question headed her way. When you attempt to slice the wording of the tweet apart in your usual stultifying way, you are ignoring that glaring context.

    In addition, as maybe a minor point, it’s not a question of the “severity of the triggers” – which are what presumably initiates the experience – but one of the severity of the symptoms themselves. Which as the clinical psychologist Caleb Lack – over on Skeptic Ink; you did read the post, didn’t you? – noted in several places, “PTSD (like all other mental illness) is more accurately viewed as continuum of symptoms and severity (dimensional; how much PTSD do you have?) ….” You may wish to challenge him on the point if you’re so inclined.

    Still irrelevant, as the apparent severity of the triggering event (e.g. rape > tritter harassment) is not linked to the severity of the PTSD symptoms. You are buying into the same mistaken idea that that Neptune Fallen bought into when (s)he thought to use that as a comparison their own and Hensley’s PTSD. Perhaps read your own reference a little closer?

    Also, I got a laugh out of your “as maybe a minor point” concession. Even your slymepit buddies know that arguing irrelevances is your specialty!

    Since you apparently didn’t watch that video of Thunderfoot’s – which I’ll concede is a little heavy-handed and unfair– I would suggest you do so sooner rather than later.

    This, right here, lays your intellectual dishonesty bare. You concede, unprompted even, that the video is unfair… only for you to ignore said concession and buy into the fucking thing anyway. You have admitted to going along with a biased narrative.

    And you might note that she has already contacted at least one “commanding officer” and has already “blocked dozens of accounts of people telling me I don’t have PTSD” so the number of commanding officers might well be even larger.

    Regarding the ‘contacting someone’s C.O. thing, it has been raised MANY TIMES that if the conduct of those people was in some way irresponsible / inappropriate / whatever it was, then it genuinely deserves to be reported because the person is not supposed to act in that manner. If the report was mistaken / frivolous, then the person has nothing to worry about.

    Why have you (and others) ignored this blatantly obvious refutation of your trivial talking point? The fact that you’ve blown right past it so many times kinda makes me think you’re not interested in the veracity of your talking point; your primary interest is simply o use it as often as possible to insinuate doubt where there is none. Can you think of another group that ignores easy refutations of their mistaken arguments with such regularity? I can: creationists. You are reminiscent of the theocratic extreme right.

    Regarding the other thing that your brought up only to immediately concede that it is entirely her own prerogative to block people on twitter and thus remove all point in bringing it up in the first place. Why bother introducing something to the conversation if you are only going to do so in a way that makes it seem that you don’t support its inclusion? Why bother adding those concessions if you blow right past them and continue talking about the thing you introduced as if you didn’t just concede it to be irrelevant? This has been your M.O. in every discussion I have seen you participate in and it is as tiresome as it is dishonest.

    Lastly, why does it matter if it is her job or not to report inappropriate behaviour? If someone is not behaving in the manner required of them, it is entirely reasonable to report that shit no matter who you are. Oh wait, that was yet another irrelevant distraction, my bad.

  6. Holms says

    However, getting that sort of unwanted attention doesn’t give you any protection from criticism – she has been criticised, rightly so, by many people. And that criticism is not only valid, it’s neccessary.

    I’m still waiting for any evidence and instances of that. Criticism that targets behaviour, criticism that accepts that she has a medical condition and that works on that basis without demanding her medical records nor tells her how to deal with her medical condition.
    I won’t hold my breath, though.

    I just like the fact that these idiots characterise themselves as carrying out a kind of noble, eagle eyed vigilance against the forces of dishonesty or whatever, but continue to use the fact that Hensley reported someone’s inappropriate behaviour to their employer as some kind of egregious failing of hers.

    The pathos contained in “that criticism is not only valid, it’s necessary” in particular cracks me up. Oh, you brave soldiers you!

  7. Steersman says

    Giliell: Just because there’s some reasonable scale of pain (yes, a papercut hurts less than a broken bone hurts less than losing a leg) ….

    Hallelujah – we’re advancing, maybe by inches, but still a step forward.

    Giliell: How is that criticism AT ALL? And how is that question supposed to be answered (if it should be anyway)?

    You mean how is a question a criticism? Well, TheFreeDictionary lists one definition of “question” [v.tr.] as “To express doubt about; dispute”. Which seems to carry an implicit criticism – why ask it, at least in that context, otherwise?

    And I told you how I thought she should have or could have answered it – without being obliged to provide a notarized copy of her diagnosis. The least she could have done was read up on the syndrome in some detail instead of just putting her feet in her mouth.

    Steersman: why shouldn’t others contact CFI to raise a question or two about her actions?

    Giliell: I don’t know, have they?

    Not that I know of, although I’ve seen some discussion of the question. And I note that Thunderfoot’s video has had some 112,000 views, with some 7000 up-votes and only a 150 down – almost a 50:1 ratio. I wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few people expressed the same opinions to CFI in the same ratio.

    Giliell: Why? It’s none of that person’s business.

    Melody made it everyone else’s business when she said in December of last year:

    Hensley: My PTSD has the same symptoms and feels as painful as any other person that got PTSD for ANY reason. [TFoot, @1:10]

    Which is unmitigated horseshit – do read Caleb Lack’s post for confirmation. And a travesty coming the DC Executive Director of an organization committed to free and skeptical inquiry.

    Giliell: Oh, and just for the sake of the argument: what if her symptoms are worse than those of the rape victim? Does that show that harassment and bullying is worse than rape?

    Missing the point again. I expect that some harassment and bullying is more traumatic, debilitating, or fatal – Amanda Todd for example – than some rapes, but the question in play is whether that is true in Hensley’s and Neptune’s cases or not. And whether Hensley was justified in characterizing Neptune’s question as harassment. Sad state of affairs if CFI answers the latter in the affirmative.

    Giliell: Does, in your opinion, “supposed” mean “true”? If not how does the adjective not indicate that the person does not believe Melody’s claim?

    You did notice, didn’t you, that that was sort of my paraphrase of what I thought she meant? As I explained in some detail to Holms (above). But the word means “presumed to be true or real without conclusive evidence” – why the fuck would she ask the question if she had evidence or knew it to be true? Hence “supposed”.

    Caleb Lack: “PTSD (like all other mental illness) is more accurately viewed as continuum of symptoms and severity ….”

    Giliell: Yes, we all have [viewed it that way?]. And we all agree. It’s only that you seem to read it as “Melody is definitely on the lighter end and shouldn’t make such a fuss” when that’s clearly not in that quote.

    You have? You all do? Well then that is apparently another step forward even it is somewhat belied by your “dick-measuring contest” comment; you may wish to point that out to Melody since, as noted above, she’s apparently still unclear on the concept. But if you accept that there is in fact a “lighter end” then why shouldn’t it be fair play, well within the ambit of skepticism, to ask whether any given individual is there or not? Particularly when that possibility may have some bearing on judging their actions and comments which may, in turn, have a nontrivial influence on many other people.

  8. thetalkingstove says

    The psychology of Steersman here is quite interesting.

    He acknowledges in the very first post here that Avi has written a good, ‘plausible’ defence of Melody.
    He acknowledges that Thunderfoot’s video is unfair.

    And yet on he ploughs, determined to find legitimate reasons to justify harassment of Melody.

    It’s so utterly ‘us vs them’. Melody is on the other team, the ‘FTBullies’ team. She’s a feminist and has said the kind of feminist things that the slymepit disliks, so it just *must* be right, somehow, that she gets badly treated.

    God forbid these ‘skeptics’ ever apply skepticism to their own reactions and opions.

  9. says

    Steersman

    You mean how is a question a criticism? Well, TheFreeDictionary lists one definition of “question” [v.tr.] as “To express doubt about; dispute”. Which seems to carry an implicit criticism – why ask it, at least in that context, otherwise?

    You’re either unwilling or unable to answer my question.
    I’ll try it a third time:
    What specifically did that person criticise?
    What were their arguments?
    What is the basis for their arguments?
    Since you defend that tweet as legitimate criticism you should be easily able to answer those questions.

    And I told you how I thought she should have or could have answered it – without being obliged to provide a notarized copy of her diagnosis. The least she could have done was read up on the syndrome in some detail instead of just putting her feet in her mouth.

    Yeah, only that your “answer” would have meant Meldody making claims about her PTSD and that of others. Did you get that memeo about it not being a dick-meassuring contest? And what’s your basis for thinking that she didn’t read up on it? How did she put her foot into her mouth?
    That one Tweet last December where she had to defend herself against people claiming that her PTSD can’t be real? That is her crime?
    Do you think the person who asked that question would be happy if the answer was “I don’t know, but I have been diagnosed with a severe case, so bad my psychiatrist says they haven’t seen anything like this before”?
    Just in case you didn’t get it: That PTSD exists on a scale does NOT mean that Melody’s is a lighter case than that of a rape victim. Because there seems to be no correlation between “how bad we judge this thing” and the severity of PTSD.

    , but the question in play is whether that is true in Hensley’s and Neptune’s cases or not.

    So, what’s your objective way to determine that?

    You did notice, didn’t you, that that was sort of my paraphrase of what I thought she meant?

    Holms has dealt with this already. Makes the tweet look better, makes you look worse.

    you may wish to point that out to Melody since, as noted above, she’s apparently still unclear on the concept.

    You did notice that it’s April now?

    But if you accept that there is in fact a “lighter end” then why shouldn’t it be fair play, well within the ambit of skepticism, to ask whether any given individual is there or not?

    And so the circle closes: Because it’s their private medical information and none of your fucking business. Because speculating about how much somebody is actually in pain is a shitty thing to do, and it’s pure cruelty when you have been informed that your faux-sceptical speculation actually increases the pain of the individual.

    Particularly when that possibility may have some bearing on judging their actions and comments which may, in turn, have a nontrivial influence on many other people.

    Oh really? what is at stake? What benefit does Melody gain if her case is on a 7 as opposed to a 4 (not that I believe that you can give it a neat number)? What behaviour would be ok against her if she was on a 3 as opposed to a 5? How can you objectively decide which behaviour of hers was caused by her PTSD and which one was caused by her being Melody?
    In short: What does it matter how severe her case is?

  10. karmacat says

    Steersman,

    Forget about Melody’s case for a moment:
    Do you agree or disagree that someone can develop PTSD as a result of harrassment and threats via twitter, email, etc.?
    Can you imagine what kind of threats would lead to PTSD?
    Can you imagine what kind of background someone has that leads to vulnerability to PTSD?
    What information does a psychiatrist need to make a diagnosis of PTSD?
    As a psychiatrist, I see veterans and non-veterans. Unfortunately, a lot of veterans do develop PTSD, but some do not. I saw a patient who got some threatening letters from a stalker and it derailed her life in a lot of ways. She was never attacked but had to live in fear of being attacked. The point is you need a lot of information to diagnose PTSD besides the event that could cause trauma.

    Whether or not you believe Melody, the most important take-home message is that threats and harrassment via electronic, written or verbal communication can cause pain, fear, doubt, helplessness. And these feelings can eventually lead to symptoms of PTSD. Also, everybody has a right to say that they don’t like a comment and they have a right to say this without justifying why.

  11. beaker says

    @Steersman:
    I’m having a hard time following the exact thing you are criticizing Hensley for here. Caleb stated that PTSD symptoms exist on a spectrum. He did not state that the severity of the symptoms are necessarily related to the severity of the trauma causing the PTSD, although you seem to be implying this. Thunderf00ts definitely seems to be making that statement.. Caleb also stated that comparing traumas and severity of symptoms between PTSD patients is advised against.

    Now, is your criticism purely that instead of saying “My PTSD has the same symptoms and feels as painful as any other person that got PTSD for ANY reason.”. she should have said “My PTSD has the same, or lesser or worse symptoms and feels as painful, or less or worse, as any other person that got PTSD for ANY reason”? Is your argument that this statement would have in any way prevented a lot of the abuse?

  12. Steersman says

    Giliell: You’re either unwilling or unable to answer my question.

    Or you’re unwilling or unable to comprehend or deal with the answers I’ve already provided.

    Giliell: I’ll try it a third time: What specifically did that person criticise? What were their arguments? What is the basis for their arguments?

    You’re expecting a lot from a medium that limits conversations to chunks of less than 140 characters at a time. But I think the question – asking for a comparison of symptoms in two cases – rather clearly suggests that Hensley was wrong to characterize whatever she “supposedly” had as PTSD, at least as severe as that experienced by Neptune. Which looks like a criticism to me. Presumably based on her experience of having been raped and having to deal with other people on Twitter. Looks like a credible argument to me.

    Steersman: … but the question in play is whether that is true in Hensley’s and Neptune’s cases or not.

    Giliell: So, what’s your objective way to determine that?

    GMAFB. Do watch that video I linked to earlier and will provide once again here and try telling me that the shakes exhibited by several of the veterans described are no less debilitating than whatever physical symptoms Hensley supposedly “suffers” from – you might keep in mind that she has apparently been able to do her job and even managed to struggle out of bed long enough to join her fellow employees at some bar. Yea, real traumatic and debilitating experience.

    Steersman: … you may wish to point that out to Melody since, as noted above, she’s apparently still unclear on the concept.

    Giliell: You did notice that it’s April now?

    No kidding? Did you notice this recent tweet from her?

    Melody Hensley @MelodyHensley • Apr 22
    There is also the narrative that I was receiving mean words or criticism. I received prolonged harassment and threats to my life.

    Does that look to you like she has acknowledged that she’s received any criticisms, much less any valid ones that might be construed as something other than harassment? That she has acknowledged that maybe she “mis-spoke” about all cases of PTSD being created equal? Looks rather pigheaded to me, and further evidence of doubling down.

    Giliell: In short: What does it matter how severe her case is?

    I don’t know how many times I have to repeat this – maybe I should be using bigger or coloured fonts or shorter sentences as you seem remarkably obtuse. Or simply intellectually dishonest. It is not entirely a question of “how severe her case is”; it is that she has largely and on no small amount of credible evidence falsely accused someone of harassment – a fairly serious crime. And quite likely many people.

  13. Steersman says

    Karmacat: Do you agree or disagree that someone can develop PTSD as a result of harassment and threats via twitter, email, etc.?

    Pray tell, where have I denied that? If I’m not mistaken I’ve said very clearly, in many places, that that is entirely possible. And I’ve even conceded that Hensley probably has that to some extent or some degree.

    Karmacat: Also, everybody has a right to say that they don’t like a comment and they have a right to say this without justifying why.

    Sure. And if some people insist on referring to black as white then other people have a right to say that the party of the first part is probably whacko.

  14. Steersman says

    Beaker: [Caleb] did not state that the severity of the symptoms are necessarily related to the severity of the trauma causing the PTSD, although you seem to be implying this.

    I think I’ve acknowledge here, and I’ve certainly done so on that blog post of Caleb’s, that people generally show a wide range of responses to the same stressors, “that what some of us find debilitating others perceive as little more than water off a duck’s back”. And, en passant, that generally speaking, “[PTSD], it’s more of a gal thing” – which Caleb more or less agreed with.

    Beaker: Thunderf00t’s definitely seems to be making that statement.

    Which I disagree with – and I expect he would acknowledge that fact – unlike some others one might mention.

    Caleb also stated that comparing traumas and severity of symptoms between PTSD patients is advised against.

    I hardly expect he would argue that that is a categorical statement, something to be done in all situations and circumstances, since he quite clearly talks of a spectrum. Maybe he isn’t comparing individuals, generally problematic particularly based on statistical data, but he is implicitly comparing populations of individuals: this subgroup’s symptoms are more severe, more debilitating, than that subgroup’s. How else could one tailor a program of cure otherwise? “Yea, I know you have a headache but, according to SJW-speak, we shouldn’t be comparing subgroups so we’re going to do a lobotomy.”

    Beaker: Now, is your criticism purely that instead of saying “My PTSD has the same symptoms …” she should have said “My PTSD has the same, or lesser or worse symptoms …”? Is your argument that this statement would have in any way prevented a lot of the abuse?

    Essentially, yes. If she had started off on that foot then I expect she wouldn’t have characterized Neptune’s question as harassment. Bogus and egregiously false accusations generally tend to get people’s backs up – particularly where there’s a history of them.

  15. karmacat says

    So, Steersman, what are you going to do about harrassment and threats on twitter, etc, since you agree that it can lead to PTSD?
    The fact that you use the word “whacko” tells me a lot about you

  16. johngreg says

    karmakat said (http://freethoughtblogs.com/amilliongods/2014/04/21/ptsd-and-melody/comment-page-2/#comment-596729):

    Forget about Melody’s case for a moment:
    Do you agree or disagree that someone can develop PTSD as a result of harrassment and threats via twitter, email, etc.?
    Can you imagine what kind of threats would lead to PTSD?
    Can you imagine what kind of background someone has that leads to vulnerability to PTSD?
    What information does a psychiatrist need to make a diagnosis of PTSD?

    I am not Steers, but I will answer these questions for myself anyway. Also, I am not forgetting about Hensley’s supposed case of PTSD for the moment because that is the only case of PTSD that is of relevance in this discussion; nonetheless, the answers apply equally well to the questions as though I were forgetting about Hensley, for the moment.

    Do you agree or disagree that someone can develop PTSD as a result of harrassment and threats via twitter, email, etc.?

    Generally spekaing, I disagree. However, on a more specific note, I suspect it is possible that someone who has already developed (if that is the correct term — contracted?) PTSD, and/or for whom it is currently latent but not expressly present, or for someone who has an otherwise diagnosed (or not diagnosed) psychological disability similar to or related to or developmentally connected with PTSD, those particular actions could, possibly, trigger PTSD to become present and/or diagnosable. I highly doubt that those experiences alone could actually create/cause the actual disability known as PTSD.

    Can you imagine what kind of threats would lead to PTSD?

    I can imagine lots of things, but, in specific response to your rhetorical intent, no. I doubt very much that any threats of any kind, except, possibly, threats that were legitimate threats, and not just disagreements, ridicule, and hostility, and were of a truly extreme nature, ongoing, and present in-the-physical world — not online — could, possibly, on their own, be a cause of PTSD. The kind of hostile reactions that Hensley clearly trolls for do not, in my opinion, count. Especially as it is clear that she seeks them out.

    Can you imagine what kind of background someone has that leads to vulnerability to PTSD?

    Yes, sure. I can imagine lots of things. So what? Hensley regularily seesaws back and forth on whether or not her background had any relation to the current crisis. She has, in fact, stated quite specifically that her background has nothing to do with her supposed development of PTSD, and that the so-called harassers and abusers on Twitter were the sole cause of her supposed PTSD. And no, I cannot link to that Tweet because I cannot at all remember where or when it was.

    What information does a psychiatrist need to make a diagnosis of PTSD?

    I don’t know — do you? I am not a psychiatrist, and so far as I know, neither are you, and so far as we all know, no actual real world psychiatrist has diagnosed Hensley.

  17. johngreg says

    karmacat said:

    The fact that you use the word “whacko” tells me a lot about you

    And that statement says a lot about you. Specifically, it implies that you are one of those people who will fiddle with, twist, and fudge language to mean whatever you want it to mean at any given time. Langugage policing and control, and the arbitrary redefinitions therein required, are a favourite tool of all SJL folk. It allows them to redefine the world to fit whatever dogmatic hair shirt their ideology-of-the-day requires.

    Maybe you should go outside and burn some books. That always helps the dogmatically disfigured to explain and rationalise their purpose of Earth.

  18. says

    I don’t know — do you? I am not a psychiatrist, and so far as I know, neither are you, and so far as we all know, no actual real world psychiatrist has diagnosed Hensley.

    Because whatever Meldoy says is clearly a lie.
    Because if we did accept her word we would know that she has been indeed diagnosed by a psychiatrist.
    Where’s the birth certificate medical records?

  19. Steersman says

    Karmacat:

    You’re conflating two issues: harassment and threats on twitter on the one hand with false accusations on the other. You have a solution for the former? Bring it up and we can discuss it. But with the latter you might try acknowledging or at least thinking about its problematic consequences – particularly as it has some relevance to other current and ongoing issues. Apropos of which, you may wish to read this recent post on one of them.

    As for “whacko”, what would you prefer? “Delusional”? “Intellectually dishonest”? Both seem entirely applicable.

  20. johngreg says

    Giliell said:

    Because whatever Meldoy says is clearly a lie.
    Because if we did accept her word we would know that she has been indeed diagnosed by a psychiatrist.
    Where’s the birth certificate medical records?

    Whatever on Earth are you rage-rabbiting on about now? I said none of those things at all.

    Hensley has stated that she has received a diagnosis from a psychologist (not a psychiatrist) that stated she was experiencing PTSD-like symptoms. Please note that, PTSD-like symptoms, not actual PTSD.

    We have only Hensley’s word that she is suffering from, experiencing, afflicted with PTSD. And yes, that alone might be enough if it were not for her ongoing self-agrandizing and legitimate PTSD sufferer-dismissing behaviours which cast, to anyone with a whit of skepticism or the ability to use critical thinking, doubt on her claims.

    I am not saying she is lying; I am saying her claims are dubious and unsubstantiated and rendered highly doubtful by her ongoing behavior — including the ever changing reasons for the requirement of her ongoing use of the True Devil, Twitter.

  21. Steersman says

    Sally Strange:

    Ha ha. I expect he meant, and I expect you know he meant, legitimate in the sense of “authentic; genuine: a legitimate complaint”.

  22. karmacat says

    First of all, I am a psychiatrist and I treat veterans and non-veterans. Second of all, a psychologist can diagnose PTSD. Having PTSD – like symptoms is still painful. A lot of veterans have PTSD, some do not. Nobody except Melody’s psychologist or someone who has done an interview and psych evaluation can diagnose her. I can imagine how harassment and stalking via internet can cause PTSD – just replace the internet with written communication, telephone calls, etc. I had one patient who was threatened by a few letters by a stalker. She did not have all the symptoms of PTSD but it definitely derailed her life. I have added some links to a couple of studies on cyberstalking. I don’t have enough time tonight to do a more thorough search.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/12/cyberstalking_is_really_really_bad/
    http://www.sainetz.at/dokumente/Cyberstalking.pdf

    What I don’t quite understand is this need to figure out if Melody is lying or making stuff up. It costs you nothing to believe her. She is not getting any more money from this. And it certainly is not a way of self-aggrandizement to talk about your PTSD given how much stigma there is when it comes to mental illness. In the grand scheme of things it is more important to look at the issue of internet harassment and stalking than worry about this one person.

    And, Johngreg, words do matter. If you want to be decent human being, you would say something along the lines, “I don’t understand how the internet can cause PTSD. Can you tell me more or direct me to information about this?” If you want to be an asshole, you would tell her she “is full of shit” and “my PTSD is worse than yours.” I consider my words very carefully when I talk to patients. I advise people on how to talk to others in a way that leads to a productive discussion rather than an argument. If you don’t someone to ban you, then you figure out how to express yourself in a polite and considerate way. And you can criticize someone’s ideas in a considerate and constructive way, such as “Will veterans feel their PTSD will not be taken seriously if you talk about your PTSD.” this can lead to a discussion about PTSD from different kinds of trauma or something along those lines. It is not rocket science

  23. Shari says

    Is there a twitter manual that explains the difference between ‘legitimate’ harassment and abuse, ‘legitimate’ threats, and illegitimate ones? That woman in the UK who provoked the entire nation with the idea of Jane Austen on money could have used it. Melody could too, going through them one at a time might take a while…of course, Melody only talked about her health, so that’s…more controversial? Less? How does a harasser weigh these things?

  24. Steersman says

    Tough job. But someone has to do it as many if not most on the FTB network seem congenitally unable to do so. Maybe why one “Jennifer B Phillips” – who I see has commented on the latest bit of FTB propaganda from Stephanie Zvan – insisted that using such in an Internet argument was sufficient to cause its forfeit.

  25. Steersman says

    Karmacat: What I don’t quite understand is this need to figure out if Melody is lying or making stuff up. It costs you nothing to believe her. She is not getting any more money from this. And it certainly is not a way of self-aggrandizement to talk about your PTSD given how much stigma there is when it comes to mental illness. In the grand scheme of things it is more important to look at the issue of internet harassment and stalking than worry about this one person.

    As a general answer, you don’t think there is some need to question whether people are lying about the claims they make? You think that everyone always tells the gospel truth – so help them god? As a case in point, regardless of who you think has the better claim to the truth in the Radford-Stollznow case, it seems rather clear that someone is at least seriously bending it, and that it is of some import to determine who. Likewise with a great many cases that wind up going through the justice system.

    As for “costs nothing to believe her”, I wonder what you think the costs are of believing a lie. And while I’ll concede that there is apparently little or no financial benefits to Hensley in all of this, you of all people should realize that that isn’t all of what motivates people. In addition, while I’ll readily agree that “internet harassment and stalking” is a serious problem, it shouldn’t take much thought, or knowledge of recent events, to realize that false accusations – particularly of “internet harassment” – is equally so.

  26. Shari says

    Everyone has a chance – daily – to decide what they accept and or support.

    You either think that piling on victims of harassment is ok, or you think, as a decent person, that it’s ultimately harmful.

    So, daily, in the internet world, what does that say about you f you cannot decide to support victims of harassment?

    It’s not even relevant if you think she’s not in the right.

    People have a chance to do the right thing, what is the actual problem with saying to people – no, I don’t agree with her statement, but this is over the top and wrong.

    Why is it so hard to stand up for women getting harassed?

    And, for all the people who comment about how thin-skinned she is if she ‘can’t take the criticism’ – look at yourselves first.

    She reported on her health, and got a sh!tstorm of abuse. Who is over-reacting here, the abuse victim, or umpteen thousand twitter users who completely lost it and tweeted out horrific abuse?

    Who is really thin-skinned here?

  27. Steersman says

    Shari: People have a chance to do the right thing, what is the actual problem with saying to people – no, I don’t agree with her statement, but this is over the top and wrong.

    You might note that I have already done so – more or less. You might try doing the same.

    Shari: Why is it so hard to stand up for women getting harassed?

    Certainly a rather problematic tendency for people to “pile-on” – apropos of which you might read and pay close attention to this modern rendition of “The Ox-Bow Incident”, the problematic consequences of a “rush to judgement”.

    But you really should make some effort – your first comment was a start – to realize that not all of the criticism directed Hensley’s way qualifies as harassment. And that for her – and others – to so characterize it tends to raise – or should raise – some serious questions about their moral and intellectual integrity.

  28. Steersman says

    Shari: People have a chance to do the right thing, what is the actual problem with saying to people – no, I don’t agree with her statement, but this is over the top and wrong.

    You might note that I have already done so (1) – more or less. You might try doing the same.

    Shari: Why is it so hard to stand up for women getting harassed?

    Certainly a rather problematic tendency for people to “pile-on” – apropos of which you might read and pay close attention to this modern rendition (2) of “The Ox-Bow Incident”, the problematic consequences of a “rush to judgement”.

    But you really should make some effort – your first comment was a start – to realize that not all of the criticism directed Hensley’s way qualifies as harassment. And that for her – and others – to so characterize it tends to raise – or should raise – some serious questions about their moral and intellectual integrity.

    —-
    1) “_http://bbrfoundation.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.personalCampaign&participantID=5881&fb_comment_id=fbc_637195713033819_640018802751510_640018802751510”;
    2) “_http://karenstollznowbenjaminradford.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/karen-stollznow-and-the-ben-radford-case-why-it-matters/”;

  29. karmacat says

    Steersman, you are all over the place. I know some of my patients lie to me. I just don’t always know who and when. It does not affect my life when they lie. It affects theirs. If they are lying so as to get more disability, compensation, etc, then that is a problem. Melody has not acused anyone in particular for harassment and is not taking anyone to court so the stollznow-radford case is not relevant. If you don’t like how she describes some criticism as harassment, then ask her why she does think it is an inappropriate criticism. The more we understand how internet harassment and even criticism affects people, the better we will be in helping victims. When a patient is angry with me, I have to block my immediate defensiveness and ask that person to explain why they are feeling angry. More communication and elaboration of ideas and thoughts people is always better than making assumptions.

  30. Steersman says

    Shari: Steersman, you are all over the place.

    And here I thought I was making some effort to reduce my verbiage, my too “fancy, fancy words”.

    Shari: If they are lying so as to get more disability, compensation, etc, then that is a problem.

    Yes, and that is, more or less, the hypothesis, the conjecture on the table: Hensley is lying, or at least bending the truth, for “compensation” of one sort or another, that she is, at best, engaging in some egregious self-flattery.

    Shari: Melody has not accused anyone in particular for harassment and is not taking anyone to court so the stollznow-radford case is not relevant. If you don’t like how she describes some criticism as harassment, then ask her why she does think it is an inappropriate criticism.

    Really? Did you even look at that video of Thunderfoot’s? I strongly suggest you do so, particularly at 1:37 into it where Hensly quite clearly characterizes a simple and entirely civil question as harassment – which looks like an egregious accusation to me.

    As for me asking her that, I think that’s the best laugh I’ve had all week. For one thing, I expect Oolon and his henchmen have probably already seen to it that she already has me blocked as a matter of course. And even if that is not the case then what do you think my chances are of getting through to her if she’s already blocked the person asking the original question and characterizing her as a harasser?

    But you’re welcome to try yourself, and I would love to see you do so. Though I wonder whether you would be willing to put any money on your chances.

    Shari: More communication and [the] elaboration of ideas and thoughts [of] people is always better than making assumptions.

    Quite agree. But should you embark on the aforementioned “Mission Impossible” then I might suggest you try impressing that particular idea on her.

  31. johngreg says

    karmacat said (http://freethoughtblogs.com/amilliongods/2014/04/21/ptsd-and-melody/comment-page-2/#comment-598924):

    What I don’t quite understand is this need to figure out if Melody is lying or making stuff up. It costs you nothing to believe her.

    Thus spake critical thought.

    It costs me nothing to believe on god, but I do not. It costs me nothing to believe in Bigfoot, but I do not. It costs me nothing to believe in Holy Hensley, but I do not — at least, not completely. She might be telling the truth; she might not.

    Both belief and disbelief are the same thing in regards to critical thought and skepticism.

    As I have stated many times elsewhere, I am on the fence in regards to Hensley’s claims of having PTSD: She might; she might not. Neither I, nor you, nor the rest of FTB, Skepchick, A+, et al, know for sure. And the deep and wholly uncritical belief provided by most of FTB, Skepchick, A+, et al, is grounded in dogma, faith, and uncritical thought based on little more than that Hensley is seen as an ally, primarily because she is a woman and because she has some doubters and is therefore the beneficiary of oceans-worth of victim and pity points.

    My criticisms, as it were, are not so much about her claims to having PTSD, they are about her treatment, so to speak, of anyone and everyone who casts any doubt whatsoever on those claims, down to, and certainly including, her actual action of contacting the superiors of real-world military PTSD sufferers in an attempt to have them censured in some way or other because they are critical of her claims. Do you endorse her behaviour?

    She might have PTSD. I don’t know. And neither do you. To uncritically support her claim, or to uncritically deny her claim, are both the same thing: groundless and without value; however, to support her deeply hostile actions regarding anyone and everyone who doubts her claim, simply doubts it, is tantamount to supporting real harassment and real hosility.

    And, Johngreg, words do matter. If you want to be decent human being, you would say something along the lines, “I don’t understand how the internet can cause PTSD. Can you tell me more or direct me to information about this?”

    Well I actually did say quite precisely that several months ago. The response from all of FTB, A+, and Skepchick, was a various rain of:

    1. You’re just a mysogynist.
    2. You’re a hater.
    3. Always believe the victim (except when the victim accuses PZ Myers or LousyCanuck of rape).
    4. Always believe a woman.
    5. You’re just a stupid Slymepitter.

    And so forth, and so on. And no one, and I will emphasize that, no one actually provided any valid research, or citations pointing to same, that supported such a claim.

    And so far as I can tell, no one has, as yet, supplied any valid and/or meaningful research that supports the claim that so-called abuse and/or harassment received via something like Twitter can actually cause PTSD. Yes, there have been some valid arguments made that so-called abuse and harassment received via something like Twitter can trigger latent PTSD, but as has been noted, Hensley insists that Twitter was the cause, not the trigger, of her PTSD.

    If you want to be an asshole, you would tell her she “is full of shit” and “my PTSD is worse than yours.”

    It is odd that you would post that, as in point of fact Hensley said that her PTSD was equal to and potentially worse than that suffered by military vets.

    Giliell, I am fairly certain that a couple of months ago she stated that it was a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. If I am wrong about that, then I am wrong.

  32. Steersman says

    Giliell: While I’ll concede that, as you pointed, Melody had said, on April 15, “I was diagnosed by a very good psychiatrist ….”, you might note that she said in a somewhat older tweet (April 13; @ 3:00 of Thunderfoot’s video), “According to my psychologist ….”

    But don’t you think that that is a minor quibble, if not being overly picky? Don’t you have anything more “substantive” if your quiver? Maybe a detailed analysis, corroborated by responses from the woman of the hour herself, on precisely why that question [@1:37] was characterized as harassment? Or maybe you’ll concede that you, in Shari’s words, “don’t agree with her statement”?

  33. Shari says

    Steersman, you have me confused with Karmacat, but whatever.

    Yes, I noted that you said…..some of the abuse was over the top.

    So, can abuse cause PTSD? – yes, as a matter of fact, link after damn link has shown up – i think i’ve seen at least four on the subject – that shows harassment causes the symptoms of PTSD. So when she gets abused, you seriously ‘have a problem with her treatment (of her abusers)’.

    But – But – according to all the experts – HOW BAD CAN HER TREATMENT of them be IF TWITTER HARASSMENT ISN’t REAL, LEGITIMATE Harassment?

    you don’t get to tell her, “suck it up, cupcake, it’s not real harassment”, and then ‘don’t use twitter to respond with crappy behavior to your critics – it’s unfair.’ That makes no sense.

    “But you really should make some effort – your first comment was a start – to realize that not all of the criticism directed Hensley’s way qualifies as harassment. And that for her – and others – to so characterize it tends to raise – or should raise – some serious questions about their moral and intellectual integrity.”

    So, if you want to go through her twitter feed, sort out which tweets are ‘legitimate harassment’, then compile your list of what was ‘legitimate criticism’, try to use a teaspoon of empathy to discern what would compel anyone struggling with abuse to read the latter, after experiencing the former. And then again, let us know why it’s so easy to support abusive ‘criticism’ and it’s so hard to be decent and maybe use your voice to support victims of abuse.

    Because if you don’t think she was a legitimate victim or target of abuse before, well, she sure is now. And everyone who enables or supports that crappy behavior has won their badge of ‘legitimate harasser’.

    Sorry to see no one has weighed in on what’s a bigger crime – reporting on your health via twitter, or suggesting Jane Austen should be on UK money… i really wanted that question answered….

  34. Steersman says

    Shari: Steersman, you have me confused with Karmacat, but whatever.

    Yes, you’re right; my apologies to all concerned. Avi is welcome to edit that comment of mine to correct it and it would be appreciated if he did so.

    Shari (or maybe I should say “Karmacat” to even out the balance): you don’t get to tell her, “suck it up, cupcake, it’s not real harassment”, and then ‘don’t use twitter to respond with crappy behavior to your critics – it’s unfair.’ That makes no sense.

    You’re flogging a dead horse – at least one that is on its last legs as it is a stretch for you to lay that “crime” at my doorstep. I don’t know how many times I have to say it, but here it is again: “Yes, some people have been incredibly nasty with Our Miss Melody, delicate flower of the South that she is, and should be severely chastised about the chops. But she has been remarkably pigheaded – being charitable – in characterizing every criticism of her as harassment.” You really should read that post of Miri’s in some detail before saying anything more on the point. And you should make some effort to differentiate between who is saying what and not tar everyone with the same brush – even if it makes you feel good to do so.

    Shari: So, if you want to go through her twitter feed, sort out which tweets are ‘legitimate harassment’, then compile your list of what was ‘legitimate criticism’ ….

    All I’m asking, to begin with anyway, is for you, and others, to take a look at one specific exchange of tweets [@1:37 of Thunderfoot’s video], and ask yourselves whether Melody was right or not to characterize that single tweet of Neptune’s as harassment. I don’t know why that should be such a difficult exercise – unless there’s some bias or prejudice in play.

  35. Shari says

    I’ve been reading through these comments, and I actually am befuddled.

    How many tweets did Melody get? How many comments on her fundraiser?

    Her one response to Neptune is what you are using as a singular example? No, really, I am not viewing Thunderfoot – He is aggressively hostile to women and women’s issues in general, so even if he had one valid thing to say on the subject, he’s spent his recent online history being offensive enough to lose any credibility with me.

    The impression I have gotten from your comments, Johngreg, and other harrassment-supporters on different blogs takes the form of – ‘it was valid criticism, she should have a thicker skin, she’s offensive to the military, she’s a drama queen, how do we know she’s not lying..’

    That’s the gist of all that I am reading over and over….in defense of harassment. In criticism of Melody. Sorry if my horse looks dead. But the substance of the horse you rode in on is needlessly hostile.

  36. johngreg says

    Shari said:

    The impression I have gotten from your comments, Johngreg, and other harrassment-supporters on different blogs takes the form of – ‘it was valid criticism, she should have a thicker skin, she’s offensive to the military, she’s a drama queen, how do we know she’s not lying.’

    That’s the gist of all that I am reading over and over….in defense of harassment. In criticism of Melody. Sorry if my horse looks dead. But the substance of the horse you rode in on is needlessly hostile.

    I am not a harassment supporter. And criticism is not defence of harassment. Clearly the issue is that we have different definitions of what harassment is. For one thing, I agree whole heartedly that some of the nastiness thrown Hensley’s way is indeed harassment. However, that does not mean that all disagreement with her, or lack of faith in her claims equates to harassment in the sense that it appears to be meant by FTB, et al, commenters.

    I think it would be more accurate to characterize my posts as:

    - Some of the criticism directed toward Hensley is very valid criticism.

    - If she is going to dish it out, as she clearly does and with the obvious intent of stirring it up, then yes, she should have a thicker skin.

    - She is indeed very offensive to the military and other sufferers of PTSD.

    - She is possibly a drama queen, but for the moment, my jury, so to speak, is still out.

    - Yes, we can say how do we know she’s not lying, which is a fair question to ask of anyone making any kind of personal claim without external confirmation. It is not a bad thing to question anyone’s veracity — mine, yours, everyone’s.

  37. Steersman says

    Shari: How many tweets did Melody get? How many comments on her fundraiser?

    Her one response to Neptune is what you are using as a singular example?

    While it is true that I am focusing on that tweet of Neptune’s, that’s because it is particularly stark in highlighting an egregiously wrong misjudgement on Hensley’s part, and because it is readily available, but it seems to be only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. For instance, while Damion’s Storify went hog-wild on the cherry-picking – lots of “gendered insults” – I took a quick look at the fundraiser and I would say very few of the critical ones are gratuitously nasty – merely questioning Hensley’s entirely bogus claim that all cases of PTSD are created equal. One which you and many others seem to insist is really the case – and y’all throw stones at the anti-vaxxers and the 911-truthers and the religious nuts.

    Shari: No, really, I am not viewing Thunderfoot ….

    “Don’t confuse me with facts; my mind is made up”. Were you a “godbot” at some point? If so one might suggest that you never really made it out.

  38. johngreg says

    Fuck me, but I have to admit that I love the spam that Avi lets through. It’s pretty goddamn funny.

    “I’ve hads red this site and it has improoved my intellegigence bunchess please keep posting what yoo doo.”

    YeeHaw Avi!

  39. Steersman says

    John:

    You think that’s something he does intentionally? Or just something that sneaks in under the automated radar?

  40. says

    Giliell: While I’ll concede that, as you pointed, Melody had said, on April 15, “I was diagnosed by a very good psychiatrist ….”, you might note that she said in a somewhat older tweet (April 13; @ 3:00 of Thunderfoot’s video), “According to my psychologist ….”

    Here’s a hint or two:
    -people can have BOTH, a psychiatrist AND a psychologist
    -it’s not a minor point when people start spreading falsehoods, undermining her credibility.

  41. Steersman says

    Giliell: Here’s a hint or two:
    -people can have BOTH, a psychiatrist AND a psychologist

    Yes, you’re quite right that they can. The question is not whether that is possible – “can, aux. v.: 2a Used to indicate possibility or probability” – for many or “most” people, but whether it is in fact true for one specific individual, i.e., Melody herself. Or, as an alternative in the latter case, whether she “mis-spoke” or she’s unclear on the differences; you maybe have some factual evidence one way or the other?

    But it still looks like a minor quibble, and I kind of expected you to be better than to belabour the point.

    Giliell: … – it’s not a minor point when people start spreading falsehoods, undermining her credibility.

    Considering that she seems to have a rather problematic predilection for accusing people of harassment when the facts hardly justify the charge, I would say her credibility, even apart from the psychiatrist-psychologist issue, is looking rather tattered. But, speaking of which, I have yet to see, if I’m not mistaken, you actually come down on one side of the fence or the other on the issue of whether or not Neptune’s question qualifies as harassment or not; care to take a stab at that?

    But, in passing though somewhat apropos, I wonder whether you still stand by this previous comment of yours to me sometime back:

    Giliell: … I’d think that somebody [Steersman] who goes around telling that “criminal behaviour is more of a guy thing is biological” has a far worse concept of men than any feminist ever came up with.

    Considering your more recent and more credible comments on the qualifier “most”, I wonder whether you would now concede that while “most” men are not susceptible or prone to “criminal behaviour”, it is still true, or a quite credible argument, that there are more men who qualify than there are women. And, for bonus points, that while it is probably true that “most” women are not any more susceptible to PTSD symptoms than men, it is still true that there more women than men who are.

  42. johngreg says

    Giliell said:

    Here’s a hint or two:
    -people can have BOTH, a psychiatrist AND a psychologist
    -it’s not a minor point when people start spreading falsehoods, undermining her credibility.

    Floosh! You’re really digging now, aren’t you.

    Hensley did not claim or imply or suggest in even a vague offhanded sort of way that she had both; she simply lost the track of her own tale.

    Who is spreading falsehoods? What falsehoods?

    Also, it is really rather difficult to undermine something that isn’t even there in the first place.

    Giliell, I have a question for you: Why do you uncritically assume that Hensley is telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

    I have already stated why I have doubts, and now I am curious as to why you have no doubts.

    Do you believe anything and everything that your supposed allies say simply because they are your supposed allies?

    C’mon, fess up. Do the right thing. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak, and answer the questions.

  43. johngreg says

    Steers said:

    John:

    You think that’s something he does intentionally? Or just something that sneaks in under the automated radar?

    Good questrion. Avi’s blog is, so far as I know, the only blog on the entire FTB network that has such spam, so, well, who knows. Only he can answer that one.

    I thought LousyCanuck was head security honcho, but perhaps not?

  44. Steersman says

    John Greg: Good question. Avi’s blog is, so far as I know, the only blog on the entire FTB network that has such spam, so, well, who knows. Only he can answer that one.

    Always a possibility I suppose, although I think it a rather remote one as I’ve seen similar types of spam comments on other FTB sites. For instance, this one on Ally Fogg’s:

    There is a new comment to Is gender inherently oppressive? .
    Comment Link: http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2014/02/21/is-gender-inherently-oppressive/#comment-67218
    Author: good shoes for plantar fasciitis
    Comment:
    Hi, Neat post. There is a problem with your website in web explorer, could test this? IE nonetheless is the market chief and a good part of other folks will leave out your magnificent writing because of this problem.

    And I’ve seen quite a number on Ashley Miller’s, for instance this one:

    There is a new comment to A thorough analysis of Woody Allen’s letter in the NYTimes.
    Comment Link: http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2014/02/08/a-thorough-analysis-of-woody-allens-letter-in-the-nytimes/#comment-173013
    Author: Customized Youth Orlando Magic super bowl jerseys
    Comment:
    Where To Buy Cheap Czech Jerseys Online Wholesale

    In addition, I’ve seen likewise on blogs other than FTB ones, Michael Nugent’s for example.

    Seems to be more in “the nature of the beast” than an intent to defraud or anything like that.

    While there is maybe much in the way criticism that could be laid at Avi’s doorstep, although substantially less than many of the “usual suspects”, I think it wise to give credit where it’s due, and to not overindulge in hyperskepticism.

Trackbacks

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>