Some thoughts on Mabus.
First. What is public is not much thus far. Stephane Giroux reports via twitter “Bipolar, compounded by alcohol and substance abuse, psy report sez. Hence the rehab while awaiting next court date.” That next scheduled court date is Dec. 2.
That’s pretty much the extent of what is available at present. The “why are you writing about this?” stuff comes after the jump.
Many of us in the skeptic and/or atheist blogosphere were familiar with Mabus; not all will be following his progress (Doubtful Newsblog will, though). Skeptic News, for instance, will not be reporting on Mabus, because they do not think it is helpful to him, nor is it any one else’s business. While I respect that view, I do not share it. I have two reasons for keeping on top of the story to the extent that I am able to. The minor reason is that I am one of those he threatened. While the odds are small that he would ever make good on his threats, I’d be a fool to look away from potentially important information. The major reason is simply that I care. Yes, even about Mabus.
Spam from Mabus was a rite of passage, a sign that I had made it. In truth, I was wrong about that—it was not so much a sign of my visibility as it was of the growth of his symptoms. But Mabus was a daily part of my life; like so many of us, I occasionally tried to reason with him, grew frustrated with him, and ignored him, in turn.
And then things changed. His spam became violent. This was a concern. To a small extent (small because he has no idea who I am), it was a concern for me. To a much greater extent, it was a concern because it is symptomatic. It is a line that “normal” people do not cross; indeed, a clinical psychologist friend of mine said that it defines that line. It’s like coming in to an emergency room and spitting out a mouthful of blood. Doesn’t matter if you just tried to prank the staff by sticking a straw in an IV bag and sucking out a mouthful (ok, don’t really think about that); you are gonna be there for a while, running tests. You don’t just dismiss a mouthful of blood, and you don’t dismiss actual death threats. Not because of concern for the people who have to mop the floor, or those who read the threats, but out of concern for the person exhibiting those symptoms.
The majority of those who helped to gather information about Mabus spam, who have followed his progress, are doing so because they (we) are legitimately trying to help. Yes, there are a minority who find joy in his pain; I cannot speak for them.
So, yeah, I care about Dennis, and I hope he gets the care he needs. He is welcome back here when and if he chooses, when and if he can handle it. Meanwhile, it is sad that it took this long, and this much effort (although it is always more evident in hindsight, especially as his decline was gradual), and it would be an even greater shame if he fell through the cracks at this point and no one noticed.