For citizen safety, Krasner must go

The job of the district attorney is to protect the public, prosecute the accused and administer justice.

Larry Krasner has failed on the first two, and has a questionable record on the third. He should be fired.

D.A. Larry Krasner (left) and challenger Carlos Vega

By his own omission during his last campaign, protecting the public and prosecuting the accused were not high on his agenda, if they were on it at all.

He did promise “reform” of the criminal justice system, to empty the prisons and abolish cash bail. His re-election slogan is, “Promises made, promises kept.” (Very odd he would borrow a slogan from Donald J. Trump.)

In those promises, by my count, he is 1 for 3.

He did “reform” criminal justice by firing experienced prosecutors (such as Carlos Vega, his opponent in the May 18 primary), hiring a bunch of inexperienced attorneys who had trouble passing the bar exam, declining prosecution on 25 crimes (including shoplifting under $500, identity theft, forgery, and drunk driving), and letting gun prosecutions plummet, and seeking the softest charges whenever possible and releasing suspects who proved to be extremely dangerous.

That’s Krasner’s “good” news.

The prison population has indeed dropped dramatically in the past five years, but that began in 2015 when Michael Nutter was mayor, before Krasner was elected. All he did was to keep his foot on the gas pedal of a car already at highway speed.

As to abolishing cash bail, well, that’s a story in itself.

He did start off by releasing suspects more or less willy-nilly, but with the arrival of the pandemic, he changed his policy.

Suddenly, he was asking $999,999 bail on a wide variety of crimes — not just violent felonies — as I reported last month.

Why he did that is an open question. Answers are hard to come by as his office routinely does not even acknowledge questions submitted by non supine journalists such as myself and Ralph Cipriano, whose BigTrial.net is perhaps the best compendium of Krasner’s failures and faults.

The U-turn on bail was so profound it drove the Philadelphia Bail Fund, a one-time ally, into publicly attacking Krasner.

What drove the change in policy? 

My guess? To fight against the blowback from critics who accused Krasner of turning loose dangerous people, not fully prosecuting others, failing to keep in touch with victims’ families, and showing contempt for anyone who questions his methods.

Who can forget the racist comment aimed at white protestors by his director of communications, the too-woke Jane Roh, a former reporter who turned in her principles along with her press card when she joined Krasner’s staff. 

Under a growing barrage of complaints from citizens about being “too soft” on crime, Krasner cooked up the million-dollar bail scheme in an attempt to shift blame to the Arraignment Court for “reducing bail” which he set unbelievably high.

He also promised to reign in civil asset forfeiture, but the most recent 2019 report showed cash seizures by the D.A.’s office increased to $1.5 million from the $1.3 million the year before.

He’s a gem, and one of a handful of prosecutors — such as in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis  — who are testing out their progressive theories as crime skyrockets. I mean, they don’t even talk about driving crime down. 

With him as D.A., gun crimes are going crazy and homicides are on a track to set a record this year. Have you heard him screaming about the tide of blood and what he plans to do about it? Don’t strain yourself. Who does he attack? Cops. 

This election is not just about Krasner. It is also about whether the people want crazy public defenders pretending to be prosecutors. This is like a game from Alice in Wonderland, except for the dead bodies of victims littering our streets. There is a reason he is not supported by the Democratic Party, which is very unusual for an incumbent.

Most of Krasner’s financial support comes from outside the city, from people who don’t have to suffer the consequences of his dangerous policies. Vega’s support comes almost entirely from local supporters. 

This election is not about “reform,” because Vega also wants to reduce the prison population by not jailing nonviolent offenders, and by offering actual low bail to those who qualify.

He would continue the conviction review unit, which has been a Krasner success. Krasner has exonerated 19 wrongfully convicted people and I give him credit for that. Vega told me he would expand it, and improve it by getting rid of Krasner’s woke but inexperienced attorneys. 

The key difference between the two men is that Vega takes a personal interest in locking up bad people, protecting the public and sheltering the families of victims. He aches for them, as I reported in an earlier piece on Vega.

His views are traditionally liberal, which is what you expect in Philadelphia from a life-long Democrat. They are spelled out simply on his website.

They are well within the lines of what we expect from law enforcement. They are not freaking crazy.

He would use the death penalty for “extreme circumstances” as long as it were legal (Krasner never took it off the table), and would have no “minimum amount” of shoplifting before prosecution. “You’re not supposed to steal,” he says. “It is destroying neighborhoods.”

Krasner’s decision to not prosecute prostitutes has had a negative effect on them, Vega says. If they are not taken into custody, they can’t be directed toward services that can help free them from that life. The same is true for addicts, who can’t be helped unless they are taken into custody. Vega’s aim is to help, not punish.

Krasner has well-intended ideas that have serious, negative practical consequences.

He must be sent back to the defense table, where he belongs.

Carlos Vega, who is for the people, should be Philadelphia’s next district attorney. 

The men debate Wednesday night at 7 on NBC10 and KYWNewsRadio.

14 thoughts on “For citizen safety, Krasner must go”

  1. Mr. Bykofsky,

    Another fantastic piece. Thank you.

    A public service announcement: Former U.S. Attorney Mr. William McSwain (a huge fan of D.A. Krasner) will be speaking tomorrow evening at the Montgomery County GOP Spring Reception. There is still time to register at: http://montgomerycountygop.com/

    Unfortunately, it will be the same time as the D.A. debate. DVR anyone?

    Thank you again for your fantastic insights. Keep ‘em coming!

  2. 20 years ago a dear friend was murdered in Pennypack Park. I was the intermediary between the family, the police and the prosecutor, Carlis Vega. With the family’s blessing, Vega secured a plea deal. He was both compassionate and extremely professional. He understands what it means to be the people’s attorney and an advocate for victims. He has my vote.

  3. Peter Gerold, 70 yrs old
    Travon Register, 6 yrs old
    Milan Loncar, 25 yrs old
    James O’connor, 46 yrs old
    Marilyn Zellars, 54 yrs old
    Jose Peralta, 55 yrs old
    Zamar Jones, 7 yrs old
    Gladys Coriano, 52 yrs old
    Ishan Charmidah Rahman,39 yrs old was pregnant – baby died as well

    All murdered by criminals DIRECTLY let out of jail by Krasner. Court documented public info. Facts are facts. Google each name

    LETS GO VEGA!!!!!

  4. HAPPY TUESDAY !!!
    Pallie,
    You know better than most, that there is a movement across this country. Call it what you will. Socialism works. Anti capitalism works, Communism, Marxism, etc. The idea is to destroy our country which most of us love. Krasner is a part of that movement.
    Our problem is removing people like Krasner. He is part of a machine that has been operating for at least 60 years. Slowly but surely. Methodically, we are losing America to the dark side.
    America ! WAKE UP ! DRAIN THE SWAMP !
    Tony

  5. Peter Gerold, 70 yrs old
    Travon Register, 6 yrs old
    Milan Loncar, 25 yrs old
    James O’connor, 46 yrs old
    Marilyn Zellars, 54 yrs old
    Jose Peralta, 55 yrs old
    Zamar Jones, 7 yrs old
    Gladys Coriano, 52 yrs old
    Ishan Charmidah Rahman,39 yrs old was pregnant – baby died as well

    All murdered by criminals DIRECTLY let out of jail by Krasner. Court documented public info. Facts are facts. Google each name

    LETS GO VEGA!!!

  6. ETIOLOGICAL BIOGRAPHY

    I
    It was an open secret around the house that Father was a communist, and no secret at all that he was a Freudian. One or the other of those is likely to have played a part in his diagnosis that the broken leg I suffered at the age of three was a ploy to get attention. When I failed to get well after receiving his diagnosis, he grew scornful about my “resistance” (nowadays people say “denial”,) and insulted me for looking pale and drawn.
    I recall lying in the dark and calculating: If I make a fuss, Dad will think it proves him right, and I’ll never get the help I need. The best thing to do is lie here and hope he’ll start to respond the way fathers do when their children are in pain.
    Eventually, Mom made him take me to the Emergency Room, where the fracture was diagnosed and treated. I don’t know what would have happened without her.
    Marxist-Leninism and Freudianism are often called pseudo-sciences by scientists and philosophers, because no possible experience could prove them false (i.e. they are unfalsifiable.) Whatever happens can be made to fit these very elastic “theories”. Thus, Marxist-Leninists and Freudians never have to worry about being wrong as long as they stick to their “principles”—it’s the people and facts who disagree with them who are wrong. That’s how Father could avoid acknowledging his negligence. Yes, I did have a broken leg—but that wasn’t the real problem. The real problem was that, by wincing, turning pale, lying down, breathing shallowly, etc., I was behaving as if his unfalsifiable theory and diagnosis were wrong. Even if I were in pain from a broken leg, I didn’t have to look or act like it. That was just a show put on to get attention, and until I openly expressed the desire for undeserved attention that, repressed, manifested itself as pain and injury, I could never be “healthy”.
    If you speak or act as if an unfalsifiable’s description of you is wrong, your speech or action must be hypocritical in his (or her) view, and he (or she) will often try to elicit words or actions that (according to him [or her]) show that you really are the way he (or she) describes you. Saying those words or performing those actions is called “self-expression” by the unfalsifiable, if it’s supposed to make only a short-term change in one’s life, and “conscious raising” or “catharsis” if it’s supposed to make a long-term difference. If the unfalsifiable person is having trouble convincing himself, herself, or others that his unfalsifiable ideology is right, getting people to say, do, or acquiesce in, something that he (or she) can interpret as an admission of his (or her) unfalsifiability counts as a proof that he (or she) was right all along. Thus, unfalsifiable people shill for self-expression a lot.
    Since his own actions were so blatantly wrong that he couldn’t overlook it, my father sought to make me express myself to absolve him of his guilt. Unfortunately, his actions were so blatantly wrong that I couldn’t persuade him to overlook it. He needed me to persuade him that not expressing a desire for attention (as I had done when my leg broke) was really a way of expressing my desire for attention. There are ways of parsing that clause so it isn’t self-contradictory, but we need to understand that Father meant to include the ways that are. What’s truly unfalsifiable cannot be falsified even by a contradiction, so I had to find a way to convince him of something he knew better than to believe (if he hadn’t he wouldn’t have needed my help.) Literally nothing I could do could satisfy him. But, even though his goals were so blatantly absurd even he couldn’t imagine a way he could attain them he could still blame the problem on me. It wasn’t his fault if nothing he said or did helped. I was the one repressing/in denial, and, ultimately it was my responsibility to cure myself of my repression/denial. I had to figure out how my inhibitions caused his theories and practices to be incoherent and then convince him I was right, and everything would be healthy and positive. All he had to do was make me consciously aware that his incoherence was my own and then stop me from escaping into any attitudes that might falsify him, or his ideologies, or his tactics. It was no part of his job to figure out what attitudes I should have, that could have made them inauthentic.
    Most of my childhood and youth was spent under this shadow. He would studiously dismiss any pathology I said I had (my craving for attention had to be curbed,) while simultaneously pressing me hard to acknowledge that I had a pathological desire for attention (only by bringing my subconscious desires to the surface could they be cured.) Since he was the biological grown-up, and had years of practice under his belt, and I was entirely dependent upon him for everything, I was soon driven to unconditional surrender, and told him I would do or say anything he wanted.
    My father didn’t want my surrender; he wanted my catharsis or consciousness-raising. Surrender didn’t prove he was unfalsifiable. When I surrendered, at first, he just glowered silently, but within a few days he’d found the right verbal formula and started telling me that I had begged him for terms of surrender just because I “want[ed] everything handed to me on a silver platter.”
    Unfortunately for my childhood, I wasn’t good enough at sophistry to convince him I’d found a way out of the trap. All I could do was what I’d done at the age of three—keep quiet, try to be a deserving son, and hope my father would respond the way a father should.
    In time, Mother came around to his way of thinking; I guess because he got her worried that I might be hiding diseases that needed treatment, and a mother worried about her child’s health will do almost anything to help him, including hurting him. There were times I was lying in bed too sick to talk, but had to submit to my Mother’s unnecessary, prolonged interrogation as to exactly how sick I was, in what way, explain it carefully, was I sure, was there anything she should or shouldn’t do, etc.
    These practices metastasized. As Dad’s attempts to force me to convince him that I was expressing myself by not expressing myself predictably failed, he invented more and more excuses to force me to convince him that I knew his contradictions were mine. He did this by continually pressing me to do the opposite of what I wanted to do because I wanted to do it. (If he showed I wanted to do something and it’s opposite, he proved I had contradictions in me.) When he noticed that I had started to expect this of him and was refusing to do the opposite of what I wanted because it was what he wanted, he deputized my brothers to help him pressure me to express myself, so that I wasn’t contradicting him, I was contradicting the Family Consensus. An example of these things was the Great Orange Juice Jihad of my childhood. I once refused to take orange juice when it was offered; Dad immediately diagnosed this as pathologically inhibited behavior, and demanded I take it anyway. I refused because it was perverse and unreasonable, and, when he saw that I wouldn’t submit to him, lassoed my brothers into doing his harassing for him. I didn’t drink orange juice again until college.
    It wasn’t just a matter of urging me to do things I had no reason to do, but also one of not urging me to do things I had reason to do. No one told me how often to bathe (because choosing an amount that Dad would like for myself would count as self-expression, and they wouldn’t stand in the way of that,) so I decided once a week was enough, and ran into trouble when I entered the real world. Mom and Dad were both eager that I do my homework only because I wanted to, and not because of them or anyone or anything else (otherwise, I wouldn’t have shown that they were right.) Although I was talented at math, I was slow to learn arithmetic, because they opposed rote learning. I regularly scored in the top 1% of standardized tests, but never got above the 80th percentile in grades.
    As for my personal life, Dad wanted me to have sex in the healthy liberated Freudo-Commie way (running the two together is justified because their forms of reasoning are very similar, even if the contents are different,) because it was the Freudo-Commie thing to do, without worrying about what my superego or bourgeois society told me was right or factual. Unfortunately, leaving out morals and facts leaves one with very little to say. When I asked him about girls (because a son should be able to ask his father for advice,) he would, in detail, tell me not to pay attention to anything I’d seen, heard, or thought, (except for the Oedipus complex,) but just to have self-esteem. (Actually, he said chutzpah, which was worse.) He’d then tell me he’d known a man who made a regular practice of asking any woman he met to have sex with him, first thing. After that, he pronounced me ready to date. I’d walk away wishing there were agnostic monasteries. I never did date in high school. This proved I was sick (duh.)
    It’s worth spending more space on my non-sex-life, because it lasted, and because it’s at the intersection of Freudian and Leninist interventions in stuff that was never their business. To Freudians, all desire is ultimately sexual (unless you say so to a Freudian, in which case he’ll tell you you’re simplistic [and/or anal.]) Chastity is a particularly toxic and diseased sort of sexual desire, because it isn’t sexual desire at all, which flagrantly contravenes Freud’s theories, and makes him look wrong. Those who practice it are guilty of the worst sort of perversion. Throughout most of Freudian history, that was homosexuality, so, Dad decided I was homosexual because I didn’t have a girlfriend. (I didn’t have a boyfriend, either, but somehow that failed to count.)
    While Marxist-Leninists could, theoretically, have chosen a different kind of deviance to defame their worst enemies, in practice they generally choose the line of least resistance, and adopted the popular prejudice against homosexuality. That’s why Hoover got a reputation for cross-dressing—the Commies couldn’t beat him, so they slandered him. My father, thus, had two different unfalsifiable ideologies to “justify” his suspicions, regardless of facts. They also “justified” his hatred of homosexuals. From his time as an active Commmunist in the 1930’s (my parents married late,) he’d been encouraged to detest them as a matter of ideological purity, and he often said that gays were natural conservatives because they believed in an elite of taste and culture. He’d throw out slurs without explaining them, leaving me confused about what he was talking about. These attitudes weren’t based on any moral doctrines: both Freud and Marx bad-mouthed objective morality, and he agreed with both. I regret the need to use offensive words to describe his attitude, but it can best be put this way: he didn’t think sodomites were sinners, he just thought they were fags.
    My mother, the devout Christian, was the tolerant one. There were stories that, after she finished college early, she went to Los Angeles for a while, where she fell in with a bunch of homosexual actors, who became very fond of her, and trusted her enough to ask her for advice about their love-lives. It can be hard to imagine such a scenario in 2019, many decades into the culture wars, but in the 1940’s the catch-phrase “culture wars” did not exist, and there was no sense that homosexuals and conservative Christians were each other’s natural enemies. Christians thought their sexual proclivities were wrong, but, as I’ve pointed out, so did atheists. As for my mother, she thought sodomy was a sin, but so were drinking and gambling, and you didn’t shun people just for those things. Her favorite verse was “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It sounds harsh, but she didn’t mean it harsh. All have sinned, and all can be redeemed, straight and gay both.
    Still, she worried about my sexual affinities, and wondered what I was hiding. The suspicion that I was gay and needed to have my consciousness raised by any means necessary before I ran amuck with a meat-cleaver (or whatever) is something of a thread running through my life, and I wonder how much of it came from popular Freudianism, and how much derived from my father’s diagnosis, one way or another.
    (I pause to note how much radical causes can change over just a few generations without any radicals’ being aware. Not only did the Old Left oppose homosexuality for being Capitalistic and think that such conservatism was destined for the dustbin of history, it was also a theme of theirs that men suffered from oppression worse than women. My father said a number of times that, while the women of an oppressed group could keep their self-esteem since the oppressors wouldn’t interfere in their natural roles as housewives, the men were likely to turn to drugs, alcohol, and crime since their oppressors left them powerless to fulfill their natural functions of protecting and supporting the family. This attitude lasted into the ‘60’s. As I remember, Malcolm X’s full quote was: “We shall recover our manhood by any means necessary.” I could say more, but I think I’ve made my point.)
    Eventually, I graduated high school in passable shape. I’d hoped that I might choose a college for myself, but, when my Father saw I wanted to do a thorough, thoughtful job and rationally evaluate all the relevant facts, he steered me towards a school I wouldn’t have chosen on my own, for no reason he could ever give, except that he was familiar with it and did I really think I could have done any better using my own (presumably anal) methods. I arrived woefully unprepared for a school I hadn’t chosen and grew to hate, and I dropped out after my freshman year.
    I came back home. There was no place else to go. I wasn’t going to stay in the school Dad chose for me, and I had no money (Mom and Dad disapproved of my working in high school.) My plan was to take some time to think and then go to a college of my own choosing. Dad was careful to prevent this. The thought that I might do a better job of choosing than he would offended his sense of unfalsifiability, and he would insinuate himself into my decision-making in ways I gradually grew too tired to resist. Bit by bit, I stopped doing the normal activities of life, since my father would insist on unfalsifiably blocking me from making any decisions for myself until I’d raised my consciousness. In time, I even stopped eating meals. None of this penetrated Dad’s sense of unfalsifiability, (or my brother Lawrence’s, his closest ideological heir.) Dad spent a lot of time and thought trying to manipulate me into watching crappy TV to overcome my inhibitions against watching crappy TV, while my ribs showed.
    Then, I really went crazy.

    II
    In the early ‘80’s I developed a bad case of paranoid schizophrenia. The World Health Organization defines schizophrenia as a failure to distinguish what’s inside one’s head from what’s outside. The paranoid variety has the most sensational symptoms—delusions, hallucinations, etc.
    My disease hadn’t gone entirely unanticipated. Before I became a real basket-case, I found a list of symptoms of schizophrenia in a library book. I had all of them, but when I tried to talk to my father about it he laughed it off. He seemed more concerned whether I was labelled schizophrenic than whether I was schizophrenic. (This may be due to his Leninism. Freud admitted the existence of schizophrenia, and said his methods didn’t work on it, though amateur Freudians don’t seem to care.) At any rate, he continued to use the same “therapeutic” methodology: place me under continuous extreme pressure to accept that I was a fraud, by putting my life at risk or otherwise thwarting any important preference I had, until I’d convinced him I wasn’t a fraud.
    But it’s not my purpose to dwell on my father’s malpractice here, because, after my complete mental collapse, Father and Mother became very sick too, and Lawrence took charge of my “treatment”.
    Lawrence had hated me since early childhood, for reasons I could never understand, and he would never explain. I recall that whenever I’d try to make nice with him, he’d go out of his way to hurt me in response. Whatever the reason, it fit in nicely with his assumed status of heir to Dad’s unfalsifiability. He continued the sort of treatment Father had started, with the difference that he was far more bluntly abusive. Dad tended to use manipulation and insinuation to make me express myself. Lawrence screamed insults to my face and beat me physically. (Because that’s how you cure the sick.) The violent beatings only happened every few months, but the verbal and emotional abuse occurred daily. It would briefly pause on days when Lawrence and my other brothers at home didn’t outnumber me (he didn’t seem to like one-on-one fights, even though I was too weak to be much of a threat,) but, as soon as he had superior numbers again, he’d blame me for exploiting even numbers to avoid gratuitous abuse, and they’d inflict extra mistreatment on me to make up for lost time. (Anything else would have suggested they were doing something wrong.)
    He’d make unreasonable demands, then insult me for saying I’d try, then insult me worse for daring to say he was being irrational. He’d give contradictory orders and excoriate me for not obeying them. He’d demand answers to impertinent questions, then interrupt me rudely every time I tried to answer, and then mock me for answering in sentence fragments. And when I was finally driven to silence, he’d slam me for not speaking. His methods never did any good, but, since he was unfalsifiable, that was my fault for resisting/being in denial, and it justified doing worse to bring me to catharsis.
    I put up with his behavior because I couldn’t believe it was real. Real people just don’t subject other people to unprovoked ineffectual heinous abuse for years on end, especially not sick people, especially not sick brothers. Real people don’t demand you talk about your feelings, then heap scabrous insults on you every time you try. So, I went looking in the most bizarre reaches of my delusional system for a rational explanation of his behavior and decided that his seemingly mindless persecution was really a sort of magic ritual that he had to do to protect me from worse things, because that made more sense than what was really happening. It’s a sickening irony that I probably would have gone to the hospital, as he kept demanding, if he’d just been a normal jerk. I was deluded enough to feel grateful to him for his protection, and would have trusted his recommendation. But, whenever he told me to have myself committed, he was so over-the-top abusive that I figured he couldn’t really mean it—that’s not how you get people to do what you want. I could have been spared two years of misery if he’d spoken or acted like a human being. In the end, he got me into the hospital another way.
    I woke one morning to discover that someone had changed the doorknobs to the room so I couldn’t open them. The only exception was the door to the bathroom, so I had water and toilet facilities, but the other door to the bathroom was locked, so I couldn’t leave that way. I waited a while till Lawrence came, opened a door, slipped a plate in, and closed it. I asked what was up, but Lawrence just yelled angrily, through the closed door, that a psychiatrist whom I had seen literally twice had told them to lock me up. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to Counselor Krasner that felonies don’t become legal just because a psychiatrist tells you to do them, and even if they did, you can’t expect their victims to like it.
    (He told me, in another connection, months later, that Illegal Imprisonment was a felony, without any hint of irony. The man has no self-awareness.)
    I tried to pick locks and failed. I made up my mind to wait till Lawrence opened the door again. This took longer than you’d expect because Lawrence, in his wisdom, decided I only needed to be fed once a day. The next morning, when he reached for the untouched plate of food (I hadn’t eaten because I was crazy,) I grabbed the doorknob. He tried yanking it away without success. Then he charged me.
    Here are some facts. When I was admitted to the mental hospital a few days later, I weighed in at 5’10’’ and 113 pounds. I hadn’t eaten well, or slept well, or exercised, or taken care of my health, for years. I don’t know Lawrence’s exact weight, but he’d always been heavier and more athletic than I, and had been eating well, and working out, so 170 pounds isn’t an unreasonably high estimate. (Not to mention his mind and body weren’t impaired like mine.) Somehow, Lawrence concluded that my modest attempt to recover my freedom was a serious physical threat that needed to be met with sudden, blinding violence.
    He drove me back from the door, and onto the bed. All this time I was trying not to fight him harder than I had to, mostly just blocking his punches, because I still believed it was just for show. Then, when I was down and barely resisting, Lawrence pummeled me. I looked up at the expression on his face while he was beating me ferociously, and, for the first time in years, saw through my delusions and knew he had no reason and no excuse for what he did.
    I went for his eyes and his throat, and when that drove him off me, rolled backwards off the bed, picked a barbell off the floor, and charged him. He ran like a jackrabbit. Dave, another brother, had come upstairs, and they got all the doors locked before I could go through them, including the one to the bathroom. For the next three days I went without food, water, or toilet facilities. No one looked in on me till the orderlies came to take me away. Lawrence told them I’d tried to kill him.
    (Lawrence also told me much later that he believed in the Battered Woman Syndrome, which was a supposed excuse for a woman to kill a man after he’d abused her horribly for years. I sat there listening to him blathering on about how it was a good idea because the men in those cases deserved killing, and I thought “The damned fool doesn’t see that, if you just substitute the word ‘brother’ for the words ‘man’ and ‘woman’, you have us,” but I didn’t let it show. I’d learned by then that crossing Lawrence didn’t pay.)

    III
    Every instant spent in the mental hospital was miserable but being in the system did give me the resources, psychological and financial, to move away from my family and start making decisions for myself. I returned to college, graduated summa cum laude, and got into a top graduate program, while hallucinating more often than not. Lawrence continued to bear his old grudges for God-knows-what and tried to spite me whenever we met or talked. He had a tendency to try to argue me into patently wrong positions, as if he still wanted me to accept absurdities from him. For example, when our older brother Dave decided finally to move out of the house when he was in his 40’s because Mom cleaned his room, I proposed we buy him a microwave to keep him fed, but Lawrence tried to talk me into helping pay for a TV instead, because he liked to declaim about politics with Dad, and watching TV could scratch that itch. But Lawrence and I didn’t meet or talk often, so I didn’t worry much. I went through graduate school and did adjunct work for some years, in a continual state of poverty, without him ever showing interest in my welfare.
    Then I was offered a full-time job at Metropolitan State College of Denver, which soon turned into a regular faculty position. Soon after I got tenure, things went sideways.
    I shall concentrate on giving the timeline of events first, then give my interpretation.
    I was living in low-rent housing, because I didn’t want to get too comfortable until I knew I was staying. Low-rent housing can attract low-class people. I was used to it, and usually ignored the noises I heard at night, until something drastic happened.
    I had a neighbor who ran water loudly and yelled obscenities and death-threats late at night every night for months on end. Although I’d complained to the manager about the noise once or twice, I didn’t think the death-threats were meant for me. It wasn’t until he’d gotten around to adding some informative sentences to his nightly drunken rants that I realized I was the one he kept talking about killing.
    At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do anything about it. After all, he’d made basically the same threats for months without acting on them. Eventually, however, I decided that someone who got that stupid-drunk every night probably wasn’t going to make a good neighbor. I emailed Lawrence, the criminal defense lawyer, and told the apartment manager about it. I believe I said I wasn’t worried for my life, because I wasn’t, which may have left the wrong impression. Lawrence never responded to me, and the manager delayed any serious action for a while.
    Then my neighbor’s obscene drunken rants became steadily more sophisticated.
    They became longer and more graphic. They’d contrast with other things he said and did. One common practice of his was to (seem to) throw a party, in which he’d talk like a reasonable man, compliment my intelligence, and say he didn’t know what I had against him, then, once the crowd noise died down, yelled the exact same obscene death-threat he’d yelled for months. At other times he’d yell obscene threats from another apartment or from outside the building. Over time, others joined in.
    Eventually things settled into a pattern: A crowd would scream obscenities and death-threats from the same place just outside my apartment every night, where the manager said the cameras couldn’t catch them, around four or five a.m. (I still tend to wake up early around then.)
    Lawrence never got back to me. The manager said that if I felt I was in danger she’d start the eviction(?) process, but she refused to take any initiative to protect me or stop any criminal behavior, and she refused to say or do anything that would help me tell whether I was really in danger or just imagining it. I knew that if people heard that I felt I was in danger, but no one could find evidence my fears were justified, that would prove I was crazy again, and I’d lose what I’d worked so hard for so long to build up and probably return to the madhouse.
    Fortunately, my Psychiatrist could make up his mind and told me I had to move out.
    I eventually decided that at least some of what I heard was hallucinations, when I tried to sleep there one last time and voices kept me up all night. Real people wouldn’t waste their time so pointlessly.
    Now let’s review.
    We can’t determine what was happening based on how real the voices sounded to me. Not knowing that was my problem. But we can fruitfully try to examine how the manager acted and why she acted so.
    I want to begin by saying the manager was a good manager and I was on good terms with her at the time. She’d said she was glad to have me as a tenant and seemed genuinely dismayed when it occurred to her I might be hallucinating. So, her failure to act should not be blamed on malice or incompetence.
    But it’s not normal or professional for an apartment manager to fail to act on reports of nightly death-threats. If the threats were real, they needed to be stopped. I can’t think of anything worse for an apartment than getting a reputation as a place where you could be killed without the staff intervening. And, if the threats weren’t real, I needed to be gotten out of there. Neglecting a tenant with full-blown psychosis isn’t good for the tenant, the other renters, or the bottom line. Drastic action needed to be taken, beginning with figuring out whether what I heard was real, so she could know what to do.
    But, as far as I could tell, the manager did nothing to find out what was really going on. Instead, she kept asking questions about my feelings, which I couldn’t answer without knowing what was really going on.
    On the other hand, the dangers from death-threats, schizophrenia, stress, and sleep-deprivation, all demanded that I say something.
    So, it seemed my sanity, health, and life were in serious danger that could only be relieved if I expressed my feelings.
    This might sound familiar. It’s how I spent the first 25 years of my life. If it didn’t occur to me at the time, it’s because I couldn’t believe that, out in the real world, people would be so wastefully, pointlessly, evil. And I still find it hard to believe that random fellow tenants would organize to do this on their own. Either it was mostly hallucinations, or someone else organized it. The landlord and property manager had no reason to want me gone, and easier ways to get rid of me if they had. While the manager must have been in on it a little to keep her answers as bland and unhelpful as they were, she probably thought she didn’t need to worry, because I’d have an easy answer to the question “How do you feel,” because she didn’t know my past.
    Of all the people from my past who’d ever made a point of extorting an answer to that question, Mom and Dad were dead, I was on good terms with James, and Dave couldn’t organize anything. Lawrence, however, had two successful careers and had a record of wasting time, energy, and thought, trying me to make me emote. He had the money and the brains to pay a bunch of drunken louts to be drunken and loutish when and where he wanted to, or else record them doing it and replaying it so he could commit Interstate Harassment. And he also oversaw a trust fund Dad left for Dave and me. James was supposed to share in that oversight, but he once told me Lawrence kept all the records for himself and did as he saw fit with it.
    And Lawrence was the sort of twisted louse to embezzle funds meant for me and use them against me by paying petty criminals with stolen goods.
    I took some days off, staggered through the remainder of the Semester, and then went on sabbatical leave, trusting the rest would heal me. It didn’t work out that way. I kept finding myself burdened with impossible expectations from people who insisted I say or do something to fix their dissatisfaction with me without suggesting that their unfalsifiable expectations were wrong.
    It’s my experience that the best way to deal with long traditions of bad thought is historically. If you start at the beginning, and take each fallacy in turn, you can better show both why people believe them and why they shouldn’t, and you don’t have to backtrack. Also, it’s harder for the bad thinkers to muddy the waters by saying you’re not taking events in historical context or interjecting irrelevant comments about incidents from another time in the tradition. I shall therefore try to discuss my recent biography in chronological order, though it won’t be perfect, because the different themes overlap. Much of what I shall write can be documented, but I shall generally refrain from providing my evidence until there is a legal reason to do so because experience has taught me that if liars know you can tell when they’re lying, they’ll just find new ways to lie.
    I shall call attention to the fact that I was often regarded with suspicion, but wasn’t told what I was suspected of, or given a chance to face my accusers. The Bill of Rights protects these rights not only to protect the innocent, but also to see the guilty don’t escape punishment because the innocent are falsely condemned, and I think that, if I’d occasionally been accorded something like due process, I might have been able to point my colleagues towards the true problems, and that anyone who insisted on keeping me in the dark might, ipso facto, deserve a closer look. (It’s also Freudo-Commie standard operating procedure. After all, they can’t be expected to tell you what feelings you need to express, nor why you need to express them. If they hand you everything on a silver platter, that will destroy any chance they have to raise your consciousness. Not to mention, thinking hard is a bitch.)

    III
    A
    The first problem I had with my colleagues’ behavior was their refusal to give simple yes-or-no answers to simple questions. If this sounds like a small thing, that’s because it was designed to. I knew that, as a schizophrenic, I was liable to confuse my own imaginings with reality. I knew that, when that happened, the best, and sometimes the only, way to correct matters was to have someone else tell me whether I was wrong. I also knew that people often avoided discussing questions of whether you were realistic and reasonable with you when you were schizophrenic. What’s more, when they did, they were often highly emotional, and would yell at you or patronize you, and, worse yet, lie to you. So, I employed my expertise in philosophy of language, and took the time to figure out the best way to get my colleagues (whom I expected to work with until I died,) to tell me, truly, what I most needed to know, with minimal trouble to them, and maximum clarity and emotional distance for me. I’d ask them a simple yes-or-no questions “does this make sense”, promise them that, if they answered them, I would make no further demands, and even give them the option not to answer, which would at least tell me know that I didn’t need to ask them again. Finally, I resolved not to wear out their patience by using this method too often (though I’m uncertain how saying “yes” or “no” several times a day even could wear out one’s patience.)
    I thought this would work out better for everyone.
    But, after I returned from sabbatical, they virtually unanimously refused to do it. They’d answer my desperate yes-or-no questions in full, completely uninformative, largely irrelevant, and generally misleading, sentences. (E.g., “Private communications should go to my other email account.”) They’d even use the same words. In short, they violated every conversational maxim known to Grice, the great thinker who founded the discipline of Pragmatics (the study of how words are used in real-life contexts.) This is all the more striking given that Grice explained how utterances that violate linguistic rules can still be meaningful by saying violating some lets you obey others better. He didn’t even consider the possibility that they could all be violated.
    A couple of points. First, the fact that they were willing to take extra trouble and make extra effort for themselves instead of doing what was right for me makes it hard for me to avoid the conclusion that the people whom I expected to work with all my life would rather treat me wrong than not. Second, this campaign was planned beforehand, and supervised along the way. When people make mistakes spontaneously they make different ones, they aren’t so careful to be wrong in every way, and they don’t use the same wording. And, if no one keeps them in line, they’ll stop erring in unison and start being more spontaneous.
    The only pattern this fit is the, to-me-familiar Freudo-Commie one, in which the F-C tortures his victim into saying what he likes, even if he’s determined to hate everything his victim says (as Grice would say, “Hi, Lawrence.”) As for my colleagues, you cannot entirely escape responsibility for deliberately doing everything exactly wrong. At the least, they should have thought more carefully about whether unanimously to take the extra trouble to do follow a plan with no rational explanation of how it would do me any good, at a meeting I wasn’t told about, by a planner whose immediate goal was to deny me any little thing I asked for (hi, again.)

    B
    It is difficult to give a chronology of the next issue, because I was kept in the dark about most of the important incidents and decisions, so I shall give a general overview of how things developed from my viewpoint, and then tell what particulars I know, mostly to flesh out my claim that most vitally important parts of it were hidden from me.
    The Sean Morris Book Battle closely resembles the previously mentioned Great Orange Juice Jihad in some respects. Like it, the former began with a perfectly normal and innocuous response of mine to a given situation. Like it, it steadily spiraled out of control into some sort of mass social convulsion. Like it, the burden of proof was never laid in the right place. First, Brian demanded I prove that my perfectly normal and innocuous response was not secretly some sinister psychopathological monstrosity of some unspecified kind, then Brian repeatedly demanded I tell him the reason I wanted the book only to forget that reason (because I wanted to read it) by the time the next opportunity to ask came around, then more and more people got upset at me because I kept fighting them over this, (apparently they concluded that my modest attempt to recover my rights was a serious threat to the Department, to be met with metaphorical sudden, blinding violence, even though I was trying not to fight them harder than I had to, mostly just blocking punches, because I believed that this mindless persecution was really a sort of bureaucratic ritual that they had to do, and in the end, we were all on the same side,) while someone (purportedly Sean Morris, though, to be fair, I don’t really know whom I was grappling with, since no one ever told me anything,) stood in the background and lassoed my colleagues into doing his harassing for him (or her.) Like it, it wound up permanently damaging my relations with those around me.
    Unlike it, the situation I was responding to was itself neither normal nor innocuous, and it ended with a general sense that I had acceded/had my consciousness raised to everyone else’s wisdom. (In fact, I just kept butting my head against a brick wall until the clock ran out. I didn’t even know that I was supposed to have achieved catharsis.)
    Doubtless, this seems very one-sided. I’ll say now what I would have said at any moment since it began, if anyone had bothered to ask: please tell me the other side. But, to this day, whenever I hint that someone should tell me something, I’m hit with a barrage of insults for being sick, sick, sick enough to wonder about it, and I am told that what was wrong about me then is that I “can’t let it go” now. (Never mind what I’m supposed to let go—just let it go.)
    All in all, it was sort of like Kafka, if Kafka had been really, really, stupid (or maybe a jerkwad intent on refighting the Great Orange Juice Jihad, only “this time we win” [i.e., my consciousness gets raised.])
    Sean Morris and I were close for a time after his hiring. He was willing to work with me on a project very close to my heart which few people were willing and able to work with me on. I remember he once compared me to Quine (whom he adores.)
    This closeness ended completely and abruptly, though I didn’t realize it at the time, because Sean was one of the first to stop giving straight yes-or-no answers to questions. Instead, he just kept saying we could talk about things later, carefully preserving my hopes as he continually frustrated them. I can’t know what could have changed things because I don’t even know when they changed. The only time I tried to hurt him that I can remember was a cutting remark I made well after he’d stopped collaborating with me, when he got huffy at me for not taking the hint he didn’t give, and I was under stress from important Faculty Senate business, and I was hearing a daily early morning chorus of obscene death-threats outside my bedroom.
    After I got back from sabbatical, Sean seemed to have turned altogether against me, though I still didn’t have a clue why. However, it was his business if he couldn’t even stand to leave his door open when there was a chance he’d see me through it. If he had such hatred for a man who’d never done anything to him, maybe it was better we didn’t interact at all.
    When I was on his tenure committee, some people seemed nervous about me (though no one told me why,) but I can honestly say that I never let personal feelings bias me against him. For me, the question was always “Is he good for the program”. If I didn’t like him personally, I didn’t have to see him socially (something he made very easy.) The book manuscript in his portfolio was on the topic we used to work on together. I noticed some alarm when I told my colleagues I wanted to read it through (for the reason I gave in the previous sentence,) but I couldn’t imagine reading a book because it interested me could cause trouble. We were all grown-ups, weren’t we?
    Then I got it home, discovered that it was in very rough shape, and went online just in case Sean had posted something more polished since writing this. I found it: it was his dissertation, finished years before. At a time when he most needed to look his best, Sean had dug deep into his hard drive to find a very old, obviously rough, extremely poor quality, version of his greatest scholarly accomplishment, and the rest of the Department had gone along with it.
    Before returning to our narrative, I’d like to dispose of some pretexts for this mistake, whose only claim on our attention is my colleagues’ persistent repetition.
    1. The bad manuscript was better than the good manuscript.
    No, it wasn’t.
    2. Sean decided to take the material in another direction.
    A decision to take good scholarship in a direction that makes it bad is a bad decision, which impugns his scholarly competence. But, even if he had been a bad enough scholar to do that, he should have had the professional sense to use the manuscript that looked better, and, if he didn’t, his colleagues should have had the decency to tell him he should.
    3. Sean was worried about his sick child.
    I’m sure he was, but a sick child is a reason to be more careful that you get tenure, not less. I would not insult Sean’s fitness to be a father by suggesting he’d wallow in his feelings to the neglect of his duty to get his son the health-care he needed, but, if he had, someone in the Department should have had the professionalism or humanity to make him do the right thing.
    The only reasons I could imagine for such extreme sloppiness were huge coincidence, or else that Sean hated me so intensely he wanted to deprive me of a manuscript he knew I’d be interested in out of sheer spite, and the rest of the Department had cared so little about me that they’d just gone along. The latter was so unprofessional as to defy belief, and, also, a prima facie violation of University Policy, which called on tenure candidates to make the best case they could for themselves, and, also, arguably, a violation of my academic freedom, since deceptive and illicit methods were used to keep a manuscript that was plausibly important to my research out of my hands. I did not want to believe it.
    I decided to give my colleagues every opportunity to prove they’d just blundered. I emailed Sean politely a time or two, asking him whether I could have the latest manuscript, he never had the courtesy to reply. (I still haven’t heard from him.) I contacted Brian about it, hoping and expecting he would act professionally and correctly towards me. He never considered either my reasonable claims, nor how childish Sean seemed to be behaving, but promptly began demanding information about my attitudes and states of mind that was private, irrelevant, and, when I supplied it just to be the bigger man, completely ignored. (Brian still insults me when I try to talk about it.) When I made a Request for Reasonable Accommodation under the ADA, which legally obligated him to enter immediately into negotiations over the best way to provide me with the manuscript, he repeatedly found feeble excuses not to talk with me, in clear violation of the law. The Department I had tried to have faith in, turned against me. There were suggestions I could lose my tenure for wanting to read a scholarly book in my field that Sean had a clear obligation to provide me with, and I, therefore, had a right to receive. None of this was ever explained.
    It needs to be pointed out that this peculiar combination of enforced ignorance, verbal abuse, and inexplicable threats, is not just highly unusual in life, but bears a striking resemblance to what I went through while living with my family and at my Glendale apartment, and whenever I asked a colleague a yes-or-no question. There seems to have been an unspoken presumption that, if I were placed under extreme enough threat, while having the knowledge of reality I needed to live with it gradually undercut, and the rationality I needed to avoid it steadily diminished, then, by some leap of faith I’d propel myself to a standing so much cooler than my old condition of realistic rationality that my tormentors were absolved from every need to justify their actions to me realistically and rationally, and my attempts to understand them rationally and realistically were nothing but dishonest, cowardly attempts to avoid my indescribable future coolness.

    C
    The last major academic political controversy I took part in that I want to address discretely will be the replacement of Dean Joan Foster with Dean Arlene Sgoutas. Since I have already addressed the merits of the choice elsewhere, I shall concentrate on my own part in the events surrounding it.
    I had largely withdrawn from much involvement in academic politics in order to concentrate on my own problems, and was barely aware there was going to be a new Dean, when I was pulled aside by the Chair and Dr. Carol Quinn (neither of whom was talking to me much by that time,) and told, separately, but in generally similar words, that:
    1) Arlene Sgoutas was going to be a disaster for everyone as Dean,
    And
    2) They weren’t even going to try to do anything about it;
    However,
    3) I could try to stop Arlene Sgoutas from becoming Dean, but only if I wanted to.
    The full meaning of “only if I wanted to” is hard for me to grasp, but my experiences both before and after strongly suggest that some of its meaning is given by 3’),
    3’) I could try to stop Arlene Sgoutas from becoming Dean, but not because they’d told me there was a reason for me to do it,
    In fact, Brian Hutchinson insisted afterwards that they had not told me to do it.
    If we elide 2) for a moment, and remember that the fact that something is going to be a disaster for everyone is itself a reason for you to try to stop it from happening, we can quickly infer the following:
    1+3’) There’s a reason for you to stop Arlene Sgoutas from becoming Dean, but we’re not telling you there’s a reason to stop Arlene Sgoutas from becoming Dean.
    This is a pragmatic paradox, similar to Moore’s.
    M) It’s raining, but I don’t believe it.
    In each case a speech act is performed, followed by a denial that that speech-act was performed. According to Grice, linguistic statements are intended to get the listener to share the speaker’s belief. In M), the information conveyed by the first clause is said not to be a belief in the second clause, so no belief can be conveyed. In 1+3’), the first clause could be a belief, but the second clause denies that they want you should share it.
    The whole message, 1) + 2) + 3), is also scarily similar to my parents’ admonitions through my childhood to make sure I did my homework, but make sure I did it only because I wanted to. It’s also of the same general form as I described at the end of III B; first put me under pressure to act (looming disaster); then, make the situation I was supposed to act in incomprehensible (the pressure I was put under was to act the way I would without pressure;) then deny me the use of any methods to solve the problems (the pressure to act could only be satisfied if I made no attempt to satisfy it,) then expect me to work a miracle greater than any of God’s, who is bound by the laws of logic.
    I could not believe people normally acted like my parents. The human race would have gone extinct if we did. So, I figured that they couldn’t really mean all of what they said. To have dropped 1) would have made the whole colloquy pointless (why even talk about the Dean, if there was no reason to,) and they had no reason to lie about 2) (saying you aren’t going to do what you should won’t make you look good,) so I figured that they really wanted me to do stop it, but they weren’t straightforward enough to just ask. So, even though I was under psychological stress from the Department and physical stress from an undiagnosed but painful ailment that ultimately required surgery, I made up my mind to at least look into it. Maybe this would finally regain me the Department’s trust, so I could live like a normal academic.
    It wasn’t long before I found credible allegations of discrimination and incompetence against Dr. Sgoutas. At this point, it seemed a simple matter of having someone credible mention them in the right venue. I did not want to do it myself for the reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph. So, repeatedly, I’d find someone credible, he (or she) would agree to take the trouble to just mention damaging reports to someone, then each one would flake. Each would give the same lame excuse for flaking in nearly the same words: the authorities had chosen Arlene, so she must be OK. Besides being feeble on their faces, these statements tended to contradict their utterers’ previous expressions of concern and ignore all the evidence (some given by themselves) that she was not OK. The conversations would then be cut off before I could present any new reasons. But I was always told that, although they had no reason to do anything about it themselves, I was free to do whatever I chose as long as I was doing only because I wanted to. (Perhaps consciousness-raising was going to be accomplished through ineffectual repetitive behavior.) So, as the only person who seemed willing either to behave responsibly or to listen to evidence, sick as I was, I repeatedly made the effort I was ill-suited for, and attempted to save people who couldn’t be bothered to save themselves.
    Eventually I had to quit a literally thankless task. I was too sick. My colleagues seemed pleased for a short time (maybe they figured, once again, that my giving up was unreasoning, and therefore, cathartic,) but when I asked for an explanation of what they’d done to me, I was told emphatically there was nothing to explain. It had become an uncontroversy, to paraphrase Orwell. They never apologized for putting me through it or thanked me for making the huge effort; I accomplished nothing; no progress was made.

    D
    I shall now discuss, in more general terms, the courses of my private and professional lives.

    1
    After moving out of Glendale, I rented a duplex from a Philosophy adjunct, Bill Simpson. I’d known him, we got along, and the rent was low. I was looking forward to good philosophical discussions. He seemed a little nervous about it, he said yes, then no, then yes, and urged me strongly to keep him informed of any problems as I signed the lease. The thought did cross my mind that there might be something going on behind the scenes, even that Lawrence might be involved, but it didn’t have to be malicious, and Lawrence, in particular, might have been trying to make up for what he’d done before. And if anyone had the wrong idea about me, I could educate him.
    Bill and I did have some interesting discussions, but he seemed to have an unwholesome and nosy interest in my sexuality that gradually ate up the relationship. In particular, he seemed to want me to express myself sexually somehow. A striking example would be his immediately responding “And what’s wrong with that” to my casual comment that a Chinese massage parlor had moved next to a church supply shop, but there were many others. Most of them were gay liberationist, but they weren’t come-ons; he was living with a woman. I would politely ignore them and turn the conversation back to something interesting and intelligent.
    The real surprise was that he never took the hint. No matter how often I ignored the sexualized comments, they kept coming back. Eventually, I’d be obliged to smack them down; at which point, they’d be replaced with similar, but stupider and blunter ones. We never made progress. As it became clearer that I would not engage in such digressions, our conversations steadily became rarer and dumber. And he refused to acknowledge his attitude or behavior had changed. To paraphrase Orwell again, our conversations became unconversations.
    Meanwhile I kept hearing noises through the wall, and there seemed to be something wrong with the thermostat, or me, because I kept waking up feeling hot in the early hours. Something was irritating my lungs severely, but no one would help with it. I went to an allergist, Dr. Mark Ebadi, who told me I couldn’t be checked for allergies as long as I was on antipsychotics. (It was years till I learned this was false.) I was feeling the same intense irritation while he told me this. My housemates were doing things that strongly reminded me of things that Lawrence had done at the worst times, things that would have sinister significance to me, but no one else.
    It’s as if my failure to express myself in the authentic Freudo-Commie way had led to greater pressure on me, just as Freudo-Commies insist should happen to those who are sick, sick, sick.
    Eventually I just picked up and left. Once I was gone, Bill had all the carpets torn out, and all the hangers removed. Upon questioning, he said it was just normal to throw those things out when a tenant left. Anyone who’s moved into an apartment knows that they typically come with coat-hangers, but even if it were normal, Bill still lied because the movers didn’t throw them out but brought them to my new place. I believe they’re still in storage, where they can’t bother me too much. I told Bill this. He never had an answer.
    There were odd things happening at work too. I was assigned to teach Logic to a class about ¾ of whom were openly gay, bisexual, or transgender. I had no qualms about teaching them, I’m not one to meddle in peoples’ private lives, and, if I had thought punishment was called for, it was not my job to administer it in Logic class. Logic should be free to everyone. However, a rough, top of my head, calculation tells me the odds of that happening by chance was less than one in one billion. When combined with what I was going through at home, and the fact (mentioned in section I,) that people always seem to think that I desperately need to be driven out of the closet, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I were being offered options for my catharsis.
    While this was going on, I seemed to be receiving odd come-ons from students too. Let me give one relatively obvious example. A young woman started hanging around the Department, spending a lot of time in Dr. Quinn’s office, apparently discussing the latter’s life. We talked a few times, and she was unclear about what she was doing there or why. She was more-or-less a student worker, though she couldn’t explain who was paying her, and she was part of a project to preserve Dr. Quinn’s stories’ though I never understood why or what for. About the third time I ran into her, in the course of the conversation, her voice got low and throaty, she leant forwards, her eyelids drooped, and she started to urge me to stay and talk with her. I had to leave, and said so, and left. She never returned, and the Quinn oral history project was abruptly abandoned. None of this was ever explained.
    And I tried hard to overlook these things and all signs that the Department was involved because I did not want to think I was in the sort of workplace where the bosses thought it was their job to decide whether or not I had sex and with whom.
    2
    I sensed a difference in the Department’s attitudes when I got back from sabbatical, but as with Bill Simpson, I thought it would be best just to behave properly and treat people with respect and consideration until things got back to normal. It didn’t happen there either. Instead I was regularly pressed to do things I didn’t want because I didn’t want them, and not do things I wanted because I didn’t want them, in a fashion worthy of my father or his ideological heir. Let us consider a few general themes.
    I suffered some severe physical illnesses in that time, and had trouble getting help or consideration for them from my Chair or colleagues. They were reluctant to drive me to Doctors’ appointments or surgeries and tended to regard my illnesses as calling for more severe treatment, not less. Brian several times scolded me for coming late to class, which hadn’t been done to me before sabbatical and more strictly than is generally done. He said I could lose my job because of medically excused absences, even though the law seems to forbid that. Even my Parkinsonism, which had been known about for years, seemed to be regarded with suspicion. (Parkinsonism is a nerve disease which makes it hard to move or control one’s motions.
    At the same time, I was twice regaled with the information that Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler’s hatchet man, had lots of psychosomatic illnesses because of his strict moral principles (facts which Wikipedia is unaware of,) even though my informant, Alex Hughes, husband of Dr. Liz Goodnick, did nothing to show that this tale had any relevance to the topic, nor any philosophical significance. (I heard them talk about my “denial” when they thought I wasn’t listening.) Brian Hutchinson accused me of malingering. There were other attempts at foisting psychotherapy from people with no medical credentials on me without my informed consent. When I requested the reasonable accommodation that that practice be stopped, Brian Hutchinson again defied the law by finding palpably false excuses to avoid talking about it until ways of doing it that gave him plausible deniability could be found.
    All of this harks back to my childhood broken leg, and my father’s decades-long insistence that my physical problems were psychological, and decades-long attempts to pressure me into a convincing admission they were.
    As with my family, mistreatment that started with a few people on a few specifics expanded to implicate everyone in general. In the end, no one in the Philosophy Department would talk to me about philosophy, or much else. Even some of my students seemed to be pressuring me with dumb or irrelevant questions and repeated demands for clarification, but I refused to mistrust my students, because that would have left me with no one. I believe I was suspected of some pathology because I paced the hall. But while problems that other people imagined I had had to be eradicated and damn the law, problems I knew I had were ignored when not aggravated. The chemical sensitivities a good allergist eventually diagnosed me with were triggered more and more often and more and more severely. They were accompanied by flare-ups of Parkinsonism-like symptoms. I felt it in my office, but was told I couldn’t adjust the thermostat, or open the window. I moved to other parts of the Departmental suite, but the chemical smell seemed to follow me. In each of my classrooms there were about 15 dry erase markers, when often you get none. They put out a miserable stench, but I couldn’t take them out myself when I could barely stand to be in the same room with them, and I couldn’t get anyone else to do it, although it would have taken about a minute. When I politely asked the Departmental Assistant Erica Poggenpohl to do something about it, she first said that they were placed there by Physical Plant, and the Department couldn’t do anything about it. (The dry erase markers were bought by academic departments. I’d seen them in the Departmental office supplies. Also, I’d personally taken one of them at a time out of a room.) When I asked that a student employee take some of them out, she said none of them were around. Apparently, no human beings capable of walking dry erase markers out of a room was ever around, because weeks passed with nothing of value being done.
    I slowly abandoned virtually everything else to concentrate on my teaching, because it was what seemed most real, and because, as long as I could teach, I had a job.
    Then, in the twelfth week of a fifteen-week semester, something happened. I came in early to talk to students. About the time I was talking to one of the most tiring ones, I was hit by a wave of chemical smells that left me barely able to stammer, though he kept on anyway. When that was over I staggered out to the hall, though I was having real trouble moving. Brian asked whether I wanted to teach class, and I said I wanted to try, anyway. He accompanied me to the classroom and waited while I fumbled with my papers for a while looking for a roster. Then he came in and said the class was cancelled because I was too sick. He walked me outside, where I called a Lyft. All my classes were given to others.
    At first, I was touched with his solicitude. Then I thought that if anyone had taken as much trouble to take dry erase markers out of my rooms as he had to take me out of it, I might have kept my classes.
    I decided I couldn’t get hired again because you don’t hire someone to teach fifteen weeks who can’t get past twelve. I did not, to my knowledge, have enough saved for early retirement. I pictured myself losing my home, and losing the money to buy medication, then dying in the gutter, unable to move from Parkinsonism, and unable to think from Schizophrenia.
    When the Department was abused and betrayed by the Administration soon after, I sent out a bunch of emails to bunches of people blasting the Administration. I figured, if I was going down, I’d take them with me.
    Within weeks I’d landed in a mental hospital for Stress-Induced Depression. I’d hoped never to go back there.

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