Thursday, March 24, 2016

I've Been Close to Someone Who's Threatened Violence Publicly; Dangerous to Network With This Friend If Friend Isn't Getting Needed Help

Trigger warning:  I normally mock trigger warnings, but one truly is applicable in this case.  This blog post discusses issues pertaining to child abuse, rape, incest, suicidal gestures, and mental illness.

Stuart K. Hayashi

It wasn't easy for me to put this information right here, but my concern about the danger -- including physical dangers -- outweighs such fears.  Some years ago I became very close to someone who, sadly, is dangerously mentally ill.  My friend has accused other people of being violent toward her, only later to act as if she does not remember the accusations she leveled. Moreover, in the years subsequent to placing a death threat against her mother on the World Wide Web for everyone to read, the archiving and documenting of this death threat remains.  Copies of the evidence are available.

I have contacted police about this on two continents.  On one continent, the police were unresponsive.  On the other, the police were responsive but said that jurisdictional issues prevent them from taking action.  Because my friend has given no indication that she has truly gotten past the obsession with violence, death, and child molesters, I judge that it is best for me to speak out here. What I know is that if I don't speak out about this, the danger is guaranteed to continue.  By contrast, if I speak out about this, there is at least a slim chance that someone might recognize my friend and give her the compassionate intervention she needs.

My Friend Publicly Threatened to Kill Her Mother -- The Evidence Is Archived, Documented, and Copied 
In 2004, in her home country of Norway, my friend put up this threat to kill her mother.  It is in English and it has been publicly available on the World Wide Web this entire time.  It is not one of those dumb, terse threats that people write on Twitter or YouTube, along the lines of, 'You disagree with me? Then I hope you die!'  Though the threat is grammatically inept in composition, it is nonetheless serious in tone and intent.  My friend does not say that she has some long-term plan to kill.  Rather, she envisions that one day she will become so incensed by her mother's nagging that she will take a knife and thrust the knife into her mother.  This is described vividly, as so:

Click on this to enlarge it and make it easier to read

The threat is documented and archived.  There are copies of it available.  This information is now irrepressible and un-erasable.

Some people in our respective circles have rationalised that this death threat is 'long past'.  After all, they say, it is more than ten years old.  Moreover, four months after my friend wrote her original death threat, she wrote a follow-up post on that same thread where she claims to be all better:  ' happy that i allowed myself to hate her [the mother]. otherwise nothing would have changed. I now love my mom to death like many other precious people in my surroundings'.

But it wasn't all better.  My friend made it all too obvious she is not recovered.

Years After Threatening Her Mother Publicly, My Friend Continues Exhibiting Publicly the Fixation on Violence and Death
When my friend was on Oahu from 2008 to 2012, she continued displaying morbid and even violent gestures, particularly in a public fashion.  Many of these morbid gestures remain on the Web, and have been documented and archived. There are also copies of this evidence available as well.

For example, in late 2010, my friend had another 'friend' (enabler, really) upload onto YouTube a video where she 'jokes' about being a neo-fascist 'of the Fourth Reich'.  My friend said privately it was a joke, but that is not obvious from the very strange video itself, which was listed as 'News and Politics'.  That my friend calling herself a neo-fascist 'of the Fourth Reich' is some joke is especially unclear for another reason: the enabler who uploaded the video is connected to an anti-immigration political group that advocates government force to curb Muslim immigration.  If you don't want people thinking you are a neo-Nazi, it's not wise to associate with that sort of group.  (Sadly, my friend actually first heard of that group from me, before it took on such a strident anti-immigration position.)

Around 2014, the enabler 'privated' the horrible video.  But as I type this, Radaris retains a record of the video's existence -- complete with my friend's birth name (more about that later) -- and Radaris's record of it is documented and archived.  Again, there are multiple copies of this.

The red parts are redactions; changes to the original image.

Since you're probably not my friend's mother, you are probably wondering, 'Why the hell should I care?'  Until my friend confirms that she has returned to psychiatric care on a regular basis, I have strong evidence that she continues to pose a danger to colleagues with whom she networks, as well as co-workers at an IKEA Service and Pick-Up point. That could be you. Explaining this requires more context.

The Beginning of the Story Behind This
Before my friend showed me the murder threat and the disturbing 'Fourth Reich' video, she very slowly gave me clues indicating the danger.  First, she explained why she was born with her mother's last name instead of her father's, her father being an expatriate from the United States.  It was because her father himself had recently changed his last name.  The story behind that is itself bizarre and sad, and seems to have been because he felt betrayed by his own father back in the United States (we will call my friend's paternal grandfather WH here).  My friend laughed and said, 'My mum said to my father, "If we give our baby your last name, how do I know you won't change it again? We'll give her my last name; it's simpler." '  This father is a well-known photographer; his pictures have appeared frequently in the local newspaper and the municipal website of Tromsø kommune, and his photos of the aurora borealis are celebrated throughout the world.

Then, for the first time, my friend sounded vulnerable. She said that she put on a front of bravado to hide her insecurities.  She admitted that she tries to make herself appear to other people that she is in a position of authority and responsibility, because she believes if people see her in such positions and seeming very confident and professional, they will not question her judgment or sanity.  No red flags went off for me; I reassured her that there was nothing unusual about nursing self-doubts.

The Accusation Against the Classmate 
In the weeks that followed, my friend increasingly showed an obsession with child molesters.  The first joke she ever told me happened to be what she identified as her favorite signature on online postings:  'The internet is where men are men, women are men, and small children are undercover FBI agents', alluding to online sting operations against child predators.  Then my friend would reminisce about an ex-boyfriend back in Norway.  She said that he was a deep, caring person who empathised with everyone, a man of upstanding good taste.  Then she stared at the ground and giggled, 'He always joked that he was a pedophile trying to lure kids into sex with him'.

Then in February of 2010, my friend came to a professor and me, and told us a troubling story.  She said that a classmate of hers in that professor's class had sexually propositioned her and, when she rejected him, he grew angry.  Based on his boasting about killing people in war and about his womanising, she was afraid he wanted to rape her.  They got into an argument and my friend had grown direly afraid of him.  A week later, my friend came to the professor and me and said that she was proven right to fear the classmate as violent, because he threatened her, 'If you tell anyone what happened that night, I kill you!'

My friend insisted that we not go to the police (in retrospect, I should have reported this to the police against her wishes) but that she wanted the professor to keep the classmate and her separate from one another.  She did not file any formal complaints with Hawaii Pacific University, but she did go around informally circulating this accusation among several other schoolmates.  I completely believed the accusation at the time.  Then my friend told the professor, several other schoolmates, and me a troubling story where she accused her writing instructor of invading her personal space as he flirted with her.  Again, she did not file a formal complaint and sternly insisted that none of us confidantes do so, either.  I completely believed this accusation as well.

The Obsession With Child Molesters
One night in April of 2010, when my friend and I were going out for an evening stroll, she said, out of nowhere, 'Why are people so bigoted when a convicted child molester moves into the neighborhood?'

My eyes shot wide open and I sputtered, 'Whah? . . . Wh-wh-wh-what do you mean?'

She explained, 'Whenever someone who, as an adult, had sex with a small child moves into the neighborhood, people immediately want to run him out.  They should consider that the child consented to the sex.'  She argued that a prepubescent child should be recognised as contractually competent to consent to sex with an adult caregiver.  She would not be swayed from this opinion, at least not this night.

Later, she also told me that when she was thirteen, she was groped by her then-best-friend, also thirteen years of age at the time.  She attributed her fear of men to the incidents of her friend groping her, though those incidents did not explain her obsession with child molesters in particular, nor her apparently fearing American-born men more than Norwegian-born men.

The Danger Posed to Colleagues (The Latest News Indicates This Danger Is Ongoing As This Is Posted)
Another night that same month, my friend was telling me about her day and then she said, very casually, that she bumped into the classmate.  I mean the same classmate she previously accused of threatening to kill her.  I was alarmed.  As calmly as I could, I asked her to go on.  What happened?  My friend said that she and the classmate had a nice talk, and he was just a nice, fun, friendly flirt.  Then she started into space, giggled, and said, 'Hee-hee! I . . . like [Classmate's name]!

I was stunned.  I couldn't say anything in response.  My friend only responded to the awkward silence by changing the subject.

She also frequently talked about how she has had a long history of wanting to die.  In high school, she threatened to kill herself several times.  Moreover, she mentioned hating her body and that this hatred for her body goes back to her early childhood, long before the boy groped her when they were both thirteen.  She mentioned that ever since she was little, she thought that female anatomy is disgusting because it makes her vulnerable to predatory males.  She did not elaborate on whether she felt threatened by one or two predatory males in particular.

The next day, I went to the professor to talk about her talking up that classmate as if she did not remember her allegation about him.  The professor brushed off my concerns.  Even as my friend made increasingly obvious and public morbid gestures, which he saw up close, the professor acted as if it was safe and acceptable.  For those reasons, I have lost a lot of respect for this man.

Throughout May of 2010, my friend switched back and forth in her memory of the classmate. First she switched back to saying he violently threatened her, and she went around telling other schoolmates about this.  The next day, she again talked about the classmate being just a nice, fun flirt. Two days later, she switched back to saying he was violent and dangerous.  Every time my friend changed her story, she sounded as if she did not remember what said the previous time, even if that previous time was no more than the day before.

By the autumn of 2010, my friend became very insistent on wearing the same garment to university class almost every day.  She took me to her apartment and she showed me all her clothes. It was not that she had lots of garments that looked alike.  This was the same black garment every day.  Then -- encouraged by the same enabler in Norway who uploaded the horrid 'Fourth Reich' video -- my friend uploaded photos of herself photoshopped to have a chalky white face like a corpse.  Two of the corpse photos even went on my friend's LinkedIn account, next to her résumé, and one of them appeared on the official website of Hawaii University's SIFE Club (SIFE later changed its name to Enactus).  I think some people tried to assume my friend was 'just being a Goth or a Black Metal fan'.  However, my friend has a history of wanting to be dead literally.  For that reason, I could not dismiss this as my friend 'just being a Goth'; I had to take this seriously.

Cropped version of the corpse image from LinkedIn, Twitter, and the oficial SIFE page

Partially redacted (the red part) smaller version of the corpse images posted on LinkedIn, Twitter, and the official SIFE HPU page (regarding the clothes and the lighting: it was a very hot day in Hawaii and the image was photoshopped to make the environment look grayer and deader)

The redactions in red are not part of the original pictures; the reason any of the pictures are visible here is so the readers can judge for themselves if I overreacted to the photoshopped corpse-face images

'A Lot of Abuse in My Family's Past[,] Including Sexual Abuse' 
By this time, I already didn't trust the judgment of my friend's American-born father. I did notice, though, that on Twitter he was following an eccentric woman from the same home state in the USA that he was from.  What got my attention was that the woman's website purported to be for a charity she set up, one for helping at-risk teens and twentysomethings (my friend's age range at the time).  All of the mental illness symptoms the woman's website described were the same as what my friend had either admitted to having or had exhibited to me directly. I thought, 'Who is this strange woman? Is she perhaps a psychologist with whom my friend's father consulted about my friend's problems in Norway?  About symptoms that are now becoming strong and publicly visible once again?'

I contacted this strange woman. I told her I was interested in her website, because I had a friend in her twenties who was exhibiting the symptoms the website described.  I mentioned to this strange woman, though, that I am worried that if she is a psychologist, she might consider it a conflict of interest for me to describe my friend's situation, as I think this strange woman knows my friend somehow.  The strange woman replied she is not a psychologist and it is OK for me to tell her what concerns me.   I told the woman about the morbid gestures but had not yet mentioned anything about the accusations about the classmate, the fear of men in general, or the obsession with child molesters.

It turned out that this strange woman is the paternal aunt to my friend.  The aunt remarked that my friend's situation was both familiar and unfamiliar.  The situation was unfamiliar in that, this entire time, the aunt was unaware that her Norwegian niece was going through all this. Yet, the aunt continued, what I described was indeed familiar in one respect:  when the aunt described mental illness symptoms on her own website, she was describing her own symptoms, and she was startled by how my friend's symptoms were similar to her own.  (I will not link to the woman's website, but rest assured that the website's URL is archived, its contents documented.)

Before I could say anything about the child-molester fixation or the accusation about the classmate, the aunt asked me whether my friend exhibited a prominent hang-up about sex.  I asked her what she meant.  The aunt replied, 'There is a lot of abuse in my family's past[,] including sexual abuse'.  Throughout the months, the aunt revealed that both a cousin and uncle of hers killed themselves, though in different ways. The cousin very deliberately committed suicide by throwing himself off a bridge. The uncle, who was abusive toward his children, drank himself to death.  Later, the aunt mentioned that the father of both herself and my friend's father -- WH -- sexually abused the aunt and her sister.  As far as what the aunt said, though, my friend's father getting mad at WH and changing his own last name in protest -- to that of his mother's maiden name -- was unrelated to the sexual abuse.  Indeed, the aunt added that when she tried to talk to my friend's father about their own father sexually abusing her, my friend's father replied -- rather unconvincingly -- that he knew nothing of this when it was going on.

The aunt went through the following pattern.  Every few weeks, she told me she would have a compassionate conversation with my friend about the public morbid gestures, and about their having so many symptoms and traumas in common.  But, last minute, the aunt would delay this.  Then she would start talking to me about something else, such as her co-workers irritating her.  Eventually she told me that she would have the compassionate conversation after she had her own confrontation with WH and her mother -- WH for sexually abusing her and with her mother for being an enabler who "looked the other way."  The aunt planned on confronting her parents with this through a snail mail.  She typed up a draft and e-mailed it to me.  I still have the entire draft in my possession.  It, too, is documented and archived, and copies of it have been made.

At the last minute, though, the aunt decided against mailing the letter. She rationalised that her mother was in poor health and the confrontation would worsen it.  Then she became uncommunicative and rude, and I do not think the compassionate conversation with my friend ever happened.  I suspect, at this point, it finally dawned on the aunt that if she looked further into the matter with my friend, she might uncover something incriminating not merely about WH, but about my friend's father himself, and that would undermine any remaining 'plausible deniability'.

Here is part of the draft.  Again, I have copies of the entirety of it in my possession.  This is evidence that cannot be eradicated -- nor should it be.

You can click on the screen capture to enlarge it and make it more readable (Trigger warning: this is very difficult material)

Having to Go It Alone
It was up to me to have a compassionate conversation with my friend.  Most other people in our circles noticed the public morbid gestures but were too intimidated to say anything; they became perfect sycophants who helped my friend pretend that all of her public morbid gestures were safe and acceptable.

When I tried to talk to my friend about this, she feigned memory loss, pretending not to remember what she had told me about her obsession with child molesters and death and fear of men.  Then she added that by raising the topic, I had shown myself to be more evil and frightening than the classmate who threatened to kill her.  She added that my confronting her about this was more evil and hurtful than all of the misogynistic epithets her ex-boyfriends hurled toward her.  Soon after saying all this, she again feigned memory loss, this time pretending not to remember being angry just minutes earlier.  As if she didn't know how the conversation started, she began talking casually about her day and then put on a smile and asked me how my day was.  I reminded her of what our conversation was about -- her violent and morbid gestures.  She then grew enraged again and intoned ominously, 'This is not over!'

For the sake of my physical safety, I had to cut off ties to my friend. But I never stopped caring.

BiggerPockets.Com:  Where the Danger of Continued Violence Remains
Some months ago, when I looked at the BiggerPockets real-estate investing forum, my friend -- of all people -- popped up.  She talked about how she is a big shot real-estate investor who owns a parking garage in Norway and who is interested in New York.  She finally stopped using the horrid corpse pictures for her avatar.

Using a small version to obscure identifying features (the point is she isn't making herself look corpse-like anymore).

However, she changed her name; she now goes by her father's last name.  To someone unaware of the context, that must seem a touching tribute to a man of obviously large meaning in my friend's life. But based on what my friend kept saying, and also based on what her aunt said, I am afraid that the name change appears to be yet another morbid gesture.  :'-(

While an assisterende butikkleder (assistant store manager at an IKEA Service and Pick-Up Point), my friend has been talking about the importance of networking for her real-estate business.  If you network with her as a colleague, it would be prudent to remember her behaviour with respect to her classmate and the writing instructor.  As long as my friend refuses to take responsibility publicly for her public morbid gestures -- including, but far from exclusively, the still-online murder threats and photoshop-corpse photos -- there is probable cause in concluding that the danger remains. Indeed, if you work at a particular IKEA Service and Pick-Up Point, you should be very concerned.

I have to bring this up publicly.

First off, falsely accusing someone of a violent crime is itself an initiation of the use of force.  The reason is this.  If X goes to Z and accuses Y of having committed violence against X, then Z may easily respond with violence toward Y, either doing the violence himself as retribution or going to the police (remember that government action is backed by the threat of violence).

Furthermore, every impassioned public threat of violence -- such as the one my friend put on the Web publicly for her mother -- must be taken seriously.  Serious public threats of violence count as an initiation of the use of force.  The reason is that, although not all violent threats are acted upon, there is probable cause to judge that the person who issued the threat might still act upon it one day.  Even if my friend never does violence to her mother, she has given enough reason for people to suspect she might do something equally dangerous or retributive to someone else to whom she feels emotionally attached. You cannot justly hide behind the phrase 'This is my privacy and none of your business!' when the matter involves violent threats you have issued publicly against your own mother, particularly when you have continued, throughout the years, issuing public gestures indicating a continued obsession with death and violence.

If you have come into contact with my friend through her real-estate business or at the Tromsø IKEA Service and Pick-Up Point, and truly care about her well-being and the safety of those around her, please, please, please confront her compassionately and firmly -- pardon that redundancy -- about how her happiness, her being able to accept herself and her past, without all these evasions, is most important, and that the courage to return to regular psychiatric care is worth it.  It is the part of me that retains confidence in my friend -- that part of me that holds onto the hope that she finds inner peace, authentic happiness, and the hope that she is capable of gaining it -- that asks this both of her and of you.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Unfortunate Titles

In retrospect, the titles of Bill Cosby's children's books raise unfortunate imagery. O_O

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Immigrants and Terrorists in Ancient Athens

Stuart K. Hayashi

In her book Darwin's Ghosts, Rebecca Stott pointed out something I had not previously considered. Back in the days of ancient Athens, anyone from outside of your city was a foreigner. Someone who came to your city and was not originally from there, was an immigrant -- what was then called a metic. Aristotle was born near Macedonia, and he came to Athens. He was an immigrant.

The Athenians did not understand freedom the same way we laissez-faire liberals do: to Athenians, to be "free" mostly meant "not being a debt slave," and the Athenians were quite comfortable with the institution of debt slavery. Aristotle himself had debt slaves. But I think it is fair to say that the Athenians were generally more freedom-loving than were the Macedonians. To put it in our sort of modern terminology, the Macedonians were of a culture that did not respect freedom as much as the Athenians did. Aristotle came from a comparatively primitive, illiberal culture.

Eventually, Philip of Macedon began conquering neighboring city-states, and the Athenians reasonably feared that they would be next. They began to regard all Macedonians within Athens -- including Aristotle -- with suspicion. They feared these Macedonians might be subversives and spies secretly loyal to Philip -- the terrorists of their day.

Not wanting their freedom destroyed by outsiders, the Athenians began to presume Macedonians within Athens to be guilty of treason and they violently persecuted them. They harassed Aristotle and destroyed his property, driving him to flee from Athens. Thus, Aristotle fled to Lesbos, becoming a refugee, ironically, from one of the freest societies of Europe at the time.

At the lagoon at Lesbos, Aristotle made new and important discoveries, and therefore we might rationalize that we ultimately benefited from Aristotle leaving Athens. But we could also consider how, in their own time, the Athenians might have benefited from Aristotle's wisdom more immediately had they not driven him out.

There is a lesson in this. As the movie Ratatouille observed, "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere."

It is sheer folly to dismiss someone as a burden, or, worse, violent, based on that person coming from what we judge to be a primitive or illiberal culture. In an underwater robotics competition, a team of brilliant engineers beat MIT's team, doing what MIT's robot could not. Every member of this team was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. One of the world's foremost brain surgeons first came to the United States illegally, working as a migrant farm laborer. When we shut out people, we might be condemning the next Aristotle to death before he makes his big breakthrough. When we close ourselves off from refugees, we imperil not only them, but ourselves as well.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Chris McKenzie Turns Zeno's Paradox Against Itself

The essay is written by Chris McKenzie, and is reproduced here with his permission.  On the bottom, I add my own comments.
--Stuart K. Hayashi 

This is Bartolomeo Carduci's fresco of Zeno of Elea (he is the old man leading the young men).

Chris McKenzie explains:

Zeno's Paradox is as follows.  The ancient Greek philosopher Zeno stated that in order to cross a room, one must first cross half the room. In order to cross the remaining half, one must cross half the remaining distance, and so on--infinitely. Zeno concluded that one can therefore never cross the room.

Let's change Zeno's numbers but keep his intent: In order to cross a room, one must be first cross 99% of the room. In order to cross the remaining 1%, one must cross 99% of the remaining 1%, infinitely.

Zeno has a problem though, and it's one he's smuggled in. Why does Zeno think you can cross 99% of the room? After all, if you treat 99% as a whole, you must first cross 99% of the new whole. The end result is that you can't move at all because in order to move you must first move through 99% of whatever infinitesimally small space you've chosen to move through--say the first 1% of the distance.

Now to the claim that "nothing is certain" or we can only be 99% certain. It's easy to explode this claim with a single question: Are you sure? However, we can see that the 99% certainty claim suffers from the same problem as Zeno's room: In order to be 99% certain, you must first be 99% of 99% certain. Which is to say, you must be wholly certain of a certain whole (the first 99%).

Or, you could just walk across the room and proudly claim, with 100% certainty, "I did it." 


Stuart K. Hayashi adds:

As Chris said, we can turn this around on Zeno.

Every fraction is, in another context, one whole. That is, Y may be a fraction of X, but Y is still one whole of Y. If the room is 30 feet across, and I only walk "half that distance," that is 15 feet. But that "half distance" is actually "the entire distance" of another measurement: 15 feet. Therefore, every time you travel a distance, you travel the entirety of that distance. Every measurement is, in at least one context, "100 percent."


UPDATE  from the Same Day:

Robert Nasir wrote the following comments to me.  I am quoting them here with his permission.

Similarly, if you can travel half the length of a given room, then you can travel what is half of twice the length of the room.

The real issue is the integration of the discrete and the continuous. Everything is discrete. Entities are discrete. The distances they travel (to the extent they're measurable) are discrete.

Mathematics treats space (and time) as continuous. That's fine, it's useful (and arguably necessary) to do so.

But to understand why apparent paradoxes arise, one must never lose sight that math is method, not metaphysics.


UPDATE: Additional comment from Stuart on January 26, 2018:

I think I have a new way of phrasing this matter:

Zeno's Paradox is based on the false presumption that no measurement can ever be 100 percent.  But the exact opposite is true: every measurement is 100 percent, at least in terms of each measurement being 100 percent of itself.


UPDATE: Addendum from Stuart on February 9, 2020:

Only today did it occur to me that pointing out that every measurement is “100 percent of itself” is a restatement of “A is A” (here, “1 = 1”).

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Know What's Worse Than Insulting Someone in a Political Argument? Government Force Itself

Stuart K. Hayashi

I sent a pro-immigration tweet to the actor Mark R. Pellegrino, who plays Lucifer on the CW Network's Supernatural.

I typed, "When people whine about Mexicans coming to US w/ gov permission slips, plz show them this doctor:" I meant to type: "When people whine about Mexicans coming to US w/o gov permission slips, plz show them this doctor:" (emphasis added).  I was referring to undocumented immigrants coming to the USA without "government permission slips."  My tweet links to this video about Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, who came to the USA from Mexico illegally as a migrant farm laborer and eventually became a life-saving, world-renowned brain surgeon.

Pellegrino was generous enough to retweet my tweet, and he added his own caption:  "Hey [Donald] Trump. Suck it."

In reply, someone on Twitter lectured Pellegrino to "grow up" based on his "immature comments" concerning Mr. Trump.

Everything else being equal, I would not mind it if, in general, people switched to political rhetoric that was overall less charged, less accusatory, and less altogether insulting. Nonetheless, I think some perspective is in order.

Many impoverished people come to the United States without visas, escaping from drug cartels and kleptocratic governments, and their sole "crime" is the absence of a visa.  And forcibly deporting those people means sending armed men after them.  In comparison, I think Pellegrino telling Trump to "suck it" is quite minor.

Therefore, here is my response: