Saturday, November 21, 2009

How Much Compassion Required (edited)

Compassion or naivety? Compassion or enabling?

A situation has arisen over the past few days that gives me a bit of pause to question my own compassion toward others and whether or not my next reaction is compassionate, or enabling, or something entirely different.

Someone, whom I do not know first hand, has been sending me text message that threaten my life. The first one came with my first name and was innocuous. The 2nd one came and said I needed to be very careful when coming home that night. The 3rd one, shortly thereafter, said "Jason would be waiting for me." I took that to be a strong reference to the slasher type movies that were common in the 80s and 90s. Given that I live alone, my house and property is secluded, it made me nervous and a little scared. Given that I likewise have a former professor who stalks me as well as his wife, I needed to be careful.

At that point, I took the text messages to the campus police department (jurisdiction is questionable as I received them while in class but don't live on campus). The police report was written up, I was given the report number told that the individual would be told to stop, and an investigation begun.

Apparently, the investigating officer is sick and was unable to start reviewing the report.

I got another one last night and lest there be any doubt as to the "Jason" reference, it was cleared up yesterday afternoon.

"Jason from Friday the 13th will be awaiting for you at home tonight when you get there."

I didn't need to ask if I was over reacting and immediately went to the police department. The individual who answered the phone at the number in my text message hung up on the officer. The officer called back. The individual hung up again.

It seems to me the individual finally understands what harassment is and that threatening someone is not taken lightly. Nor should it. The individual was told to quit texting me, quit harassing me and that it was felony terroristic threats.

I got one more yesterday after I left the police department.

"I'm sorry. The texts were just a joke."

It seems to me this individual has a warped sense of entitlement and does not truly understand what harassment and threatening texts are. In a word, abuse.

Every abuser I've known, including the filth that lived here with my son and I, was "sorry" and yet that did not change their behavior. Every rapist I know and have talked to felt "sorry" they had committed the crime and in the back of my mind, I've always wondered if they really did, or if they were just sorry they were caught.

I've often ended up at just sorry they were caught.

So, my compassion toward an individual is caught in the cross fire right now - I have no doubt he's sorry he got caught. What I don't know is if he would/will do it again to someone else and if I try to get the police department to stop the investigation, am I enabling him to continue the crap behavior.

As a physician I'm sure this question gets pondered with one drug specifically, and I'm sure many others as well: oxycontin. So how does a physician finally adapt their compassionate ways to stopping an addict or at least, draw the line between compassion and enabling.

In my case, I am not interfering with the investigation. The individual needs to have consequences for his behavior. I did not find his "jokes" funny or interesting or wanted.

My compassion in this regard has found it's limit and I won't enable his crap behavior further.

(edited portion)

For some who may wonder about my safety inside my home, I am. The canines who share my abode with me, are protective, large, and loving. A few weeks ago, my own father who has known the younger great dane since he arrived in my home, failed to announce himself as he walked through the front door of my house. Storm, for all his loving goofiness, became instantly protective of his pack leader, fast asleep on the sofa, and bit my dad... and then quickly realized "oops!"

I believe Storm would have not stopped had it been anyone else he did not recognize. Had it been a true intruder, someone far more unwelcome in my home, the assault would not have stopped.

And Storm, is what I call very affectionately, my "little great dane" - not trained to protect, not trained to be fierce, just instinctively, he is.

I'm safe.


WordDoc said...

Compassion has nothing to do with dealing with this bozo. His/(her?) actions are just sick and call for nothing but strong action.

Compassion need not be compromised with respect to oxycontin prescriptions either although I'll admit with you this is a tough one. I believe that many of my patients with chronic pain are suffering from significant pain. They aren't taking the stuff for fun, yet once underway, their need for the narcotics grows physically and mentally too. I know I've enabled, and I work hard to compassionately say no while offering help for pain AND for addiction. Difficult, heart-rending decisions.

Thank heavens for big dogs with discriminating compassion!

A Doc 2 Be said...

Thank you for your support!

The individual needs to be punished for what he did. Three days of fear was not pleasant. And quite honestly, I'm still guarded.

Who knows, his "I'm sorry" could be the joke, and the rest of it the truth.

And yes, thank heaven for big, beautiful, goofy, loving canine companions!