the extremists/ be careful

Martha Rosett Lutz lutzrun at
Sun Jan 21 19:28:18 EST 2001

"The most obvious case was 6 or 7 years ago when one of the
poachers was on Leps-l posting psychotic drivel (or "historic postings" as
he put it) about how he had been the victim of a conspiracy.
Despite his showing signs of  mental instability (Delusions of grandeur,
 paranoia etc. ) he had people supporting his position."
With all due respect for Mr. Jones's intelligence, and with no intention of
initiating unpleasantness, I beg ALL the leps-ers to be very careful with
these specific clinical diagnostic titles ('psychotic,' 'paranoia').
These are formal diagnoses, and are taken quite seriously as illnesses that
can have social consequences.  If you identify a person as having one of
these mental illnesses, but cannot prove that the person really is ill
(something you could only do via access to their private medical records),
the person could potentially take legal action on the grounds of slander.
I am married (for better or for worse) into the medical profession, and
these people take their diagnoses with great gravity.  These are not terms
to be tossed around as casual epithets.  The issue is not whether you might
possibly be right about that individual, but whether you can prove your
allegations.  If not, for your own safety, please be careful.  Accusing
people of being mentally ill is a long, long way from discussing
lepidoptera, and is actionable.
Speaking of which, I still have no leps news.  Not even a non-leps specimen
from a bag of frozen veggies.  And the sidewalks are still a bit too icy
for me to indulge in a favorite winter activity:  hunting for cocoons while
running.  Yes, I do collect these (when I find them).  When the moths hatch
I often take them into classrooms and use them to teach children about
insects.  I can get a lot of mileage from one lep.  (Sometimes 20-60 kids
in one day, depending on my time and the school schedules.)  Afterwards I
usually mate the moths, raise the offspring, and release some into the
wild.  (Others may end up in classrooms, like Mom or Dad moth . . . )
In Stride,
Martha Rosett Lutz
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