I recently made and lost a friend who is going through some hard times. One of the things they raised was that they were a victim of gang stalking. This brought back memories of LA Indymedia, because there were many gang stalking posts on the site. (For examples, see the “stalking” tag or the “geral sosbee” tag.)
I read a lot of them, and even emailed with one of the writers. My sense was that they were going through some paranoid fears, that it was a mental illness, but it was not necessarily debilitating. These articles were fairly long, and, for the most part, relatively well written. They would go through episodes, and post on the website, and then at other times, feel ok. I got permission to remove posts, and there wasn’t any push-back. If anything, they seemed embarrassed.
My impression was that they were pretty smart, but thinking they were targeted, when they weren’t.
According to articles about gang stalking and targeted individuals, they might have a persecutory delusion.
This delusion is socially debilitating: the sufferer thinks people around them are agents, after them. When they explain this to friends, the friends don’t believe it – because it’s likely not true. Then the sufferer thinks the friends are agents.
Assuming that my friend had a persecutory delusion, how do I detect it? Persecutory delusions are hard to detect when someone has suffered actual persecution, individually, and for the groups they’re identified with.
To complicate the situation more, what about people who have suffered from coordinated assault, bullying, harassment, or workplace discrimination? They have suffered actual coordinated hostility, creating a lived, empirical basis for feelings of persecution.
They have suffered… but at what point does their logic fail, and they perceive “gang stalking”, where a whole bunch of random, unrelated people appear to be coordinated to stalk and harass them?
I watched the Vice video about the Gang Stalking; the majority of people at a GS meeting were women and people of color. One profiled person is a gay man. These are people under everyday, low-level persecution. If I were gay and living in Hawthorne, I might feel paranoid. If I were a woman, I’d be paranoid about men.
I really resonated with what Dr. Josh Bazell said in the video. Why are we not all paranoid?
How does one relax, when you feel persecuted? For example, one of my neighbors vandalized my car, another time, a racist “I survived driving in the SGV” bumper sticker was left by my car. I lived next door to a gang. I’m a racial minority – an Asian among Latinos. Despite experiencing this, I didn’t fall into thinking like someone being Gang Stalked – even though it was likely an actual street gang member was stalking me and messing with my car. (I had stuff stolen from my car, my home, and the sticker taken off my license plate. My mirror was knocked off. Someone also put a shot glass under a tire.)
Years later, after I moved a few blocks away, someone from the gang spray painted their gang initials on the wall by my new home. This was in a rival gang’s territory. Someone painted it over quickly, so all you see is the coverup. It is an understatement to say we were being stalked.
Yet, I didn’t feel “gangstalked.”
I didn’t feel not-paranoid, though. Sometimes, when I see a cholo, I worry that they are racist, or intoxicated/mentally ill, or both. I worry that they see me as a mark.
I also think I have social anxiety, so I do have a touch of paranoia.
References and Media
Wikipedia: Persecutory Delusion
Wikipedia: Gang Stalking
Quora Search: targeted individual
Quora Search: gang stalking victim
Dr. Todd Grande: What is a Targeted Individual? | Gang-Stalking (Group-Stalking)
It is Schizophrenia?
I’m not a psychiatrist, or a psychologist.
I found this video about the condition, by Robert Sapolsky, and it was edifying. Also, I have started to wonder about myself. I know someone who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, so it’s not some unknown thing. I have some of these traits.
The most fascinating section is about dopamine, Parkinsons, and paranoia.
What causes dopamine release: alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, coffee, nicotine, sugar.