(or, How Community REALLY Works When the Stars Line Up)
On January 25th something truly miraculous happened. People from at least 3 online vampire communities, two states, and spanning two countries worked together to save a life.
Its not that the life was saved, though that in itself was miracle enough. The miracle was in the fact that if even ONE link in the chain of events had been broken, a young man might have died. That he didn’t die, is a testament to how Community can work when everyone works together for good.
Without naming names or embarrassing the very excellent man, the entire incident revolved around, Id like to tell you the story.
I’m a little foggy on the exact time all the events went into play. Id arrived in the chat room of my message board where I hold Coffee Chat early most weekday mornings. Id checked the board and was chatting with friends when I was asked by Akasha if Id seen Marcus recently.
Now what amazed me about that question, is that Marcus was not a member of my board, though I knew who he was from the board of a dear friend. I was interested enough to ask what was up and at 6:27am I received in my email, part of conversation from the night before, and directed to his online blog. It seemed Marcus might have been pushed past his limit, though we didnt know why, and the man was suicidal.
What frightened me was that he had already said his goodbyes and that no one had heard from him since midnight, the night before! Nothing on the message board he moderates on.. nothing on his blog but his obvious desire to end his life.
Akasha had his address and his real name so we tried a reverse lookup to find his phone number to no avail. We each asked friends we knew, where we might find him NOTHING. I shot off notes to people who were not online at such an early hour, hoping someone would contact me when they got up and know how to reach Marcus, to check on him. I stared at his address till I thought Id go blind and then it hit me! I knew someone in the city where he lived! I dragged out my Vampire Contact list who was in his city I tossed off an instant messenger note to Countessa whom I knew was local to him.
Countessa was up.. but quite ill and very pregnant! She didn’t know him, but shed look in the phone book for me and see if she could find his number so someone could call him to check up. There was no name in the book that matched the address.
I knew there was a Vampiric House in the state and city where Marcus lived. I also knew that Countessa was a member. The leader of that house is Morgana so I asked Akasha for Selwyns phone number, which she gave to me.
Morgana was home! I quickly explained the situation. Morgana was all ears Would she go over and check on Marcus? Of course she would! Shed go now and phone me with an update.
Twenty-five minutes is a long time when you are waiting to hear if a friend is dead or alive. We waiting in my chat room, jumping when people came on and off our IMs or came and went from the chat. Finally my phone rang. It was Morgana.
He isn’t answering the door. What do you think I should do? We discussed it and finally made the decision to call in the Cavalry. Morgana called the local Police. She called me back about 15 minutes later.
The policeman has the same last name, that cant be a coincidence, can it? I bit my lip In a city the size of theirs it almost HAD to be a relative but was that good or bad? The police asked Morgana to leave so she fired up her truck and left. Now we were ALL sitting biting our nails and waiting!
Finally we got word.
He’s ALIVE~! Akasha had finally received word on his IM that Marcus was OK. They found him before he’d had time to hurt himself, and the police were watching him, now.
THIS is how Community SHOULD work. It took people from three different communities, working together to pull it off, but we saved a life.
WHY shouldn’t it be like that ALL the time? Think, for just a moment, what we could accomplish, if every vampire community,worked together for the good of us all.
On January 25th we saved a life, and not just for a few minutes while he rethought it. We were able to put him in touch with an excellent Vamp House in his city. Friends, local contacts. We let him know he is NOT alone and that we CARE about him, even if we only know him online. He is real to us. Real enough to go to great lengths to save his life, because we CARE about HIM.
This is Community, folks. This is FAMILY. The is what it is and should be to be a Vampire.