The local grifter mom keeps popping up and much like a Whack a Mole game I try my best to knock her out of my life. Like any arcade game worth it’s salt there’s no winning without cheating and I absolutely refuse to give this more energy than it deserves. Unfortunately that means that the grifter will likely continue fleecing small businesses and homeowners in and around Los Angeles…. until she pisses off the LAPD again.
You see, one of my friends lived next to the grifter in one of the many houses she squatted in. My understanding (and this is from the LAPD detective who described her as “pure evil”) is that she would use a realtor to describe a desperate situation since she was a single mother with two adorable kids, a deadbeat ex-husband and a women’s media pioneer. She and her realtor friend would roll in on a Saturday, leave a check deposit at the end of the day and move in on a Sunday. Of course the check would bounce on a Monday because most of these were written on checking accounts that were never opened. In fact in 2011 the LAPD told me that there was close to $200,000 of bad checks written including some to me, my dog trainer and my housekeeper. Oh about that friend… well she’s watching her friend get sucked into the grifter. They’re developing a business relationship.
So my friend approaches me and asks me what she should do. I just shrug because I don’t have a good answer. I explain to her that friends still won’t speak to me because I helped the Dad find his kids the last time I knew she was in jail. Which shouldn’t be confused for the first or second time. See, I have this policy of always helping the non-incarcerated parent. Oooh! Controversial!
My friend knows that her friend is getting fleeced. My friend wants to tell her friend and I’m trying to explain to her that no one will believe her. If you’re busy being normal you aren’t working very hard to make yourself appear believable. You just sort of march along assuming that the world plays by a set of rules. Well, the grifters of the world are spending their days and nights weaving webs of fantasy lives and peppering their friends with expensive gifts and over the top experiences. The grifters have a plan. The rest of us don’t.
My friend is going to do the right thing and share the information that she has. After all she quietly observed the grifter move in and out of the house in a single week, heard directly from the landlord and the police about the grifter’s penchant for oversized homes and luxury automobiles. But ultimately I fear that my friend will be punished. This is why the con has worked for a decade (possibly longer).
Some folks would argue that the grifter needs help. That there’s some hole that needs to be filled. She’s not an unintelligent woman, she’s just not a good person. Perhaps she’s mentally ill.
Right now people are talking about gun control and the mentally ill. They’re talking about how mass murderers and shooters must be, by default, mentally unstable. It simply isn’t so. Our grifter may be mentally ill but that doesn’t explain her behavior.
Some people are just bad. Evil exists and it doesn’t always have a diagnosis or a cure. There are mentally ill people who are perfectly lovely and absolutely harmless. Most of us could sit in a room long enough with the DSM and come up with a disorder. You can’t fix bad in a therapist’s office. This grifter (and probably many others) has her family sitting with talk doctors all the time and if you don’t start in a truthful place you’ll never get to an honest one.
I’m frustrated when I hear that we’re worried about keeping guns from the mentally ill. I look at my friends and their children who have serious conditions ranging from schizophrenia to bipolar or “just” OCD and I think that though I don’t want them to have weaponry I really really really don’t want them lumped together with criminals. Because it’s not criminal to have a brain that works a little differently.
I know, weird tangent.
Photo credit Andrew Bossi via creative commons