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When the mask slips on the psychopath

Reading the Sunday paper this morning, this little news clip caught my eye:

“The former fashion writer convicted of sexually tormenting a co-worker while dressed as a firefighter says he’d go on a homicidal rampage if released from an Ohio prison.

“Peter Braunstein told the New York Daily News in a jailhouse interview that he has ‘no desire’ for rehabilitation.”

Back in 2005, Peter Braunstein stalked a woman who worked for the same company as he once did (although he didn’t know her), set off a smoke bomb in the hallway of her New York City apartment, banged on her door dressed as a firefighter, and held her prisoner and molested her for 13 hours. He then fled and police launched a multi-state manhunt. He robbed a psychiatrist in the Cincinnati area, and was eventually caught in Memphis.

Columnist for WWD

The news ignited a media frenzy at the time, although not being in New York, I missed it. What added so much fuel to the fire was that Braunstein had once been a columnist for Women’s Wear Daily, a publication at the epicenter of the fashion world, passing judgment on the editors of the country’s biggest fashion magazines. He was, at one point, considered an intellectual and arbiter of pop culture.

How far he has fallen. Friday’s article in the New York Post was headlined, Fake fireman sicko Braunstein likes prison, warns of ‘rampage’ if released. The article called him a psychopath.

Braunstein was already convicted in the New York crime, and was sentenced to 18 years to life. He’s currently in Cincinnati, where, according to an article entitled N.Y. tabloid villain charged here in the Enquirer, he faces another 28 years for aggravated robbery, robbery and kidnapping.

Profile of a psychopath

Vanity Fair magazine published an in-depth article about Peter Braunstein, The Devil and W.W.D., on April 2, 2007. It described his upbringing, early career, family and self-destruction. Several former friends were quoted trying to explain what happened to Braunstein.

Reading the article, it seemed pretty clear to me that Braunstein was always a psychopath. He got involved with women who financially supported him. He sent vile e-mails to his father (who may have had his own issues). He considered himself superior to the rest of the world. When his last girlfriend left him, he launched a virulent, public smear campaign.

It seems that for many years Braunstein was able to keep a lid on his disorder, until a series of career and relationship failures left him with no more claims to grandiose superiority. At that point, the mask slipped, and he stopped pretending to be a human being.

Cover is blown

It’s something many of us who have been entangled with psychopaths have experienced. The cover is blown, and the evil is released. I suspect that some psychopaths may actually feel exhilarated—finally, they can be who they really are.

Braunstein does not want to get out of jail. “I would have no desire to try to rehabilitate myself and go back to being a guy with a job and meeting girls and having friends. I’m not interested in that whatsoever.”

Those might be the most authentic and honest words this psychopath has ever spoken.



41 Comments on "When the mask slips on the psychopath"

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  1. kat_o_nine_tales says:

    Still, a lot of weirdos and psychopaths do very well in prison. Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, model prisoners all. Maybe because the reins are finally taken out of their hands. However, I think they still use the prison, as well as any other misfortunes they might have, to get pity and support from people.

    My ex-bf used his kidney disease to get more tolerance and support from women. The first thing he did when I broke up with him was go home, throw out all his meds and make a big scene so that his daughter would freak out and call me, which she did. In fact she freaked out so bad one of the other women called me.

  2. justabouthealed says:

    There is another manifestation of pathological evil, where the victims are innocents who will never have a voice, even when fully grown up. It is truly up to others to speak up for them.

    Here is a verdict in which justice, to the extent that the law allows, was served. http://rtfitch.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/jury-finds-jason-meduna-3-strikes-rancher-guilty-on-most-counts/

    The hero that first went in and started rescuing the hundreds of starving horses horses wrote the following. He nailed the ego of the pathological:

    Of all the scenes from hell through which I have walked, those from the Three Strikes Ranch were undoubtedly the worst. I haven’t said much about it, for the specific reason that Meduna’s fans and supporters were wanting anything they could find to hang me. To them I was the villain, the intruder, the ultimate bad guy and had it not been for me, their idol would never have fallen.

    I received three calls in the middle of the night, all letting me know the jury’s decision. There was a joy, a celebration of good over evil, a strong sense of justice and a stamp of validity for all we have been through and our decisions to make it right for those horses, no matter what.

    In the end, 220 horses, donkeys and mules walked out of that place, some giving birth within minutes of leaving. Left behind were an unknown number of once beautiful animals, now nothing more than bones and tufts of hair. Two of those, Voodoo and Itchy, are still at the ranch, both now fat and healthy once again.

    Jason Meduna lost. His stupidity, his arrogance. his threats and those of his friends have been proven, in court, to be worthless. To all of them, this was about EGO and SELF. It was never about a single horse. It was never about life.

    To us, the vets, Jim, Hillary Wood, the Husses, to those who worked so hard at HSUS and to those rescues that took in the horses to rehab them and find them new homes, today celebrates life. Our combined measure of the value of life were measured by a court of law and found to meet the same criteria as those who wrote the laws, and one bad guy is found guilty 145 times over.

    And for that, I give thanks.

  3. Stargazer says:

    Those poor animals! At least the jury made the right decision.

  4. Kathleen Hawk says:

    JAH, thanks for the good news. There is actually another terrible story behind this one.

    You can find it at

    http://rtfitch.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/262-million-acres-and-salazar-cant-find-a-place-for-wild-horses/

    This article, printed Friday, is about a speech by Ken Salazar, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The federal Bureau of Land Management is rounding up the wild horses, and placing them in these privately owned containment ranches. And the head of the Department of the Interior, which oversees this program is cattle rancher, and program is quite clearly to remove the horses to make more room for cattle.

    If this infuriates you (as it does me), I found a site where you can join a petition to stop or radically alter this program. Here’s the location:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/166841148

  5. style1 says:

    Oxy..I just read your above post and it was powerful and really spoke to me..

    Yes, when you don’t listen to what your gut tells you .. you walk into evil.. thinking that ‘they’ have something that you want or need.

    And after your suspecions of them are revealed when that mask cracks and comes off.. when they can no longer keep up the facade that they want you to see.. it is like you say to yourself that is what I always knew in the beginning.. so why am I here in the first place.
    When we recognize evil intent, we need to turn away from it and that is our freewill to either stay or to go.. in staying, perhaps, it is another lesson is our awareness in our ability to descern good from evil.. to refine us further in our soul’s growth.

    Your references to the Bible were great.. thanks for that…

    I saw THE BOOK OF ELI last night .. I would recommend it.. as its premise is a good one..
    I does drag at times and is similar to many after the last big trauma what remains.. but it has an interesting twist and is Biblical

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