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.