Cover art: Garth Knight
We have long espoused that blood drinkers do not have rules. There is no governing body. We have no laws other than those set by society at large. Laws are rules enforceable by an authority/the state which we are all expected to follow. Blood drinkers do not have any such authority, nor (I believe) would we ever. However, blood drinkers do not operate in a vacuum. As with all gatherings of people around a commonality, there are unspoken ‘rules’ or courtesies that we all follow. Cutting in line won’t end you up in Court (a real Court, not one of those vampire ones), but it will get you some serious side-eye. This is just one example. We are all, to a greater or lesser extent, expected to follow common sense boundaries set by society.
The blood drinker community is no different. There are unspoken courtesies that, over the years, have come to be properly expected of those involved in a topic so sensitive as blood drinking. Some people could lose their livelihood if ‘outed’. These can include things like discretion, trust, integrity. Not sharing confidential information, not blabbing or bragging about things that should remain private/between personal conversations. Talking about ‘the hunger’ and shameful feelings in the confidence that it will stay within that conversation. Use common sense. Be safe. Be trained. Don’t make the rest of us look bad through inappropriate or dangerous behaviour. There are little regional things I’ve noticed too – even so far as one sang offering another their donor, sharing sources or offering some vials of blood as one would offer a beer; a sign of generosity. There are obvious safety concerns with that with blood testing, but that is outside the scope of this article.
Due to the nature of blood drinking and the vampire archetype, it goes without saying that sanguivores will be perceived/related with the whole ‘vampire’ bit. Some circles handle things in their own way. If an individual is particularly dangerous, ‘community warnings’ or ‘excommunications’ can be posted.
Despite no ‘legal’ binding beyond the actual laws we are all expected to follow, how leaders respond to situations does set a precedent. We have to be extremely careful in how we handle situations as they arise. People watch, people remember, and people expect consistency with someone’s principles. We set for ourselves a margin of acceptance within which we manoeuvre. As with law, each case is unique and facts change; but if we flip flop from one stance to another, our integrity and conviction will not be taken seriously.
I rarely defend people in situations. I defend my principles and what I think is right. Sanguivores are my first priority. That includes them, their donors and overall well-being. We make mistakes and what is important is that we learn from them. The precedent we set lays the groundwork for what kind of community culture is to follow. It is the responsibility of leaders to cultivate a culture that is conducive to the growth of its people (i.e. sanguivores). An example of this is with a dear friend of mine whom, several years back, accidentally botched the slaughter of a rabbit for blood. Another sang made this public. Despite becoming highly proficient at the skill, she was vilified and called ‘bunny butcher’. I have always been of the opinion that it was breaking an unspoken, almost sacrosanct, rule to not sell out another sang with something highly confidential discussed in trust. If she were still alive, and if the community culture is one of learning, she could have been able to educate someone to avoid her mistakes. My stance on such things has never changed. Of course, if someone is breaking ACTUAL serious laws, they should be reported to the authorities accordingly.
As always, the precedent I want to set for sanguivores is one of openness, learning, guidance, and support. I will always stand by my convictions in that regard and openly oppose anything which I feel creates, or could create, a hostile environment for sanguivores. We walk a difficult path with few who understand, and deserve safe spaces with those of like-kind.