Killing people

Update, December 15, 2013: The accused has now been publicly identified as Faye Cohen, who had worked as the office manager at Lupin. It is also alleged that she had been sighted on numerous occasions driving recklessly on Lupin grounds where, if I recall correctly, the speed limit was posted at five miles per hour. She may have had an ongoing substance abuse problem. Lupin is apparently allowing her to stay on the grounds while authorities investigate, and authorities have apparently been notified that she is there.[1] In my view, this alters nothing of what I have posted below, but underscores Lupin’s negligent personnel practices.

It is a situation I can visualize all too well:

The crash occurred around 1:25 p.m. [December 10] as [Michael] Schaupp, of Santa Cruz, traveled north on the highway at normal speed, approaching Idylwild Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A black Ford Explorer pulled off Idylwild and directly into Schaupp’s path. When his 1996 Honda motorcycle struck the SUV, Schaupp was thrown about 20 feet across the roadway, to the edge of the opposite lanes, according to the CHP.

The woman driving the Explorer at first stopped, then fled north on the highway. The vehicle was found minutes later, abandoned on the Bear Creek Road offramp.[2]

The location is in the Santa Cruz Mountains, on a busy highway with narrow lanes, lots of curves, and on which most people drive too fast. The California Highway Patrol has been alleged to tolerate a speed of up to ten miles per hour above the posted 50-mile per hour speed limit. It is reasonable to question what the “normal speed” was that Schaupp, on a motorcycle, is said to have been travelling at.

I will not be naming names, other than that of the victim, who is reported to be “brain-dead” as a consequence of his injuries, in this post. The additional information I have comes to me from my own experience and from a telephone conversation I am treating as confidential. I am informed by a reliable source that the accused driver has contacted a lawyer, been advised to turn herself in, and will do so. Her identity is apparently known to the Highway Patrol.[3]

You see, from November 2002, until December 2008, I lived and, occasionally, worked where the accused worked. Her name does not ring a bell with me; I assume she arrived at Lupin Lodge, also known as Lupin Naturist Club, after I left. Thus, all the evidence I am offering here would, in a court of law, be regarded as speculative and as hearsay.

The first thing one has to understand about Lupin is that it is located in a spectacular location in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Los Gatos, California, very near where this collision occurred. Learning of this story, seeing the location, and knowing the person who had posted the story on Facebook, I immediately suspected that Lupin was somehow involved.

The second thing one should understand is that, for me, it is a place made ugly—very ugly—by the way management treats its workers, many of whom seemed to be “down on their luck.” I do not object to hiring people who are “down on their luck.” I am “down on my luck,” with an advanced education and an associated pile of student load debt that seems unlikely to lead to gainful employment, even with the Ph.D. I am now earning.[4]

But many, especially those whom the management at Lupin routinely hires, who are “down on their luck” need more than just a job. They need help dealing with issues like mental health and substance abuse. Some need lessons in personal hygiene.

I do not know where on the scale of “down on their luck” the accused falls. Apparently she had a home; informed that Lupin could no longer afford to pay her, but could offer her a place to live, she declined, saying she had a home, she needed money. Lupin’s management takes the attitude that it is being altruistic in offering people work and places to live in a spectacular setting. During the time I lived there, pay was usually in the form of “Lupin bucks,” that is a credit on one’s membership account that could be used to pay for rent, membership dues, and meals at the restaurant. The rate was at minimum wage, apparently regardless of the level at one worked. The costs were reasonable, particularly for restaurant workers who got their meals and received some tips in cash (never very much; this is part of the experience that informs me that rich people are the worst tippers). But it is still “company store” money, spendable only at Lupin and, somehow, taxes are never involved.

The accused had also apparently broken up with her boyfriend. She was under stress, I am told, possibly on medication which may have combined with alcohol to make her especially dangerous behind the wheel.

I write all this not to excuse her. If she was indeed under the influence of any combination of drugs (including alcohol), she should not have been driving. She should not have left the scene.

I write all this instead to argue for restorative justice, in which we honestly probe for the causes, and for the causes of the causes,[5] that lead to tragedies such as this. My experience with Lupin informs me that there is more to this story than a hit-and-run, more to it than possibly driving under the influence.

When I moved to Lupin (figure 1), I thought I would never leave. It is that beautiful a place. I loved that my back window looked into the woods. I loved the drive down the entrance road, through the woods. I loved that deer, and occasionally fawns, would browse for grass outside the window where I was studying. I loved driving home one night and seeing a mountain lion bound across an intersection near the entrance road. It was, for me, an honor to share this location with such magnificent creatures.

At the time, I was in the second of a series of trailers that began immediately across from the office at the entrance gate and were judged unsightly. Members complained and so most of the trailers were relocated to a much less attractive, and much less prominent location on the grounds. I was fortunate; my trailer was behind a trellis that also guarded the first. It remained where it was.

Fig. 1. Lupin Lodge, formerly known as Lupin Naturist Club, 20600 Aldercroft Heights Road, Los Gatos, California 95033, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Clara County, August 23, 2013. The clubhouse and restaurant is prominent. The office can be seen below it. The entrance road can be seen coming up to the office and then continuing on behind. The trailer, now apparently behind a fence, barely visible at right, across from the office, was occupied by my neighbors. It appears impossible to determine from this photograph if the trailer that I occupied from November 2002 through December 2008 is still present.

David Benfell Fig. 1. Lupin Lodge, formerly known as Lupin Naturist Club, 20600 Aldercroft Heights Road, Los Gatos, California 95033, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Clara County, August 23, 2013. The clubhouse and restaurant is prominent. The office can be seen below it. The entrance road can be seen coming up to the office and then continuing on behind. The trailer, now apparently behind a fence, barely visible at right, across from the office, was occupied by my neighbors. It appears impossible to determine from this photograph if the trailer that I occupied from November 2002 through December 2008 is still present.

My remaining neighbor was an elderly man who eventually died of prostate cancer that had spread to his spine. (He is not to be confused with one of the professors on my Master’s degree committee who died of a similarly-described ailment after I graduated in 2009.)

Lupin moved first one worker, then two into his old trailer. They were both heavy smokers, both loud and noisy. They would begin their mornings (very early by my standards), by coming outside and coughing loudly. They played loud music that was not to my taste. They had a kid, who of course is immune to criticism, but added to the noise level, in part by being cooed at by passers by. I had almost no protection from the noise in my trailer and especially in the built-on portion where I slept.

Even as annoyed as I was, I interpreted their noise as a cry to be heard. They were laborers at Lupin, in Hannah Arendt’s sense. Their work was noticed only when it was not done; it otherwise left no trace and had to be repeated in a futile cycle that was never complete.[6] And because there was so much work to be done, in part because Lupin always did things cheaply, there was always something to notice that hadn’t been done. The gulf between them and the well-off “paying” members at Lupin was vast. The noise they made was their only way of making a mark, as it has on my consciousness.

They were poorly treated. One reason I only worked at Lupin intermittently was that to work there was to be abused and I had enough coming in from other sources, especially student loans, that I had an alternative (until rising gasoline prices with the financial crisis that began in 2007 made my situation, commuting 40 miles each way to Hayward, increasingly untenable). I was treated better than most, surely in part because I was not wholly subject to that abuse. Also the gulf between me and the “paying” members was diminished, but only to a degree, by the fact that I often was a fully-paying member (living there, it was like rent) and had returned to school in 2003, raising my education level.

But as I had returned to school, my social consciousness was also being raised. I saw how people around me were being treated. I saw them reprimanded for not doing all that needed to be done. I saw the futility of their positions. I saw the class discrepancies that could not have failed to sear across their consciousness. I saw people “down on their luck” brought into a place where, yes, they were surrounded by incredible natural beauty, but where they were still “down on their luck,” and hopelessly trapped in an abusive condition.

And the broader sense that I have gained from my education leads me to think that Lupin, along with its former worker, should be indicted for the death of this motorcyclist. Lupin was at least partly responsible for the stress the accused was under.

This broader sense is one the rich cannot share. They rarely have the experience of the threat of the loss of a job as an existential threat. They rarely have the experience of living on the financial edge, always worrying about survival, being in a condition of “mental strain [that] could be costing poor people up to 13 IQ (intelligence quotient) points and [that] means they are more likely to make mistakes and bad decisions that amplify and perpetuate their financial woes.”[7] They just blame the poor.

And with a criminal justice system that begins with laws passed by the wealthy against everyone else, and is manifest in a system rigged against the poor at every stage,[8] Lupin is, instead of being investigated for its role in the accused’s mental state, beyond suspicion.

  1. [1]author’s identity withheld, e-mail message to his list of “Lupin Friends,” December 15, 2013.
  2. [2]Eric Kurhi, “Motorcyclist declared brain-dead after Hwy. 17 hit-and-run crash; driver known but missing,” San Jose Mercury News, December 13, 2013, http://www.mercurynews.com/central-coast/ci_24714425/motorcyclist-declared-brain-dead-after-hwy-17-hit
  3. [3]Eric Kurhi, “Motorcyclist declared brain-dead after Hwy. 17 hit-and-run crash; driver known but missing,” San Jose Mercury News, December 13, 2013, http://www.mercurynews.com/central-coast/ci_24714425/motorcyclist-declared-brain-dead-after-hwy-17-hit
  4. [4]Lindsay Ellis, “Many New Ph.D.’s Emerge Deeper in Debt Than in the Past, Survey Shows,” Chronicle of Higher Education, December 6, 2013, http://chronicle.com/article/Deeper-Debt-Hits-Many/143461/; Jana Kasperkevic, “Student loan debt hits a new high as millennials take ‘poverty-wage’ jobs,” Guardian, December 6, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/money/us-money-blog/2013/dec/06/student-loan-debt-minimum-poverty-wage-jobs; Stacey Patton, “Ph.D.’s Spend Big Bucks Hunting for Academic Jobs,With No Guaranteed Results,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 11, 2013, http://chronicle.com/article/A-Job-in-Academe-Itll-Cost/137823/; Stacey Patton, “‘I Fully Expect to Die With This Debt’,” Chronicle of Higher Education, April 15, 2013, http://chronicle.com/article/I-Fully-Expect-to-Die-With/138507/
  5. [5]Wanda D. McCaslin and Denise C. Breton, “Justice as Healing: Going Outside the Colonizers’ Cage,” in Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies, eds. Norman K. Denzin, Yvonna S. Lincoln, and Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2008), 511-529.
  6. [6]Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1998).
  7. [7]Reuters, “Study Finds Poverty Reduces Brain Power,” Voice of America News, August 29, 2013, http://www.voanews.com/content/reu-study-finds-poverty-reduces-brain-power/1739957.html; for underlying research, see Anandi Mani et al., “Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function,” abstract, Science, 341, no. 6149, (August 30, 2013): 969-970. doi: 10.1126/science.1238041
  8. [8]Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).

Author: benfell

David Benfell holds a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University. He earned a M.A. in Speech Communication from CSU East Bay in 2009 and has studied at California Institute of Integral Studies. He is an anarchist, a vegetarian ecofeminist, a naturist, and a Taoist.

18 thoughts on “Killing people”

  1. I can’t understand why this woman who has been identified and whose whereabouts are known has not been arrested. Unfortunately, responsible or not, Lupin cannot be arrested; Lupin was not driving. Is there a reason why she hasn’t been arrested? Isn’t Michael’s death considered vehicular manslaughter? This is very frustrating to me. One can only imagine what his family and friends are going through. I knew Michael as a teenager, he and my son were very close.

  2. I am not a lawyer, not a police officer.
    However, as a Human Science scholar, looking at the problem of investigating this collision epistemologically, it appears to me that Cohen complicated the investigation by 1) leaving the scene, and 2) abandoning the vehicle. In addition, I understand that the vehicle was not registered in her name. These issues add a level of abstraction which needs to be worked through, carefully and methodically.
    If investigators believe they need to work through this before requesting a warrant for her arrest, I am not inclined to second-guess them.
    As to Lupin’s role, you are only partly right. It is true that Lupin was not driving the SUV. But it seems to me that in hiring people with substance abuse issues who will therefore be driving on narrow mountain roads, Lupin is culpable at a knowing level, at least as Jeffrey Reiman explains degrees of culpability, by knowingly creating a situation in which tragedy could occur.[ref]Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).[/ref]

  3. Of course, you are correct. Especially, if she was driving on business for Lupin or was driving one of their vehicles. And, hopefully the reasons you have listed are the reasons for lack of an arrest. But, ultimately she was behind the wheel.

    As far as the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer (prison); I can count myself amongst the poor. I am not homeless, nor am I unemployed. I work for a school district and am fortunate to still have my job, but, make barely enough to get by, and often have to go into debt for the little things like “food, diapers, gasoline, etc.” I am sure that I would be held responsible if I were to commit such an act. And, I hope that she will, too. A beautiful, talented young man and father has lost his life. She did not even have the decency to get out of her automobile and go to him, or to call for help. Her thoughts were only for herself, while he lay on the road with his life slipping away.

    1. lupin put out a tweet saying faye was a former employeee which was a blatant lie. they let her use a vehicle knowing she was fucked up. they should be found guilty too. there have been several deaths at lupin due to lupin’s negilegence yet the local authorities do nothing. lori kay and glynn stout are downright abusive to their employees and workers they keep them impoverished and enslaved . they purposely look for people with substance issues because they know it is easier to control those people and brutalize them. lupin in and of itself poses a danger and should be shut down. the stouts are also raping the land up there and doing tons of illegal grading and construction. one has to wonder who they are paying off to look the other way on their illegla and unconsionable endevors.

  4. I was just wondering if you have any more information on the hit and run case of Mike Schaupp. I have searched the news but still haven’t heard whether the driver has been charged.

    1. Sorry to be so slow approving these comments. I was just about to write a new post when I saw they were outstanding.

      Jean, I’m sorry to hear this. I had heard rumors to this effect, but I also know that, at least as the time I was there, not all of their workers had substance issues. Just most of them.

      Suze, I have seen nothing further. I would suggest following up with the reporter on the story; s/he might be monitoring it.

      1. the reporter, eric asked me to talk on the record of lupin’s abused, but i think it will take all of us talking for people to listen. i would like to know who lent faye a car knowing she was fucked up? they should be negligent as well. faye is a screwed up person. her life has been hard and she has been trapped by the drugs she escapes to. i feel sorry for her in many ways, which does not excuse her actions, she appeared to be getting back on her feet at one point, becoming a massage therapist. but meth, well, it traps people and being at lupin enslaved them. only because lupin has a former judge as a member are all the other judges protecting them. corruption at its finest.

      2. You are certainly welcome to point him to this blog post. My experience with Lupin’s practices is, clearly, out of date, and at best, a partial view. But it is here.

  5. Just an update for you. My husband and I were close to Mike Schaupp and it’s been frustrating for this to have taken so long. Your post here was the only thing I’ve seen about the driver. (Thank you) I’ve checked back frequently hoping for updates.

    http://m.sfgate.com/crime/article/Arrest-in-death-of-motorcyclist-near-Los-Gatos-5304045.php?fb_action_ids=720256351352183&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B667988613243337%5D&action_type_map=%5B

  6. i lived at lupin for over a decade my name is little john chrisley and the stouts should be held responsible for so much that i have seen close up and first hand over my years there.i was offered money in a written offer to never take them to court,id like to talk to ‘jean’ because i feel the stouts should not be allowed to continue mistreating resisent employees and their surrounding environment.i beleive they should be looked at as criminals against humanity and nature…..i hope all agree they should not be representing the definition’naturist’

  7. all comments are compelling and spot on in my witness, as a long time resident and member of lupin. i don’t understand why there should not be a thorough and full scale criminal investigation of the lupin lodge business. there is currently (february 2016) a class action suit served against lori kay and her lupin board (including the “judge” mentioned in one of the posted comments). to sign up or provide information to the attorney representing the case please call amy carlson, esq. @ 408-796-7551. amy is a reputable employment rights attorney.

    certainly the lupin business and it’s owners have stolen from everyone (including regulatory agencies)…just to keep the “stout” name on the property deed at any/all costs (rule bending/breaking) and at everyone else’s expense, but their own. it is a feral business with illegal and unfair business practices institutionalized. the evidence is everywhere. why it continues to operate and why the owners haven’t been jailed to date, is a mystery and a miracle.

    yes, the stouts are manipulative and pathological liars, who have exploited and fleeced many in the unfair enrichment of their business. with glyn stout now dead; the current c.e.o. (lori kay stout) continues on and is currently busy trying to cover her tracks and clean off the fingerprints of wrong doings…most of which is “cosmetic”…having staff sign contracts, they (themselves) do not honor in terms agreed to.

    as for faye cohen, you couldn’t tell the difference between her or lori kay. both behaved the same (mantic, aggressive, abusive and paranoid). there is a current wrongful death suit underway in regards the accident mentioned in previous comments and commentary. considering both lori kay stout and glyn stout were made aware of faye’s mental problems, meth use and reckless driving for YEARS in advance of the fatal accident and virtually did nothing to intervene; they surely are culpable. lupin’s negligence significantly contributed to chemistry of the fatal moment and should be held accountable, if not directly responsible.

    these days, the lupin business derives a great deal of it’s survival income by hosting all night “parties” for the raver crowd. translated…these simply are open-air drug free-for-alls…one of which lead to the overdose death of a young man celebrating his 21st birthday. lupin dodged a bullet, as the death occurred at the ER (not on lupin grounds). last weekend…700 people showed up to disturb the peace of all neighboring mountain residents. there was an incident with a naked man attempting to “fuck” everything in sight (including a water pipe). he was removed by ambulance. the next morning staff were discovering rubber turnicates and used syringes from many public areas throughout the lupin resort grounds. need i say more about this “naturist” business?

    1. I doubt I can add much to what I’ve already said about Lupin’s employment practices. I have been in touch with the attorney in the Faye Cohen matter, but not Ms. Carlson. I trust she is aware of this blog entry and may contact me if she has any questions.

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