The Laughing Bully?

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Robert Schiavelli - Is this the smile of a bully?
Robert Schiavelli – Is this the smile of a bully?

Can laughing too loud in your own home make you a bully? Some neighbors in Long Island’s Rockville Centre think so and have called police to the home of 42-year-old Robert Schiavelli about 30  times. Robert, who suffers from a host of neurological problems and seizures, lives at home with his mother and has a distinctive laugh — with a timbre somewhere between the laughs of Woody Woodpecker’s and Curly Howard’s  from the Three Stooges. Schiavelli claims the laugh is a defense mechanism against neighbors who routinely taunt him with screams of “retard,” and other epithets tied to his condition. Neighbors respond that Robert makes the annoying laugh at his bathroom window and that the noise can be heard across the street. They also claim it’s a form of bullying.

Robert’s mother, Suzanne, is aghast especially now that Robert is facing a $500.00 fine or 30 days in jail for a two summons issued  for “disturbing the piece.” “It’s given Robert nightmares,” she said, adding. “But I will fight this, to the federal court and to the Supreme Court, if necessary.” That looks like a distinct possibility as Judge William Croutier said at Schiavelli’s arraignment Wednesday that he was “not so inclined” to dismiss the charges, according to the New York Post. Attorney Andrew Campanelli said there was no chance he’d allow Schiavelli to plead out the tickets in court. “It’s absurd,” he told the Post. “My client faces 30 days in jail for laughing.”

Do you think Robert’s home-based defense to mocking amounts to bullying?  Or do the neighbors have the right to live in an environment free from annoying sounds? Before you answer listen for yourself in this report from The Today Show:

Source: NBC4 New York

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

28 thoughts on “The Laughing Bully?”

  1. Otteray Scribe, your post assumes that all who are in any way mentally ill or who claim to be should get a “get out of jail free” card. It does not make them incapable of being deliberately provocative, obnoxious or manipulative. I work with mentally impaired and disabled people and with dementia patients. What is controllable and what is not can be established by a doctor. My response to this was based on what the mother and laughing man said about it the situation. He found a way to piss off the neighbor that he (or his mother) is likewise pissed off with.

    Do I know this? No, but don’t assume that anyone with even a real issue is incapable of messing with people. Until he has proven his defense, I don’t think you should be demonizing the neighbor. And asking him to prove his claims is (duh) fair. All we know is that he sees the neighbor and laughs like a maniac and disturbs the neighborhood.

    1. Look at his spinal structure. That is what is giving him problems. He has waited a long time to get good chiropractic, practitioners, keep appointments. The UCS needs to gauge your improvident. Upper cervical health centers, a web page to fund a UCS in your area. I recommend this for infants on up in age. Do not arrest him. Arresting is a religious thing to do. A servant of the high priest arrested Jesus.

  2. It seems to me as if the laughing man is doing this deliberately and CAN control himself-he and his mother simply think that his response is justified because of some ongoing feud. I think he is using his impairment as a weapon to abuse his neighbor.

    IF the neighbor is harassing him because of a disability, then he is despicable, but from the report and the comments made by the laughing an and his mom, this seems more about a feud than a disability.

  3. ::::face palm:::: As a little girl, I recall having a neighbor whose parrot screamed obscenities all day, and quite loudly. Nobody called the cops, everyone simply laughed and moved on; how incredible that the actual bullies are pissing and moaning over their victim’s response.

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