Monday, May 11, 2009

Stalking and college and the crisis at Wesleyan

Buz read with interest the article in the New York Times about the Wesleyan student who was stalked, after first meeting her attacker almost two years ago, and killed when he found her working in a cafe near the Wesleyan campus.

Though many of the folks in higher education security really worry about what to do about an "active shooter" on campus (most shooters shoot their one victim and run), it is often overlooked that a much more frequent occurrence on or near college campuses are the lesser-known crimes against women: stalking, harassment, date rape, forcible rape, and various other assaults against women.

Of course, in this case, there was a potential that this killer could have turned into becoming an active shooter since the police found his journal in his car where he threatened to go onto a shooting spree at Wesleyan. (buz wonders if they got a search warrant for the car, since Baltimore's prosecutors may well have tossed the charges if they did not--though it was on private property and "exigent circumstances" existed.)

This discovery, as one can imagine, caused a virtual panic on the campus. 

The story begins a couple of years ago when both the victim and the goof were taking a summer course at NYU. Apparently, they became friendly, if not friends, but the extent of the friendship is not known at this time. But then came a big turning point; the gal went away for a long weekend. When she came back, he was angry, demanding to know where she had been and who she had been with, what she was doing, etc. The situation deteriorated quickly into nasty email, and possibly phone calls, voicmails, etc. At one point she notified staff at NYU and the New York City Police interviewed her at least once. But a big deal is made in the articles that she declined to prosecute. But what was the point? From my reading, it appeared that he had already dropped out of the course (merely a summer course, anyhow), she was on her way back to Wesleyan, and he was on his way off to who knows where. So, even if she "pressed charges", and procured  a warrant for his arrest, he and she were already gone or soon leaving the New York City area. And I don't think New York is going to extradite for stalking. 

Immediately, I wondered: how did he find her after a couple of years?

Ah, my lovely wife said: "Betcha she is on Facebook". And sure enough: she was. And on something called, too. So, our best guess is that she was tracked down thru postings on one of these or other websites, and she probably mentioned that she works at the Red and Black Bookstore also.

So, what's to be done to protect women from these nut-jobs?


Bmore said...

Nice article Buz,

I was thinking about this case the other night with my girlfriend. I know some states allow citizens to carry a firearm on them or at least in their vehicle. I also read that some states allow you to use your firearm if you are getting car jacked. My point is that their should be national uniform laws on firearms, so every state has the same laws. I think this would greatly help women and men alike. Its unfair that one state should have laws that protect their citizens more then another state...A license to carry may or may not have saved this women, but in general, i do believe that it would help women in future may just be the thought that "hey, could my intended victim be packing same as i am?" that can save a womens life.

I recall a case a couple weeks ago, where a 15 year old kid wanted to rob a guy with a toy gun. Well the intended victim was a CO who was packing his firearm. The kid unfortunately get shot. But what if (like the majority of armed robberies) the gun was real and not a toy..I guess the would be victim would either get shot reaching for his gun, or may end up saving his own life. My point is, if a law abiding citizen in Arizona can carry a firearm then a guy or girl in Maryland should also be able to. I believe that would cut down the number of armed robberies, as well as common crimes against women. A man can usually out muscle a women, that is even more of a reason why women should protect themselves against any possible threat, not just people they file restraining orders against..Keep up the great work Buz!


i remember bringing up the idea that spanish gangs could be on the uprise in Baltimore. Looks like some are already getting a start, and in a vicious manner. The link below explains what happened..i wonder if his threat is credible? it shows the "Balls" that these spanish gangs are famous for..especially when escaping to the homeland is always an option

buzoncrime said...

Bmore---Thanks for your compliment, but I must say that I have to disagree with some of your ideas and premises.

Some states do allow citizens to carry firearms on them, and Maryland is one of them, though a Maryland handgun permit is hard to get (there has to be some "justification"). And people are allowed to carry guns in their cars under certain conditions. (I really would not recommend that someone/anyone leave a handgun in their car, though).

The fact that states have different laws on firearms is merely a reflection of the nature of our federal system.

I'm sure all the firearms folks out there really, really believe deep in their souls, perhaps, the more guns make a safer world. Perhaps. Certainly, it certain circumstances it's true. The truth is that even if it were legal to do so, most people would not be carrying guns around on the street; in fact, that's probably a bad idea. Especially when kids are around. Although I have a handgun in my house, I never carry it outside the house, and am intimately aware of the civil, criminal, and practical downsides of doing so.
This particular woman was the victim of an obsessed stalker who apparently surprised her working in a bookstore near the Wesleyan campus. It's not clear at all how much time she had to react when she first saw him and when he shot her. And though I admit it is theoretically possible for her to reach into her waistband (? is it really pratical/possible/doable in a bookstore?!) or under the counter (in a bookstore, for real!?) to pull her gun out, Dirty Harry style and pop him before he got a chance to pop her? Let's be real: a college woman attending Wesleyan (or other similar institutions) is not going to be walking around packing heat in Middletown, Connecticut (or similar college towns), especially while working in a bookstore.

In retrospect, even if a woman (or a guy) is carrying a gun, is she really prepared psychologically to shoot and possibly kill someone--especially peremptorily, without being sure he/she's absolutely right?

I have no problem with trained business people having guns in their businesses, as long as they are aware of the balance between their need and the risks.
A liquor store near me was recently held up; the owner and his employee were poised to resist the demand for money; a woman customer walked in; she was grabbed with a gun at her head; they gave him the money; ya can't replace a customer.

I'm glad the CO shot the little brat; perhaps his pain and suffering will show HIM the errors of his ways. Robbing people with apparent guns (or real guns) is a dangerous business. But people still try it and do it. Oh, and I really think COs should be able to get handgun permits merely by asking--like police can.

Though there are some murders during robberies, most murders are thug/drugs stuff, or occur during a spontaneous outburst of rage and/or fear, and are usually unplanned. While the idea of everyone having a right to carry a concealed weapon has a certain charm among some folks, in general I don't think it would change things much, except increase the risk of some homicides, school shootings, suicides, and accidents. And, of course, it might make a statement about how we would like our society to be. We already are a society soaked in blood; I am reluctant to come to the conclusion that everyone carrying guns around willy-nilly will make things better.

As far as the HIspanic threaten guy goes, he's being deported, I understand, when depending on how many charges he has against him here.

Baltimore like many cities is suffering under the aroma and romantic pull of the gangs with our young people. (Oh, isn't it great you're a loyal gang member and you got 30 years for helping with that murder: but you'll be safe in prison; have a nice life!) Mexico is in a battle to the death against the narco-trafficantes; they've even had to send in their army to several cities to break the back of the gangs. Hundred of police officers and soldiers have been killed in the battle to have government control the country rather than druggies. (By the way, the U.S. is Mexico's largest market for all drugs, and the gun dealers in the U.S. send thousands of gun to Mexico which are used to kill their citizens and police; yet we dare to call Mexico a potentially-failed state. Which is the failed state?)

I read your link; Investigative Voice unfortunately has lost its luster for me; they've become sensationalist, tweak race to honk a story, and are less than objective (like some blogs!) For example, in this story on the threat against the officer, they haphazardly throw in the recent Inner Harbor disturbance, however, it is not at all clear that ANY of the kids running amok were Hispanic, though they may have been members of gangs.

Andymon said...

So you want the likes of the Dem-controlled Congress, AG Holder and Fat Pat to determine gun laws nationwide?

buzoncrime said...

Andymon---It's pretty clear that our country's gun laws are extremely loose; though apparently you disagree, the congress we have is democratically elected. Now, buz doesn't agree with everyone in Congress or everything it does, however, this is the government and way of life we have. And AG Holder is the top federal law enforcement officer, but he makes no laws, merely enforces them. (Sorry, I don't know who "Fat Pat" is.) So, though I may disagree with some laws of the land, I'm happy to try to obey them.
[I'm not sure whether you were addressing me or Bmore or both.]

But no worry: I'm sure you can go to any gun show in Virginia or Colorado {Virginia Tech or Columbine notwithstanding}-and many other states- and buy as many guns as you have money for or can carry away.
And I don't think the black helicopters will be swooping down on you any time soon.

And, you'll probably be happy to know that colleges and universities in Colorado can allow their students, faculty, and staff to carry guns on campus if they choose; Colorado State has allowed it. (Paraphrasing Mayor Dixon's lawyer: that's ludicrous!)

Buz can't wait to see if another "active shooter" incident comes up where a student is carrying a gun in "self-defense", and sees if he is able to take out the nut-job with the gun. Of course, this concealed weapons carrier stands a good chance of getting shot and killed by responding police teams. Fortunately, such incidents are very rare-though they get heavy news coverage.

AndyMon said...

Andymon---[I'm not sure whether you were addressing me or Bmore or both.]I was addressing Bmore's suggestion that CCW legislation be standardized nationwide, as if that was going to make it more available instead of less.

It's pretty clear that our country's gun laws are extremely looseThere certainly has been a rash of nuts shooting people since the election, no argument.

though apparently you disagree, the congress we have is democratically elected.The electorate are morons, the ones who voted for Bush, the ones who nominated Kerry over Dean, and the ones who thought Obama was the Messiah and are slowly getting disappointed, as slowly as a frog boils in a pot.

Now, buz doesn't agree with everyone in Congress or everything it does, however, this is the government and way of life we have. God Bless America, and our elected overseers.

And AG Holder is the top federal law enforcement officer, but he makes no laws, merely enforces them.He decides which crimes to direct his resources toward combatting.

(Sorry, I don't know who "Fat Pat" is.)I meant, of course, our dedicated, impartial and thoroughly apolitical State's Attorney.

But no worry: I'm sure you can go to any gun show in Virginia or Colorado and buy as many guns as you have money for or can carry away. And I don't think the black helicopters will be swooping down on you any time soon.As long as I don' get stopped by Staties anywhere on the ride back.