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 livejournal.com, 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?