Friday, May 15, 2009

It's gonna be a busy weekend!

It's Friday again in Baltimore (happens every week!). Hopefully we'll survive, but there are gonna be a lot of issues for our harried police force to deal with, in addition to Preakness Day itself.

Buz noticed that 2 of Peter Hermann's blogs recently got a huge number of comments, compared to other postings he has made. Both concerned attacks on people which were basically unprovoked in highly heretofore nice areas of downtown. First the Inner Harbor, then Mount Vernon, around that fancy bottle club which rents space in the first floor area of the Belvedere Hotel. So, apparently, when the gendarmes beefed up their presence around the harbor (and earlier than that the 'entertainment' district), our young people outflanked them at the Belvedere area.
  • So, tonite the Preakness parade will kick off and go along Pratt Street and end at Market Place--just where Iguana Cantina will be having its weekend party for the college folks going back home soon.
  • And, since the Ultra Lounge at the Belvedere had its Circuit Court appeal over the revocation of its liquor license, and the judge hasn't ruled yet on whether their due process "rights" were violated (who cares about responsibilities?), my guess is the club will be going as strong as ever to make as much moolah (a technical term) as they can before the hammer comes down. So, kids of all ages: come on down and get hammered! This offer is good both on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, if the judge rules against them, they could probably stay open while it goes to the court of Special Appeals [wouldn't want their rights to be violated, would we?].  Depends on how much money they are willing to pay their fancy, schmancy lawyer--of course paying the attorney is sort of a fine in itself.
  • And, of course, there is the Preakness itself: a chance of a lifetime, for one to practice open drunkenness, misogynist behavior to the max, risk behavior, and throwing beer cans (oh, they hurt!) at people you may or may not know. Oops, no beer cans this year, guys, unless ya can somehow smuggle them in. Oh, and you can get hammered for only $1 a beer between 8 and 11 am. Betcha, 28-1, that still makes it easy to get drunk by noon. Heh heh. (Not this boy, though).
  • Oh, and back to Market Place, where Power Plant Live is having a Preakness substitution event, where the booze will be cheap on Saturday all day (huh; nobody complains when they don't let you bring your coolers in here; like, why not?)
  • And the good citizens of Mount Washington are kinda worried that some young drinkers won't get the word, come up to the gate, get refused entrance because of their coolers full of beer, and will decide to tailgate somewhere in the neighborhood. 
Anyway, we hope the police department will have the elite corps of Violent Crime Impact Division put on uniforms, cut their hair, and be out there maintaining order instead of doing street rips and jump-outs; maybe we'll have a bit more peaceful weekend. Here's hoping Laura Vozella will wear her edgiest outfit and go out on the infield and see what's going on and report from the eye of the storm--which is supposed to be much more peaceful this year. We'll see.

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?