I think what struck me most about the Annapolis shooting was that it could've been prevented, had we stricter stalking/harassment laws and consequences. (Stalkers often hide behind the 1st amendment/freedom of speech laws). Some aspects struck me as eerily familiar. From the NYT:
His feud with The Capital, the chain’s daily newspaper, apparently began with a column in 2011 that detailed his alleged harassment of a high school classmate.
After Mr. Ramos reconnected with the classmate in 2009, his emails to her soon turned venomous.
“He seems to think there’s some sort of relationship here that does not exist,” the woman told a judge, according to court documents in a harassment case she brought against Mr. Ramos. “I tried to back away from it, and he just started getting angry and vulgar to the point I had to tell him to stop.”
After she told him not to contact her again, Mr. Ramos wrote in a 2010 email that the woman should “go hang yourself.”
Weeks later, the woman was put on probation at the bank where she worked. A supervisor told her it was because Mr. Ramos had sent an email — and had also called the bank — telling managers that the bank should fire her.
A judge gave Mr. Ramos a 90-day sentence, but suspended the jail time. Instead, Mr. Ramos was granted probation before judgment. He was ordered not to contact the woman and to continue getting therapy.
Not long afterward, The Capital published the column that apparently fueled his anger.
So essentially, this went on for nine years, the woman was put on probation at her job with no proof at all, other than her stalker's email, and even that email, used as proof of his stalking, couldn't put the man in prison.
Nine years after the stalking began, now five people are dead at a newspaper just for publishing the story.
Stalkers do not stop, they cannot help themselves. They may find a new object(s) of their obsession - note that he began stalking the paper too - but they never stop - they have to BE stopped, and not with a newspaper article.
They often engage others to help stalk and harass their victims to keep themselves out of legal trouble, presenting themselves as the victim.
For instance, in this case, the calls and email to the bank, her supervisor putting her on a watched probation based on nothing but calls and an email, the stalker used her own job to do it.
As an observer to stalking/harassment, it may be very difficult to tell who is the stalker and who is the victim, because both will claim they are the victim.
It's especially difficult to tell if the victim is fighting back or taking actions to keep themselves safe because current law can't help them.
Therefore, if someone - male OR female - tells you they are being stalked or harassed, always believe them until they give you reason to believe otherwise - but take no actions yourself without being presented with in-context proof that they, themselves, could not have altered - and encourage counseling therapy for the person, either way (because both parties are going to need it for different reasons).
As the victim, it is very difficult to know whether to tell your boss or not - because if nothing happens, you look like a nut. But if you don't, what happened to Ramos' victims could happen to you.
My advice? Tell your employers in advance, not after the fact. Take that risk of looking like a nut to keep yourself and others safe. Better safe than sorry.
Most police genuinely DO try to help you, but their hands are tied with law - the laws on stalking are very lax, particularly if the connection is over the internet.
The stalker has to have a known address in the state in which you live before you can get an EPO, and all that is, is a piece of paper - and as you can see by this story, the sentences they receive are light, even for second offenses.
Stalking harassment can be done by either men or women, and both genders have often either murdered, or contracted murder (female stalkers typically contract murder rather than commit it themselves), for their victims.
However, to date, only men have been mass shooters - two of them having a prior history of stalking/domestic violence and were given "probation" as a sentence.
Once again, a persistent stalker/harasser is the reason my comments section is closed - not to leave my door open, but also to not to stop doing what I enjoy doing because of it - because that is what the stalker/harasser wants :)
The police tried to help her.
The press tried to help her.
So, are we ready to change the stalking/harassment laws, yet, or are we going to continue to legally protect stalkers who cry "freedom of speech" about their harassment until they murder or contract murder?
Or should we have more shootings like this one?
PS When they found the shooter, the coward was hiding under a desk at the Annapolis Gazette. They love the "will I or won't I" feel of control and power they glean over their victims, love to terrorize and cause pain, but like all bullies, in the end, they are cowards, you see ;)