Diane Dimond: My stalker, my warning
“I am a potential mass shooter. …”
That chilling line was written to me by my on-again, off-again cyber-stalker.
He took exception to my opinion in June 2014 that the UC Santa Barbara shooter — who killed six and wounded 14 before committing suicide, was, “A young man of privileged means … possessed by a demented, murderous and conniving mind.” My stalker declared I was guilty of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by maligning anyone with a mental disorder, and he began a letter-writing campaign to smear my name and terminate this column.
Boasting about his imaginary importance in media circles, he sent rambling, angry letters to a majority of my past and current employers (and some friends) telling them I was a bully and demanding they join in denouncing me. He called me vile names, threatened my safety and said it with language that caused me to think he had a mental problem. He soon confirmed that.
“Diane, I am mentally ill. I am physically disabled as well. My life is a living hell … I am a prime candidate for committing a mass gun shooting … and with the PTSD I am easily triggered.”
After the rash of mass shootings America had endured I reported this disturbing language to an LAPD police detective I know. She forwarded it to a special cyber-crimes unit. I soon learned they couldn’t do much. Neither could the LA district attorney’s office or the FBI cyber-crime unit.
As a retired Secret Service friend of mine said, “There’s just not enough manpower for agents to confront every nut on the Internet.”
Now, more than a year later — and with almost 50 school shootings so far this year — my stalker’s words came back to me.
Even though law enforcement can’t seem to locate my stalker (he frequently moves) I know he is simmering out there somewhere, and I’m fearful he is a walking time bomb. I’ve learned of another dozen of his victims.
Three years ago the stalker picked an online chat room fight with an Emmy-nominated television producer who is also a film professor at an Ohio university. He is still waging a campaign to discredit the producer and demanding he be fired for “bullying the mentally disabled,” which is the stalker’s reference to himself. He’s branded the producer a “serial killer” and “child abuser” online. He even went so far as to contact the Emmy committee and spew such violent threats that during an award ceremony extra security was hired to intercept him if he appeared. The producer got a Civil Stalking Protection Order but it has done little to slow the madness.
A woman who ran a nonprofit group helping the homeless in California told me the stalker sent her emails out of the blue, declaring that she was ignorant about homelessness, and bragging about his expert documentary on the issue. Once she responded to him he launched a massive and prolonged Internet smear that ultimately caused her funding to dry up. She was forced to shutter the organization and leave the state.
In November 2013, the stalker threatened two female hostel workers in Los Angeles after they kicked him out for using foul language in the lobby. Within hours he asked for $10,000 as recompense for — you guessed it — their discrimination against the disabled.
Then he turned his wrath to a retired police lieutenant the hostel hired to resolve the problem. Besides producing a barrage of vicious email and Internet threats against the officer, the stalker also verbally attacked the man’s wife. She was a top executive at a cosmetics firm and the stalker publicly accused her of deliberately trying to disfigure customers. This self-described mentally ill man also posted photos and the addresses of the couple’s California home and their new out-of-state retirement home.
Then there was the successful television writer the stalker was once introduced to in California. He grandly declared online that she was his “writing partner,” and he professed his love. When she protested, he turned on the woman, reportedly following her on dates, spitting on her companion and finally posting warnings such as, “Wouldn’t it be terrible if on your way to work your breaks fail on the 405 (freeway)?”
I could relate other horror stories from this cyber-stalker’s victims from across the country and into Canada, but you get my drift. This is a dangerous man who has left a trail of police reports in Ohio, West Virginia, California, Indiana, Oregon and Washington state. His alleged crimes include aggravated assaults, public drunkenness, violent domestic abuse, communications harassment, menacing and possession of drug paraphernalia. Yet he is allowed to remain free to wage war against accomplished people he obviously wishes he could emulate.
As the lieutenant told me from his retirement home in Oregon the other day, “This is not the crime of the century, but sitting around waiting for this guy to hurt someone again is not the right thing to do.” And he ominously added, “He’s giving all the same indications of past mass shooters.”
Why don’t we have a system to intervene with people like this? How many lives are they allowed to disrupt or destroy before the law can step in? I, for one, don’t want to pick up a paper and read about a massacre with this stalker’s name on it. He has given us ample warning.