Grimmie had a healthy social media following and a verified Twitter account. She appeared on a season of The Voice. Her music was sometimes played on Radio Disney. In terms of fame, Grimmie was not exactly a household name yet. But she didn't have to be to have a deadly stalker. All she had to be was a woman.
Stalkers are a serious problem in the States. More than 76% of annual femicide, like what happened to Grimmie, is because of a stalker. There is a severe disconnect that you have to be rich and/or famous to have a person stalk you to death...but that's clearly not true. There's also a misconception that women who are stalked have been intimate with their stalker. Though many male stalkers know their female targets, not every woman stalked knows her stalker. For example, I never even met mine.
In my case, my former friend and partner had an ex who was a Defendant in a Wrongful Death case for killing a man in 2012. I was completely unaware of that history and only became aware of it after my former partner disappeared. One minute, he's there, the next...gone! Usually spontaneous people are fun. Not this time.
About a month prior to all the drama, my former friend's deranged ex began cyberstalking me as well as showing up at my home uninvited. The mysterious death of my partner's dog, along with an arrow attack on my home, followed by eight months of break-ins, property damage, mail theft, and harassment, was part of daily life until I was forced to leave for my own safety. And I'm considered one of the "lucky ones." Less than two months later, a colleague from the paranormal community, Deb Constantino, was killed by her stalker, who, like Grimmie's shooter, turned the gun on himself after killing both Deb and her friend, James.
I wrote about my stalker in June 2015, almost one year ago. The feedback regarding my stalker from family and friends was mixed. Some had sympathy but others acted like it was no big deal. That is, if they even bothered to care. One person (a man) said I "must have" brought it on myself. Yet others disbelieved the severity of what I was describing, thinking that the police are more like law enforcement characters on NCIS or CSI...sorry, but that's not real life. It's fiction. However, I did not make up the fact that arrows came careening into my Atlanta home through steel doors, windows, and sticking in the drywall 25-feet away. I did not make up coming home to red-mud boot prints in my living room and back bedroom after a 10-hour teaching day. I did not make up the drugs shoved in my mail box. The police were so concerned, they basically told me to move. And, no matter what, to get a gun. A year ago tomorrow, while hiking in Atlanta and posting a picture of a rainbow on my then public social media accounts, my home was broken into yet again. My security monitors registered a "burst noise" followed by "motion detected" and then, "disconnected." The picture that was taken and sent to the security facility in California right before the disconnect was pretty much a blur, so not enough for full facial recognition in order to get an arrest warrant. But it was enough for me to know who it was. I started packing that day. I had to leave my job, my home, put all my belongings in storage, and then...run.
Christina Grimmie did not have the same advantage that I did. She was performing, doing her job. She had security at the event but they were unarmed. Fans were not given a pat-down prior to the meet-n-greet either. While that may seem unusual, it isn't. Having been on tour myself, this is very common at venues not equipped with metal detectors. There are no pat-downs for fans. There's generally no real security, and even the security we had at Comic Con was unarmed. A security guard can be strong enough to lift 500 lbs but that doesn't matter against bullets.
More than 80% of female stalking victims are killed by their stalker. And, 75% of women have at least one stalker in their lifetime. What happened to Christina Grimmie, what happened to Deb Constantino, what happened to me--these are not isolated incidents. It's much more common than people want to acknowledge. But the consequences are no less real for the victims, even if people choose to turn a blind eye.
Anytime a person shows strength, it challenges the insecure. Especially if the person showing strength is a woman. Christina Grimmie's strength was in her talent and her ability to persevere. That challenged her stalker, who drove a distance with multiple guns and a hunting knife just to kill her. He was 21. Grimmie probably never met him. Yet this guy had imagined some kind of relationship between he and Grimmie. Like my stalker.
Somehow, a mutual connection translated into a non-existent relationship. My stalker used this fantasy to assign me qualities and traits despite never having met me. But she believed she knew me. She also believed my existence was a threat to hers based on her fantasy. How could I possibly be her problem when we never even met? If she had a problem, it could only be through our mutual connection. But logic does not apply with a stalker-mentality.
Stalkers are reactionary people. They spend their entire life reacting to their environment because they are unable to control their environment. As a result, every stalker should be considered highly dangerous. Any act of stalking can snowball into murder when the stalker already feels as though their life is out of control. It creates a sense of nihilism--like nothing matters. Therefore, life itself is not valued in the same way. The outcry on social media today about Grimmie's death included criticism of guns. But it is not a gun that killed Christina Grimmie. It was a person. A sick person. Having armed guards by Grimmie's side may or may not have saved her life, but if Grimmie herself was packing, I guarantee she'd be alive today.
How sad, that in order for a woman to be safe in society, she must consider carrying a deadly weapon....
When it comes to any entertainment venue, you can't account for unpredictable behavior. It's impossible to fight an enemy you never even knew existed. All anyone can do is be as proactive as possible. Anticipate the crazies of this world. Understand that any woman perceived as rising above any man will draw attention--both good and bad. Especially if that woman is talented and, of course, attractive, like Grimmie.
Beautiful women are supposed to be available to all men. That is truly the prevalent mindset evidenced in popular social discourse through music, media, television, and film. Obviously, Grimmie would never be available to the man who killed her. That was enough reason for her to die.
If we ignore the context behind a tragedy like the death of Christina Grimmie, we are merely holding open the proverbial door for more men to stalk, and potentially kill, more women. Everything from improving DNA testing, to obtaining arrest warrants more easily, to getting approval for police-issued security cameras, has to be made more accessible in order to truly prevent stalking from senselessly taking the lives of even more women than it already has.
The laws themselves are vague when it comes to stalking. Stalking is against the law in almost every State, but then, there's no law against driving your own vehicle on public roads. There's no law against showing up at Starbuck's. Even though there are laws against things like murder, the law in and of itself is irrelevant to a person fixed on stalking and/or harming another individual, as Grimmie's case very clearly proves.
Stalking often ramps up to the point of murder or attempted murder, like in the tragic death of Christina Grimmie as well as Deb Constantino. In fact, more than 80% of stalking cases end that way. Of those cases, 54% were reported to police within 12 months prior to the victim's murder. Before my colleague Deb was murdered by her stalker, he had kidnapped and beaten her a month earlier. Why? She had the gall to file for divorce from him. Deb's stalker was her ex. The two had appeared together on a popular paranormal reality series several years earlier before separating. Like Deb, like me, all Grimmie did was exist. She used her talents to entertain people. Make people happy. But there are lots of entertainers who have never had a single stalker. The commonality between what happened to Deb, Christina, and even me, is that we are all women. That's ultimately why two different men felt it was okay to kill both Deb and Christina. We can use all the fancy labels and statistics we want, but when it comes down to it, Grimmie is dead simply because she was born female. The proof is in the answer to this question:
How many recent male pop singers have been killed by a stalker?
You don't have to agree that gender is an issue. The evidence to the contrary is too overwhelming for your denial to be consequential to anyone but you. Just go to the Department of Justice website. Go to the World Health Organization website...where Violence Against Women (VAW) has been declared a PANDEMIC.
So go ahead, keep saying it isn't true. Keep sticking your head in the sand while women are stalked until their death. Because it hasn't happened to anyone you know, you feel removed somehow. Even if you knew a woman in that position, you'd deny it was a real problem or look at it as an isolated incident. But, they never are....
You can be ignorant; it's the choice of the apathetic. But you cannot be stupid. Not in this world. When you are, people die. Good people. Smart people. People whose DNA should be included in the gene pool. Idiots on cell phones may walk into oncoming traffic, or fall down manholes, but social Darwinism goes beyond the random fool killing himself by accident. Women are more than half of the current population in the States. And, men are not protecting us. If they were, the percentage of femicide for female stalking victims would be much, much less than it is today. Instead, when we ask for help, we hear nothing more than excuses--legal procrastination developed by male law-makers while women struggle to survive, eight out of every ten of whom die trying.
Girls, while we all wait for the world (and the law) to catch up, please learn how to shoot. Get a carry-permit. It may one day save your life. Controlling who buys a gun does not help when illegal gun sales are so easy to make. What stops a person from shooting you with a gun? Not a law, obviously. No, the only thing that could have saved Christina Grimmie's life was if she herself was carrying.
If my daughter #Emma had lived, I would have taught her to shoot as early as possible. I would make sure she knew how to survive, not only in hand-to-hand, but when faced with another weapon. It is truly the only way women can protect themselves against not only stalkers, but any man who approaches you with intent to harm. Whether it's rape, a mugging, car theft, smash-and-grab...if you have a gun, it's the great equalizer. It won't shoot anyone on its own. You have to pull the trigger. Most of the time, just having the gun is enough to deter crime. But in the event you wake up at 2:30 in the morning to a man standing at the end of your bed, having a gun comes in handy.
Please consider donating to the GoFundMe for Christina Grimmie; it will help her family defer costs related to her tragic death. You can find the link in the Variety article below about the talented young singer:
My heartfelt prayers go out to the family, friends and fans of Christina. What happened was completely unfair; if I had the power to change it, I would.
Stay safe out there, Ladies....