By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
One category of violent crime is that perpetrated against an intimate partner or former intimate partner. One of the times to watch out for the potential of a person to commit such violence is after a breakup and/or during the process of divorce.
People can crack under stress. A person who was already somewhat unstable can become downright volatile. During those transitional periods, it’s imperative to pay attention. Don’t be paranoid, but don’t necessarily be dismissive. A person you might suspect of merely being distraught could be much, much worse.
This is also the sticky wicket of “red flag” laws, aka extreme risk protection orders. On the one hand, there are inarguably instances where a successful application of that law would have saved lives. On the other, any regulation creates the potential for malicious use of a statute. Even laws that supposedly have due process built into them have it in name only.
For instance, the recent shooting at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital occurred after the shooter had been dumped. The shooter, according to the Chicago Tribune, went there to confront his ex-fiance about the return of the engagement ring and went on a shooting spree, killing his ex-fiance, Officer Samuel Jimenez of the Chicago PD – who was just picking up mail of all things – and shooting a first-year pharmacy resident.
The night before the Chicago Mercy shootings, a man – one Jermaine Gray – was shot to death in Pompano Beach, Fla., when he turned up to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, according to the Sun Sentinel, to argue about the end of their relationship. He started a fight with her and her new boyfriend. When the confrontation turned violent, Gray was shot and died at the scene.
In May of this year, one Renee Lewis of Phoenix, Ariz., shot her boyfriend and jumped out the window after he told her that he was ending their relationship, according to ABC 15. Fortunately, he survived and she was arrested.
A shooting at a high school in Italy, Texas in January 2018, according to Fox4 Dallas Ft Worth, resulted from a breakup of teenage sweethearts; the boy was dumped by the girl and brought a gun to school and shot her several times. Fortunately, she survived.
Many more examples can be found if one starts perusing Google.
Women are far more often victims of this kind of violent crime than men, though not exclusively, so it’s a good idea to get a permit and carry – and on the body, not in a purse unless it’s just not feasible – if you don’t already, especially in the wake of a break-up.
Male or female, there are certain warning signs that you should pay attention to. Unless you happen to live in an exceedingly small town or contact with recent ex is otherwise unavoidable (on a college campus, working in the same office building, etc.) keep an eye out. If there’s no reason for them to be around, they may be stalking you.
Excessive, unnecessary and frequent contact via phone or social media can also be a warning sign, and keep an eye on the content of messages. If there is excessive hostility or mention of suicide or violence, that can indicate instability and possible violent intention.
If you suspect an ex is harassing or stalking you, document everything you can and tell people about it. Cut off contact to the extent possible. If your workplace or apartment building has security, let them know about an unhinged ex. Try to come up with exit strategies and plans of action in case they show up.
If you have made efforts to get an unstable ex-partner to taper off or leave you alone, consider filing for a restraining order. Contact police if necessary, as they are more likely to believe a credible threat if there’s already a paper trail.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.