You can’t find it much in Texas newspapers, though Steve Blow at the Dallas Morning News had a good piece about it today (he’s a columnist, not a news writer).
Texas “gun rights advocates” have been stalking people who argue for safety for school kids. You could see photos of it in all sorts of blogs and websites — but silence from most Texas media.
Cops in Arlington, Texas, seem uninterested because, they say, it’s legal to wave guns around in Texas.
But it’s not legal to stalk, and the on-line photos and other coverage should be warning to those nuts giving gun owners a bad reputation: Every dog gets one bite, every stalker gets one visit, and you just had yours.
Here’s the skinny: Four women want to agitate for rational laws to protect their children and grandchildren. They chat about it in even public places, like restaurants and Facebook. Four of them met for lunch, at a restaurant in Arlington, Texas. A bunch of gun idiots decided to show up to intimidate them, with guns “openly carried.”
It hit my e-mail inbox as “Wee Winkie Parade.” Here’s the photo from Moms Demand Action:
Photo of the “Wee Winkie Parade,” posted at the Facebook site for Moms Demand Action.
Here are the photographs offered by the intimidating group, Open Carry Texas:
Open Carry Texas’s Facebook photos of the Arlington, Texas, incident.
What would a rational person think if a group of gun-carrying people showed up after announcing they were coming to crash your lunch?
Arlington Police, perhaps with some wisdom, didn’t make arrests (avoiding confrontations with people waving guns in public is often an act of good discretion). They noted Texas law allows hunters and others to carry non-handguns openly, if no other violations of law are involved.
Arlington Police, and Open Carry Texas may want to familiarize themselves with Texas’s anti-stalking laws, as described by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Information on Stalking
You have the right to defend yourself against a stalker. This page lists strategies that can help shield you from stalking. You do not deserve to be intimidated or terrified.
Questions About Stalking…
What is Stalking?
A stalker tries to control his or her victim through behavior or threats intended to intimidate and terrify. A stalker can be an unknown person, an acquaintance or a former intimate partner. A stalker’s state of mind can range from obsessive love to obsessive hatred. A stalker may follow a victim off and on for a period of days, weeks, or even years. A stalking victim feels reasonable fear of bodily injury or death to self or to a family or household member or damage to property. Stalking can be perpetrated by the stalker or by someone acting on her/his behalf. Stalking can take the form of verbal threats or threats conveyed by the stalker’s conduct, threatening mail, property damage, surveillance of the victim, or by following the victim.
How do I Know if I’m Being Stalked?
The stalker may, on more than one occasion:
- Follow the victim and/or victim’s family or household members, or
- vandalize the victim’s property, or
- inflict damage to property–perhaps by vandalizing the car, harming a pet or breaking windows at the victim’s home, or
- make threatening calls or send threatening mail, or
- drive by or park near the victim’s home, office, and other places familiar to the victim.
What is a terroristic threat?
Terroristic Threat is a penal code offense (Section 22.07). A person commits the offense of Terroristic Threat if he or she threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with the intent to place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. Penalty: Class B misdemeanor.
Texas Stalking Law
The law on stalking can be found in Section 42.072 of the Texas penal code.
How is stalking proven?
- Intent of stalker: Stalker has the intent or the knowledge that his/her actions will instill fear of death or bodily injury to the victim or a member of the victim’s family or household. Threats can be explicit (e.g.-stating that he is going to kill the victim) or implied (e.g.-veiled threats, hurting the family pet). Threats have to be aimed at a specific person; they cannot be general threats. Threats may be conveyed by the stalker or by someone acting on behalf of the stalker.
- Conduct of stalker: Conduct has to occur on more than one occasion and be directed towards the victim and/or the victim’s family or household members. More than one police report is not required. The acts may include threatening contact by mail or by phone, or damaging the victim’s property.
Penalty: Third Degree Felony- unless there is a prior conviction for stalking, in which case the penalty is upgraded to a 2nd degree felony.
If You Are Being Stalked…
NOTIFY THE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AND PROSECUTOR’S OFFICES. All stalking incidents should be reported to the police. Request that each incident be documented. Request a copy of the report from your local law enforcement agency. Give police any written correspondence and report any phone threats. Put dates received on all correspondence from the stalker. Know the name of the law enforcement officer in each incident.
KEEP A DIARY. Obtain the names and addresses of witnesses. Complete records are essential to the successful prosecution of stalking cases. Write a description of each incident.
GET A PROTECTIVE ORDER if you are related to the stalker by blood or marriage, if you ever lived together, or if you have a child in common. To get a Pro Se Protective Order Packet call 800-777-3247. This packet will help you obtain a protective order barring the stalker from certain areas near your home, your work, or your child’s school. You can also review our Domestic Violence Protective Order Kit.
RECORD TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS. Tell the stalker to stop calling and hang up. Screen your calls. Write down the time and date the stalker calls. Keep recorded messages and give them to law enforcement.
TAKE PICTURES OF THE STALKER. Take pictures of the stalker if it can be done safely and write time, date, and place on the back of each picture.
KEEP ALL CORRESPONDENCE. Make a copy of anything you receive from the stalker. Touching the letter as little as possible will preserve fingerprints.
TELL EVERYONE. Give friends, co-workers, and neighbors a description of the stalker. Ask them to document each time the stalker is seen by them.
Important Safety Measures
BE ALERT and aware of your surroundings, the people and things happening around you.
VARY ROUTES of travel when you come and go from work or home.
PARK SECURELY and in well-lit areas. Ask someone to escort you to your car.
BE AWARE of vehicles following you. If you are followed drive to a police station, fire depart-ment, or busy shopping center and sound the horn to attract attention.
ALERT MANAGERS or security at your place of business. Provide a picture or description of the stalker.
HAVE A SECURITY CHECK MADE by law enforcement of your home to ensure your home can be locked safely. Secure all doors and windows in both your home and vehicle.
MAINTAIN AN UNLISTED NUMBER. If Caller ID is available in your area, obtain the service for your phone.
DO NOT DISMISS ANY THREAT, written or verbal. Call the police or sheriff ‘s department and save any documentation.
MAINTAIN PRIVACY, never give out personal information to anyone where the information can be overheard. Remove phone number and social security number from as many items as possible.
DEVELOP A SAFETY PLAN for yourself and family members in case of emergency. Decide on a safe place to meet and someone to call if problems do arise.
Revised: November 08 2012
Dallas’s Mayor campaigns for an end to violence against women. Perhaps Moms Demand Action should move their lunches to Dallas.