I would certainly bet that many of you had no idea that this is the 19th remembrance of National Stalking Awareness Month. However, I have a very dear friend and fellow University of Tennessee alumni who will never forget what this month represents. Her name is Nikki Goeser and she has a very tragic and personal story when it comes to being a victim of stalking.
It was thirteen years ago, April 2009, when Nikki and her husband Ben were enjoying an evening out at a restaurant in Nashville. Nikki is well trained with firearms and possessed a concealed carry permit. The restaurant in which she sat with her husband was a "gun free zone", meaning they did not allow armed citizens, law abiding, legal gun owners. Therefore, Nikki left her firearm locked in the car. See, law abiding citizens follow the law, and in some cases, to their own detriment.
Such was the case with Nikki Goeser, as a man who had been stalking Nikki entered the restaurant. They noticed him and asked the restaurant to ask him to leave. The man, identified as Hank Wise, pulled out a handgun from a shoulder holster and shot Nikki's husband Ben in the head. Wise then stood over Ben and emptied out the full magazine of a .45cal pistol into his body, seven total shots. Wise was tackled by restaurant patrons, some 50 witnesses, as the scene played out before the entire venue. The police arrived at the scene and in searching Wise's vehicle they found more weapons, a bat, and materials that could be used to tie up and restrain someone. And to add insult to injury, Wise did not possess a legal permit to carry the firearm he used.
In what anyone would consider a pretty open, shut case, this was not to be the case for Nikki. Wise was charged with first degree murder but his trial was not a jury, but instead, a bench trial. The judge in the case, Seth Norman, unilaterally decided to downgrade the charge from premeditated first degree murder to second degree murder, and a far lesser sentence. Now, due to his having been eligible to earn credits towards early release, Hank Wise could be released from prison by 2028.
But Nikki Goeser's torment has still not ended, during his imprisonment, Wise has been mailing disturbing letters to her. Finally, after years of complaints, Wise has been charged with federal felony stalking which is punishable with only one year in federal prison. How is it that a cold-blooded killer is able to continue to stalk Nikki Goeser even from prison?
Due to her efforts, Tennessee has finally passed a lifetime order of protection law for victims of the most serious violent crimes. But it is still possible for Wise to be released within the next 5-6 years. Why was he allowed to earn early release credits on the basis of good behavior? Why was he allowed to continue his stalking from prison? Why have his continued stalking actions not resulted in all early release credits being revoked and his sentence going to life imprisonment? Why does Judge Seth Norman not face any ramifications for his apparent judicial activism?
Right now, in America the progressive socialist left is doing everything possible to undermine our second amendment rights to defend ourselves. Just look at New Jersey and Illinois recent gun control measures. Has the left not learned that only law-abiding citizens obey laws? Why is it that at a time when leftists and Soros backed district attorneys are about releasing violent criminals back onto our streets that the left wants to defund police?
It is apparent that the left cares little about the victim but champions the criminal. And on top of all else, they have flung open our borders to illegal immigrants of which many are violent criminals and gang members. I pray one day that we do not have a National Stalking Awareness Month, but it seems that the left wishes to perpetuate this.
Nikki Goeser is now the Executive Director of the Crime Prevention Research Center and has written a book, "Stalked and Defenseless, How Gun Control Helped my Stalker Murder my Husband in Front of Me". I recommend legal, law- abiding gun owning Americans, especially women, pick up this book and read it.
Nikki Goeser's story is an American tragedy. Let's endeavor to not allow this to happen to anyone else. Sir Edmund Burke once asserted, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." We can all do something! In order to Live Free, we must live securely.
Steadfast and Loyal.