Saturday, October 15, 2011

Death Threats--Take Them Seriously

The recent murder of 8 people, wounding of 1, in Seal Beach by Scott Dekraai hits too close to home for me. My mother's neighbor, Lucia Kondas, was one of the women killed. Although I didn't know Lucia, I did know her husband, a psychologist, with whom I'd spoken.

In reading the stories, I saw a comment that I'd read or heard too many times before--"He threatened to kill her." In this case, it was, "He threatened to come to the shop and kill us."

In working as a crisis counselor for the last ten years, I've counseled far too many people impacted by murder from someone known to the victim. In all the cases I'm remembering, the person (usually a wife/ex-wife and maybe the children) had warnings or fears that they would be killed. Sometimes they took the threats seriously, sometimes they didn't.

However, there were also times, like with Scott Dekraai, that the murderer didn't stop with killing his intended victim. Often he (it's usually a man) would deliberately or accidently hurt or murder others.

The purpose of this blog (besides expressing my condolences to all who are mourning the loss of family and friends) is to alert people to take death threats seriously.

Many times it's hard for people to believe the killing could really happen. Normal people, people you're in contact with, don't go around killing--that's for those crazies on the news.

Or, perhaps intended victim dismisses your concerns, saying something like, "Oh, he really wouldn't do that. He's just trying to control me." Remember that the recipient of the death threats might not take them seriously because she once loved the man and perhaps had children with him. She doesn't think she could have picked a potential murderer to have sex with.

Therefore, when someone makes a threat to harm you or those you know, act. Report the person to the police. Take out a restraining order. If you work together, tell your employer. Take self-defense classes. (The killer doesn't always use a gun, sometimes he uses a knife or other instrument.) Be vigilant of your surroundings.

I'm sure there are others things to do as well. Readers, do you have any suggestions?

My thoughts and prayers go out to all who mourn the victims of the Seal Beach shootings.


  1. Such a sad event. Good points about taking such threats seriously.

  2. I wish local PD had such common sense. I've been told repeatedly in my state unless they lay hands on a person or act they can't really do anything, & that court proceedings would take too long. "The law needs to catch up with technology" I have heard, & this article just sums up my personal concerns as reasonably valid. Thank you for writing it.