I had a different topic planned for today, but I need to write about this for my sanity's sake and I know you'll have words of wisdom in return.
After yesterday's post published about my encounter with a frightening man on the beach, I was given a few tips by friends and readers. For instance, Di informed me where I could buy pepper spray, and I promptly ordered some. (Why have I never thought of having it in my purse or in my photog backpack before?)
Sue told me about an awesome self defense course she recommends. I'm not sure it's something I'd be able to do with my disability, but I forwarded the link to my daughter in Boston because they offer courses there too.
Personal safety was weighing heavily on my mind yesterday.
I was thinking about how much more vulnerable I am now, since the car accident. I was pondering pepper spray and self defense classes. I was thinking about how I "lose myself" when I'm in photographer mode and need to be more aware of my surroundings.
And then an email from the Dean of my son's college arrived. The email sent all my concerns about safety through the roof.
If you were reading here last month, you're already aware of the nightmare my college-aged son went through. May I add, it was also a parental nightmare?
If you're a new reader, I will sum it up like this. A student, PK, had a psychotic break and was making death threats against my son. He was also very focused on my son's female friend, Pretty. After a harrowing week, PK broke into a dorm in an attempt to attack Pretty. He was tackled before he hurt her, and a fight ensued. The police were called and PK was taken to a psych ward where he was involuntarily committed. (There's a lot more to this story, but that's it in a nutshell.)
The last I heard, PK's family had arrived from Brazil and it was my understanding they had taken him out of school on "medical leave" for the remainder of the school year. I presumed he was back in Brazil with his family.
Since that time, Pretty broke up with her boyfriend. She's now dating my son. (Anyone want soap opera rights?) I think the whole PK ordeal brought them together as more than friends.
In turn, PK's parents took PK out of the psych ward and didn't take him home to Brazil. Instead, they sent him to live with his adult brother in New York. Did they not want to bring him home? I have no idea if he's getting any type of psychiatric help. The school can't give us any information due to "privacy concerns."
PK has recently begun emailing my son, Pretty, and one of their friends. From the emails, it's very clear PK's mental illness has escalated rapidly.
The emails make no sense, are completely delusional, and are incredibly frightening. In them, PK says he's going to come back to the campus for Pretty because he must "fulfill a prophecy" and marry her. He hasn't threatened my son (this week) except to make a vague reference saying "he better watch it." My son has blocked PK from Facebook, but PK knows a lot of students at the college and has seen photos of my son and Pretty arm in arm via other student's Facebook pages.
PK now talks openly about having divine powers and embracing Satanism. He says his mental illness diagnosis is nothing more than an "evil tactic." He proclaims he "must marry" Pretty soon and writes Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) will be his best man at the wedding.
PK is very focused on the following: Pretty, my son, Mark Zuckerberg, the "conspiracy" against him, and "the brotherhood" of Satanism.
(By the way, Pretty has never dated PK and his relationship with her is entirely a figment of his illness/hallucinations/imagination.)
I could go on and on, but hopefully that gives you enough to realize how seriously ill PK is. And yes, I do have sympathy for both PK and his family. My sympathy, however, is secondary to my concern for the safety of everyone else involved.
I received multiple emails from the Dean of my son's college yesterday. He, of course, can't release any contact information for PK's family to me. He did contact PK's family, however, to make them aware of the latest flurry of emails. (PK has repeatedly violated a "no contact order" from the school.) PK's family has told the Dean PK will not make contact again.
His family has said that before, by the way.
The college has offered victim counseling for my son and Pretty. I've urged my son to take them up on the offer of counseling. He was hesitant initially. I think he's now considering it. The stress is weighing on him heavily, in part, because he feels he has to protect Pretty. He's also trying to be a strong and calm "rock" for her because she's very scared. (Who wouldn't be?) I think my son is incredibly worried for her safety and very fearful for his own as well.
PK is over five hundred miles away from them, as of yesterday. He's also expressing his determination to get back to them.
The scary thing is, we just don't know what PK's REAL situation is. Does he have access to money? His family is very wealthy, but does he (personally) have access to money right now? Is his brother keeping close tabs on him? Could he travel back to North Carolina where my son and Pretty are? Could he get his hands on a weapon?
Or perhaps, his family has taken away all access to cash – limiting his options to go anywhere?
Is he a danger, five hundred miles away – or is he not?
We just don't know and that is part of the fear –
The not knowing.
© Twenty Four At Heart