Actress Uma Thurman has good reason to be uneasy these days. A former psychiatric patient has rejected a plea offer that would have put him into a mental health facility and settled the charges against him for stalking the 37-year-old actress for nearly two years. Jack Jordan refused to plead guilty in New York to attempted coercion. It is a felony the court would have reduced to a misdemeanor once he completed at least a year in a mental health program.
Jordan is free on $10,000 bail. He is accused of following and contacting the actress since 2005. The coercion charge stems from Jordan allegedly saying in an e-mail that he might kill himself if he saw Thurman with another man. He is a graduate student at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., and is now living with his parents in Massachusetts.
Can anyone blame Uma Thurman for being more frightened than ever and hiring full-time security? Time and again we encounter unbalanced and aberrant people, who show every sign of doing harm to someone, but let them circulate in society until they resort to violence. Consider the mass killings at Virginia Tech earlier this year and the way danger signs about the intent and behavior of the murderer were ignored.
Consider that the 19-year-old mall gunman in Omaha, Neb., had in past times made it clear his goal was to kill people. Would the lives he took in the shopping mall been saved if someone had taken sufficient note of his attitude and intent?
Celebrities repeatedly are hurt or killed because someone somewhere is too timid to stand up, say "no more" and put people where they cannot do harm to satisfy some personal demon. One needn't be in the public eye to be a target, as illustrated at Virginia Tech and in the Omaha mall massacre.
We certainly will hear from people who contend that courts should be more rather than less lenient with potential troublemakers. But how many times do judges allow these people freedom only to see them maim, kill or engage in some other type of violence?
The Thurman incident seems to be a classic case of setting the stage for tragedy. Courts are designed to protect innocent people. Why don't they do a better job? Let's hope we don't have to watch as Uma Thurman becomes one of the latest victims of such a "tolerant" philosophy.