Outrageous Ivy League Student Can't Carry Gun to Protect Against Stalker
Today, the "Outnumbered" panel discussed a 20-year-old Dartmouth student who may have to give up her Ivy League dream and drop out of school because the prestigious college won't allow her to carry a gun to protect herself against a stalker.
Taylor Woolrich argues, "If schools and society can't guarantee my safety and the safety of victims like me, it's time we have the chance to defend ourselves so we can stop living in fear."
She wants the university to make an exception to its no-guns policy, but school officials have refused, arguing their security is sufficient to keep students safe.
Here's more on the case from FoxNews.com:
Woolrich was 16 years old and working in a San Diego café when she says a man came in to buy coffee and then kept returning throughout the day, staring at her for long periods of time and trying to flirt with her. The man, 67-year-old Richard Bennett, kept this up for days, she says, even sitting outside the store for an entire day and then following her home, demanding that she talk to him and saying he was “trying to protect her.”
She filed a restraining order, but it did little to keep Bennett away. Woolrich says he constantly harassed her during her first two years at Dartmouth, stalking her on social media and sending messages in which he “promised” to fly across the country to see her at college.
“I thought they were empty threats, but when I came home from school last summer, he was at my front door within eight hours of my plane landing,” she said. “That’s when I realized how serious it was.”
Woolrich and her family called the police, and Bennett was arrested. A search of his car uncovered a slip noose, a knife, gloves and other items.
Bennett is currently in jail in San Diego County, accused of violating the restraining order and felony stalking, as well as other charges. His next court date is Aug. 20. If convicted, his maximum sentence would be four years.
“What they don’t understand is that it’s not enough,” she says. “Stalkers just don’t only show up after dark. Unless they have an armed guard in front of my dorm room, I'm not sure how safe I will be. I don’t think there’s much an unarmed guard can do.”
Dartmouth officials declined to comment on Woolrich’s situation, but they said their strict weapons policy is necessary.
“It’s strictly prohibited and we are not in the habit of making exceptions,” spokesman Justin Anderson told FoxNews.com. “But we certainly do everything we possibly can to make all our students feel safe.”
“We feel that it is a top priority,” he added. “We are equipped and committed to providing the best safety possible for all our students.”
For now, Bennett sits in jail on $300,000 bail, and Woolrich is not in danger. But she says she still lives in fear and feels she might have to take drastic measures if he manages to post bond and becomes a threat again.
“Every morning I check the inmate lookup online to see if he has made bail,” she said. “I feel safe for now, but the day he gets out is the day I will have to leave Dartmouth.”
Harris Faulkner, herself a former victim of stalking, said Woolrich has every right to defend herself and pointed out that New Hampshire has a concealed carry law that could help her in this case. She also recommended that Woolrich take a self-defense class.
Kimberly Guilfoyle said that other options, such as a stun gun or pepper spray, could provide safety, as opposed to a firearm, and Kirsten Powers added that other students, their parents and faculty certainly have a right to not want guns in classrooms and hallways at their school.
Watch the discussion above.