This case grabbed some public attention since victim (Lawrence Guzzino) was able to generate some publicity for his ordeal. Targeted individual/gang stalking/organized stalking websites like to point to this as evidence of police admitting of being aware of gangstalking. (some assumptions in this post might be inaccurate as I’m doing my best to trying to understand what happened only using info I found on the internet)
After more than a year of being gangstalked Lawrence Guzzino contacted the local media (Foxnews affiliate) and they took him seriously. They published a story and video report (Jan 29, 2011), where they interviewed not only him, but police officer as well who confirmed that “gangstalking” is growing problem and existed before Internet. It’s not clear if there was any police report filed. He said that Facebook and Twitter made it a lot easier to execute such crimes. They didn’t interview any neighbors who allegedly were harassing him or named any names. They used term “gangstalking” to define the phenomena of victim being followed around and systematically terrorized. Lawrence even climbed on the roof demonstrating how he has been harassed even in his own home at night, how he was afraid to go out play tennis or ping-pong. He even started crying explaining how this induced paranoia devastating his life and the relationship with family.
What reporter didn’t do:
- Didn’t interview the wife/girlfriend of the Lawrence or children (He mentioned that this ordeal strained his relationship)
- Didn’t interview any neighbors if anyone was bothered by the music that Lawrence assumed was the reason for harassment. It appears he had a wife or girlfriend (it’s not clear if they are married since her last name isn’t the same, but some sites mention that she sometimes uses his last name) and 4 kids.
- Didn’t contact local neighborhood watch captain (if there is neighborhood watch)
- Didn’t check how loud is his music or at what times does Guzzino plays his music. Why does he listen to the music at night? Doesn’t the music bother the rest of Guzzino family? He has small children himself. Was he trying to drown some sort of noise harassment?
- He mentioned one of the reasons for his harassment is that he is outspoken. Is he outspoken about some issues, topics, politics, injustice?
I assume police did background check of Lawrence Guzzino at the time of the interview and it probably came out clean as they definitely would have mentioned such fact to the reporter. So how was Lawrence able to gain attention of news reporter? First he was credible – if you look at his resume from 2004 he has masters degree in mathematics, highly skilled programmer and computer security expert. Obviously guy is very intelligent. He likes computers, network security, typical geek. But not geeky – he also mentions working in offshore oil rigs as roughneck, engineer, roustabout, supply vessels, etc. His wife/gf Patrice Theriot principal engineer for the city public works and utilities department, she is successful professional and attractive woman. His father was a veteran of the United States Navy, active volunteer with police department. They live in a nice neighborhood, decent house – according to real estate records they bought it in 2002 around the time their 4th child was born (they moved from multi-family unit). They should be making good money between them two. Maybe wife was unavailable for comment as they were separated at the time? But Lawrence mentioned that they “following us” as if it affects other members of the family too. So news report didn’t try to help Guzzino to patch any differences between the neighbors, but used his story to spread the message of this gangstalking phenomena. Investigative reporting, it wasn’t. He was more like a poster child to put a face on gangstalking.
OK fast forward 11 months and Lawrence arrested and charged of possession of controlled substance. Bails, bonds, paroles, rearrests followed, most recent being just 4 weeks ago on Jan 09, 2013 for probation violation (website down). So now he is convicted felon. Formally processed, in the criminal justice system. What would happen now if he contacted local news complaining of community harassment?
At least one of his arrests (March 21, 2012) also generated media attention since it was described as bomb scare, with bomb squad and explosive detection equipped with X-ray robot dispatched. From these news reports we find that Lawrence is convicted of arson even though none of the booking, mugshot, sheriff sites show any cases of arson. I tried to search news and police reports that would tie Guzzino to any sort of arson in that time-frame in that area – I couldn’t find anything. The only charge is “controlled substance” (alcohol) and apparent parole violations. If you read all these reports on the event – it seems that Lawrence Guzzino was traveling in his Honda CRV (I guess same Honda we see in the first video), full of personal items and probably camping gear – was he already homeless? He stopped on the side of the road for the nap. Someone reported him to police as suspicious. Police responded and found in the car stuffed with personal items: “anarchist cookbook”, tied road flairs, camping gas canisters and capped pipes. He also had warrant for his arrest, some reports only say he was on probation and was arrested for possession of shotgun shells. Some reports only say that he was taken into custody. Maybe it wasn’t arrest afterall as there are no mugshots from that time? Various local news media sites reported the incident painting it as apprehension of dangerous felon on the run. Few news sources also mentioned pile of lacy women’s lingerie giving impression of him not only being anarchist in preparation of planning terror attack, but implying he is a pervert too. Overall news reports are quite conflicting on this particular incident. Maybe they try to make it interesting and relevant, but nobody asked Guzzino’s any questions. As convicted arsonist Guzzino would be dangerous to community. Was he placed in some sort of community protection program? Was he under surveillance?
It is very hard to judge the story without Guzzino’s personal take on the story, but if looking from criminology point of view it confirms labeling theory if examining case superficially: once labeled as deviant by society Guzzino adopted criminal lifestyle and became a felon, even though he was a family man with children, wife, living American dream, multiple interests, hobbies, extended family and so on. After first news report Lawrence joined facebook, but he didn’t take part or try to document anything that was going on in his life. His wife’s facebook is just as blank.
I wonder if he ever set up any surveillance him being tech savvy and all. Did he provide any of the evidence to the news reporter?
This article on two competing Watsonville neighborhood watch groups is interesting to read even though there is nothing that would put Guzzino as possible target on their list.
Suicide rate in Santa Cruz county is also 25-45% higher than California average.
Deputies: No Pipe Bomb Found in Parolee’s Car (website down no archive copy available)