The fan blades spun round, a Casablanca at that. I could see the quality. Round and round the blades went, and I just watched them. Round and round... and my friends asked, "What's troubling you?" "Nothing", said I.
Nothing that Michael Falkner could understand. You know Michael Falkner. He is the man from Wisconsin who was arrested for stalking Debbie Gibson. Falkner.....I watch the fan blades spinning.....Falkner, .....I know him, and I know why he did what he did.
The e-mail poured in. Why Falkner? What did he do? What did Talkin' Broadway have to do with it? What is the back story?
The fan blades spun in this German restaurant, and I thought about it. I have a column due tomorrow. Do I want to talk about Falkner? No. But, I suppose I must.
On March 16th, I met with 2 Talkin' Broadway staff members regarding the posts that Mr. Falkner was posting on the "All That Chat" message board. I was very upset over these. Very upset, because these were not the normal posts that one would see. These were posts that were on the "edge", so to speak. The three of us (and the others shall remain nameless) discussed the posts that Mr. Falkner was posting. They were all about Deborah Gibson, and his goal to bring his relationship with her to "closure." Well, what the hell does that mean?
I contacted a friend of mine who is a psychriatist and works at a prison and is used to dealing with this sort of thing. I can't go into details of what he said after reading page after page of Falkner's posts, but in short, he advised, "Call the N.Y.P.D. This is serious."
On the nights of March 15th and 16th, Michael Falkner went to our area of the website called "live chat", and there he expounded on his well-known diatribes about Ms. Gibson. You must understand that Michael has no interest in Broadway. His only interest is Deborah Gibson. And this interest is an unhealthy obsession.
On March 17th, I called the N.Y.P.D., and, after several transfers, I was connected to a Sergeant Detective Doyle of the Computer Crimes Unit of Midtown North. I explained to him what Mr. Falkner was planning on doing - taking a trip to New York City in mid-April and confronting Ms. Gibson, star of Beauty and The Beast at the Palace Theater. While he knew where the Palace Theater was, I don't think he knew who Gibson was! He began to monitor this website and look into Falkner on the web.
After I spoke with Detective Doyle on the phone, he gave me his fax number. I faxed over 15 pages of material to him, including posts that Falkner was leaving on "All That Chat". I also faxed a page or so from internet resources, including "usenet" and other "newsgroups". Falkner had been writing thousands of diatribes in the last few years about Gibson.
Falkner was scheduled to go to New York on the weekend of April 21, 1998, and this is when he was going to confront actress Gibson. Why was he confronting her? Because, in his mind, she was not living up to his image of her. (More on that later.) He was supposed to attend "Magic: The Convention", at the Jacob Javits Center, but changed his mind - for good reason.
Falkner, a resident of Wisconsin, has a police record. When the N.Y.P.D. was informed by Talkin' Broadway, they obviously checked with the Wisconsin police, and Falkner cancelled his April trip. In e-mails to me and in messages posted on the internet, he very definately wanted to confront Gibson, but since the police were on to him, he waited, and waited......stalking......
But then something strange happened. Falkner wanted to let go of Gibson. He knew he had a problem and was trying to deal with it. He went through "Gibson Withdrawal". And it almost worked. But then "Broadway Bares" came along, and this put Falkner over the edge. He couldn't take this. His "virginal" Gibson was stripping in front of the world, and it was more than he could take.
He booked a flight to New York this past weekend, and made it no secret to anyone on the web. And that's pretty typical with stalkers. They want their actions known, and they won't stop until they are caught.
How dangerous was Falkner? What is my responsibility? What should I do?
Days before Falkner was in New York, I faxed an e-mail to Sgt. Doyle about Falkner's movements telling the N.Y.P.D. of the exact time that Falkner would appear before Gibson at the Palace Theater - either a matinee or evening performance on Saturday or Sunday. Sure enough, as predicted, on Sunday night, Falkner made his move on the actress, who ran back into the theater and called 911.
Was the N.Y.P.D. there? Or did they leave Gibson to fend for herself? I don't know. They had the information and over 25 pages of faxes of Falkner's intentions. I warned them and told them of the exact minute that it was going to happen.
And so I sit here watching fan blades in a restaurant, just wondering... just thinking...was the N.Y.P.D there? Were they? Or did they simply dismiss it? And then I think...
What if he had a gun?
Here's a letter I received from Falkner. You judge for yourself.
From: "Michael Falkner"
Let's put it this way -- the Debbie Gibson stuff [a lot of it, at least] will be settled in person, live, and in living color this weekend when I go to New York. I plan to ask Deborah for some time outside of all the fan line hullaballoo to talk to her about several issues which have me utterly irked.
After Broadway Bares, if Gibson wants to be looked at that sexily and not want to talk about it with me, then maybe they better have me locked up before something really bad happens. That's why I need to talk to her now.
I plan to make it clear: We either talk about this, or they ban me from ever seeing her again. IN ANY FORUM...
As far as them getting my goat regarding DG, if not for her, I wouldn't waste my time with the Broadway theatre. I said that before, and especially with the people on Talkin', I believe that now.
My temper is short, and my fuse even shorter. If someone wants to threaten me with a lead pipe, a gun, whatever, LET'S GO!!!! I have lost all respect for a lot of these posters, and if I ever do see [name omitted], that'll probably be the last you ever see of me...
In closing, what would you have done?