Many of you have already heard the harrowing, horrifying and utterly revolting story of Heidi Van Tassell, the woman who was violently attacked by a homeless man as she was getting into her car outside a restaurant in Hollywood, California. What you may not have heard was how this Wisconsin-native, turned California resident was dismissed by the same system that enabled California's homeless crisis in the first place. When a man beats you, drags you out of your car, then pours a bucket of steaming liquid feces on your head, and leaves you to dodge traffic on Hollywood Boulevard, you would EXPECT he would be arrested, incarcerated--or placed in mental health facility for a very long time.
That didn't happen. Instead, he's back out on the streets--and she is left to fend for herself in a city and in a state that put her attacker's welfare above hers, and everyone else's.
I met Heidi only this past weekend, via email. I had briefly discussed her story last week on air, apparently leaving the impression that she didn't want to see her attacker incarcerated. She heard about my segment from a WI friend, and sent me a very nice email explaining that although she believes the man is profoundly mentally ill, she WANTS him taken off the streets--for a very long period of time.
I apologized to Heidi for leaving the wrong impression about her reaction to her attack, and asked her on my program. She agreed.
Heidi Van Tassell is a nice woman. She follows the law. She pays her taxes. She worked hard and made a go of a career in a place where it's tough to succeed. She deserves better.
Listen to Heidi tell her story in her own words below.