Pat -- I do understand your concerns and wish the reasons for them didn't exist and hope my comments aren't construed as being indifferent. I am well aware that some CM members are affected by mental illness, although most of it is not the type to result in harm to one's self or others. Having had the experience you summarized would no doubt make anyone shaky; no doubt that person doesn't have both of his oars in the water. You have to wonder what this guy was thinking anyway. How would he hope to endear himself to a woman having said what he did? And then the nasty follow-up message as if you were at fault? Ridiculous and troublesome.
For the sake of some brevity, I was commenting mainly upon scammers. They do look for vulnerable people, but there is that time element that could eventually give them away.
There are common sense precautions that everyone should (i.e., must) be taken to feel at least a reasonable degree of safety. These should be followed whether meeting someone from online or personal encounters. Sadly, a lot of which you speak probably won't appear in public records.
When dating CM women, I've done what I can to make sure the lady is comfortable in her surroundings. While there's no need to worry, I can understand she is initially meeting someone unknown to her. Accordingly, there's no pressure to go anywhere that would cause discomfort or worry. Causing fear in someone isn't conducive to a pleasant date.
I do believe that even the best of precautions can't prevent all acts of violence or threats -- and that is unfortunate. Will that eventually doom online dating? We'll have to wait and see.
For now, I see limitations of online dating mainly because the guys just aren't getting together with the gals. Unless meetings and dates take place, no one will find the type of person they are seeking.
Yes, Ray, you are right that a lot of things (including mental illness) would not appear in public records unless, of course, the person had done something violent and been convicted. And, I certainly appreciate when any CM man makes an effort to alleviate any "fear". I'm sure other women on this site do also.
And, I also agree with you that the guys and gals just aren't getting together from the online dating. I do think that what Pat in Chicago has started doing with her face-to-face events/parties and also Match.com has started doing with what it calls stir events (they get a group of similar age/similar location people together by invite which of course you pay extra for such as a group cooking class at a local restaurant with wine and salad served of an evening for about $60 per person) may be an answer (or at least a partial answer) to this dilemma. I have attended 3 of Pat's 4 events and they were all great fun, men mingled with women and viceversa, and hopefully at least a few people connected (although I don't personally know of any dates that resulted from this). Unfortunately since the age range she is inviting is 40-60 I'm at the very upper end of her demographic so usually only 1-3 men at each event who are roughly my age (meaning plus or minus 4 years). But, I think Pat's premise is very sound and perhaps we should be trying to do more of these type of group events (especially since Pat balances the number of men and women at her events, unlike most of the other CM member events which from what I've heard and the one event I attended seem to have about 4 women or more per man (great odds for you guys, though ).
This is my observation having attended 30+ CM events over the years and meeting hundreds of CM'rs in person.. The ratio of women to men over all is about 3:1.. Very large is the number of men in their early to mid 40's.. Almost non existent the number over 55.. My experience with this is the ones over 50 who show up tend to be never-marrieds. I think it's because they have the disposable income to spend on events. It aslo makes them 'look' like they are searching.. Of all the never married men I have met since early on in my event experiences, all are still never married. A lot of the women over 50 quickly came to the conclusion that they are not attending events to meet a man, because it ain't happenin'.. I also think men are more prone to looking at the attendee list and if they don't see women on there they 'think' they would be interested in, a bulldozer isn't going to get them away from ESPN long enough to attend. Men have even posted this in the Forums.. They don't see the value of attending unless the woman of their dreams is a 'sure thing'.