Zeer's Origin Story
Good Friday, 2016, I had an awesome time seeing a concert at Appalachian Brewing Company in Harrisburg, PA. My good friend Nick invited me over to his house after and we drank and played music until dawn. It was one of the most beautiful nights of a very difficult year. Six weeks prior, my grandfather, whom I loved dearly and had left my career in California 2 years before to care for, finally succumbed to Alzheimer's in February.
The day after Good Friday, I was scheduled to organize a Bernie Sanders rally in Harrisburg. Late at night, after it was over and I was getting ready to leave, a friend asked if I would come with her to an afterparty she was invited to. I agreed to go, though I was tired, because she didn't know the man who asked her and I wanted her to be safe. When we were close to the party, the man suddenly said we might not all be welcomed and wanted only one of us to come to be sure. Since she had just met him, I volunteered. That was the last thing I remembered.
I awoke from the coma in a world class trauma center with no memory of how I got there. They told me a man had smashed the back of my skull with a cinderblock. Half my skull was gone from emergency surgery. I was deaf where he struck me. There was dried blood running from my ear and a feeding tube in my stomach. It took me days to learn how to eat without choking. They kept feeding me through the tube until it became infected and hurt terribly. Over the course of months, I learned to eat, talk, walk, and fight the depression related to the damage done to my brain. In the end, I had lost 20% of my body weight and my muscles had atrophied. I had, and still have, insomnia, PTSD, memory loss, and seizures.
When I arrived at trial a year later with my family, I was told the man who attacked me would represent himself. When he walked in, I was surprised he was a 6'8” 280 lbs! I had no memory of his face, but I was told this was the same man who invited my friend to the party.
After my friend's testimony I was called to the stand. My assailant asked if I remembered him.
“No, clearly not,” I said.
“So you can't be sure that I really did this,” he said.
“No, but all the circumstantial and physical evidence points towards you,” I stated.
The police found him at the scene of the crime covered in my blood with my money in his pocket.
Though this man had threatened to rape my friend after he assaulted me, was covered in my blood, and had my money in his pocket, he was found not guilty. A violent felon's word against a mountain of physical evidence and my friend's testimony. A classic case of, “He said, she said.” For the first time in my life, I had lost faith in the goodness of humanity.
That day I decided to never let this happen to someone else. Had there been a shred of video or audio evidence to disprove his story he would be in jail today.
Why in the 21st century do we not stream footage from our devices when we are in danger or during a 911 call? I am not reinventing the wheel. Zeer leverages technology in smartphones to protect you and the people you love. When activated, Zeer streams to the cloud, your emergency contact, and calls the police. We then use blockchain technology to make that data impervious.
I have dedicated my life to solving this problem. We will not end violent crimes, like rape, in our lifetimes, but with common sense, burning desire, and evolving technologies we can mitigate it by 90%. By prosecuting more violent crimes with indisputable evidence, over time, those crimes will become less common. When my nieces begin college in 9 years, I want to know they are safe from sexual assault and other violence. I will never quit until we have made it possible for you and I to no longer fear people we don't know. I want to trust people again.