Re: What Would You Do?

1

Well, if the punishment for hiring a killer really is just "a few years" in jail, then the solution seems obvious.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:31 AM
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Presumably it's a lot longer if you're successful. Stupid law.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:32 AM
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I recommend persuasion and fruit baskets.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:39 AM
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Really moldy fruit.

You're a wildman.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:40 AM
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Assuming the suggestion in #1 is off the table, we are left with defensive plays:

THE HIDING APPROACH: Googleproof (and private detective-proof) your life as much as possible. A name change to John or Jane Smith should work wonders. Move to a new state. Start over, witness-protection style.

THE EXPOSING APPROACH: Start a website, under your real name, documenting the nutjob's efforts to have you killed and how his plot was foiled. Turn the tables and report everything about him you can: Photos, media coverage prison release dates, where he ends up living after his release, etc. Be sure to post copies, recordings or transcripts of any phone calls, letters, etc. you receive from him. Make him sick and tired of being associated with you. Ideally, this will all make him such an obvious suspect for a second attempt at hiring someone to bump you off that (a) he'll never take the risk, knowing he'll be suspect #1 if you turn up dead, and (b) hitmen will be unwilling to take his business.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:42 AM
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Listen to "Obsessed With You" by The Orion Experience.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:44 AM
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I don't think option #1 is off the table, I was just noting that the "just a few years" consideration doesn't apply if you succeed.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:45 AM
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#7 Or if you don't get caught.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:46 AM
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Also, after beefing up your home security system (with better locks, alarms, and possibly cameras), buy a shotgun, make sure you know how to use it, and keep it available in your house. Scoff if you will, but if the next contract killer comes a-knocking one night, firearms training plus a loaded shotgun will come in handy.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:59 AM
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Is it not illegal to accept money from someone as a hitman if you never get around to it?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 1:30 AM
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#10: IANAL, but I believe you could be charged with conspiracy to commit murder. I think it depends on whether you need to take some action in furtherance of the conspiracy beyond simply accepting the money. I also believe you could not be sued in civil court for fraud or breach of contract, since the subject matter of the contract (murder) is illegal, and hence the contract is invalid.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 1:36 AM
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Does the obsessive have any other irrational obsessions? I'd take out some hefty life insurance and make it publically known that in the event of my untimely death, a large chunk of the payoff would go to some charity/politician/person that the obsessive particularly hates. Or maybe just privately make it known that a chunk of the payoff would be devoted to hitman's fees...
Which is admittedly kind of a lame idea but at least it's lateral, so maybe it will spark a less lame idea in someone else.

(Can insurers turn you down on the grounds that you've been the target of a murder plot? Would it show up on a database? Why do I feel stupid asking this question, as if any adult with common sense ought to know the answer?)

Also, what's the nature of the obsession here? More information on the crazy person might help.


Posted by: Sredni Vashtar | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 3:28 AM
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Figure out a way to get him to cultivate an obsession with someone else.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 3:30 AM
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I think I'd just go with,"curl up into the fetal position and rock softly back and forth."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 3:36 AM
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Gaijinbiker's suggestions are good; another possibility is to make sure that your friend takes a close look at the parole process. There are likely to be a number of perfectly appropriate ways to persuade the parole board that this particular obsessor is a poor candidate for early release. At a minimum, have your friend talk to the prosecuting attorney about what the DA's office can do. It may just serve to kick the can down the road, but the full statutory maximum for murder for hire is likely to be quite a few years from now.


Posted by: HC | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 4:06 AM
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Maybe this is too cinematic, but what about a private investigator? It would be useful to find out if he's still obsessed, and if they can't do that while he's in prison, they could perhaps keep an eye on him once out.

I also wonder if it would be possible to have the parole board put him in another city?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 4:51 AM
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Obviously a combination of all methods. The website idea looks questionable to me, but gathering the information and sharing it with relevant police departments, etc., would be wise.

The private detective wouldn't have to be a pro. You can teach yourself a lot of it. Having a third party context the person and find out, if possible, if he's still obsessed and still murderous would be sensible. A negative would be mildly reassuring, whereas a strong positive would be a warning.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:17 AM
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5: I'm dubious about the hiding approach, in this day and age, and without the resources of an actual witness protection program to help you.

Assuming you could muster the resources, the expository approach seems far preferable. To the other suggestions, I would add: take all the self-defense/tactical shooting/personal security classes you can, make friends with the instructors and explain to them your problem. Doubtless people in that field would have some more specific ideas. Also, if you didn't already live in one of them, moving to a shoot-first-ask-questions-later state like Fla. would probably be a good idea at some point.

And if you had any pretensions as a writer (or felt like working with a ghost-writer) the situation would make a hell of a topic for a book. I bet you could get on Oprah and everything.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:18 AM
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Also, if you didn't already live in one of them, moving to a shoot-first-ask-questions-later state like Fla. would probably be a good idea at some point.

Depends how you feel about killing people. Obviously, in the last resort it might be necessary, but the person might prefer to plan to minimise the likelihood of having to make that choice, rather than to facilitate it.

15 and 16 need to be the point of departure. How obsessive is the stalker now? Would they be bothered to follow the person to another state? Canada? Australia? We don't know, so how can we speculate.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:29 AM
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make sure that your friend takes a close look at the parole process

Ditto to that. Depending on the state, Ogged's friend may have a statutory to be informed of pending parole hearings and to make a statement to the parole board. Under the right circumstances, this could stave off his release for a while, or at least convince the parole board to apply some onerous conditions (e.g. the parolee can't enter the city the friend lives in, is not allowed to have internet access, etc.).

Failing that, the friend should get a lawyer and go to a judge to get a restraining order. Try to get the order written as broadly as possible: the person should not be permitted to go within, say, 2,000 feet of the friends home, his place of work, his habitual hangouts, etc.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:31 AM
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The problem with restraining orders is that irrational people ignore them, and that hit men aren't named in them.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:33 AM
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The problem with restraining orders is that irrational people ignore them

Yes, but then you have a cause of action against them, and you don't have to wait until they take a shot at you before you can have the police come and arrest them. It's a defense in depth thing.

...and that hit men aren't named in them.

I'm not claiming it's a panacea, but it is a right and proper first step.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:39 AM
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L'esprit de la shower:

It is interesting that among so many avowed statists, only a few are willing to trust the hypothetical person's security to the police, prison system and other RSAs. What are all your taxes that go to maintain the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, CIA, FBI, State Police, county Sheriff, local police etc. for, if not to keep you secure in your person? Hmmm, really makes you think, doesn't it?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:43 AM
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i'll try woodoo or something to ward off the obsessor
though what will happen will happen in some cases
or you can rally pro-death sentence
or you can hire a ninja to counteract etc


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:46 AM
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Hmmm, really makes you think, doesn't it?

Uh, no, it really doesn't. The police are not especially reliable at protecting a single threatened individual from a determined assassin any more than the public health service can guarantee I won't get sick. (Apologies for the analogy.) In the best case, the police and courts can create conditions that minimize the expected utility of commiting a crime, and ensure that justice is done once a crime is committed. Crimes of passion (and obsession) are notoriously immune to the deterrent effect of policing.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:56 AM
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18.3: And if you had any pretensions as a writer (or felt like working with a ghost-writer) the situation would make a hell of a topic for a book

Pitch the obsessor on co-authoring it with you. There's a book that will get you on Oprah. Or if he remains hostile try for Jerry Springer (Is that show still on?)

More seriously, I suspect there is more to the story than you heard and that steps can be taken (or already have been) to address the proximate cause, or at least that take in to account the specific nature of the obsession.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:57 AM
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24: or you can hire a ninja to counteract etc

Finally, a useful suggestion! If you can't find a ninja, perhaps a pirate would do as well.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:57 AM
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Get one of those little signs to hang by the front door that says "This home is insured by Smith & Wesson".

Also, "Forget the Dog: Beware of Owner".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:00 AM
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23: Being pursued by a crazy is person is an exceptional case.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:00 AM
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Get one of those little signs to hang by the front door that says "This home is insured by Smith & Wesson".

Also, "Forget the Dog: Beware of Owner".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:00 AM
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Second time for emphasis!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:01 AM
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25: The police are not especially reliable at protecting a single threatened individual from a determined assassin any more than the public health service can guarantee I won't get sick.

Tell it to the judge.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:03 AM
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The problem implies someone with a perfectly stable irrational obsession, which seems unlikely to me. (Seriously? The 'irrational obsession' leading to hiring a hitman, rather than personal violence, seems really unlikely to me.) If there was anything concretely underlying the obsession, maybe the facts have changed, or could be made to change. If not, isn't the civil committment process (insanity making you a danger to others) some sort of possibility?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:06 AM
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The hiding approach is like a speedbump. It slows someone down a lot. Nothing's perfect.

Changing one's name would be excessive, however, granting the guy a victory.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:07 AM
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I can't help thinking that 5.2 (THE EXPOSING APPROACH) sounds a bit too much like stalking the stalker. And it wouldn't work, anyway. If he's a crazy obsessive (which, clearly he is) he would interpret all of that attention and publicity as an invitation.

Not that I have anything better to suggest.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:12 AM
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The best defense is not being there. The second best, by a long, long, long way, is a good offense.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:18 AM
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The exposure approach also serves as a speedbump, since it will make it harder for the guy to find allies and safe places to hide. A friend of mine used a version of the exposure approach (actually tacking up flyers on telephone poles) against violent, deranged inlaw, and the guy disappeared because people didn't want to get involved in his game. Malefactors can be good at conning people into playing their game, and the exposure approach makes it impossible for them to misrepresent what they're doing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:26 AM
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Figure out a way to get him to cultivate an obsession with someone else.

Kotsko gives good advice here. Many times the obsession moves on to someone else. Your job is to lay low and do as little as possible.

However, sometimes that is not possible. The first step probably should be HC's advice upthread to speak with the prosecutor about parole. Also, many jurisdictions now provide obscene amounts of money to victim/witness programs. Check with them as well on your options.

Beyond that, exercise caution a step above what anyone else would. Make sure your house is well lit. Attempt to keep your location as hidden as possible. Get a dog. Make sure that your neighbors are friendly with you so that they alert you of any suspicious people. Get good locks on doors and windows. Be careful where you park your car.

In short, educate yourself on safety and follow through.

Of course, sometimes all of this gets very tiring and you just say screw it. Someone very close to me had numerous, specific death threats such that the federal marshalls guarded him. He finally got tired of it and decided to live life and take the risk.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:37 AM
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I would just give him the map already.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:40 AM
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39:

Wasnt that Morgan Fairchild's approach in some movie?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:42 AM
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Actually, we already know dsquared's defense approach:

hang out in the pub with 20 of your drunk buddies every night.

That sounds like the smartest approach to me.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:43 AM
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See if you can acquire a second stalker, and then inform him of the first. All problems solved!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:47 AM
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Supply the obsessor with a plentiful pool of willing, available "contract killers" ready to re-report the loon to the authorities.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:55 AM
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I would hire a sexy but dangerous personal security guard to install an elaborate defense system in my home, which includes a lot of cameras that allow the security person to see me in many intimate moments. As the sexual tension between us builds, the stalker will attempt a home invasion, forcing the guard and I to work together to fight him off, sealing our relationship.

Then the hott sex.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 6:59 AM
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Linda Riss offers this solution.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:07 AM
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44: Sold!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:21 AM
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You could always move to FL or TX and then just shoot them next time you seen them. A plausible self defense claim should get you off (or nearly so)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:35 AM
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I hate always being the person who gets pissy about the hypothetical, but really, if you've got a rational, organized, competent person who wants you dead and is irrational enough about it to not care about consequences to themselves, there's not much to do about it but make sure your will is in order and stop worrying, because it's not going to make any difference. (Or, you know, pre-emptively murder them, but most people aren't, and shouldn't be given that I can't imagine how you'd be certain about the facts of the situation, up for that.)

Once you start playing with that (they want you dead because they want something concrete; they're mentally ill in some way that inhibits normal functioning; they're afraid of judicial punishment) the problem gets much more soluble. But we don't have any background facts, so we can't say much useful about the situation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:36 AM
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A plausible self defense claim should get you off (or nearly so)

Pre-emptively shooting someone because they've threatened you in the past? Outside some very limited domestic violence situations, this isn't even close to a self-defense claim.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:38 AM
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49: No, you're right. You need them to be on your lawn. Or reach for a cel phone. Be creative.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:40 AM
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Yeah, but not knowing the specifics of the hypothetical allows you to block out different strategies of response varying with the actual nature of the threat. The ideal killer you described is a limit case. A lot of stalker types feed on the passivity of their target and might have their mind changed or their concentration broken by a counterattack of one sort or another.

One problem is that most stalkees have lives and have better things to do than devoting themselves to fending off the stalker, whereas stalkers usually don't and are willing to spend all their time obsessing.

And I presume that this isn't a Bobby Kennedy / John Lennon type situation. Their potential stalker pool was the whole world, whereas defending against a single individual is more feasible.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:45 AM
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Besides legit self-defense claims, there's jury nullification and confusing the facts.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:47 AM
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Unless it isn't obvious now, LB, I wasn't completely serious in 47 /50.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:48 AM
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My solution would totally work, though. Hire somebody (somebodies!) to ingratiate themselves and drop hints about a violent past, wait for the guy to offer to pay them to whack you. Does he know, like, a lot of contract killers? Probably not. There aren't a lot around.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:50 AM
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blackwater something


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:52 AM
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There was a book I picked up somewhere once, I think called The Gift of Fear, which was a combination of "Being Stalked For Dummies" and "Not Getting Murdered 101". I have no idea how sensible the advice was generally, although the bits relating to even slightly familiar situations like interacting with strangers in vulnerable situations (empty streets and so forth) sounded very reasonable.

The basic advice as I recall it was to bore the stalker to death -- the stalker is maintaining a relationship of some sort, and if they're getting nothing in return, they're likely to give up. Things like if you're getting harassing phone calls, don't change your number. Get an answering machine for the number, get a new number that you give to everyone you actually deal with, and just erase all the messages unlistened to. The stalker thinks they're communicating with you by leaving messages, and there's no impact on your life, and he gets no response.

This sort of advice doesn't have much relevance to the kind of thing set up in the post, though, where the stalker wants you dead and doesn't care about a relationship at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:54 AM
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A close friend of mine is in a situation sort of like this - stalked on and off by an obsessive lunatic over the course of the last several years - and our constant worry is that this nutcase, who has lost at least one job in the process of said stalking and has made various oblique and not-so-oblique threats against my friend's friends and family, will finally do something violent.

Neither myself nor my friend are lawyers, but it sure looks like the stalker has broken state laws against cyberstalking, stalking and harassment. Trouble is, the police in our city really just can't be bothered - the few cops we've gotten to talk to face to face have all blown us off. The laws are such that we can't get a restraining order, because you can only get a restraining order for someone you were previously in a relationship with - family, old boyfriends, etc. - and the stalker is basically just a psycho who developed an obsession back in college. So our only chance is pursuing a criminal case, and the police just aren't interested.

Even if we do bring the stalker to court, of course, the larger problem is that what this guy really needs isn't prison, it's a good psychiatrist. Something is clearly chemically wrong with the way his brain works. But there's no option in the law as far as I can tell for getting a crazy person into medication and therapy. Our criminal justice system is geared purely towards punishment; rehabilitation isn't even a priority.


Posted by: Eugene V. Debs | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:56 AM
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You might check out that book I mentioned -- while as I said, I have no idea how sensible the advice it, it does address precisely that sort of situation. Might get you somewhere.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:58 AM
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interacting with strangers in vulnerable situations (empty streets and so forth)

the trick is pretend to blow one's nose when there is such a situation - nobody wants to interact with the potentially contagious victim, always works for me, so far


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 7:58 AM
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Set up a false identity for myself, with police cooperation.

Have that false identity trolled to the stalker as someone who might just be interested in whacking me.

When stalker's clear offer to pay false-identity-me large amounts of money to whack real-me arrives, arrange to have stalker meet me to hand over half of agreed sum in advance.

Have police show up to arrest stalker.

Sell script to Hollywood. Insist Sigourney Weaver plays me.



Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:01 AM
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The ironic thing about this sort of situation is that there are several extra-legal ways of dealing with someone like this, but if you have access to them, you probably don't need. it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:03 AM
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The late great Loompanics Press used to sell all kinds of how to books for crazy illegal situations and activities. How to disappear; how to be a contract killer; how to avoid stalkers; how to be a stalker. My favorite was a how to book on gaslighting.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:06 AM
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Apparently the book Loompanics sold on meth manufacture (by Uncle Fester) is largely responsible for the growth in home meth labs: Fester's like the guru of that world. A friend of mine once got interviewed on the same Dateline NBC segment as the guy who ran Loompanics; that guy was a freak and a half, which happily saved my friend from being the segment's designated bad guy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:10 AM
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Didn't dsquared suggest, on a similar thread way back, bribing the local 'hard man' to beat the crap out of the stalker? I must admit, even aside from the morals of it, that I wouldn't know where to go about finding the local 'hard man', or whatever you call the equivalent over here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:12 AM
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These are interesting responses. I'm surprised by the amount of risk people are willing to tolerate. This is someone who has already taken steps to have you killed. When my friend asked me what I'd do, my first question was whether the obsessor has a family with whom s/he's close, because I wanted to know whether someone would aggressively pursue a case against me as the obvious suspect in his/her murder. In this case, s/he does. Second best, we decided, was having someone pay the obsessor a visit to explain that should I come to harm, s/he will be killed. But seriously, someone on the loose who must might want to kill you? What if you have kids? Moving and/or taking your chances just doesn't seem reasonable.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:14 AM
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I think that the more complex and ingenious suggestions here are impractical. I also think that setting up a completely fake identity or going into hiding is conceding too much. I really think that there's a lot to be said for being pro-active and aggressive within the law -- you cease to be the passive fantasy object that way.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:17 AM
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The thing is, there just aren't that many contract killers out there, at least not capable ones. Shit, even OJ had to do his own work. So if you present the person with an attractive seeming potential contractor, the odds they'll bite are good, and then ta-da! Back to the big house.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:17 AM
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What about civil commitment -- arguing that they're too dangerously insane to be out on the streets?

Second best, we decided, was having someone pay the obsessor a visit to explain that should I come to harm, s/he will be killed.

Does 'killed' seem like that much greater a threat than 'convicted of and jailed for my murder'? Because that threat you could probably make stick, and it would be all legal and shit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:18 AM
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Seriously, I'd want to do some research into the odds of the long-term stability of this sort of obsession. It's X years later, the guy's been in jail -- there's got to be data on the odds that someone's still dangerous to the same target after that kind of timelapse. If the odds are low, preemptive murder seems misplaced.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:20 AM
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Does 'killed' seem like that much greater a threat than 'convicted of and jailed for my murder'? Because that threat you could probably make stick, and it would be all legal and shit.

I don't think this is much of a deterrent to normal murderers, much less crazy stalker types.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:22 AM
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I just got the idea to have a private eye pose as someone else who wants the acquaintance dead, and have him contact the obsessed dude, pretending to be interested in going dutch on hiring a hitman... then turning the guy over to the cops once enough evidence has been gathered. But I see Jesurgislac beat me to the punch with a better version of the same basic idea.

In fairness, I would have posted an hour ago, but I dropped my laptop on my hardwood floor, creating a giant gouge that I proceeded to repair in a kinda-decent way with a floor-repair kit that involves melting color-matched plastic into the gouge with a hot iron.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:22 AM
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Yeah I think once somebody's committed a murder the deterrent effect can be called a failure, stras.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:23 AM
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ooh, I need to get some material on the Uncle Fester book. I use Loompanics all the time as an example in classes on free speech. Links appreciated.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:23 AM
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73: the wikipedia page is an okay introduction.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:25 AM
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59 made me laugh aloud.

Seriously, people, the obvious answer is to hire a contract killer of one's own. There would be a number of ways to arrange the specifics but my favorites would have to be using one's self as the ultimate dead-man switch (no pun intended) or to simply have the contract killer take out the stalker using a projectile with a small note attached: "No backsies."


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:26 AM
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I have a family member being tormented by a nutjob; thinking through options for him involves recognizing the nutjob has limited ability and high motivation. That is, recognize that some comic-book scenario led to botching the job of hiring someone to commit a serious crime. IMO, think through what little the deranged person may be able to do competently, and work out how to defend against that. How did they find the first hitman (that DIDN'T WORK)? If some network of shady friends, use the same network (the hitman's name is in the court records, right?) to mention a reward for sound recordings of incriminating statements. The existence of the prior attempt, a public record available to even lazy police, should serve as a strong deterrent to any criminal but a crackhead, I would think, by the way.

Posting a security camera and securing ground-floor windows, and reading up on similar low-expenditure methods would be worthwhile though. For sanity's sake, recognize that your enemy is not the talented Mr Ripley, but a badly-drawn cartoon that unfortunately can use the phone and kick over trash cans or whatever. Toughen up a little sensibly and don't worry too much.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:27 AM
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A variant of the version ascribed to Dsquared make the most sense to me. Just have an intimidating total stranger find the stalker in a public place and explain that the stalker is being watched too, and that problems caused by the stalker will be dealt with (no specifics). A prior invetsigation getting SS #, Drivers' license #, residence address, place of employment, etc., would make this approach plausible.

Questioning the hypothetical -- seems quite possible that the stalker lost or redirected his obsession while in jail, or that the difficulties of life will keep him from being a serious threat once he's out. We shouldn't assume a fanatically committed Professor Moriarty with infinite resources.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:27 AM
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Also Sifu Tweety in 54. Having someone you know trick the stalker into taking out another hit on you, then having that someone turn him over to the police, is clearly the best bet: pro-active, yet non-violent, low-risk, and 100% legal.

Or, you could just drive your family out to your houseboat. You'll be safe from the killer there.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:28 AM
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I don't think this is much of a deterrent to normal murderers,

Normal murderers aren't in the position where the local police have a file on them saying "Person X has previously been convicted of attempting to hire a hitman to kill the victim," at which point a conviction for the actual murder is pretty much assured. What makes judicial process not a great deterrent is that criminals generally don't believe they'll get caught, not that they don't mind the consequences if they do. (And if the guy is undeterrable, it's not clear that threats of murder are going to be that much more powerful than threats of incarceration. For one thing, they're much less credible, and it's hard to see how to make them credible. Have dsquared's 'hard man' deliver a vicious beating with a promise of retaliatory murder if the victim is killed? It might be convincing, but it's awfully criminal.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:29 AM
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i>In fairness, I would have posted an hour ago, but I dropped my laptop on my hardwood floor, creating a giant gouge that I proceeded to repair in a kinda-decent way with a floor-repair kit that involves melting color-matched plastic into the gouge with a hot iron.

Lucky bastard. In my case the floor was fine, but not the laptop.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:30 AM
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You know, I think it would cost more to replace the wooden floor planks than to buy a cheap new laptop.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:33 AM
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I must admit, even aside from the morals of it, that I wouldn't know where to go about finding the local 'hard man'

do they not have nightclubs or pbus round your way? See those big lads standing by the door and not drinking, usually wearning black, with little two-way radios? They're hard.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:34 AM
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Finally! A topic I know something about--my boyfriend is a prosecutor who specializes in menacing by stalking cases. The best advice by far is a combination of

1. HIDE--you've got like 3 years or so head start--use it. Move, change your name, etc. These guys are usually not rocket scientists and if you move half a continent away, they probably won't be able to find you if you take some reasonable precautions. Also, criminals tend to violate their parole a lot, so he might keep getting sent back to jail. It will be hard for him to travel the country looking for you.
2. Get a dog.
3. Learn karate and get a gun and learn how to use it (get a concealed carry permit so you can keep it in your car if you need to--i don't recommend actually carrying the gun on your person, but having it in the glove compartment might be handy)
4. Contact the D.A. and the parole board. Make sure this guy doesn't get out soon. You can probably work it so he doesn't know you are the one screwing his parole (which will also feed his obsession with you).
5. make sure that if you do die, local law authorities are familiar with your situation and will know who to blame. Wherever you move to, contact local law authorities as well to notify them about your situation. If it's a fairly small town (10-12,000 say) they might easily add a cruise by your house every evening to their normal patrol.

DO NOT try any strategy that involves contacting or interacting with this person in ANY way. That will only feed their obsession with you. Try not to worry too much (hard i know!) about the contract killer. There aren't that many competent ones. Most times, they take the contract in jail then flip on the contractor to get time off their sentence. Tell your friend good luck and try not to let this ruin her (I assume) whole life--Miranda


Posted by: Miranda | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:34 AM
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82: This is one of those cultural differences. There is, in fact, no one fitting that description in the local pub-equivalent, nor have I ever seen anyone fitting that description. My best idea for finding a petty criminal would be working through a drug dealer -- those I could find -- but that's a few steps removed from 'guy who beats people up for money'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:37 AM
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pretend to blow one's nose when there is such a situation

I think it was Steve Martin who advised that if you were being mugged, to throw up on your money.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:37 AM
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Isn't pissing on yourself a standard technique taught in rape self defense classes?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:41 AM
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And if the guy is undeterrable, it's not clear that threats of murder are going to be that much more powerful than threats of incarceration.

I completely agree. I don't know the situation myself, but if the stalker/obsessor is really crazy, then threats of any kind won't deter him.

Ideally, this kind of person would be committed to a psychiatric institution where good doctors would figure out what was wrong with him and set him up with the right combination of therapy and antipsychotics until he's no longer a danger to himself and others. But our system isn't set up to make that an easy option.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:41 AM
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Moving and/or taking your chances just doesn't seem reasonable.

Neither does anything else, ogged. My serious response to this is, and? I would not be willing, I'd like to think, to become just as bad as the stalker by having anything done to him or even presenting an empty threat of anything being done to him in an extra-legal way. I think I would take a lot of steps to beef up my personal security but they would all be entirely defensive - monitored alarm system, talk to the local law enforcement and D.A. as advised above, let people close to me know the situation, etc., yes; do anything to the stalker? No thanks. That kind of thinking is what made the stalker a stalker.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:43 AM
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Yeah, I've said 'civil commitment' a couple of times, but I'm sure that's of only limited effectiveness (my guess is that even if you could establish dangerousness, you could get him locked up for a month or so, not much more). And depends on his being diagnosably mentally ill, which it's not clear that he is other than the obsession.

But back to Ogged in 65: I'm surprised by the amount of risk people are willing to tolerate.

Isn't this kind of Cheney's 1% doctrine? I mean, there's a lot of realistic risk analysis to be done after the initial situation is defined. I think there's a fair shot that the actual risk isn't all that great.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:46 AM
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As far as civil commitment goes: how does that work? My understanding is that you have to have a relationship with the person being committed in order to get them committed. That is, a family member, spouse, etc. would have to initiate the process.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:48 AM
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What do you do?
Freak the fuck out.

After I'm done freaking out, a couple of considerations: chances are the stalker isn't Lex Luthor with unlimited resources or an evil mastermind fixated on the person as part of their evil plan, just a nutjob with a bad crime serial fantasy. And the person's in a position to know whether the 'contract for hire' was 'she/he asked cousin Wayne/her boyfriend to shoot me' or 'nutjob has network of shady contacts.'

Either way, we're probably not talking skilled assassins from Krypton. And on preview, I see someone beat me to the comic book/obsessed evil genius.

If it were me, I would use the time the person is in prison to learn how to shoot very well. I would get a large dog and invest in a good security system. I would get a restraining order, not because it would stop crazy person, but so that there'd be a reason to arrest them if they did show up. I would not publicize it on the Internet, not wanting to give a stalker something easy to Google, but I would want my friends and neighbors and local police to know that the background paranoia conditions for 'someone strange has been driving around the neighborhood' are a little higher than usual.

I would not go out of my way to contact the person.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:48 AM
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On preview, Miranda has a more thorough assessment, including the note on parole violations. If the obsessor gets out on parole, your friend should be aware of the conditions of the parole, and know how to have him sent back for violating them if appropriate.

I'd second Lizardbreath's advice to consider civil commitment, if available in the appropriate jurisdiction. It's certainly not a cure-all, but even if you set the possibility of rehabilitation aside, it can make for a remarkably long-term prison substitute or supplement.

Something else to consider is whether the obsessive has anything that he or she values comparably to the life of the obsession. If nothing else, the conviction for attempted murder is a possibility as with Gaijin Biker's exposure recommendation. Without knowing the details, it's hard to say, but there might be some position of leverage short of blackmail. Administrative punishment can also be quite effective. I'm guessing that the obsessor has citizenship - if not, by all means take it to the immigration authorities. Other agencies, if circumstances suit, can also significantly complicate the obsessor's efforts at parole.

Too much of this depends on the particulars of the situation, which the friend of a friend may be understandably reluctant to put out on the internet.


Posted by: HC | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:50 AM
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how does that work? My understanding is that you have to have a relationship with the person being committed in order to get them committed.

I actually don't know, but the standard floating around my head is "danger to themselves or others". It can't simply be impossible to have someone committed, regardless of their behavior, if they don't have cooperative family, can it? (Or, of course, his family isn't crazy and may help you out. Friends of my family spent a fair amount of time trying to have a family member committed. This is when I was a kid, so I'm not clear on the details, but I remember he was eventually found on the grounds of Gracie Mansion with an ax, planning to kill Mayor Koch.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:53 AM
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There seems to be a lsurprising amount of support on this thread for buying a gun and learning to shoot, and rightly so. When someone's out to get you, the cops almost certainly won't be there when he strikes. But your gun will, if you own one.

This is why we need to keep gun rights strong, you see, even if some crazy dude shoots up a food court tomorrow.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:53 AM
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90: Police can start the process, I think, also a psychiatrist. A person I know got committed at a hospital where he went to have a burn treated--he was behaving in a way that scared the nurses. Of course he was out a couple of days later.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:55 AM
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Actually, one anecdote is really poor evidence for any sort of gun legislation, you see, whether it's crazy dudes shooting up food courts or crazy dudes finding it easy to find an armed contract killer.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:57 AM
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Also, DON'T learn karate, unless you want to impress Elisabeth Shue in the All-Valley Karate Championship. For practical real-world self-defense, take a self-defense course, or maybe study Krav Maga or that Bas Rutten video. You want to know how to stun and/or incapacitate your attacker and get away, not how to do a flying crane kick.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 8:59 AM
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Maybe this guy should just stop screwing the stalker's wife.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:00 AM
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you want to impress Elisabeth Shue

Ogged?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:00 AM
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84: What about a bouncer?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:01 AM
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Isn't pissing on yourself a standard technique taught in rape self defense classes?

No. Not those taught by competent people, anyway.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:03 AM
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97 is right. Unless you really are being attacked by a comic book assassin, knowing kung-fu will be less useful than knowing how to hit someone with a chair, or how to scream in a way that gets attention, or how to 'stab.. in the liver!'

Not that martial arts aren't fun, good exercise, and all that, it's just that they tend not to focus on actually connecting a punch or a kick.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:04 AM
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Isn't this kind of Cheney's 1% doctrine?

Basically, and I supported the war on nearly these grounds, as you'll recall. Seriously, if we had more war supporters here, I think the responses might differ. All the responses here which emphasize hiding and defense seem kind of...irresponsible to me, and you can't live your life looking over your shoulder. This is interesting.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:04 AM
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It seems to me that the shooting courses are most useful if you post the certificates on your front door. Maybe mail some of the shot-up targets to the stalker.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:04 AM
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#96: So can I infer then, Cala, that you want us to have strict gun laws, but not so strict that you personally can't get a gun when you feel you need one? If so, that sounds a bit hypocritical, you see.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:05 AM
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you can't live your life looking over your shoulder

So... don't! I think you're overestimating the amount of actual risk involved.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:05 AM
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that you want us to have strict gun laws, but not so strict that you personally can't get a gun when you feel you need one

Aren't those more or less the gun laws we have now?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:07 AM
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Haven't read the thread, but seems obvious: you get a restraining order, watch like a hawk for the dude and when he comes around, as he surely will if (if) he's still planning to kill you, call the cops and have him arrested for violating his parole.

Also, try not to freak out. Depending on how long it's been, the person will probably have set his/her sights on other targets by now.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:09 AM
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kind of...irresponsible

The thing is, preemptive murder would keep the guy from killing you -- you could get more or less creative about avoiding consequences, but you'd be safe from him. If you're not going to murder him, it's not at all clear to me that an 'aggressive' approach keeps you any safer than a defensive approach. (See, with regard to Iraq, total genocide as an option that would have kept Iraq from being a problem in future).

Are you saying that any option short of pre-emptive murder seems irresponsible (?) (What's the responsibility here?) to you, or do you have an aggressive idea that you're certain is more effective than the defensive ones?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:09 AM
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I strongly disagree with the idea of getting a gun. One of the basic rules of self-defense is not to carry any weapon you're not prepared to have used against yourself. It's too easy to get into a close-range situation where the weapon is taken from you.

Also, gun control & such.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:09 AM
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105: No, as I said, I think that hard cases make bad law. You can use the story of some two-bit loon to justify either really tough gun laws (so contract killers are hard to find), or really lax gun laws. And I really hate being condescended to, you see, especially by someone who I am pretty sure has the intelligence to see that 'we need relaxed gun laws because of the existence of a miniscule stalkers who were caught before anyone came to harm' makes for a piss-poor argument.

But in all seriousness, I can't think of reasonable gun legislation that would prevent the person here from protecting themselves. I mean, I could follow my advice exactly were I in Canada (dark chords of gun control.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:11 AM
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Get a sword cane!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:11 AM
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110: I question the applicability or viability of that "basic rule of self defence". It seems hard to square with the widespread popularity of guns and the general success record of gun-users in combat with non-gun-users.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:12 AM
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#107: Well, it seems to me that certain people are quick to claim that the gun laws we have now are too lax, and need to be tightened up. Often, the claim is even made that private citizens have no business owning guns, and gun ownership should be left to the police.

It's fun to watch these people change their minds when they contemplate a situation where they might need a gun to defend their own life.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:12 AM
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ogged, can you tell us whether the obsession is random (the psycho just fixated on one of his/her acquaintances) or based on some interaction/perceived relationship/behavior/whatever? That seems relevant to whether the stalker's obsession is likely to continue.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:12 AM
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responses here which emphasize hiding and defense seem kind of...irresponsible

This doesn't make sense to me. You might not like them because of the "living in fear" aspect, but what makes it "irresponsible"? Because you have to scare the potential killer into submission? It's your responsibility to take them out? You're being a pussy?


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:12 AM
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Poned by LB in 109.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:13 AM
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#108: Also, try not to freak out. Depending on how long it's been, the person will probably have set his/her sights on other targets by now.

Unless his years behind bars have just focused his obsession on you, Cape Fear-style.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:14 AM
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114: and what magical land of straw might these people inhabit? When this thread gets boring I'd like to visit there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:14 AM
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114: Ooohhhhhhh, I get it now. Aren't you clever! (*pinches GB's cheeks*)


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:14 AM
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Get a big, barky dog.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:14 AM
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All the responses here which emphasize hiding and defense seem kind of...irresponsible to me

While I kind of agree with Emerson's "don't let 'em win" idea, I don't think that relocating and/or changing ID is irresponsible. It seems to me extremely unlikely that the stalker will have the wherewithal to find me in another city if I'm actually careful about cutting ties. Now, obviously family ties are uncuttable, and maybe that would be an easy path for the stalker to follow, but for a lot of people it's not. If I left Pgh and took my MIL with me (she's only here because we are), there would be no links for a stalker to follow, esp. if my father-in-another-state moved to a different house (from the one he's been in for 20 yrs). Sure, if he has a lot of $$ to hire someone competent, that person might be able to figure something out, but even that's low-likelihood. But on his own abilities? I doubt it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:15 AM
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Send him CD mixes of songs about suicide. Put some perfume on the packaging.

Alternatively, create a fake obituary of your own suicide, and send that to him.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:16 AM
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110: I think the claim isn't that non-gun owners survive, but that if you take a fearful non-gun owner and hand them a gun (like a woman afraid of an abusive ex-boyfriend), statistically, the new gun owner is more likely to be killed by her new gun than defend herself, largely because the bad guy already is a bad guy who doesn't have a problem hurting you, and the person trying to defend themselves probably doesn't have that mindset.

114: I've never claimed that private citizens shouldn't own guns. And I think that's true of everyone here who is advocating for gun ownership.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:17 AM
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We don't know, so how can we speculate.
Boldly.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:17 AM
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It seems hard to square with the widespread popularity of guns and the general success record of gun-users in combat with non-gun-users.

Popularity = good idea? Oy.

"General success record"? Documentation? What does "combat" mean in this context? How likely is it that the stalkee is going to have sufficient warning to locate, load (please Jesus don't keep it loaded), and use the gun anyway?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:17 AM
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Get a big, barky dog.

And teach it to shoot a gun.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:18 AM
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#111: 'we need relaxed gun laws because of the existence of a miniscule stalkers who were caught before anyone came to harm' makes for a piss-poor argument.

For you, it's a crazy hypothetical about one weird stalker. What about people who live in crime-ridden neighborhoods and want to keep a gun at home to defend themselves against everyday burglars, rapists, etc.? You are close to falling into the Rosie O'Donnell trap of thinking it's okay to ban gun ownership by ordinary people, because don't we all hire trained bodyguards to walk our kids to school?


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:19 AM
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Maybe the guy just wants to be friends?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:19 AM
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127: That kind of thing can backfire.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:19 AM
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it's not at all clear to me that an 'aggressive' approach keeps you any safer than a defensive approach.

This is really situational -- I don't think we have nearly enough information . Most stalkers feel like they control the situation, as I understand it. You can take that control away. You can introduce them to an entirely new picture of the world. You can make it clear that someone is a) much better at this than they are and b) going to make their life interesting. Most people don't respond well to living in fear.

But this runs into the problem you mention with dsquared. He's quite right, it's not hard to find the sort of people who could, in theory, take care of this for you. As an outsider, you probably don't know if you've found the right one(s), you probably don't know who you can trust, and you don't know how to disengage. This is all potentially worse than your original problem.

A few people have commented that the risk is being overestimated. Absent other information, I suspect this is strongly true. You really want to be careful about pre-emptively screwing your own life up.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:19 AM
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defense

But a weak counterattack is worse than none. Suggesting a strong counterattack (not a threat, which would just feed the obsession since it is communication) without knowing more of the circumstances isn't right.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:20 AM
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what makes it "irresponsible"?

Like I say, what if you decide to have kids? Is it ok for them to be at risk from this guy? What if you disappear and he turns his attention to your family? Yeah, that's not likely, but you'd wait to see if he makes a move? I'm not sure this is worth arguing about, since it seems like a basic temperamental divide.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:20 AM
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basic temperamental divide

Well, yeah, but one which makes you a dangerous lunatic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:22 AM
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This is why no one trusts Democrats on national security, LB.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:22 AM
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128: I'm not sure who you think you're arguing with, but since you seem to be inventing my position in responses to your own hypotheticals anyway, I'm happy to let you do all the work in both sides of the conversation.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:22 AM
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You are close to falling into the Rosie O'Donnell trap of thinking it's okay to ban gun ownership by ordinary people, because don't we all hire trained bodyguards to walk our kids to school?

Dude, we all know that's who you want to argue with, but I swear, she's not here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:23 AM
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It's fun to watch these people change their minds when they contemplate a situation where they might need a gun to defend their own life.

Did anybody do this, or is it more like an internal fantasy fun?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:23 AM
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Find out where the stalker lives. Fill his shoes with split-pea soup. Rattle some chains in his attic. When he's nearby, have the old run-down amusement park start up, apparently on its own. Rig up a ouja board which tells him to leave you alone.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:23 AM
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Because of people like you defining 'dangerous lunacy' as 'responsibility'? I heartily agree.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:23 AM
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130: also


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:23 AM
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What's irresponsible is that the stalkee hasn't been sending Jodie Foster posters to the stalker in prison.

Alternately, lots of reminders about the prison warden, who is institutionally better-protected.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:24 AM
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139 is perfect.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:24 AM
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to placate Ogged, I will note that a sharp knife and an alibi does have it's appeal.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:25 AM
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140 to 135.

Seriously, ogged, is preemptive murder your only idea, or is there something aggressive but less criminal that you're convinced would be more effective than reasonable self-defense measures?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:25 AM
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(but I don't think I'd choose that option)


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:26 AM
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thinking it's okay to ban gun ownership

Gun control ≠ banning gun ownership


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:26 AM
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#119, 120, etc.: There certainly are large numbers of people who feel ordinary citizens should not own guns for self-defense. For starters, that position is pretty much the law in countries like Britain and Japan, and even in the US, the Supreme Court will be hearing a case soon on DC's attempt to ban home handgun ownership. So it's not a straw man, made up argument. If no one here shares it, well, then I am pleasantly surprised.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:27 AM
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It might clear some things up if we reveal that Ogged is, secretly, the Batman.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:27 AM
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If only we'd elected Al Gore in 2000, there wouldn't be any guns anymore.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:28 AM
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Alternately, lots of reminders that chances are the person who is being stalked probably has about as many criminal contacts as my cat, and would be more likely to end up themselves in trouble for harassment than actually protecting themselves. If I'm wrong, and the stalkee has something like shivbunny's network of beefy cousins, then by all means send the beefy cousins around. But if I'm right, I feel like this is about to turn into the plot of a bad movie. Mr. Smith Goes To The Hood.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:28 AM
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Well, like I said, having someone assure him that he'll be killed was my first option (if I knew I could get away with killing him, seriously, that would be my first option). I am really interested in the responses here. For us, the threat of a terrorist attack just fades into the background of vague threats to our safety, and we go on without thinking about it, but clearly, for a lot of our fellow citizens, it has the same focused quality that I'm finding in the stalker situation: this is the threat, it needs to be eliminated. Of course, they're wrong and I'm right, but I can see the thinking.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:28 AM
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148. You'll be even more surprised once I shoot you in the face!


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:28 AM
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148: It's a strawman when you attribute to people that aren't actually making those points.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:30 AM
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"General success record"? Documentation? What does "combat" mean in this context?

See section 5 of the NAS study "The Use of Firearms to Defend Against Criminals"

http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10881

In particular, Kleck's work. A sample on page 115.

http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10881&page=115

(please Jesus don't keep it loaded)

That kind of defeats the purpose.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:30 AM
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Well, yeah. When I say I don't know how I'd find a 'hard man', I'm sure I could find someone who would accept money in return for a promise of violence if I really tried. I really don't have the contacts to evaluate their merits as a reliable violence provider, though. (And of course, it'd be terribly embarrassing to be arrested and convicted for attempted assault and battery, just like the stalker got convicted of attempted murder.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:30 AM
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I also think people are really overestimating the ease with which one could hire a contract killer. I mean, how does one go about that, really, and be confident it will work? Finding somebody competent, loyal enough to go to jail for you, who needs money enough that they'd risk everything instead of giving you up? C'mon. This is not calling a plumber.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:30 AM
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153: Devious!


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:31 AM
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if I knew I could get away with killing him/her,

Doesn't w-lfs-n have advice on this?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:31 AM
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156 to 151.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:31 AM
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There certainly are large numbers of people who feel ordinary citizens should not own guns for self-defense.

I feel this way.

My dad has a story which made a big impression on me. He woke up in the middle of the night, one night, and saw a large figure in the doorway to his bedroom. He says if he'd had a gun he would have shot the person in that moment, no question; he was that terrified/adrenaliney/sleepy-wigged out.

At the time, he had two large sons in high school, both living at hom.

The figure turned out to be my mom, who is 5'3" and a hundred pounds.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:31 AM
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"Excuse me, I believe I would like to retain your services, to, in your lingo, bust a cap in someone's ass. Do you take American Express?"


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:31 AM
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90 - Civil commitment can be effectively a life sentence, particularly if there is a sexual component to this obsession. A lot depends on the jurisdiction, and to a lesser extent your results will vary with the judge and psychiatrists involved. It's much less reliable than prison, but if the circumstances are right, it is in some ways harder to get out of than prison might be.

Lizardbreath - to take NY as an example, you're thinking of MHY 9 commitments, by roommates, family, institution heads, psychiatrists, peace officers, and the like. Those can last longer than you'd think, but not reliably. A much better bet for this case, if available, is a commitment under MHY 10 by some arm of the government.

Again, talk to the DA.


Posted by: HC | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:31 AM
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I mean, how does one go about that, really, and be confident it will work?

I'm given to understand that if you have a friend who's a cop, that's the place to start.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:32 AM
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"Excuse me, I believe I would like to retain your services, to, in your lingo, bust a cap in someone's ass. Do you take American Express?"

"A fellow I know is all up in my grill. Could you help me extract him?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:33 AM
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please Jesus don't keep it loaded

Rusty Shackleford tells me that Jesus is more of a nunchuks guy anyhow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:34 AM
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having someone assure him that he'll be killed was my first option

What's your basis for thinking this is going to be more effective than a (legal, practical) threat of incarceration? (A) If he's undeterrable by threat of incarceration, why would he take a threat of murder more seriously? (B) Doesn't this have the risk of blowback -- "I'd been putting the obsession behind me, but now she's trying to have me killed! I must take her and her minions out first!!"

Thinking that it's more effective because it's more violent seems like a basic mistake.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:34 AM
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Miranda has the best advice in this thread.

The gun, the dog, the basics of self-defense (physical moves), the basics of being aware of your surroundings are all just playing the odds to help you out a little.

As someone else said, most of these guys are bunglers. If a seriously talented criminal wants you dead badly enough, you are screwed. Fortunately, most criminals are relatively stupid.

I teach a concealed handgun class and most of the time is spent telling people how infrequently they are allowed to shoot someone. In my opinion, the gun is simply the last resort. You are stuck in your car. Or stuck in your house. You have some means to hold someone off until the police get there. For most people, carrying the gun around with them isnt going to help them much.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:36 AM
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on second thought, maybe you shouldn't ask w-lfs-n (or me). Might that be something like an accessory to a conspiracy to commit murder?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:37 AM
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"N-word, please. I require your assistance to get this motherfriggin' punk out of my business."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:37 AM
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A little tip: if you take this line of thought too far, they will lock you up in a ward. If this has really gone down as reported, this person is probably safe as houses: there's a "paper trail" which will efficiently lead to the investigation/conviction/possible execution of the problem person should they kill the other person, which would be a pretty expensive obsession. If that's a good enough strategy for nuclear war, why is an individual instance bothersome?


Posted by: Heinz Ampules | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:38 AM
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My dad has a story which made a big impression on me. He woke up in the middle of the night, one night, and saw a large figure in the doorway to his bedroom. He says if he'd had a gun he would have shot the person in that moment, no question; he was that terrified/adrenaliney/sleepy-wigged out.

I am not expert, but I teach people to keep their guns locked under the bed. My theory is that if someone breaks into my house and gets to my room in 1.5 minutes, I am dead.

Likewise, I have 1.5 minutes of getting my gun out to clear my head before I shoot someone. (Plus, BR wouldnt let me keep it loaded by the bed even if I wanted to.)


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:39 AM
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#154: Well, on the Virginia Tech shooting thread a while back, for example, I definitely got the feeling that a majority of commenters felt that guns were a bad thing that needed to be regulated out of the hands of ordinary people as much as possible, and that any gun ownership at VTech by non-crazy students that day would only have made things worse.

From there, and from other threads and comments, I got the sense that most Unfoggeders are strongly anti-gun ownership as a general principle. If I was wrong about that, well, great!


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:39 AM
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164: I thought of that. I'm actually a couple of degrees of separation from any cops I can think of offhand, but it seems like a more reliable method than working through drug dealers, which is the only other way I could think of finding criminals.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:39 AM
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Richmond Unfogged Meetup at the gun range!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:40 AM
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I got the sense that most Unfoggeders are strongly anti-gun ownership

My sense is that most of the folks here don't really give a damn one way or the other. That's certainly my stance on the issue.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:41 AM
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If he's undeterrable by threat of incarceration, why would he take a threat of murder more seriously?

Because most people think dying is worse than going to jail. And because lots of people think they can evade the police/prosecution, but will be more concerned with an extra-legal "we'll find you and kill you wherever you go" threat.

handgun class and most of the time is spent telling people how infrequently they are allowed to shoot someone

If someone has already been to jail for taking out a hit on you, you need a barely plausible reason to shoot him for a jury to let you go. This is a clear instance of a failure of the law to protect someone and everyone understands that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:41 AM
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a reliable violence provider

In a perfect world there would be websites for this sort of thing where such providers could be profiled and rated by their clients in a confidential, credible way. Think of the invisible hand of the market. Now think of it closing around the stalker's throat.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:42 AM
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My theory is that if someone breaks into my house and gets to my room in 1.5 minutes, I am dead.

But this seems ludicrously unlikely, on the order of the piano falling out of the window of the penthouse apartment. Do you really prepare for such a thing?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:43 AM
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i think the stalker is scared enough already


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:43 AM
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The law did protect them, ogged. The guy got caught and went to jail. Odds are, if he's that inept, the same damn thing'll happen next time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:44 AM
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173: But you were responding to me and calling me a hypocrite. As much as I'd like to believe that the commentariat are all my little puppets, to establish your hypocrisy claim, you'd need to show that someone who said here 'you should get a gun' has said 'no private citizen should own guns' earlier. Proximity to someone else's comment doesn't cut it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:44 AM
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From there, and from other threads and comments, I got the sense that most Unfoggeders are strongly anti-gun ownership as a general principle. If I was wrong about that, well, great!

I personally am strongly anti-gun ownership as a general principle, so I'll happy receive your scorn. Where you went wrong, as previously mentioned, was in ascribing that stance to a particular person in the absence of evidence in this thread.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:45 AM
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In a perfect world there would be websites for this sort of thing

In this imperfect world, however, it's easier to find somebody who wants you to eat them.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:45 AM
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179:

If someone really wants me dead, they can kick my door down and run up to my room in 30 seconds.

My family has been listed on websites of people who discuss the concept of killing others for their cause.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:46 AM
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This is not calling a plumber.

Which is exactly why only G. Gordon Liddy will do in these circumstances.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:46 AM
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184: There was a woman in Tyler, Texas the other day who met a similar fate.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:46 AM
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but will be more concerned with an extra-legal "we'll find you and kill you wherever you go" threat

After all, this is what the stalker is trying to push in the first place. ogged knows it will work because the stalker is necessarily already a believer. It's like the hired violence equivalent to that guy in the Remington ads who bought the company.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:46 AM
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178 is hilarious.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:47 AM
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And because lots of people think they can evade the police/prosecution, but will be more concerned with an extra-legal "we'll find you and kill you wherever you go" threat.

Under the circumstances, where the guy has a prior conviction for trying to kill you? If he's at all capable of rational evaluation of chances, that's a pretty certain conviction up against "Hrm. Here I am, completely personally uninvolved Hard Man. Dead Victim gave me money to kill Stalker if she died. Now she's dead. Should I (a) pocket the money and maybe take a nap? or (b) put myself at immediate personal and later judicial risk in order to preserve my honor as a man who keeps his bargains? Hrm. That couch looks pretty soft and comfortable, doesn't it."

The expected value of the threat of prison is a whole lot greater than the threat of murder, unless the victim is connected enough to be able to convincingly hire someone to carry out her posthumous wishes for a revenge killing, which most of us aren't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:47 AM
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177: If he's crazy enough that the threat of incarceration doesn't scare him, I don't know if you can assume that he's rational enough to fear for his own life, rather than re-igniting the obsession.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:47 AM
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157: Generally speaking, you (being the average American) can't do this with any ease whatsoever. As LB notes, you can probably more easily find someone who will take your money and perhaps roll you over to the police. Or just walk away with it (what are you going to do at that point?)

This was basically my point earlier about how if you really can do this you probably don't need to. Either you are worrisome enough yourself, or your friends are, that this is unlikely to happen. And if it does, you probably know people who would lean on this guy or remove him just as a favor, no money involved.


I got the sense that most Unfoggeders are strongly anti-gun ownership as a general principle.
There probably are some people who feel that way strongly. There are clearly a wide range of opinions about it here --- but I had the distinct sense you were arguing against a hypothetical that had not shown up in this thread, as if it were right there.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:47 AM
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My family has been listed on websites of people who discuss the concept of killing others for their cause.

Oh, that's true. I remember discussing your grandfather's profession in DC.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:47 AM
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187 is horrifying.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:48 AM
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What I would do? Honestly?

My two priors: I deeply believe that the only way out is through, and I would want the problem solved for good.

I would hire a shrink to treat the obsessor while in jail and see if the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program could help us meet and negotiate. The obsessor-person is the problem, so I would fix it there.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:50 AM
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#182: No, I did not call you a hypocrite. I wrote:

So can I infer then, Cala, that you want us to have strict gun laws, but not so strict that you personally can't get a gun when you feel you need one? If so, that sounds a bit hypocritical, you see.

I clearly asked whether a certain interpretation of your comment was correct, and said that if it was in fact correct, it sounded hypocritical to me. Those conditionals and questions are not rhetorical flourishes; I use them precisely because I want to avoid putting words in someone's mouth. If you thought I misread your position, all you had to do was say so.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:51 AM
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an extra-legal "we'll find you and kill you wherever you go" threat

And seriously, even if Hard Man is reasonably honest, say Stalker kills you and skips town. You really think you can practically hire someone to track someone down and kill them after you're dead -- like, do a nationwide manhunt? Because that sounds absurd to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:51 AM
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187 is horrifying.

That's glass half-empty thinking. The good news is that we finally have a black dude committing one of these weirdo crimes. Between this and Obama, I finally have some hope for race relations in this country.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:52 AM
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there speaks a man who hasn't had to call a fucking plumber.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:52 AM
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I was assuming your friends and family would be involved in making sure the guy dies. You'd have to make your threat to him credible, obviously.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:53 AM
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199 to 198, obviously.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:53 AM
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You really think you can practically hire someone to track someone down and kill them after you're dead -- like, do a nationwide manhunt? Because that sounds absurd like an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride to me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:54 AM
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185: killing others for their cause

What means? Killing people to promote acceptance of Furries?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:54 AM
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If this has really gone down as reported, this person is probably safe as houses: there's a "paper trail" which will efficiently lead to the investigation/conviction/possible execution of the problem person should they kill the other person, which would be a pretty expensive obsession

it's kind of the nature of obsessions that people carry them on even when they're pretty expensive. In fact, if someone gave up on their obsession simply on the grounds of excessive cost, I would say "that's some pretty weak obsession you got there buddy". And then I would get stralked and killed.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:55 AM
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#194: 187 is horrifying.

Seriously. Boiling destroys all the flavor!


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:55 AM
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203:

End one life to save other's lives.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:56 AM
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199 was meant to excerpt and quote part of 157, sorry.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:56 AM
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187 is horrifying.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:57 AM
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Fun fact --- wheelchair bound stalkers are far less effective, 4 out 5 dentists agree. Just noting.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:57 AM
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196: I did, in the next comment. When I did indicate that, you accused me of being close to Rosie O'Donnell (who I'm guessing is mean for some reason, not following daytime TV) by further assuming I held a position I do not hold.

The 'but I said if' move is somewhere on the dumbness scale as the "it's just my opinion" move.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:57 AM
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I was assuming your friends and family would be involved in making sure the guy dies. You'd have to make your threat to him credible, obviously.

Heh. This sounds practical to you? "Yes, Mr. Stalker, my husband the journalist with the two small children and my sister the doctor are going to drop all of their responsibilities and devote their lives to revenge killing." Even if they would, it's unlikely enough on its face that it's not a credible threat. This is the sort of thing that works if you already happen to be a Mafia princess, but not otherwise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:58 AM
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Shorter 196: "Nuh-uh! Thhhhhhppppppppt."


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:58 AM
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209: the fifth was caught and eaten when he tripped on a wheelchair ramp?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:58 AM
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||
BREAKING....

Re: The anti-smokers lie about smoking and health



The anti-smokers are the cause of ALL the scientific fraud. Their little clique of Wall Street-connected health fascists took over the US health establishment in the 1940s, and turned it into their private propaganda mill.

They suppress research, and deliberately use defective studies to falsely blame smoking for diseases that are really caused by infection. The standard ritual of "adjusting" is nothing but a sham - it doesn't work because infection is non-causally associated with smoking for socioeconomic reasons. And, nobody in this discussion has raised the issue of confounding by infection, because they are all brainwashed slaves of six decades of their disinformation.

Furthermore, the health fascists have controlled Philip Morris ever since Mary Lasker's stepson was on their board of directors in the 1960s. There has never been anything but an anti-smoker Goliath pretending to do battle with a PM hand puppet.

They have longtime ties to the CIA, and they have created a vast network of political corruption. And they get way with it because the media are their accomplices, not watchdogs. They purposely spread the lie that smoking is an economic burden in order to lay the foundation for the state tobacco lawsuits - and their lackeys at Philip Morris threw the fight on purpose, to make sure they didn't win.

Something to think about there!

|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 9:59 AM
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See, LB, you should have spent your living years cultivating friendships with people with more tribal sensibilities, instead of telling them how wrong they are in blog comments.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:00 AM
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help us meet and negotiate

Just on a gut level, this seems like a very poor idea.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:02 AM
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If anyone kills one of you lot, I will avenge you if the killer lives locally (or at least close to the Northern Line). Not in blood, obviously, you're not that good friends, but maybe I'd let his tyres down or something.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:02 AM
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215: Doesn't matter if your family really would -- it matters if the stalker believes they would. And my (civilized) kind outnumbers the Persian goatherds out there, so the threat isn't credible coming from you either. If your family's crazy enough they can kill the stalker for you, but it won't keep you safe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:02 AM
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the only way out is through

Possible threadjack--
This strikes me as an exceptionally American notion.

I am curious, immigrant vs non-immigrant, who believes this general statement is sensible? I am an immigrant. I feel that in most cases, the less I know about what other people think, the better. There are rare times when complete communication is very important, of course, but one gets to choose them. The crazier they are, the less I want to know.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:03 AM
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217: I appreciate that. Perhaps adding in keying the car, if it's a nice one? A couple of scratches on the paint job can be very expensive to fix.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:03 AM
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I think it would only work if you were related to the hired killer, but again, this is assuming that logic and reason apply to someone who already sought out a hit man to kill you out of an obsession.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:03 AM
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related to the hired killer

Yeah, there's a Mafia princess exception -- if you have strong personal ties to people who do violence professionally, you could probably get some persuasive threat of violence going. Short of that, no.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:05 AM
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I can see how saying something is "just my opinion" is dumb, since anything you say, short of an undisputed fact, is obviously your opinion. But how is it dumb to use the word "if" to indicate uncertainty about whether something is true? That's what it's for!

Pretending the word "if" is meaningless, and assuming any sentence containing it is in fact declaring something to be true — well, where does that fall on the dumbness scale?


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:05 AM
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pretty much the law in countries like Britain and Japan,

So, GB, do you fear crime in Japan because you're not allowed to have a gun? How often have you been attacked by violent criminals in Japan? How many people do you know there who have been attacked by violent criminals?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:08 AM
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223 to 210. Also, the Rosie O'Donnell reference is a reference to her admission that she hired armed bodyguards to take her kids to school, despite her frequent anti-gun rants on her show. The implication is that only those wealthy enough to hire armed guards get to defend themselves; in Rosie's world, you and I are SOL.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:08 AM
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it's kind of the nature of obsessions that people carry them on even when they're pretty expensive. In fact, if someone gave up on their obsession simply on the grounds of excessive cost, I would say "that's some pretty weak obsession you got there buddy". And then I would get stralked and killed.

It's also kind of the nature of "multi-dimensional child sex rings" that they're damnably hard to bring down: everybody acts like there's nothing wrong, which is how you know there is. Seriously, real extenuating circumstances will only take you so far vis-a-vis psychiatric assessment of your response to a perceived threat (like "excessive religiosity" is still a psychological problem even in God's Own Country). If you add more than a little sociopathy of your own, your celluloid-ready baddie might be the least of your problems.


Posted by: Heinz Ampules | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:09 AM
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What I would do is write a blog post about it where I used a smokescreen of pretending it concerned a friend of an acquaintance. I would then badger people in the ensuing comment thread to get them to agree that preemptive killing was the best course in preparation for my "social norm" self-defense defense.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:09 AM
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In the eventuality in which one commenter on this board kills another, I will have to work out which one I like(d) the most - if it's the murderer then the offer in #217 is null and void.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:10 AM
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"multi-dimensional child sex rings"

Multi-dimensional!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:11 AM
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I don't know, GB, you tell me. After I responded to your 'if', you proceeded to ignore my response for your next run of comments to StrawCala O'Donnell. One would think that had you been honestly confused by my position, reading my comment that answered your 'if' would have cleared that up for you, or, if it didn't, you would have gone on to ask further clarificatory questions, or have responded to people who pointed out that you seemed to be misunderstanding people's opinions.

But that's not really what happened. We went on a whirlwind tour of VA Tech and Rosie where you gleefully amused yourself with everyone's hypocrisy and impressed us with your leaps of logic. So far this looks, charitably, like someone whose 'if' was meant rhetorically.

But alas, it finally gets through your head that you're in the wrong on your assumptions, that Unfogged really isn't a place of people wanting to take away your guns. This happens from time to time. After all that, whimpering that you were honestly misunderstood in your quest to understand my position using 'if' seems like, not to point to fine a point on it, bullshit.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:12 AM
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the only way out is through

Possible threadjack--
This strikes me as an exceptionally American notion.

Dude. I am the biggest avoider here, I swear. I hate facing stuff straight on. But again and again, I has been true that the only thing that actually works is to turn around and walk straight towards the problem. Everything else just postpones and makes things complicated. So if the obsessor is the problem, then I would figure out how to fix the obsessor.

Besides, fixing the obsessor (with professionals, not by myself, although likely with my money) sounds like about the same amount of work as hiding the rest of my life. Better the obsessor change than me.

I'm sure the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program has pulled off bigger stuff than this. That's what they do.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:13 AM
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Hee hee. GB let's talk about what "is" means next, Cala's being awesome.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:13 AM
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#224: So, GB, do you fear crime in Japan because you're not allowed to have a gun? How often have you been attacked by violent criminals in Japan? How many people do you know there who have been attacked by violent criminals?

I've never been attacked by criminals in Japan after 6 years here. Of course, I was never attacked by criminals in America for 30 years there, either. But as Cala so rightly pointed out in #96, "one anecdote is really poor evidence for any sort of gun legislation".

By the way, Japan freaked out last month after a Japanese dude shot up a sports club here with a shotgun.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:13 AM
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231:

Megan has been watching My Name Is Earl.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:14 AM
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When the stalker gets out of jail, tell him he needs to prove his worth to you. Tell him you're waiting for him someplace very cold and very remote, and if he finds you, marriage! Be nowhere near that place, and let nature take its course.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:15 AM
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clarificatory

Excellent! Is this a real word? Google says many other people use it, but a quick dictionary search doesn't support it. Anyone have access to the OED?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:18 AM
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235 is impressively creative.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:19 AM
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Miranda's advice strikes me as far too cautious and legalistic, and it essentially involves letting the guy take control of your life by making you relocate across country. I can see working to get information about yourself off the public record as much as possible, registering everything at a maildrop, etc., etc., but what the Miranda recommends (strikes me as a "stalker wins" scenario.

In general the law is not much help until there's an actual crime or other event making the guy prosecutable or certifiable. Very slow and unreliable processes.

Back to arguing for eclecticism tuned to the specifics which we don't have now. Do what you can with the parole board, the police, and the mental health people, get a dog and maybe a security system, maybe get a gun (overrated I think but shouldn't be ruled out), get your personal information out of the public record as much as possible.

The proactive thing I would recommend is getting as much data about the stalker as possible. I would also seriously suggest having an intimidating guy let the stalker know that he's being watched without making any specific threat. People are assuming an iron-willed man of steel, but some stalkers wilt if confronted, partly because it bumps them out of their fantasy movie into a different movie where they play the passive role. That's what I'd try, anyway.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:19 AM
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someplace very cold and very remote

Elgin, North Dakota!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:19 AM
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Anyone have access to the OED?

In retrospect, I realize this is a stupid question in this group. To rephrase: Could someone who has access to the OED check it out?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:19 AM
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You can get a man killed for $3.95 in Elgin.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:20 AM
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241: Or $2.00 CDN, last I heard.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:21 AM
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"Multidimensional child sex rings" is a term of art that came out of the "Satanic panic" of the 80s. I've been working on generalizing them to Hilbert child sex rings, but so far grant money has not been forthcoming.


Posted by: Heinz Ampules | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:21 AM
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Does the stalker have family? I think introducing yourself to their friends and family would be productive. Not to charm or threaten them, just so they understand who the other end of the obsession is, that you're going to be watchful and are going to count on them to teach him what's appropriate behavior. Like Emerson said, making it harder for him to recruit others.

I think Megan's pretty sane in this thread. If he's a psychopath, he'll go right through it, but outside of the executive branch there aren't that many of them.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:21 AM
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Sadly, I am banned from access to the OED, after they took out that restraining order when my correspondence with the editors on the definition of the word "cunt" got out of hand.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:22 AM
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240: Here ya go.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:22 AM
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Moving and/or taking your chances just doesn't seem reasonable

It's not. But having someone hiring people to kill you isn't reasonable. I believe the standard advice in dv situations is yes, it sucks and it's not fair, but you have to disappear. Move, change jobs, maybe change your name (and if you have a partner/kids, their names--surnames, anyway). This of course presents problems as far as seeing your extended family, and I don't know what one would do about that (depending, of course, on how truly insane and obsessed the crazy person is).

I don't know if I would actually do those things. It's a hell of a lot to contemplate. But I believe that's what one "should" do.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:22 AM
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I wouldn't want to relocate. Wherever I am is likely the place that my neighbors & local law enforcement are going to be most sympathetic to my situation, because they heard about it through local media. It's also a place where I know who I can trust, where I have friends, &c., who can keep an eye out.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:22 AM
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the "Satanic panic" of the 80s

Don't mock my hair.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:23 AM
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My bodyguards will find you, GB. Don't think they won't.


Posted by: Rosie O'Donnell | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:25 AM
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Dsquared: too ba-a-a-d for the dictionary written by the serial killer!

I might also mention, very important, explain the situation to everyone who has serious information about you and convince them not to tell anyone anything, and to report back to you if someone comes around asking about you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:26 AM
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Gaijin Biker @ 94: This is why we need to keep gun rights strong, you see, even if some crazy dude shoots up a food court tomorrow.

Which gun rights? The right for someone who is neither a convicted felon nor a known mental case nor twelve years old to buy a gun for self-defense? Or the right of a private owner in Florida to sell several untraceable guns a year over the table in "gun shows" to whatever criminals and/or maniacs come up to his table and plonk down cash? It would be nice if there was some organization which supports the first but rejects the second, but your NRA isn't that organization.


Posted by: W. Kiernan | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:28 AM
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The OED is on board with "clarificatory"; both of its usage examples are philosophy related, natch.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:28 AM
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I may add that you're not trying to deter the stalker with rewards and punishments, but to shake him up by screwing with his head and putting him into a different movie than the one he's writing himself.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:29 AM
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I've never been attacked by criminals in Japan after 6 years here
i 've been twice, but them were just harmless weirdos, who happened to follow me to the aparto
i actually stopped to talk to the one of them, wanted to lead him to the nearest koban, but when he saw where we are going he fled
and the koban was empty! no one was there when i knocked, i waited like 10 min then just went straight home
mm, memories


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:30 AM
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237. thanks. It came to be because I suddenly recalled a childhood story about an old lady fending off a stalking wolf by telling him to find her in a variety of improbable and dangerous places.

You can get a man killed for $3.95 in Elgin.

or a 2 bedroom house on 1.5 acres, for the same amount.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:30 AM
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The OED is on board with "clarificatory"; both of its usage examples are philosophy related, natch.

how about "clarificationalist"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:30 AM
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253: My jargon doth out me.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:31 AM
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243: You're probably overstating the scope in your applications --- have you considered just going after a semi-group structure?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:31 AM
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Miranda's advice strikes me as far too cautious and legalistic, and it essentially involves letting the guy take control of your life by making you relocate across country.

God, this line of thinking is infuriating and insane. The point isn't to be right. It's to stay alive. The other person is crazy; you are not.

Yes, you can preemptively kill them, as Ogged suggests. If you are willing to do that, and to run the risk of spending the rest of your life in jail as a result, hey, whatever, go for it. Short of that, though, you need to get away from the person and not be findable.

Again, this isn't fair. You want to stand around playing macho self-righteous he-man, or you want to not get killed?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:39 AM
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258: calafactory?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:41 AM
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And yes, obviously, you tell your new employer, new neighbors, new boss, your kids' new teachers and principals, etc., that you have been stalked by someone who *has* hired someone to kill you, that that person is now in jail, but that you and your family fear for your lives. And that they are not to release your kids to anyone but you, to please keep their eyes open, if they see *anything* odd, to please tell you (or call the cops), and not to believe that anyone is your friend unless you, personally, tell them so.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:42 AM
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B is exactly right. We're not talking about what "seems reasonable" here, we're talking about someone's life. [Analogy to the travails faced by cannabis users redacted.]

Anyway, like I was saying far above, there's a whole industry devoted to this problem. Check out the links page on No Nonsense Self-Defense for an overview. Plug into that scene, after taking the very reasonable and non-violent precautions they suggest, and you have substantially increased your odds of surviving.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:49 AM
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Bitch, you're full of shit. This isn't a zero sum game between fleeing half way across the country, getting killed, or spending years in jail. There are various ways of responding to this that don't involve letting an insane person completely take over your life. There is some risk in the non-flight option, but the flight option has risks too, and enormous costs. (Losing touch with your family and friends, selling a house and buying a new one, and starting a new career under a different name are just three of them. (Furthermore, legit name changes are public record, as are professional licensing, so a lot of careers couldn't be continued at all.)

Part of the stalker game is assuming passivity on the part of the stalkee, who really is only part of the stalker's fantasy world. This is true of bullies of all kinds -- they keep pushing people around until someone pushes back.

The flight option makes the stalker into an irresistable, superhuman figure, and they like that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:49 AM
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I would point out that the evidence we have is that the stalker has tried to hire a hitman once and fucked it up once (ie is currently scoring 1-0, possibly 2- or 3-0 if they had a few tries before getting caught), so we are talking about the "what ho, my good man, how's about popping a cap on a sucker!" end of the spectrum, rather than anyone practically minded with good contacts. In which case, the new life option would seem a bit excessive.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:53 AM
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Someone close to me did the flight + change name thing. It's a move of last resort, I think. Luckily, the 'aggressor' died [natural causes] within a year or two of her leaving, but still, it's not an easy option.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:55 AM
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Well, yeah. All of this is, as I said, very 1% doctrine-ish. It seems perfectly likely that the guy is not now much of a tangible threat, and reasonable self-defense measures are plenty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:57 AM
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Cala, rereading your comment #96, it seems clear to me now that you were not making a snarky anti-gun ownership jab, as I had initially inferred, but were merely making a neutral statement about the inadvisability of making legislation based on a single anecdote. You're right; I read stuff into your comment that wasn't there.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:58 AM
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It's a move of last resort, I think.

Agreed. And presumes a rather more tangible threat that the text of OP suggests.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:58 AM
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262: I had been thinking that it was more the people you were unlikely to tell personally that could be helpful. If something like this were to happen in my parents' hometown, they'd be safer to stay in part because people who they didn't know personally, and wouldn't think to tell personally, would have heard of the story. They could move and tell their new police, neighbors, and friends, but they probably wouldn't think to tell their neighbor's brother Paul who hangs out in the local bar and knows everyone who comes in, or that guy they see at the local library.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:00 AM
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268: S'okay. It happens.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:01 AM
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Ogged isn't hanging around with Mrs. Buttafuoco, I hope.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:02 AM
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the only way out is through

That holds for ambushes, but the wise general avoids ambushes, as Sun Tzu informs us.

The up and down about acquiring an arsenal and/or taking the battle to the enemy in this thread reminds me of something I heard a journalist say, with respect to his experience covering organized crime and criminals and their violent tendencies: "Unless you are a very exceptional person, they are always willing to go further, faster, than you."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:27 AM
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You want to stand around playing macho self-righteous he-man, or you want to not get killed?

When put that way, the choice becomes clear.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:27 AM
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Among other things, B's advice reminds me of the Democratic political strategy since 1988 or so.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:29 AM
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273: My thinking exactly. All-out war is one thing, but being halfheartedly threatening or violent seems like a really poor idea. And for all-out war you need to actually be the kind of person (or have one helping you out) who has some experience hurting people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:33 AM
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yeah, think more like Rahm Emanuel. He would tap dance on this fucker's face!


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:34 AM
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264: Well, of course it's not zero-sum, John, but I don't see that as Dr. B's position or anyone else's. The person in the example is presented with a difficult situation. There exists a continuum of responses to that situation. What I read B as reacting to was the idea that a whole chunk of that continuum should be dispensed with because it constituted "letting the stalker run your life" or it "wasn't reasonable" or something like that. If the person in the example becomes aware, for instance, that they do not have the sympathy of their local law enforcement hierarchy, or that the stalker has only hardened in prison, then some of the options on the "reasonable", sit-tight end of the spectrum become significantly less attractive, while the options on the get-out-of-town end become more attractive.

Also, looking at the end game: we had a case around here in one of the small towns or exurbs recently where an angry ex-boyfriend was stalking his ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend. All the legal channels had been exhausted, and the stalker was still wandering around making threats. He broke into his ex's bedroom, and ex's new boyfriend killed him with a shotgun. New boyfriend was completely exonerated of course, since everything was well documented, but now he and the girlfriend are suffering PTSD-type symptoms, and are subject to quite a bit of opprobrium from friends and relatives of the departed. Sit-tight worked out from a survival perspective, but that doesn't mean it didn't have costs of its own.

We're all surviving, right now, but the question is how to survive in a way that you can stand.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:38 AM
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Emerson's advice is sound here: you make it known to the person that you're actively monitoring them, that you've enlisted outside help, and that amps up the consequences in the stalker's head. When my wife was stalked by her ex, we eventually hired a private detective to "talk to him." He approached the ex as he was leaving work, indicated that why he was there and who he was employed by ...

... then every day or two "appeared" somewhere the ex was: a coffee shop, the super market, the movies, &c. Didn't cost us much, since he only had to work for about an hour a day, and all he really did was loiter until he was sure the ex saw him and tip his hat. But he kept this up for a few weeks, and eventually, the ex disappeared from our lives.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:40 AM
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re: 273

Yeah, I've known some genuine bad-asses in my time [just growing up where I did, etc.]. And the real hard guys were nutters. Any 'civilian' who has the remotest idea of taking someone like that on is an idiot. These guys will grind a broken bottle into someone's face because they were wearing the wrong colour jumper.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:41 AM
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The more I think about this, the more I think that now is stalkee's best opportunity.

There are times when you shouldn't do extraordinary stuff, like when you are up against a crazy person and the whole system and cultural mores and your own fear. But for the next few years, most of those are aligned with the stalkee.

The obsessor is confined; right now she can reach him. The justice system is with her for now. Once he's released, the likely outcome is ineffectual protection. Of course she's still scared of him, but for now at least, his threat is as small as it is going to get.

Of all the things working against her in this bad, bad situation, the only one in play right now is that he is crazy and obsessed. She should work on that while she can. Her power in this is at a local maximum.

All her options suck. But this one could actually solve it. Fuck hiding.


(Incidentally, the guy who stabbed Justine Bateman used to hang out at my hippie co-op. I did not like him.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:42 AM
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276: And, as history from antiquity to yesterday tells us, the sort of person who doesn't mind hurting people by accident.

When the protagonist of I, Blogger fumbles the Jack Bauer Commemorative Edition H&K USP out of the bedside table and cuts loose at the uninvited goateed psycho creeping through the window, all those bullets have to go somewhere (even if you've spent your last three vacations at Gunsite), and some of them might end up in the spouse, the kids, the neighbor, the neighbor's kids.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:44 AM
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Perhaps someone has already addressed this point above, but the terminology here seems wrong to me. Wouldn't the imprisoned stalker in this instance be the obsessee, rather than the obsessor? To obsess means to possess the full attention of, and to preoccupy the mind of. It is ogged's friend who besieges the mind of the enjailed stalker, and who is therefore the possessor, preoccupier, and the obsessor. The enjailed stalker is the helpless besieged, i.e., the obsessee.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 11:48 AM
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283 is the perfect blend of pedantry and blaming the victim.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:00 PM
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I agree that there's an overemphasis on guns in this thread. What you need is a good knife. LB raised the point that you don't want to be inexperienced, so buy a couple pet pigs to practice on.

Another option, is Ogged's friend a girl? Doesn't matter, really. If not, find a girl willing to act. When stalker gets out, go to a bar, make friends with some guys. Maybe some marines or similar (boxing club/MMA club/rangers/rugby club..). Buy drinks. Talk about the situation. Ideas will abound! Invite stalker to hotel room/storage unit. Repeat if necessary.


NB: The views in this comment do not accurately reflect the reviews of myself or an affiliate stations.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:03 PM
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Oh, probably pure pedantry. Grammatically, it's right -- "I am obsessed by the Unfogged comments" is a statement in which the comments are the subject and I am the object, even though the obsession is actually inside my head.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:04 PM
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rangers

Park rangers?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:05 PM
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Sadly, I am banned from access to the OED

Plead your case out amongst the people all you want, dsquared, but they never will let you talk them into changing the definition of "cunt" to read simply "any individual member of the human race."

Mafia princess

This works, sure, but so does simply being a hillbilly. I do have cousins who would come after anyone who came after me. They would probably not manage to hurt my murderer but they would certainly be underfoot for a fairly significant length of time. We don't have smarts or experience or training on our side but we do have numbers.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:05 PM
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Robust McManlyPants is the Wee Free Men!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:07 PM
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287. you haven't seen Rambo enough times.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:08 PM
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289: Let's see, stolen cows, check. Questionable liquor, check. Questionable sources for said liquor, check. Unintelligible dialect, check. A penchant for pointless fighting, check.

Holy shit.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:10 PM
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As long as I'm doling out suggestions that I don't endorse...well, I have a lot of them...here's another:

Invite stalker for a walk and talk somewhere high on a cliff over the sea. Make sure it's dusk. And deserted. Bring sharp knife. Ask him to take off his shirt. He'll enjoy that. Then ask him to face the sea; put your hand lightly on his back. He'll enjoy that, too. You're feeling for the space between his ribs, behind one of his lungs. Put the knife there and then take it out. Give him a good shove.

Sure, the police/family will know. But they can't prove.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:12 PM
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re: 288

Someone beat me up once. He had to leave town* as the day after it happened, despite my express disapproval, several of my friends turned up at his door 'asking' for him.

The 'hillybilly' thing applies in most working class places where people have roots in the local community. Not so much if you're a young urban professional/academic type.


* or, more accurately, move from 'our' part of the town to about 5 miles away where he was protected.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:13 PM
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i repeat that the above is a purely intellectual exercise


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:13 PM
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re: 294

You're treading pretty close to 'violence porn' there Michael. And deep in the realm of fantasy land.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:15 PM
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293: In truth, one time in college a good friend's abusive ex-boyfriend left her a message stating he would be in town that night and expected her to be in so he could "talk to" her. She rang a few of us up and we went over and sat on her front steps with baseball bats. He never showed, which is a good thing; none of us had the slightest idea what we'd do if he did because none of us were about to start swinging a baseball bat at a guy. I think we mostly hoped he wouldn't reach a complete stop before seeing us and would just keep on going.

Now that I think about it again after a decade or so, he might have done that; she never heard from him again.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:17 PM
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The comments about underworld figures resorting to violence much faster than we would expect lead me to wonder if John Boormann's "The General" is a good film.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:18 PM
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re: 296

Yeah, an ex of mine had a violent ex partner. For a while after we split up I used to still go round there when he came to collect his daughter for child visitation. He wouldn't start any shit if I was there and it suited my ex to let him believe we were still together.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:20 PM
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I cannot tell you how many people I have represented who got in trouble for revenge style beatings like the ones discussed here.

Somehow proving that the guy who got beat with baseball bats was an aggressive stalker always ends up being really difficult after the fact.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:20 PM
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Be careful lest I turn my dark fantasies upon you, McGrattan!

But, sadly, none of my suggestions are original to me. The soldiers in the bar, for instance, was taken from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:21 PM
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299: I think proving things like that could be one of the silver linings of the Permanent Surveillance Society.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:25 PM
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Yeah, if it worked as advertised. Which, not so much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:27 PM
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297: IME, it's not so much that it's faster per se , but far more devastatingly complete than most people are really ready to understand. Many aren't really used to the idea that a beating would involve life-long consequences. For some people, this idea is commonplace. You really don't want to live there.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:27 PM
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Huh. Having only skimmed the thread -- ogged's comparison to national defense/foreign policy is interesting.

I'm sure I'm repeating things that have been said.

But if the stalker shows no sign of remorse once released from prison, I'd take an offensive approach: disempower him on multiple fronts: render him perpetually bankrupt (= economic sanctions), ensure that he knows he's being watched, that there will be serious repercussions if he acts against me. Try to render his life a living imprisonment. But this carries its own risks -- of infuriating the guy.

(My country cousins up in NH would quite possibly, er, just take care of the problem, possibly without even consulting me. Tribal lot, they are, raise their kids from an early age to handle firearms and such; you don't really want to mess with 'em. They ride Harleys.)

Having -- just once in my life -- been on the receiving end of threatening, violent behavior from a guy I broke up with, when it happens, it's a whole new ballgame. Second-guessing kind of goes out the window. I very much needed my friends to circle the wagons, drive him away.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:27 PM
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299: Convenient cover story, no?

This sort of stuff tends to work out `best', if it works out at all, in contexts where court appearances are unlikely, and witnesses even less so. If everyone is playing a game with those rules, much is different.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:29 PM
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293: Someone beat me up once. His friends (who were ill-disposed to me at the time) explained that he had been misled by rumors about me into thinking that beating me up was a good idea. I never had a problem with him after that.

He's now a balding, dreadlocked white rasta-influenced stoned loser.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:37 PM
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Somehow proving that the guy who got beat with baseball bats was an aggressive stalker always ends up being really difficult after the fact.

I would imagine that having a previous conviction for attempting to hire someone to have you killed would make the aggressive stalker nature somewhat easier to prove, surely?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:37 PM
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283: I think that the word "obsessed" is changing, from "obsessed by" (like "enchanted by the enchanter") to "obsessing on". The agent/subject is now the one obsessed, and the thing that obsesses him is the patient/object. "Obsessor" may once have been like "attractor" or "enchanter", but no more.

I blame Freud's concept of "projection". In fact, in this case the poor guy in jail is the actual victim of an enchantress who should be stoned.

That's right -- stoned. Just like Apo has been every waking hour for the last 30 years.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:39 PM
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302: The trick is to make sure you videotape the interrogations and confessions that take place in your basement.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:40 PM
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Not necessarily. "Your honor, I've paid my debt to society; while I regret what I did more than a decade ago, and will always be sorry for the fear I caused Victim, I have done nothing to injure her since I was released from prison -- certainly nothing to inspire the vicious beating I received at the hands of the self-appointed vigilantes who claimed to be acting on her behalf." That was then, this is now can be a very convincing argument.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:40 PM
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310: Not only convincing, can even be true.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:42 PM
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Good point, 308. The obsessor is clearly the person who inspired the obsession.

I find it hard to come up with a non-pejorative way to indicate what "obsessed" used to mean. "Enthralled"?

In fact, in this case the poor guy in jail is the actual victim of an enchantress who should be stoned.

"This guy seems to be ensorcelled by me. Maybe I should cast some different spells."


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:42 PM
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310: Well, it's not an automatic slam dunk or anything. But "Yeah, I tried to have her killed, but that was then and this was now" has to be a lot less convincing than "I have no idea who the defendant is" or "I went out with her once and decided she wasn't my type, next thing I knew a bunch of hillbillies were beating the crap out of me."


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:46 PM
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Sure, it's something, but without strong evidence of a currently continuing threat, it isn't much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:47 PM
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We're getting back to the fact that the law is not your friend in these cases.

Where there's actual public safety (Japan) legalism without many self-defense rights is actually a very good thing. It can work, and you don't have long chains of feud violence. In the U.S., for a variety of reasons, we don't have public safety everywhere. Self-defense and vigilante justice make sense then, even though illegal. People do get pushed to a place where they're really better off not being picky about legalities, except insofar as they construct a good cover story.

I'm really pretty adamant about the whole thing of not letting the stalker win.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:48 PM
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I think my name should be pronounced with the accent on the first syllable, like "Tennessee".


Posted by: Obsessee | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:51 PM
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not letting the stalker win.

I can imagine this tactically -- like, letting him 'win' to some extent will just make him keep on coming back. But overall, who cares? The best outcome for your own safety and comfort is the best outcome regardless of what the stalker thinks of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:52 PM
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310: Not only convincing, can even be true.

But if it is true, then there's no problem.

Preemptively beating the stalker is crazy; I'm assuming that the questioner would take a course of action like "Hey, I'm glad you're getting out of prison, but you should know that shortly after you went away I was very scared so bought a gun and got really into those survivalist shooting courses, and while I now realize that it was all a big misunderstanding and I had nothing to worry about, the survivalist stuff was so much fun that I kept it up to this day. Plus all the guys you meet doing it are so awesome, and you'd be surprised how many had similar experiences. You'll understand if I still never want to see you again, however."


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:52 PM
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Which is not to say that if there weren't a lot at stake I wouldn't move. I'm imagining a fairly ordinary case in which somebody loses tens of thousands of dollars, spends several years rebuilding their career, and disrupts their family and friendship relationships.

I would also suggest not telegraphing to the police that you're planning self-help, even though you still should work with the police on keeping them posted on the guy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:52 PM
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take a course of action like

Curious -- does that strike you as preferable to just not initiating contact? That seems like the first thing to do -- not worry about it until there's a current problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:53 PM
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So what's wrong with "obsessive" and "obsession" as names for the two parties?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:56 PM
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Seriously, LB? We're talking about you, your husband, and you children moving across country, changing your names, and beginning your careers all over again. That was Miranda's advice.

A lot of people are assuming the worst case: a relentlessly fiendish professional killer, or maniac who cannot be deterred, followed aggressive prosecution in the case of vigilantism.

To me a short or moderate jail term seems much less onerous than migration or a new identity, especially because I think it's the worst case.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:58 PM
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That seems like the first thing to do -- not worry about it until there's a current problem.

Well, given that the first indication of a current problem might be too late, I think taking some action is wise. But I think that a reasonable course of action would be seeing if there's some way to be notified if/when the guy gets out of prison, what the terms of his parole are or will be, and maybe conducting a surreptitious investigation to see if the obsession still exists (police if they'll do it, private investigator if they won't).

This is a lot more laid back than most people here seem to be suggesting. If the alternative is moving across the country and changing your name or hiring a bunch of goons to break the guy's kneecaps when he gets off the bus out of prison, then yeah, 318.2 is a better idea.

Unless 98 applies.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 12:59 PM
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I still think that contacting the stalker pre-emptively is a bad idea.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 1:07 PM
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I have nothing to say about the thread so far, but shouldn't this:

An acquaintance develops an obsession with you and contracts someone to have you killed. The plot is discovered and the obsessor is convicted, but, the law being what it is, will be out of jail in a few years. What do you do?

be prefaced with "Pop quiz, hotshot"?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 1:43 PM
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I don't think that the stalker should be contacted. He should find out that he is being watched, as SEK indicated above.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 1:47 PM
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103 133 134

"Well, yeah, but one which makes you a dangerous lunatic."

I agree with LB. Sometimes there are no good options but that is no excuse for picking a really bad one like the war in Iraq.

As to what I would do, talking with the DA sounds good. Find out when he will be released and under what conditions. A permanent restraining order seems like a good idea. It should be as broad as possible ie no contact with your friends, family or employers as well as you, must have court's permission to move etc.

Other than that I wouldn't worry much at least until his release was imminent. Of course if you have a choice of jobs and one is 3000 miles away you might want to take that one etc. And before he is released you might want to beef up your home security, the sorts of things which might be a good idea anyway. And the first year he is out might be a good time for that international assignment you were planning anyway etc.

Absent additional information, I think the actual threat of a continuing obsession is probably pretty low if you just ignore the guy. I think active counter measures are likely to make things worse and are probably a bad idea.

I don't think viewing this as a contest which you don't want the stalker to win is helpful. Some of the suggestions seem more trouble and less effective than just moving.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 2:18 PM
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"Your honor, I've paid my debt to society; while I regret what I did more than a decade ago, and will always be sorry for the fear I caused Victim, I have done nothing to injure her since I was released from prison -- certainly nothing to inspire the vicious beating I received at the hands of the self-appointed vigilantes who claimed to be acting on her behalf." That was then, this is now can be a very convincing argument.

Not once it's revealed that the former stalker has "Die! (victim's name) Die!" tattooed in multiple places on his body.*

*which your friends did, once he was unconscious


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 2:20 PM
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obviously, some of the tats will be prison style, and some must be obviously non-prison work, the better to demonstrate an on-going obsession


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 2:24 PM
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328, after they retrieve him from the bottom of the cliff?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 2:25 PM
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325 gets it right.

324 too. That enables him to start bargaining.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 2:26 PM
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323: Oh, yeah, all that sounds perfectly sensible. I was thinking that contacting him either personally or by proxy (letting him know he's being watched, that is) seems like a bad idea until he actively does something worrisome.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 2:34 PM
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It's not a contest you don't a want the stalker to win. It's refusing to let a malefactor / insane person control your life and the life of your family. Can people just drop the imbecile pop psych cliches about masculinity? Starting with B, but more than just her.

The supposedly wise advice of Mrs. Prosecutor above was to quit your job, change your name, move cross country, and be careful about contacting old friends and family. It's not like it's a schoolyard scuffle over marbles.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 2:48 PM
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I like the hire-the-investigator to stalk him for a few weeks idea, but before that, do this:

Call him and have him invite you over. Bring a syringe of succinylcholine. Once he's paralyzed, explain what you'll do to him if you discover that he's up to anything. Use your imagination here. Shave his hair into something funny for good measure. Then hire the PI to tail him.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 2:56 PM
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Eh, the moving seems like a perfectly reasonable response to someone who you have good reason to believe is going to make a competent attempt to kill you. I'd agree that there is not yet that much reason to think that this guy is going to do that, which is why I've been saying "Reasonable self-defense measures, otherwise let sleeping dogs lie".

But if there is good reason to think the stalker is going to make a serious murder attempt, the assumption is that the guy's crazy enough that he's not going to be deterred by the fact that he's going to jail if he hurts you, right? At which point threatening him at all (including the "I'm watching you" routine) seems kind of unpredictable -- who knows how he's going to react. At that point murder and flight seem like your two viable options, and I'm all about the flight at that point.

(A situation different from the one described -- threats of violence, but not so much crazy -- I could see threats, if you could arrange some convincing ones, having some use. But not in this hypo.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 3:02 PM
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LB, based on what you've said, moving suddenly cross-country and changing your name would set you back 3-5 years in your life plan and permanently damage your career and your husband's.

If you frame this with an ideal analytic philosophy villain, doing that might be rational -- i.e., if you frame it as a binary choice between known cost for moving vs. an x% chance of being killed. For most people, how big x is makes a difference, but you seldom really know that (same problem as the trolley problems).

With psychos, my feeling is that your not talking about rational-actor deterrence, but various ways of fucking with their heads and encouraging them to disappear.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 3:36 PM
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3-5 years in your life plan

I sound like I have a plan? Seriously, I could move and change my name pretty easily -- my resume would carry over, current employers would give me references. All I'd have to do is take a new state's bar. (I figure if you change your name in the new jurisdiction, it'd be acceptably hard to find.) Buck would lose a whole lot of valuable reputation changing his name, but it wouldn't be terribly hard for him to keep his real life address hard to find.

various ways of fucking with their heads

Yeah, I'm just doubting that fucking with a homicidal psycho's head is an idea that's likely to turn out well. Might -- it's certainly not impossible that it would in any given situation -- but I wouldn't want to count on it generally.

And if we're not talking about a homicidal psycho, we're back in rational deterrence land.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 3:48 PM
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#328: Not once it's revealed that the former stalker has "Die! (victim's name) Die!" tattooed in multiple places on his body.

But that just means "The! (victim's name) The!" in German.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:04 PM
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I once got rid of a knife-carrying delusional psycho by lending him $3. He was ashamed to show his face again. Honor among psychos.

He had no specific intentions against me, but he was armed and exhibited extensive homicidal ideation. He definitely was a guy who could be intimidated or discombobulated, though. (See, that's the thing about psychos, if you fuck with their heads they are as likely to get better as worse. Sort of the way you don't really have to worry about your vinegar going sour).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:37 PM
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Hm, is that the secret meaning of the band name "The The"?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:37 PM
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338: No one who speaks German could be an evil man!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 5:57 PM
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Awwww, yeah:

Michigan sees fewer gun deaths -- with more permits
January 6, 2008

By DAWSON BELL
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Six years after new rules made it much easier to get a license to carry concealed weapons, the number of Michiganders legally packing heat has increased more than six-fold.

But dire predictions about increased violence and bloodshed have largely gone unfulfilled, according to law enforcement officials and, to the extent they can be measured, crime statistics.

The incidence of violent crime in Michigan in the six years since the law went into effect has been, on average, below the rate of the previous six years. The overall incidence of death from firearms, including suicide and accidents, also has declined.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-08 10:28 PM
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Of course, the "legal problems after beating up a stalking psycho" disappear if you just kill them and disappear the body.

At this point in my life I doubt I could disappear suddenly to start a new life, considering the trail I've left behind already.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01- 8-08 1:46 AM
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342: someone seems a little bit too determined to have a gnu control thread.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01- 8-08 1:47 AM
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considering the trail I've left behind already.

I... I think there's a pill you can take...


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01- 8-08 1:53 AM
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re: 343

The person that I know that did it, just fled during the night. Went to a refuge, changed their name, changed their kids names. Started again, from scratch. It's possible. The trail can be severed. I don't doubt that a really determined assailant with access to decent technical skills and the ability to pay for information, might be able to get around that, but it'd be really hard to do without attracting serious law enforcement attention.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 8-08 1:53 AM
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#344: someone seems a little bit too determined to have a gnu control thread.

They're quite dangerous creatures. Only professional zookeepers should be allowed to own one.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 01- 8-08 2:08 AM
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265: so we are talking about the "what ho, my good man, how's about popping a cap on a sucker!" end of the spectrum

I suspect that, while Bertie Wooster would indeed be terrible at hiring a hit man, Jeeves would be lethally efficient at the actual assassination. He would probably simply arrange matters so that the target got killed by an unrelated third party, having studied the psychology of the individual.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 8-08 8:42 AM
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