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Word of the Day – Stalking

Saturday, November 07, 2009 - Word of the Day

the act or crime of willfully and repeatedly following or harassing another person in circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to fear injury or death esp. because of express or implied threats

That was the “specific” definition. A more broad, but still relevant, definition is:

a crime of engaging in a course of conduct directed at a person that serves no legitimate purpose and seriously alarms, annoys, or intimidates that person

For those who aren’t aware, stalking is illegal.  And for those too stupid to understand the above definitions, I was going to break it down into easy to understand examples, but then I found StalkingBehavior.com and discovered their lists.

I don’t want to copy this list, but there is a very concise list of what is considered “stalking behavior” located here on a site all about stalking.  I’ve only skimmed through a few pages, but it seems very informative.  And for those of you who may be doing things that could be considered stalking, you may also want to check out their “Am I a stalker?” page.

Apparently, some stalkers aren’t aware of the fact that they are stalkers simply because of a severe lack of social skills, some stalkers are simply misunderstanding that they aren’t welcome in the life of the person they are stalking, and still other stalkers are just mentally unstable.  The previous “categories” of stalkers all fall under the “unknowing stalker” category by my definition and aren’t to include stalkers who perfectly understand what they are doing and know that it is wrong and unwelcome, whether they are aware that it is against the law or not.

The typical legal response to most instances of stalking would be a restraining order.  On the whole, restraining orders are fairly simple to get, which is both good and bad.  Obviously, as with any system, there are those who abuse this system for various reasons, including something as petty as revenge.  However, there are those that would argue that as long as the system can help one person, it’s worth the abuse.

Not to go completely off on a tangent, but that argument is (from my experience) mostly used by those attempting to justify the welfare system.  My opinion is that the welfare system is so broken that it needs to be done away with.  Replace it with a system to help the people on welfare find jobs.  I firmly believe that if the welfare system was done away with completely that there would be more money in our system to fund more (much needed) projects, better educate the general public, and help get our country out of the hole that it is in.  Keep in mind that there are plenty of charities and churches that don’t cost the tax payers anything that are willing to help those that are genuinely in need of assistance.  Ah, regardless …

In the case of restraining orders, those who abuse the system (when the abuse is discovered and proven) should be punished accordingly.  Make the punishments fit the crime and there will be less crime.  Remember, fraud is a crime and abusing the system (any system) is fraud.

Here’s an example of abusing the system:

A man and woman are married for ten years with two kids.  The woman divorces the man, but because she is at risk of losing custody of her children (and no other reason) she decides to get a restraining order against him.

When it comes time for the courts to decide who gets custody, in spite of the fact that mommy hits up the bars every night and comes home with strange men, the courts will see that she has a restraining order against him.  Instantly, for no real reason whatsoever, the courts’ opinion of the man is negatively impacted.

The courts won’t see that up to the time the restraining order also kept him from his children he was coaching his son’s Little League team, his daughter’s soccer team, and had attended every dance recital and karate demonstration.  They won’t see that he is still paying for all those extra activities and that his children miss him desperately and are frightened by the parade of smelly men that mommy kisses goodbye in the morning.

The courts see that one piece of paper that the woman was able to get with no proof of any stalking behaviors and are set against him.  Of course, the courts generally tend to be biased towards granting custody to the women anyway, but having a fraudulent restraining order against him will destroy almost any chance he has of a decent custody agreement.

That was somewhat depressing to type, but that is a reality for some people.  **What I typed was fictional!  I made it up off the top of my head and sort of combined and exaggerated a few situations that I know of.

Hmm, I think that I’ve sort of ranted myself out vocally.  (I consult with MidNite and a few others while I type most of my posts to help prevent lots of off-topic randomness from being included.)  Most of my ranting has been, I believe, included in some form or another in the post.  Well, the relevant ranting, anyway.  :-p  In fact, a good bit of my ranting was condensed by my above example – MidNite’s idea, actually!

So, good night, and I hope you enjoy today’s word of the day!!

Occasionally Important Information:

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