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Cyberstalking Is A Worldwide Problem

Nov 8, 2007
I live in a medium-sized central Mexican town called Guanajuato. Guanajuato is the capital of the state of Guanajuato. We moved here in 2003 for a multitude of reasons. We wanted to learn Spanish, live in a better climate than in America's Midwest, and find a place where the cost of prescription drugs and health care in general was cheaper. It had become too expensive to keep funding my chronic and unrelenting incurable illness while living in America. Something we didn't plan on, a thing that would have most certainly kept us away from here, was that we are currently being Cyberstalked.

Our Cyberstalker, from what I've been able to gather from Mexicans in town as well as expats and even the Gringolandias of Guanajuato, is an American person who is a long-time resident (the person been here since the late 1990's) and may be a business owner. I've never met this person. I would not know this person if we met on the street. But this person seems to have made it his or her mission in life to stalk me. I am relatively sure I know who this person is. Some in the community have indicated they think they know who this person is and agree that I have the right person in mind. This person can't keep his or her mouth shut, which is bad if you are stalking someone, trying to cause them no end of fear, but you are so proud of your fiendish ways that you blab what you are doing to anyone who will listen.

This person has taken umbrage, and I might add in a hugely irrational and maybe even psychotic way, to the articles I have written about my expatriate experience. I have sought, with vigor and diligence, to log my experiences, my thoughts, my opinions, my editorializing about my experiences living in Mexico in mainly a blogging writing style. All I have sought to do is declare my opinions. I have never sought to declare war. My Cyberstalker seems not to have gotten that point.

Believe it or not, I've actually published books (not self-published, by the way) and have been paid, upon more than one occasion, sizeable fees for my articles that were published in well-known publications. My Cyberstalker found my resume and though I am not sure, I think this person played this positively schizophrenic reader's comment game on Associated Content. This person would write,

"I bet when Doug mentions his writing credits for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Philadelphia Inquirer he means he wrote a letter to the editor."

And then in the next reader's comment box, seems to answer himself or herself.

This reminds me so much of Junior High School children. And this person, if it is who I suspect it is, is a grown adult. What a mental illness must do to some people. Sheesh!

Let me say that you can go on the archives of these two papers and see that I didn't just write a letter to the editor. And the last time I checked, letters to the editor do not earn you several hundred dollars. And, you could always write and ask them if you won't believe you own eyes about what you see in the archives.

Cyberstalkers are hard to catch but not impossible. Something you've got to see and consider is that whoever thought this thing up is the biggest enabler to Cyber-Stalking on the planet: www.willselfdestruct.com. This site enables Cyberstalkers. Although they do not say that in their pitch, it most certainly can be used for that purpose and has been. I've received hate mail through this site.

Another way to Cyberstalk is on Associated Content where people can log anonymous comments on your articles. Now, I am all for helpful and well-intended criticism. I invite it. If someone will make the attempt to offer me a reasonably constructed argument challenging my assertions, I not only will listen but also, if the argument is convincing, will change my views. But, let me assure you, the vast majority who seek to use an anonymous venue do not have the intention of offering you a well-intended criticism-cowardice is their motive, is it not?

"Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk someone. This term is used interchangeably with online harassment and online abuse. Stalking generally involves harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following a person, appearing at a person's home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person's property. Most stalking laws require that the perpetrator make a credible threat of violence against the victim; others include threats against the victim's immediate family; and still others require only that the alleged stalker's course of conduct constitute an implied threat."

The form my Cyberstalker has taken is to make credible threats in the reader's comments boxes on Associated Content. The credible threats, the most recent and most frightening of which was when the cyber stalker said, after a litany of assorted threats,

"I hope when I get up in the morning that I learn the Gringos in Guanajuato will have taken care of the problem."

I immediately contacted my Legal Counsel, the lady who advises us on book contracts, and showed her the threat.

Less than 48 hours after that threat, on June 03, 2007, a mysterious and yet-to-be-investigated fire broke out outside our bedroom window.

You put the piece together.

I am in a special bind in that I currently live in Mexico. The threats were made online on an American server, Associated Content, and if a criminal act has taken place, then who prosecutes the crime? The Mexicans, the Americans, or both? It ought to be interesting.

Defending Yourself Against Cyberstalking

1.) Take the threats seriously no matter where you live. Realize that the online company involved, those with the servers on which the threats are made, like Associated Content, has to tread lightly when you request the logs from the site that reveal the ISP address of the one doing the stalking. They can be traced. This sort of thing happens elsewhere. Eventually, Yahoo News and their reader's comments on news stories had to be dismantled because it got completely out of hand. Amazon.com also did some revision of its reader's comments section.

To get the information you need to prosecute these nutcases, contact the District Attorney's office in the city in which the company resides. If given a subpoena, the company's rear-end is protected and all will be on the up and up. This is the venue we plan to take to obtain the logs that will document who has been leaving the threats on my content provider's page.

2.) Realize also that this is going to cost you. Once you have the logs, then you have to pay for lawyers in at least one country, two countries in my case, to seek redress. In my case I count the cost worth it to protect my wife and I.

In essence, this person's beef is that he or she has taken the things I've written about way too personally. I don't even know this person, but he or she thinks I've ruined his or her business by making this person a target.

I did not know who the person was until someone told me about the frenetic obsessions this person displays.

Don't let Cyberstalkers win. Delete the silly. Take the threats to the police and district attorneys so these freaks can be nailed.

That's my plan.

"The first U.S. Cyberstalking law went into effect in 1999 in California. Other states include prohibition against Cyberstalking in their harassment or stalking legislation. In Florida, HB 479 was introduced in 2003 to ban Cyberstalking. This was signed into law on October 2003."

Other states have followed suit.

" Make no mistake: this kind of harassment can be as frightening and as real as being followed and watched in your neighborhood or in your home." - Vice President Al Gore
About the Author
Doug Bower is the author of "A Walk Through Mexico's Crown Jewel: A Guanajuato Travelogue .
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