Wake up – wise up!
Mr. Wake Up-Wise Up is my most avid reader. I can’t connect twosentences without a letter from him. He’s been doing it for years. Healways signs his letters: ‘Wake Up-Wise Up’ never with a name. They’realways delivered in a plain white envelope from the Philadelphia post office with no return address. Most of the letters are scribbled but when he’ssober he methodically writes his letters on an old typewriter. A member ofPennsylvania’s general assembly once called me a crackpot with a wordprocessor. It takes one to know one, and for years I have laughed at Mr.Wake-Up’s fan mail.
But in his last letter Mr. Wake Up was really agitated. He hates volunteer fire fighters. His word for them is dofuses. I’m not sure what adofuse is but in his context I know it’s not complimentary. Anybody whowants to build anything really upsets him. Builders are gobbling up histownship and stole all of his land from him and they should be put in jailwith all of his township supervisors because they’re all corrupt. His is one of hundreds of letters I get every year and if you are going to stick yournose into the people’s business in a few dozen newspapers in this state thanyou’d better be prepared to have it knocked off once in a while. But he isdifferent than my other critics. He knows a lot about me. My personalhabits, my family and travels, my friends and acquaintances. If I’ve readthe research right Mr. Wake Up is a stalker.
There are all kinds of stalkers. All of them have been outlawed inPennsylvania since 1993. According to Doctor Patricia Tjaden, one of thenation’s foremost experts on stalking and domestic violence, there’s a lot ofpeople out there with sick minds that they can’t control and defining themisn’t any easier than finding them.
Mr. Wake Up appears to be one of the worst kinds. He’s a delusionalstalker. Dr. Tjaden’s research shows that delusional stalkers have hadlittle, if any, direct contact with their victims. Afflicted people like Mr.Wake Up are confused by mental illnesses like schizophrenia andmanic-depression that cause sexual frustration. I’m in good company. JohnHinckley, Jr., who attempted to kill Ronald Reagan to prove his love foractress Jodi Foster is the perfect profile for the delusional stalker. Whileonly 20% of stalking victims are men, David Letterman is among them. At somepoint in their lives 1 out of 10 of America’s women will be stalked andaccording to Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher, when domesticviolence is factored in, three women will die violently each and every day inthe United States from stalking or domestic abuse.
The beast of domestic violence is the tail end of the stalking dog. Thetwo wrap together. One out of six women in this country are victims ofdomestic violence. Its not clear how much of the pain is doled out by anex-spouse or boy friend because that number probably represents only half thecases in the country, the rest go unreported. When the tears are wiped offthe statistics, the statistics become people. One out of four suicides amongwomen are precipitated by domestic violence and husbands or lovers kill threeout of four women murdered every year in this country.
In the last month we’ve learned all we never wanted to know about terror.Yet there’s terror in our own backyards that too many of us have ignored fortoo long. October is Domestic Violence Prevention Month. We know what we’dlike to do to the people who raped our national souls in New York andWashington last month. That should tell us what we ought to do to those thatwould spread domestic terror to our families, friends or neighbors who mightbe stalked or are victims of violent abuse.
If you know about someone who’s being stalked or violently abused urgethem to call your local police, county district attorney’s office, the statepolice and if none of those calls work they can call Pennsylvania’s CoalitionAgainst Domestic Violence at 1.800.932.4632. With half the domestic violencecases in this country going unreported chances are you’re going to have tostick your neck out and do it for them. Do it carefully, but do it, youcould save their life.
Thank you Mr. Wake Up-Mr. Wise Up, your letters have done something good.You woke me up. Among thousands of readers one of them may call to getsomebody some help. It might save a person who is a victim of somebody likeyou. Let go of your frustrations and feel good about that. Then go write aletter to the editor of your favorite newspaper telling them what a crackpot I am. You’ll feel good about that too because you’ll be pleasantlysurprised at how many people agree with you. But someday soon please go getsome professional help before you hurt somebody you really love.