UPDATE: Another lunatic stalks and attacks author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
In a posting Tuesday on the anti-Zionist Web site ZioPedia, a writer using the name Eric Hunt takes credit for the attack: “After ensuring no women would be traumatized by what I had to do (I had been trailing Wiesel for weeks), I stopped the elevator at the sixth floor. I pulled Wiesel out of the elevator. I said I wanted to interview him.”They are always so benign--the stalkers intentions. Crazy Astronaut Nowak wanted to "talk" with rope, gloves, pepper spray and a gun. This guy wanted to talk by dragging a holocaust survivor into a hotel room and "interview" him about a genocide that "never happened".
This woman astronaut case has hit a nerve and I don't think it's because she's a NASA employee, but because she's a Rocket Scientist as crazy as average people. Smart people don't usually act crazy or do crazy things, or do they? They understand the risks. They are smart enough to know that their imagined relationship is imagined. They know that harming someone won't get them what they want. They know these things, because they're smart.
This lady astronaut kinda blows that theory, doesn't it? Actually, lots of smart people stalk according to this article by Wendy Koch of the USA Today:
In celebrity cases, she says, stalkers often have psychiatric disorders. The more typical stalker, however, is someone who has trouble letting go of a real or imagined relationship but whose emotional condition may be less severe than a mental illness.
"The problem with stalking-related behavior is it's a slippery slope," she says. "It's normal not to want to let someone go," but it can become a problem when a rejected person persists, she says.
"It's often about power and control," Leary says. She says it can become dangerous, leading to sexual assault and murder, especially when a stalker takes the attitude that "if I can't have you, no one will."
The most recent comprehensive research on stalking, a 1998 Justice Department study, found that more than 1 million women and about 370,000 men are stalked annually in the USA. Women account for 78% of the victims and men for 87% of the perpetrators. The study said one in every 12 women will be stalked during her lifetime, and 81% of women stalked by a current or former intimate partner were physically attacked.
A survey of nearly 10,000 adults published in 2006 found 4.5% reported having been stalked. It was done by Kathleen Basile, a scientist at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
An astronaut himself gives insight into a the fine line between achievement and aggression:
Former astronaut Jerry Linenger said astronauts take pride in their self-discipline, “and you set a goal and it's just going, going, going and you let nothing get in your way.”
That single-minded pursuit reminds Linenger of Nowak's drive from Houston to Orlando, Fla., to confront an Air Force captain from Florida who she allegedly believed was involved with the same space shuttle pilot she loved.
However, Linenger said, that's when Nowak's training should have kicked in and led her to reflect on her actions: “To not make a midcourse correction is scary. It's just off her training and everything else.”
Dr. Pat Santy, a former NASA psychiatrist who evaluated the astronaut's mental fitness, believes that "acquired narcissism" causes the problems. For run-of-the-mill stalkers, I think they may have had narcissistic tendencies for a long time, that only come out the first time they perceive rejection (real or imagined). Dr. Santy says:
Like any other two-bit narcissistic personality disorder, they have come to believe that they are at the center of everyone's world.I would add this: When people come from a deficit (nerd in high school, abused by parents, abandoned in childhood) and then achieve belonging, even in artificial ways, when rejection or expulsion from the group or some other real or perceived loss occurs that either consciously or subconsciously triggers deep-seated fears in a person, they will go to almost any length to maintain control of the situation so as not to feel the loss again.
Stalkers are outsiders looking in and hate the shame, loneliness and smallness they feel. Every weird step they take to ensure the connection to their prey, further alienates them, but they are so driven by their own unmet needs they press on anyway, further alienating the object/s of their desire. What they feel for the other person isn't love or affection but their own need for security and a projected ideal of togetherness. If only...
When the suffocated and progressively alarmed person on the receiving end pushes further away, the situation escalates. If the object of the stalker acquiesces to try to "sort things out", or "get closure", the stalker will believe a fantasy of togetherness again and ratchet up the attempts at control. The stalkee doesn't realize that by indulging the stalker, the stalker's bad behavior was reinforced. The stalker is not rational. Trying to deal with this person in a rational way won't work.
Pierre Legrand describes his family's personal experience with a stalker. His solution was a loaded gun. If the statistics on stalking are correct, he made the exact right decision.
Wendy McElroy also dealt with a stalker and has some good advice.
And here is the best psychological descriptions of stalkers I've seen.
People who harass and stalk are not the victims they view themselves to be. They are narcissists, obsessional, and selfish. They are jealous, angry and controlling. They often refuse to stop. They are irrational. And as this lady astronaut shows, they can be very, very dangerous.
A lot of talk bubbles around about NASA examining their psychological profiling. To me, what makes a good test pilot (risk-taking, smart, quick, won't take no for an answer, brash, driven, seeks challenges, loves novelty) can make for a crazy person when misapplied. I submit that they can test these people to high heaven and might not find the one thing that flips someone's lid.
There is no question, though, that a lid is flipped. Once that happens, these people are very dangerous, indeed.