I guess it was inevitable that, sooner or later, what is called “stalking” (it used to just be called “being a pest”) would be treated as a disease and described using terms like “epidemic”. Likewise, the definition of “stalking” is being gradually dumbed down to the point where the day will come when a second “suggestive” smile in the elevator will constitute grounds for legal action. This is, of course, all symptomatic of the Next Great American Right, namely the right not to be offended, upset, or slightly miffed, by anything or anyone, EVER. And this “right” -- so vigorously defended in the courts and the media, is, ultimately, the right to live as if one were dead, i.e. unsensing, unseeing, and uncaring (at least in the material, temporal world). And in another sense, the stalking craze is another example of mass hysteria – another syndrome that has become epidemic in America. Think of the current and recent examples. Remember the child sex abuse witch hunts of the 1980s? Or how about the “missing kids on milk cartons” craze? Remember when anyone, really anyone, could get AIDS at the drop of a hat? Or how about all those exotic tropical diseases shipped into this country on cargo planes by illegal immigrants? And how about all the things that can cause cancer – virtually everything, in fact? Then we've got pollution and contamination of all sorts... and now the flavor of the decade, “global warming”. It's hard to remember what life was like before every single human activity contributed to global warming, isn't it? The same way it's hard to remember what life was like before “terrorism”, or “the Gaza Strip” (which I recall hearing about on the radio when I was in grade school). And while there may be a grain of truth to some of these – i.e., they are not totally made up out of whole cloth – we also see that they are used, with considerable success, not only by newspaper publishers to sell papers, and TV producers to keep ratings up, but by politicians to get votes and to also get support for ever-more totalitarian legal and regulatory measures. In other words, fear – as Michael Crichton pointed out – is the tool which the power elite uses to become ever more powerful. And mass hysteria, as aided and abetted by the media, is “fear on steroids”, which flattens everything in its path – every freedom, every trace of objectivity and reason. And the ultimate goal – make no mistake – is a society of “huddled masses” -- huddled in fear, that is – looking to their elite jailers for every favor and consideration, and for every act of relief and rescue.
So the next time you read about The Next Big Thing To Be Feared, ask yourself who benefits from all this fear. Is it you? Not likely. Is it some government agencies or gaggle of bureaucrats? Much more likely. Is it the judicial system and the “corrections” industry? Also much more likely. And who stands to lose the most? Well, anyone who values freedom – and if you do not, then please go join the crowd.