The Stalker’s Paradox
What makes a good stalker? In general, a stalker is someone who can stealthily follow someone without getting noticed. He is also able to acquire lots of information about his target. Yet he must all do all of this without drawing attention to himself, and the less that’s known about him, the better. In other words, a good stalker is like a wraith—present yet undetected, knowledgeable but silent.
But what motivates a stalker? The object of a stalker’s obsession is usually (if not always) another human being. He secretly longs to be with this person, yet for reasons of his own (whether it’s fear, timidity, or a disability), cannot seem to confront this person directly. But he constantly yearns for this person, and resolves this by the act of stalking.
Unfortunately it is in the act of stalking that a stalker betrays his vocation. A hunter might stalk an animal and the animal would not realize it until the last moment, when the hunter finally reveals himself and delivers the killing blow. Unfortunately for the stalker, there is no killing blow. He wants to nurture his prey rather than to destroy it (at least not at first). There is no final strike that will make sure the prey can never speak of the stalker to anyone, but instead, the opposite: revelation.
The stalker, unable to restrain himself any longer, makes his presence known. He secretly knows that what he has been doing is illogical. He was invisible to the person before he became a stalker and becoming a stalker doesn’t bring him any closer to getting attention from his intended target. So under the guise of anonymity, a stalker starts drawing attention to himself. He establishes himself in the conscious mind of his prey through secret letters, phone calls, or notes (and perhaps in this day and age, a text message or email). But being acknowledged isn’t enough for the stalker. He eventually wants to come in contact, or to have a dialogue. His poor substitute for this is theft of either material possessions or knowledge regarding the person. And the greatest mistake he makes is dangling his recently acquired prize to the intended victim. This takes the form of a note ranging from “I know what you did...” to leaving the said item attached with a note saying it came from the stalker.
At this point, the stalker has divulged himself almost completely. He has revealed that he has been following the person for quite some time, and that he knows secrets about him or her. In either case, the stalker has lost whatever edge he has. I mean a hunter does not scream at his prey telling it he’s there. The prey would either run away or fight him. Anonymity and secrecy is a stalker’s tool. If he wanted confrontation, he would have introduced himself to the person in question in the first place rather than this elaborate set-up of cat and mouse. A huntsman is more akin to this approach: he comes hunting his prey with dogs and a rifle, making no attempt to hide his presence but outdoing his prey through determination and stamina rather than stealth and secrecy. The stalker at this point has a half-baked plan. He begins with a hunter’s technique, but in the end, discards the advantage he has managed to acquire and opts for an approach which is counterintuitive to what he has done so far.
In the end, the stalker’s longing for the person is replaced by a longing for power. The stalker has deluded himself in thinking that he is still invisible even after all he’s revealed. He eventually confronts his intended victim, not out of yearning, but more for the satisfaction that he could do it. He forgets the reasons for being unable to do so before he became a stalker. At this point, he is no longer a stalker but an exhibitionist of sorts. His secret cry for attention has transformed into a blatant scream into the world that he exist and because he exist, he can do whatever he wants. Only two possibilities result once this happens: either his prey confronts him and defeats him (either through evasion or physical coercion), or the stalker succeeds (and destroys either the ideal in his mind or the person) and realizing his loss, begins the cycle again.
The stalker yearns for other people but his methods doesn’t bring him any closer to fulfilling this goal, so he eventually resorts to the destruction of his intended one, to the detriment not only of the victim but the stalker himself.