Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
Abigail van Buren got a letter reading:
There’s this woman in my life I just can’t stand. I first met her a couple of years ago. A lot of people seemed to like her, but not me. I know she’s evil. For one thing, she’s got a baby that everybody says is hers, but I’m sure it isn’t. I don’t have any evidence to prove that, but my gut tells me I’m right, so I’m going to keep searching until I prove everybody wrong. (Oh, and by the way, me and my friends have had some real laughs at that retard baby of hers but nobody seems to be able to take a joke!) Same goes for when I laugh at her other disgusting children. What’s the problem? People are so sensitive!
So here’s my problem: I’ve been following her around wherever she goes and (get this) she doesn’t even want to talk to me!
Look. I know my rights. I feel as though I have a calling. A calling to be ... near her. I can’t stop thinking about her. I want to tell people about how awful she is. All the time. Everything she does. It’s like that Sting song: Every move she makes, every breath she takes. I’ll be watching her. I want to talk to everyone I see and tell them how awful her kids are and how tacky her stupid glasses are, and how sickening it is that she can have so many kids and still keep that figure of hers. Some of my friends say that I’m actually in denial about being attracted to her since she is quite easy on the eye. And, I don’t know. Maybe there something to that ...
But NO! That’s not it. It’s that I have a sacred trust! If I don’t root through her emails, who will? But she won’t even talk to me, Abby. Once, I moved into the house next door to her to keep an eye on her and and her children in case they, you know, sunbathed or something. The public has a right to know! Anyway, she totally treated me like garbage and wouldn’t talk to me. In fact, she never tells me where she’s going or what she’s doing. She makes me follow her around like I’m her dog or something. Do you know how that makes me feel? Sometimes, when I try to get, you know, close to her, I find that she’s ducked out and gone off on her own without even telling me where she’s going! I have to get in my car and chase her and even then it’s like I don’t exist. She is endangering me by not letting me control her movements. I need to be able to ... to have her! All the time. She needs to be mine and I need to be near her and hurt her. All the time. Hurt. Her.
I think she’s dangerous, Abby. She’s gotten into my head. She’s doing this to me. I think people need to be warned and she needs to be stopped. I’m certain she’s sending inaudible messages into the brains of criminals, urging them to do something horrible. I think the universe may be calling me to stop her by any means necessary! How can I get close to her, Abby? Why won’t she talk to me? What’s wrong with her?
Is this letter from
A) a deranged stalker who needs a restraining order; or
B) the collective gestalt of our trivial media and manufacturers of culture whenever Sarah Palin moves or breathes or clears her throat?
A) read this letter as the work of a responsible journalist entrusted with the public’s need for valuable civic information, or
B) alert the police and suggest this person be taken into custody and examined for a serious and dangerous psychological disorder?