Are hackers dangerous?
Murder allegations against famed file system inventor Hans Reiser might make some people think that computer hackers are scary people. Indeed, Prof. Bernadette Schell's gives an in-depth analysis of a hacker mass murderer in Stalking, Harassment, and Murder in the Workplace.
Richard Wade Farley, a programmer with Federal military contractor ESL, Inc. of Sunnyvale, CA, refused to accept "no" from a lady coworker who was pursuing an advanced engineering degree at Santa Clara University. To make a long story short, on Feb. 10, 1988 he barged into her workplace, murdered seven and wounded four. The object of his obsession escaped by running out of the building despite massive wounds in her shoulder, a broken arm and a collapsed lung.
Farley is now on death row at San Quentin. His story was made into a movie, Stalking Laura.
The good news is that most hackers are good people. According to Prof. Schell's book, The Hacking of America: Who's Doing It, Why, and How, most hackers are more than normal and healthy; they often are happier, too. Who would have guessed:) Since she's researched deadly stalkers, if she says us hacker types are happy and mostly harmless, well, she must know what she's talking about.
So if you get trouble from people (parents, people at work) who think hackers are evil, scary people, you can set them straight with Prof. Schell's Hacking of America.
What could have saved Nina Reiser?
Local law enforcement and Mrs. Reiser could have taken several measures that might have saved her. Besides the detailed protective measures of Stalking, Harassment, and Murder, you can find help at:
Stalking victims usually need help from law enforcement. Unfortunately, even though one in every 22 people in the U.S. has been targeted by a stalker, some law enforcement officials will refuse to help. If this is a problem where you live, one solution is to contact local politicians or the media and see if they can make the authorities crack down on stalkers.
If this doesn't work, you may have to go into hiding, as so many victims have done. Since stalkers are often talented at tracking down their victims, your best bet may be to move to a place where the laws and authorities will protect you.