How I Spent My Christmas Vacation, Part II

Cat recently commented:

Sounds almost like somebody I knew who stalked me for a while. He could say the most awful things to me, then would be the sweetest, most awesome innocent person ever around my friends and family. Practically nobody believed my story because how could such a *nice* guy do such things? Maybe, they reasoned, I had done something to deserve it?

I’m glad the police didn’t fall for his “poor innocent me” act and that you have continued to remain organized and determined. I’m sorry Auby has to go through this. I am glad she has somebody around to help protect her and be her advocate.

I’m glad you had a good holiday that no jackass could ruin!

Yea, I suppose lots of women have a hard time with stalkers who seem nice at some point in their lives. I can say that my vacation gave me more experience with Restraining Orders than I thought I would ever get. 

Here’s a few tips for people who find themselves in this situation. First, the State of California issues a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in order to protect someone from someone else. Other states issue what they call a Protective Order, and the term Restraining Order is just used for civil procedures. This lead to some complications when we followed the advice of the Office in Charge and took the restraining order to the police. They were not able to act on it because it was not termed a protective order, which is what they were used to seeing. 

But when you look at California’s TRO and compare it to other state’s Protective Orders, it is clear that California’s TRO actually goes beyond what other states Protective Orders do. It’s just called something different here, but it can be hard to communicate that to Police Officers. At any rate, after the hearing regarding the TRO, the state can issue a Permanent Restraining Order/Protective Order. Now you have something that law enforcement in other states can recognize, but you’ll need to contact a district attorney for the state in question in order to get the Protective Order “domesticated” (i.e. put into their law enforcement computer system so that his name will come up whenever he’s stopped and they can check for guns). A Texas DA told us that all we had to do was send the Protective Order to Law Enforcement, and that that was all that’s needed. Oh, that’s another thing about the California Protective Order, it says you can’t own a gun for the entire length of its term. 

The issuance of the Protective Order is apparently what the Office in Charge of the case was waiting for, because he brought jackass in for questioning the very next day. He explained to him, over his continued protestations of innocence, that if he continued to contact Auby that he would be in violation of the law and that he would arrest him. We haven’t heard much from him after that. He did sent a few lines of anonymous text one day, just to prove that he was undaunted, but the it seems that he has gone away.

This is a dramatic change from how he was acting before the Office in Charge did that. He was constantly sending her messages. In order to further build the case against him, I thought it was best to engage him and allow him to give himself away, but Auby was so disgusted by him at this point that she would have none of it. So, in order to build the case, I impersonated Auby when he would contact her. 

It’s strange, but it seems he fell in love with me. I’m only partly kidding. In order to see what he would do I told him (as her) that she was breaking up with me and that she wanted him back. His tone changed immediately and he henceforth started playing hard to get. Auby explained that she expected this of him; that he wanted to be emotionally unavailable in order to punish her for leaving. Therefore he behaved in a perfect paradox: he would not go away when he was unwanted, and would not be available when it was indicated he was desired. In some moments that I find the most clear about this case I asked him (again, as her) just how it was possible that a relationship might work between the two of them. He indicated that he had no idea. Which again goes to show the absurdity of the situation. 

Jackass was pursuing a relationship he was himself unprepared for with someone who was more than done with him. He had delusions that he would win her back and would, in fact, say so on many occasions. In some of his more bizarre ramblings he would indicate that he had evolved beyond taking no for an answer and that she would eventually come crawling back to him. But when the prospect was put in front of him that he might really have a chance to get back into her life, he really had nothing to say. He softened his tone considerably, but he had nothing to say. 

We maintained this illusion till the end. I felt that if he felt that his plan to win her back through constant harassment and threatening behavior was going according to psychotic plan, then we would be less inclined to pursue any violence against her. Others cautioned me that we might be demonstrating that I we were in fact not afraid of him because we were engaging him, but as we had previously met with law enforcement and were acting in cooperation with the authorities in trying to build a case against him, I felt that we had little to fear in this regard. The night before the hearing, he contacted her again. Again he had little to say. I’m sure that the hearing date was on his mind and he was just trying to stall and give her assurances so that she wouldn’t go through with it. 

How hard it must have been for him to have his bubble pricked in such a way. To find out that not only does your ex not want you back, but that she has sent all of these communications to the police who went over them with him line by line. To discover, at the hands of the law, that she wasn’t coming back, and that if he pursued her any further, he would be arrested. Though I wasn’t able to witness that moment, I know it  must have been crushing for him. I can’t say that I’d have it any other way.

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

I spent Christmas of this year in Dallas and not in Los Angeles as I had previously claimed in this blog. The reason for the deception was, as I mentioned in the Dec. 7th post, I had received death threats from my girlfriend’s loser ex-boyfriend. I did not feel they were credible, but by the same token, I wanted to try to ensure as much safety as I could for ex-wife and daughter who were going to be visiting. It’s one thing to feel that death threats aren’t to be taken seriously when your life is potentially at risk; it’s another to do so when the lives of others who are staying under the same roof are also at risk. So I opted for a bit of deception.

Not that it really did me much good. We already had travel plans to be out of town when the hearing was scheduled for. So we had to go before the court and ask for a new hearing date. Many times in these matters you fill out the form and the bailiff takes it straight to the judge; you don’t get a chance to interact with the judge directly as part of your request. To help remedy this, we attached a declaration to the request. A declaration is a statement signed under penalty of perjury. The format we used was as follows:


1. I am someone who is currently appearing before the court in regards to somecase. If called upon to testify I could and would testify as follows:





Signed under penalty of perjury for the State of California in _______ County on this ___ Day of December, 2008. 

You just fill in the numbered items with what you’re testifying to. Auby, my girlfriend, filled out the declaration with the facts that she was traveling to Dallas on the date of the hearing. The judge granted the request, but the declaration was attached to the reissued restraining order and was now part of the document that required it to be served to Jackass the stalker. This meant that we would be serving him with proof that we would be in town. Ah well. So much for that plan. 

I was also pondering acquiring a firearm for the holidays, but was never like having the combination of firearms and children around. If I did pick one, I’d half to favor one such as a Beretta 9mm which has three safeties. There have been incidents where a police officer loses his firearm to a perpetrator, but the perpetrator could not work the safeties on the gun and instead threw the gun down and fled. You don’t read of those kind of incidents happen with something like a Glock 9m, which has no safeties. In fact, here’s a video of a police officer shooting himself in the foot with his own Glock; safeties are a good thing. 

Firearms are ultimately rather risky devices. They can be useful in repelling attackers, but also cause unintended harm and even death. I decided against retaining a firearm because I weighted the remote possibility of unintended harm outweighing the also remote possibility of actually being attacked by Jackass the Stalker. In making this decision, I might be somewhat prejudice because I had my own incident with a firearm growing up. A 12-gauge shotgun was accidentally discharged in my direction as I walked across the room. I felt the blast against my back as it rushed past me, and bore through the kitchen cabinet door. The blast went on to bore a hole through the three of the thin-separator walls of the trailer we stayed in when we were hunting. I got lucky. 

I didn’t want to take another chance, so I opted to just to trust in the cowardice of the person who was threatening me. Not that I didn’t first try other resources. Auby and I stayed in touch with the police at the university Jackass was attending. The first time we called in to the police we informed them that one of their students had violated his retraining order. This prompted the police department to open an investigation into the doings of Jackass, and that meant that one particular police office had been assigned to the case. This officer became our point of contact with the university police. 

The officer in question had actually spoken with Jackass; he had gotten spooked when he first got served by the restraining order and took it upon himself to go talk to the police to tell them that he was completely innocent of what he was obviously guilty of. That was actually a really bad move on his part, because lying to authorities is a felony- just ask Martha Stuart. Not that he has been arrested and charged with one, but he just dug himself deeper into a hole by going to the police of his own accord and lying to them. In so doing, he committed a crime far more serious than the one he was trying to avoid. He also merely served to arouse the suspicions of the officer in charge of the case. 

We started a relationship between the officer in charge of the case and ourselves. We continued to document when he would contact us and we would always forward this information to the officer in charge. He seemed to want to make an arrest of get a subpoena to confiscate his computer and have it reviewed by a computer expert, by all the district attorneys involved seemed to busy to waste the their time on this case. That’s a shame, because it would have been nice to have Jackass confronted by the police and found out for the liar that he is. As it was, I merely had to place my faith in the cowardice that I knew ran deep in him. It had always been part of his modus operandi to be meek in person but say horrible thing over the internet. I could see no reason why now would be any different. 

Christmas was wonderful. Jackass contacted us several times and, in cooperation with law enforcement, we encouraged him to reveal himself more and more. We put this evidence in a useful format so that Auby could readily refer to the parts she needed when the hearing arrived. On that fateful day, Jackass was a no show- as we had well expected. In the case where only one of the parties shows up, the court almost always sides with the other party, and so it was with us. Our temporary restraining order was made into a permanent (well, 2 years anyway) protective order. 

The next step is to get this California Protective Order domesticated into the State of Texas so that his name will be entered into the Texas law enforcement databases. I’ll let you know how that proceeds.

The Peculiar Case of Jackass the Stalker

I sometimes say that I am a boring person who seems to be leading a rather exciting life. It seems strange to me that the same person who grew up reading comic books and playing role-playing games, grew up to lead a life that has so far included:

  • being sued by a large corporation bent on destroying me
  • looking down the barrel of a loaded gun and daring the person to pull the trigger
  • writing a book about the collapse of the American economy

Perhaps I’m a weirdness magnet or perhaps I am unconsciously seeking this drama out to spice up my otherwise boring existence. I’m not certain, but my life experiences do seem to make for interesting tales. My latest development involved getting a restraining order against one who is stalking my girlfriend. I thought I’d recount the experiences here to aid anyone who has to go through the process themselves.

The person in question was one of my girlfriend’s ex-boyfriends. Since he is not a “public person”, I will just call him Jackass to protect his privacy. Strangely enough, I actually met her through him, because we were friends at the time. And as my once-friend has recently threatened my life via gun and mail bomb, I guess this goes to show you that you never really know about some people.

But I’m getting ahead of things.

The relationship between Jackass and my future girlfriend was on-the-rocks at the time I came into the picture, and, while she now admits to there having been a developing attraction, it was never acted upon. Still, he could sense it, and therefore took steps to alienate himself from me. Ironically, the pretext he used for it was that I was somehow threatening to her, and he feared that I might take reprisal against her for perceived slights by him. It’s ironic given recent events, but he played himself up to be her stalwart protector and used that pretense to cease all contact with me. Eventually, there was a parting of ways between the two of them and myself. I expected that that would be that.

Life is never that simple.

At the start of the year, I heard from Taylor, a frequent commenter of this blog. He and Taylor had been one-time friends as well, and suddenly, Jackass had gotten back in touch with Taylor in response to viewing Taylor’s wedding album. I had been in attendance of the wedding, and this motivated Jackass to contact him to ask how he could still be friends with me given how horrible I had been towards his now ex-girlfriend. Yes, you heard that correctly: though she had recently ended the relationship, he was still casting himself as her stalwart protector against my evil transgressions. Taylor then contacted me and asked if there was any truth to Jackass’ numerous accusations against me. I assured him there was not. What I did learn from this exchange, however, was that those two had broken up.

Being nothing short of a love opportunist, I contacted her and suggested we get together. Soon, we were exclusively dating. You might have thought that after being the unwitting, ironic impetus for me to reach out to her, that his role in this particular tale would come to a close.

I should have known better.

You see, the bizarre behavior that he exhibited over the course of knowing him should have served as a warning that all was not well with the young man. Ordinary men do not fashion themselves their woman’s protector as a ruse to alienate a competitive interest, and they particularly do not maintain this ruse AFTER being dumped. While many of us might fail to move on just after the end of a romantic affair, it’s a very rare person who would attempt to maintain the facade that they are still fighting battles on the behalf of a now ex-girlfriend. Come to find out, there was an episode of battering during their relationship, which makes his claims of being her protector all the more bizarre.

Taken as a whole, all of this behavior is a warning sign.

Sure enough, around Thanksgiving we heard from him again. This time, via the Internet. He had been taking programming courses to try and better himself, and apparently decided to use his newfound powers of the computer for ill. It seems he was using an anonymized IP, and various aliases to send harassing messages to her through AOL Instant Messenger and phone texts. In addition, he would drop by this blog and make a pest of himself by posting all manner of harassing comments. He seemed to feel that because he was doing this harassment through the Internet via alias, that there was little we could do. In fact, in numerous messages he said that he was basically untouchable and that there was nothing the law could do about him.

A notion of which, I was rather anxious to dissuade him.

First, she and I engaged him in AIM conversation. He craved an audience and, basking in the power of his perceived anonymity, went on to give himself away several times by giving out information about the two of us that only he would know. In addition, she commented that the word choice and emoticons he used in several of his texts were exactly as she knew him to use. At one point, he even went so far as so say that she would be his “bitch” again and that he was “beyond taking no for an answer”. Comments like that greatly narrow the field of who we could possibly be dealing with, and show just how far gone the person is.

All very interesting, but can we actually take this circumstantial evidence to the courts? Furthermore, what could we, a couple in California, do about harassment from someone in Texas? Can the legal system protect us given this set of circumstances?

The answer is yes — it absolutely can.

  • The first step is to get a restraining order.

While the police are typically slow to move on complaints of cyberstalking, (as it remains a federal crime, in the jurisdiction of, not local police agencies, but the FBI) they are much faster moving regarding charges of violating a restraining order. The actual process of getting one varies from state to state; in California, it is quite simple. In fact, they even have a special department set up at the superior court to walk you through it. All the forms are in plain English (or Spanish) and are easy to fill out. You see a judge who will look over your evidence and authorize the restraining order — all on that same day. In our case, the judge looked over the numerous AIM texts where Jackass … er, someone who seemed a lot like our him — had his knowledge, grudges, and speech patterns — threatened to kill both my girlfriend and myself. He used language that was both colorful and graphic, which I’m sure helped the judge render his decision to authorize a restraining order after only ten minutes of reading.

Now, I’m sure some of you are asking if a California restraining order can restrain a Texas resident.

Again, absolutely, it can.

A restraining order, is a restraining order, is a restraining order, and it can be presented to the Texas police if he makes a pest of himself again, and they are obligated to investigate it just as they would an order that was authorized by a Texas court. In his case, the legal process is working to his detriment. Should he choose to present himself at the hearing, he would have to do so by taking a trip to California. Of course, he could just hire a California attorney, but he’s about to discover the joys of paying legal fees on a pizza delivery boy’s salary. (Yes, that is his profession).

The only thing we had to do next was get it served, which means that someone who was not named as a protected person had to present it to him in person. And you cannot direct-mail serve a court order. Of course, my girlfriend had a few friends who had been horrified by his treatment of her and were more than happy to present it to him … at work.

Which is exactly what happened.

Today, at roughly 7:30 PM Central Standard Time, he was served with California Superior Court Case Number S0003689, Temporary Restraining Order and Notice of Hearing. The court order itself has boiler plate language that prohibit him from owning a gun, and if he already does, he must either sell or turn it into the police within 24 hours of receiving the order.

The person serving it said she delighted in sarcastically wishing him a “Merry Christmas.”

I will continue to update this blog as to how the case progresses. It should be fairly straightforward because he no longer has his perceived anonymity of the Internet with which to issue idle death threats. As he has been told, everything he says, or instant messages, or texts, can now be lawfully recorded and used against him. Even if he does it anonymously, it is more evidence that the judge would weigh against him in this case, so I suspect that we may have heard the last of him. But, you never know. He does seem rather crazy, and he is going to be spending Christmas alone.

Fortunately, we’re going to be spending all of Christmas in California, so there’s less of a chance that he could ever actually carry out his threats — even if he got the mind to.

All in all, I’d say that it’s going to be a rather happy Christmas, indeed.