Saturday, 24 March 2007

Internet stalkers!

A subject that came up a while ago and sent me off on a voyage of discovery on the internet! I was seriously disturbed by what I learnt and feel the need to pass it on.

It would seem that 'stalkers' are all around us and come in all shapes and forms. We are all aware of the dangers to our children and most responsible parents keep an eye on these things but how aware are we of the stalkers who target the lonely and emotionaly vulnerable in our society?

Recently I became aware of a person that has manged to con three different women into developing a relationship with him, solely through the use of internet forums. It's scary to think that this person is still out there and while these women have fortunately discovered the truth in time, there are still others at risk.

The stalker generally develops a relationship in a chat room or forum. He seems a really great person and as the relationship begins to blossom, the victim begins to rely on his internet pressence and to see him as a friend and a shoulder to cry on - this is called 'grooming'. Eventually emails are exchanged and the relationship becomes more intense. The stalker will tell the victim anything she wants to hear and will become an extremely important part of her life. They might even make plans to meet and will probably make phone contact.

What does the stalker want? It is usually a power game. There are stories from conned women about suddenly receiving an email from a supposed 'relative' to say that the stalker has died. Then a whole new round of emotional abuse starts. Sometimes, it's about money but usually it is just about some warped sense of power to manipulate a fantasy world and to control the victim. It becomes an emotional roller coaster. It amuses the stalker to control the victim and to put them through the wringer. They are twisted people!

It's horiffic and it's up to us to protect ourselves from these stalkers. You need to remember that you have NO IDEA of who you're talking to on the internet. They can tell you anything! Don't give out your email unless you are ABSOLUTELY sure and NEVER give out personal details like your telephone number or address.

Please be sensible and be careful out there!

Saturday, 10 March 2007

I am appalled!

I just received the most shocking and heartbreaking information from Zimbabwe that I want to share with you.

It would appear that the government run National Parks Department has decided to open a new commercial crocodile farm along the shores of the Kariba Dam. They plan, so I am informed, to start a 'cull' programme of the elephant population in order to feed these crocodiles. The numbers they have in mind are 50-100 elephants a YEAR! The letter I received states that the elephant population in Kariba can not support this sort of destruction.

I am appalled that these magnificent animals are being put under threat. They have occupied this area for centuries and have always been considered to be 'part of the family' by the residents of Kariba. They are used to tourists and residents and cause very little damage or harm to the human population of the area - almost being considered tame by the residents!

Are they to become yet another casualty of Robert Mugabe's money grabbing, tyranical dictatorship? With the 'muzzling' of the foreign press in Zimbabwe, this story will only find a voice if people like you, who are reading this, pass it on and use any contacts you have to alert the International Community to this disaster in the making!

Thank you for taking the time to care :)

Thursday, 1 March 2007

My friends and other animals.

I confess, unashamedly, to being an animal lover of extreme proportions. Over the years I have come to realise that animals, in general, are far more predictable and loyal friends than their human counterparts. They are always pleased to see you no matter what the time of day and are happy just to be near you in companionable silence.

I have two cats and three dogs, all with their own special personalities, quirks and quidities. There is Mistress Purdee Tat, so called for her aloof disdain of 'things unimportant in a cat's life' and the faintly snooty look she can call up when the occasion calls for it. Her sometimes tolerated companion, Chuck Norris, is a rough and tumble young thug with serious ginger cat ATTITUDE. So named by the girl child for his perceived resemblance to the original, he is a rather clumsy young man who rugby tackles my pot plants and shreds the toilet rolls with gay abandon.

The 'grumpy old man' of the group is my Toy Pom, Dexter. Acquired as a minute puppy nine years ago, he believes that I am his personal property and wherever I am in the house, you can be sure he is somewhere close by. Surprisingly fierce for the smallest animal in the house, he keeps everyone in line and will even have a go at the Great Dane if he feels she has stepped into his 'personal space'. The amazing thing is that everyone keeps a respectful distance and a wary eye open!

Next in the pecking order is his son Pumba. Due to an unfortunate accident in his youth, Pumba has no tail. He is an adorable little teddy bear dog with huge appealing eyes. My husband calls him the 'diddums dog' because of his ability to make you feel sorry for him no matter what the situation. His favourite treat in the whole world is cashew nuts! He will sit at the side of your chair and WILL you to give him one - if he was a human, he would be one of the great hypnotists!

Clown of the house is the rescue Great Dane who came to live with us about 18 months ago. Starving both of food and affection, she came to us a skinny, neurotic wreck and is now a fat couch potato of note. Gemma is actually a very clever dog - she just hides it well! She has a food fixation disorder which manifests itself in displays of absolute nuttiness every time I stand up and even LOOK like I might be heading to the kitchen. She has 'clicker' trained herself to the sound of my laptop shutting at night, knowing that once I shut up shop for the night, more food will be forthcoming when I put her to bed. She can have every appearance of a dead dog until the click of the laptop shutting and then all hell breaks loose!

They are all my best buddies. They make me laugh with their antics and they keep me company when I'm down. Where else would you find such a fun bunch of 'people' to be with?