April 1995

On-line-stalking victims, portrait by Mary Ellen Mark

After reading "Terror On‑Line" [by Mark Stuart Gill, photographed by Mary Ellen Mark, January], I couldn't help wondering if Mark Johnson really is innocent of what he is accused of. First of all, how did the exchange student know so much about Johnson's passwords, his credit card numbers, and the box in his car trunk? How would he know if Johnson got up at 5:00 A.M. to work on his computer? Did anyone stop to think that it was possibly the exchange student who was sending the messages? And how do you explain the messages being sent when Johnson got rid of all his materials?

And one other thing. Why didn't Laurie Powell stop using her computer? The stalker was obviously pursuing her every move. If she wrote one thing, he always answered back. And after all the accusations and complaints had been dropped by the police department, why did Powell still have to "check her mail" once or twice a week?

Lacey Buchanan

Isn't it bad enough to fear for your life every day out on the urban streets of America? No, now you have to worry about on‑line stalking, too. This whole country has gone to hell in a handbasket. Europe, anyone?