"You need to arm yourself." I blinked at the Portland police officer in my living room. This uniformed bear of a man -- packing a gun, a nightstick, a radio and who knew what else -- was responding to an ongoing stalker problem that had started several months earlier. I'd received letters, a phone call, a few packages and several e-mails from this unbalanced stranger who'd read a few newspaper stories I'd written and taken a shine to me. When the latest letter arrived -- mentioning my boyfriend, Mike, thoughts on religion, and a trip I'd taken but hadn't told anyone about -- I was seriously alarmed. But get a gun? Surely, I'd misheard him.
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