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Tikhon Rybakov
Tikhon Rybakov


Stalkers have the vision and speed of runners, with the ferocity of clickers. The most notable physical traits that define the stalkers are the distinct croaking noises they make, the beginning of fungal growths on the head and face, usually leaving the host with only one eye left, the development of pseudo-echolocation, and their discretion upon spotting a victim at a distance. They will strafe and take cover, displaying an agile and stealth-reliant nature.[2] They eventually close in on their target, hence the name "stalker". Up close, stalkers are very aggressive and will charge directly at the victim. Stage 2 may take place anywhere between a week to a month after the start of the infection (Stage 1) and last up to a year (Stage 3).[3] In the University of Eastern Colorado, an X-ray of a stalker displays the fungal growth on the head.[4]


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Stalkers are rather rare and are only encountered as the main enemy twice in The Last of Us: once in the basement of the hotel in Pittsburgh with a bloater and once in the Sewers with a pair of clickers.[5] They are also encountered in the Left Behind DLC by Ellie for the first time on their own.[9] Strangely, all of these places are either flooded or located near water; stalkers often use this to their advantage, ambushing the player when they get close.

In Part II, stalkers behave differently and appear frequently in Seattle. They are typically found in abandoned, poorly lit buildings and parking lots, though they also appear in the sewers and subway areas.[10] They are also prominent in the forest areas of the city, especially in Seraphite-controlled territory. Stalkers are difficult to detect in Listen Mode; when approached they will immediately run away and hide in the shadows, ensuring to maintain complete silence.[2] They will only become aggressive when they are approached or provoked by a loud attack such as a gunshot or explosion. When encountered in groups, they will hide and attack their prey in a coordinated manner. Inside buildings, certain stalkers have become attached to walls, with fungus gradually growing out of them.[11] Over time, they will eventually die and calcify. However, if found by survivors, they will break free and attack them.[10]

Some stalkers have a bioluminescent vein in the face which makes them easier to see in the dark. They are fast and deadly in combat, especially when confronted in numbers.[5] Because of this, it is best for players to keep their distance when trying to confront a group of stalkers. The player may lure nearby stalkers and then use high powered guns like the shotgun or flamethrower as they approach Joel.[12]

Because they are stronger than runners, stalkers can override Joel's punches by grappling or striking him. One way to combat this is to throw a brick or bottle at them then attack, or simply use a melee weapon rather than fight barehanded.[5] However, because they are often encountered in large numbers, it is best to rely on firearms. One blast from a shotgun is enough to take them down, as is a headshot from the hunting rifle.

Unlike the more able-bodied Joel, it is challenging for Ellie to combat them, as she only has her pistol when facing them. Because of this, it is best for Ellie to rely on bricks in the area, throwing them directly at the stalkers to stun them so she can stab them with her switchblade.[9] In Part II however, the adult Ellie is able to outwrestle them in close-quarters combat and can swiftly dodge their surprise attacks.[10]

As a step up in strength from runners, stalkers proved difficult foes for people to defeat. Many groups of military soldiers and Washington Liberation Front grunts have been killed by stalkers, particularly those that are forced to fight them in enclosed buildings where lighting is minimal and there are plenty of spaces for them to hide.[13][10] Abby was an exception though, managing to kill the rat king-enhanced stalker.[11] Ellie was also able to defeat the stalker form of Boris Legasov in close-quarters combat.[10]

A new typology of stalking, RECON (relationship and context-based), is proposed, based upon the prior relationship between the pursuer and the victim, and the context in which the stalking occurs. The static typology yields four groups: Intimate, Acquaintance, Public Figure, and Private Stranger. The typology was tested on a large (N = 1005) nonrandom sample of North American stalkers gathered from prosecutorial agencies, a large police department, an entertainment corporation security department, and the authors' files. Interrater reliability for group assignment was 0.95 (ICC). Discriminant validity (p

Results: Most of the stalkers were men (79%, N = 114), and many were unemployed (39%, N = 56); 52% (N = 75) had never had an intimate relationship. Victims included ex-partners (30%, N = 44), professional (23%, N = 34) or work (11%, N = 16) contacts, and strangers (14%, N = 20). Five types of stalkers were recognized: rejected, intimacy seeking, incompetent, resentful, and predatory. Delusional disorders were common (30%, N = 43), particularly among intimacy-seeking stalkers, although those with personality disorders predominated among rejected stalkers. The duration of stalking was from 4 weeks to 20 years (mean = 12 months), longer for rejected and intimacy-seeking stalkers. Sixty-three percent of the stalkers (N = 84) made threats, and 36% (N = 52) were assaultive. Threats and property damage were more frequent with resentful stalkers, but rejected and predatory stalkers committed more assaults. Committing assault was also predicted by previous convictions, substance-related disorders, and previous threats.

Conclusions: Stalkers have a range of motivations, from reasserting power over a partner who rejected them to the quest for a loving relationship. Most stalkers are lonely and socially incompetent, but all have the capacity to frighten and distress their victims. Bringing stalking to an end requires a mixture of appropriate legal sanctions and therapeutic interventions.

Stalkers are often presented in movies or television dramas as men obsessed with beautiful women, but in reality, there are different reasons why some individuals turn into stalkers. Psychiatrists and law enforcement use established categories of stalkers as a way to assess the risks they pose to their victims. Studies on the psychology of stalkers and risk factors that can lead to different outcomes have helped mental health professionals better understand stalkers, and have assisted law enforcement in figuring out how to manage them.

Some forms of stalking can include someone repeatedly showing up in places the victim frequents, showing up at their job, or sending unwanted gifts in the mail. But victims can also be stalked online. Cyberstalking is occurring more and more frequently today, as stalkers follow the victim on social media or try to embarrass or defame them online.

These kinds of stalkers are typically incompetent at relationships, lonely, and target strangers or casual acquaintances. They assume they can convince the object of their desire to start dating them. They can often seem blind or indifferent to the suffering they inflict on the victim. Many of these stalkers have poor social skills.

People characterized as stalkers may be accused of having a mistaken belief that another person loves them (erotomania), or that they need rescuing.[15] Stalking can consist of an accumulation of a series of actions which, by themselves, can be legal, such as calling on the phone, sending gifts, or sending emails.[17]

Intimate partner stalkers are the most dangerous type.[1] In the UK, for example, most stalkers are former partners and evidence indicates that mental illness-facilitated stalking propagated in the media accounts for only a minority of cases of alleged stalking.[18] A UK Home Office research study on the use of the Protection from Harassment Act stated: "The study found that the Protection from Harassment Act is being used to deal with a variety of behaviour such as domestic and inter-neighbour disputes. It is rarely used for stalking as portrayed by the media since only a small minority of cases in the survey involved such behaviour."[18]

In an article in the journal Sex Roles, Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling discusses how gender plays a role in the difference between stalkers and victims. She says, "gender is associated with the types of emotional reactions that are experienced by recipients of stalking related events, including the degree of fear experienced by the victim." In addition, she hypothesizes that gender may also affect how police handle a case of stalking, how the victim copes with the situation, and how the stalker might view their behavior. She discusses how victims might view certain forms of stalking as normal because of gender socialization influences on the acceptability of certain behaviors. She emphasizes that in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, strangers are considered more dangerous when it comes to stalking than a former partner. Media also plays an important role due to portrayals of male stalking behavior as acceptable, influencing men into thinking it is normal. Since gender roles are socially constructed, sometimes men don't report stalking. She also mentions coercive control theory; "future research will be needed to determine if this theory can predict how changes in social structures and gender-specific norms will result in variations in rates of stalking for men versus women over time in the United States and across the world."[16] 041b061a72


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