Moral quandary- To call, or not to call?


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FourNineFoxtrot
August 17, 2008, 03:10 AM
Sorry if this is OT, maybe it belongs in S&T or Legal, or a different forum... but I figure that, by the time it gets locked, I'll have made up my mind one way or the other.


About half an hour ago, I was woken up from a not-so-sound sleep by the unmusical cries of wailing children and arguing adults in the apartment upstairs from mine. The walls and floors are thin in my apartment complex, so I hear things like this a lot. Worse, they (my upstairs neighbors) stomp around a lot, making the windows shake. In fact, they make an unholy racket, generally. So to wake me up, this was really above and beyond.

The windows start rattling a lot more, as though in time to impacts. The children wail and I hear a woman's voice again, and I think the wailing was in time to the impacts. I may have heard actual strikes land, but I'm not sure. In short, I strongly suspect that my upstairs neighbor was beating the hell out of his wife and kids.

That's the thing. It sure sounded like it, but I'm not 100% sure. I'm also not sure that the police would or could do anything on my word. And I'm not at all sure that the police won't ineffectually harass the guy a little, but fail to do anything but give him a pretty good idea of who's been ratting him out. And I really don't need that kind of hassle.

So here I am. It's probably about 40 minutes after this happened. I spent that time wondering that, if anything, I should do, and I just don't know.

Call, or not?

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Aaryq
August 17, 2008, 03:11 AM
Call...now. Get off your computer and call the police

FourNineFoxtrot
August 17, 2008, 03:25 AM
Ah, the hell with it. Maybe I just needed to put in words before I acted. Don't know what I expected by posting it.

I'm calling now.

Christ, I hate this part.

Duke Junior
August 17, 2008, 03:27 AM
I'm calling now.

Christ, I hate this part.

You're doing the right thing.A life could be at stake.

FourNineFoxtrot
August 17, 2008, 03:30 AM
A life could be at stake.

Yeah... my own. Haha.

Crap.

Seriously, though... thanks Duke Junior, and Aaryq

I made the call. Dispatcher said they'd be around soon. Guess I'll have a smoke while I wait to see the show.

bogie
August 17, 2008, 03:32 AM
Is this the same guy who was all bent out of shape because of his downstairs neighbor?

And now we have an upstairs neighbor?

One must either throw a few baseballs under the bridge, or question "son, if you think there's a problem, why the bleep are you posting about it on the interwebz, and not calling the po-lice?"

If there is a problem, the po-po are a damn fine place to start. And if there isn't a problem, well, they're a damn fine place to finish.

MT GUNNY
August 17, 2008, 03:34 AM
THR 25 min to respond cops arrive 8 min after that.........................................

FourNineFoxtrot
August 17, 2008, 03:35 AM
Bogie-

Uh, what?

Think you've got me confused with somebody. Never had a downstairs neighbor.

As for why I posted it... damned if I know. Guess I needed to record the event in words before I felt I was sure enough to act. Wouldn't mind if this thread disappeared into the Magical Graveyard of Lost Threads and Stupid Ideas, now that it's served it's purpose.

MT GUNNY
August 17, 2008, 03:39 AM
I saw a show one time where a person saw a crime and only when she said she saw it did anyone do anything about it, Human nature I guess.

FourNineFoxtrot
August 17, 2008, 03:41 AM
Puts me in mind of the old Kitty Genovese case. Read about it in a psych class one time. Some 30-odd people saw her murdered, nary a soul called 5-0. Speaking of human nature.

In light of that, I feel a bit better about calling. At least I ain't one of those people. Score 1 for Foxtrot's soul, should such a thing exist.

MT GUNNY
August 17, 2008, 03:44 AM
Have they showed up yet

FourNineFoxtrot
August 17, 2008, 03:45 AM
I just heard a siren. Maybe that's them. Most likely not. I'm not exactly looking out my window, so I don't know.

Treo
August 17, 2008, 03:47 AM
So did the cops show up?

FourNineFoxtrot
August 17, 2008, 03:49 AM
If they have, they were right sneaky about it. I don't know if they'll bother talking to me or not, but I haven't heard or seen anything, except for a siren that came and went. Wasn't them.

She said they'd come. That doesn't mean they will, though.

FourNineFoxtrot
August 17, 2008, 04:09 AM
Cops are here, and there a-knockin on the guy's door. Guess we'll see... well, hear... how this plays out.

bogie
August 17, 2008, 04:16 AM
Last time I called the cops about something, they took about 20 minutes to show.

In an urban area.

Which is why I call the cops, but also have a boomstick handy.

FourNineFoxtrot
August 17, 2008, 04:17 AM
Think they left, pretty much right after knocking. Well, that was anti-climactic. Just hope they didn't say something like, "By the way, your downstairs neighbor, a Mr. F. N. Foxtrot, called on you. Good night."

MTMilitiaman
August 17, 2008, 04:20 AM
I don't know. It all sounds 'iffy' to me.

I can remember getting my butt spanked with a willow branch when I did something wrong. It and my brother could both raise a racket, esp since we usually got into trouble together.

We always knew we deserved it and tried never to get caught again:evil:

Now I was never there. Maybe it was loud enough to be suspicious. Maybe there is enough cause to say "better safe than sorry." Maybe you are saving a child from an abusive parent.

But from the sounds of it...

I know it would have been embarrassing to all parties involved if the neighbors had called the cops on my mom.

FourNineFoxtrot
August 17, 2008, 04:24 AM
Didn't sound like a spanking or a switching. Sounded like Slappy up there was giving his progeny a taste of the backhand, and maybe a boot toe or a shove into the wall for good measure. And the woman sounded scared, argumentative, but scared.

Listen, I don't really know, or even much care what went on. I did what I could. Now I just hope Ol' Slappy doesn't come downstairs for round two. I'd much rather get some sleep.

MTMilitiaman
August 17, 2008, 04:31 AM
Okay. Like I said, I wasn't there and didn't mean to be judgmental. I just don't like getting involved in other people's business unless I have a really good reason to believe I belong there. That and I inherently distrust cops and try to only get them involved when absolutely necessary and only as a last resort.

I hope everything turns out for the best.

FourNineFoxtrot
August 17, 2008, 04:36 AM
So do I, friend. Didn't much like the idea of calling up 5-0, myself. That's why it took me an hour to decide. MYOB is pretty much a life philosophy for me, and it rubbed me the wrong way to have to call.

But I figured I'd rather be a meddling jerk, and wrong, than apathetic, and right about my suspicions up there.

Don't guess it matters either way, as the police spent about 90 seconds on it, and decided they had better things to do. Whatever.

Treo
August 17, 2008, 04:40 AM
Let's put it all in perspective. If you were the kids would you want someone to call?

FourNineFoxtrot
August 17, 2008, 04:47 AM
Well, it doesn't look like anything more is going to happen tonight. I finished my smoke, and I figure I'll try and get some sleep. I'll worry some more in the morning, over coffee. I take my worry with cream and sugar. Or, alternatively, neat and with a soda chaser... but I'm not in the mood for that tonight.

Good night, folks. Thanks for the replies.

Nematocyst
August 17, 2008, 04:57 AM
"By the way, your downstairs neighbor, a Mr. F. N. Foxtrot, called on you. Good night."That happens.

A few years ago, I called in a suspicious activity in the sandlot next door.
Guy was striping wires out of stolen electronics.

When the police arrived, he tried to run (had a warrant).
They captured him, then as they held him in the lot,
they came and knocked on my door to question me.

:what:

So much for discretion.

MTMilitiaman
August 17, 2008, 05:07 AM
And the fact that the BoR specifically says they have the right not only to be told what they are being accused of but who is accusing them is irrelevant?

I think "discretion" is specifically what the Framers were looking to avoid.

Nematocyst
August 17, 2008, 05:10 AM
But I wasn't "accusing" anyone of anything.

Just reporting suspicious activity.

The evidence can deal w/ accusation.

Crunker1337
August 17, 2008, 05:12 AM
Yeah, being a good citizen doesn't equal testifying in court or persecuting.

MTMilitiaman
August 17, 2008, 05:47 AM
I think the word you were looking for is "prosecuting."

Persecuting is a somewhat different word conjuring images of Moses wondering around a desert for 40 years.

And if you are calling the cops to "report suspecious activity," then you're accusing them of doing something wrong. They have a right to know who accused them of commiting a crime--this would be the person who called the police as the act of calling the police is an accusation of wrong-doing. If you didn't think they were doing something illegal, you wouldn't have called the police.

conw
August 17, 2008, 06:04 AM
Stop persecuting the guy for using the wrong word...or would that be prosecuting? You decide. :)

Riss
August 17, 2008, 06:06 AM
Really is the same if you thought that someone was getting beat out on the sidewalk. Either go help or get someone else to do it. That is why you pay taxes for public servants.

Crunker1337
August 17, 2008, 06:28 AM
And if you are calling the cops to "report suspecious activity," then you're accusing them of doing something wrong.

No, you're suspicious that they're doing something suspicious.

They have a right to know who accused them of commiting a crime

Having a suspicion and expressing it is far from making an accusation.

If you didn't think they were doing something illegal, you wouldn't have called the police.

You have a suspicion that a wrongdoing is happening, so you call the police to see if that's actually the case. And it's not like being asked a few questions by the police is any sort of accusation or even an indication that criminal charges or civil suit will follow.

conw
August 17, 2008, 02:47 PM
I agree with Crunker. The job of the police is to investigate and determine whether further action is merited, not to mediate or prosecute or issue habeas corpus.

If I say "Mr. Smith is stealing my hens," the cops may well mention that I said so in the course of the arrest if they feel like it. If they're wise and, for example, the guy isn't stealing them when they encounter him, they'll use their discretion to keep him from knowing he's being accused of a crime.

On the other hand, if another neighbor says "I keep hearing rustling at night in that there chicken house," no one is being accused of anything. The cops don't have to have a reason to show up and ask you questions; they just need a reason to detain or charge you. For that matter, they can charge you and throw you in the back of the squad car for no apparent reason or explanation, and they are not the ones required to give all the details. Someone is, it just ain't them.

conw
August 17, 2008, 02:56 PM
Did you mean nosy or noisy? LOL. It would kind of make sense either way...

Deanimator
August 17, 2008, 03:23 PM
Call the cops. Odds are she'll deny anything happened. Just keep calling.

To bring some firearms relevance to this, the same thing happened to me.

I called the cops on the guy. The violence was so loud that the guy in the apartment UNDER mine came and complained to ME. He got huffy because I didn't complain. I told HIM to complain if he didn't like it. This was before I finally heard the woman scream "Please don't hit me!" one day.

One of the cops who responded was a sniper with whom I'd shot some service rifle matches. Apparently the woman denied anything had happened. I went upstairs to a friend's apartment and was looking at his Model 70 Varmint when I saw the wife beater sitting on his 6th floor window ledge with his body outside and his legs inside. Suddenly he climbed out on the ledge, with the woman hysterically trying to pull him back in. He started kicking her in the face and chest. It occurred to me that I could have solved everybody's problems with that Model 70. It wasn't more than 75 yards.

My friend didn't have a phone, so I had to wander up and down the hallways until I found a stoner who had a telephone who called the police.

The same sniper and his partner showed up and told the guy to come in. When he kicked the cop, they yanked him in and beat him 'til he couldn't grow anymore. They brought her down on a gurney, followed by him in cuffs, so filthy he looked like a Welsh coal miner. He then sat in the back of a squad car beating his head against the side glass, a la "Cops".

Call the cops. Eventually, he'll kill her and she'll let him. Worry more about the kids than her.

Deanimator
August 17, 2008, 03:35 PM
Just hope they didn't say something like, "By the way, your downstairs neighbor, a Mr. F. N. Foxtrot, called on you. Good night."
In my case, I figured that was a possibility. I wasn't too worried. I always had the Series 70 loaded anyway.

Guys generally hit women instead of seeking out 6'5" bikers because it's safer. I imagine the look on his face would have been priceless if he'd kicked in my door... just before those 230gr. FMJs hit him in the face.

leadcounsel
August 17, 2008, 03:38 PM
MYOB is pretty much a life philosophy for me, and it rubbed me the wrong way to have to call.

+1

First, unless you are SURE someone's life or serious safety is in peril, I think it's a good idea to MYOB and stay out of domestic issues, especially with neighbors. They will turn on you because it will be obvious who reported (even if the cops don't tell). Next time you have your property vandalized, a dead pet, etc.you'll know why - your neighbors are retaliating.

Second, and I can't say this strongly enough, I *VEHEMENTLY* DISAGREE WITH THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWS IN THIS NATION!!!! THEY ARE UNFAIR AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!! Many states have mandatory arrests when they respond to domestic calls like this one. Along with this non-sense comes the absurdity of restraining orders and Lautenburg - if you don't know about it, it's the law that effectively and permanently strips people of their 2nd Amendment rights for little more than an accusation of wrongdoing followed by a 'preponderance' of evidence necessitating a restraining order or domestic abuse.

So, next time you think of calling the cops because your neighbor couple is having a loud argument, consider a time when you had a loud argument with a significant other and imagine having to give up your gun rights forever as a result.

SCKimberFan
August 17, 2008, 03:47 PM
They have a right to know who accused them of commiting a crime

Maybe in court. Not a report to the po-po about a loud disturbance. :p

Deanimator
August 17, 2008, 03:48 PM
So, next time you think of calling the cops because your neighbor couple is having a loud argument, consider a time when you had a loud argument with a significant other and imagine having to give up your gun rights forever as a result.
"Please don't hit me!" in the middle of what sounds like a judo tournament going on in the apartment above me isn't a "loud argument". It's a coward hitting a woman. It's also depriving me of my right to verbally abuse anti-gunners and neo-Nazi simpletons on FidoNet in peace and quiet (which I was trying to do when I first became aware of the situation). I shouldn't have to wear earplugs in my own apartment and I'm not going to.

As far as retaliation goes, it would have saved Cuyahoga County some money. Hitting a scared woman is one thing. Hitting a guy with a .45 automatic and not much human sympathy is quite another. I'm thinking he'd pass. Maybe not. No doubt she would have found another guy to kick the crap out of her, but not because I didn't do anything.

Nematocyst
August 17, 2008, 04:07 PM
I don't know what the laws are in your state, but in mine, when a citizen calls in suspicious activity, they have a right to remain anonymous unless they volunteer - upon being formally asked - to testify against a perpetrator.

I called in suspicious activity in the sandlot next door. The cops came - 4 of them - captured and arrested the guy for possession of stolen electronic gear and for resisting arrest (he tried to run when they came because he had a warrant for his arrest).

The fact that he was in possession of stolen goods, had a warrant and resisted arrest was enough.
They didn't need me to "accuse" him of anything.

The proper action by the police would have been to contact me AFTER they removed him from the scene.
Instead, while he was in full sight of my door, they came to my door and knocked.

That was not cool. As I understand it, it was not legal either.

I'll think twice about calling in suspicious activity in the future.

green country shooter
August 17, 2008, 05:02 PM
The right to confront witnesses against you is in court.

george29
August 17, 2008, 07:04 PM
Some things just need doing! In this case you did the right thing! You suspected a beating and called 5-O. The Beater already knows it could have only been a neighbor who called, this will do one of two things, they will quiet down or they will move. I suspect the first. Why worry? You deserve the peace and quiet.

M203Sniper
August 18, 2008, 01:26 AM
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality” -Dante Alighieri


You've done the right thing sir. I see no dilemma.

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