What is a phone call worth?

Discussion in 'War Stories' started by Flea, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    I've mentioned elsewhere that I love my apartment complex. There's nothing remarkable about the housing itself, but it's a very far cry from my old crack hood. It's on the edge of town, surrounded on three sides by a nature preserve. No boom cars, no airport flight path, and minimal light pollution. At night, the frogs are deafening and I can see miles of open prairie. It's bliss!

    Better yet, I live on one edge of the complex with a balcony facing several acres of woods. I satisfied my curiosity with a single foray back there - once I passed the tree line, I found a patchwork of abandoned homeless camps and toxic litter - but I don't see many homeless coming and going, and they prefer to be invisible anyway.

    Because it's technically off the complex property, many of us walk our dogs in a big swath of grass between Chez Flea and this woods. I've never had any misgivings beyond having to scrape my boots a lot. That is to say, until last night. It was far off in that woods, but I heard a very emotional argument between a woman and two or three men. I stopped for a moment and listened for the entertainment value (my time in the 'hood made me a cynic!) but quickly realized they were harassing the woman.

    She said "Leave me alone!" And they escalated their tone and volume. I thought for a moment about going in there, but realized that I'd have a few acres of woods to search through. Worse, I know I don't have the skills to handle multiple attackers, and I don't have any weapons either. I loitered for a couple minutes trying to pinpoint the exact location of the sound or a glimmer of a campfire, until I hear her shout "I'm calling 911." The men laughed, and then the mocking got ugly. I hightailed it home and made the call myself. The dispatcher told me that someone had already called, and the police were arriving as we spoke. I don't know how much good it would do her as they'd still have a few acres of woods to comb through. Suddenly they went dead silent and I didn't hear a peep for the rest of the night.

    I felt pretty useless. There were compelling arguments on both sides of my getting directly involved. I probably just would have escalated an already unbearable situation and gotten the victim and myself badly hurt or killed. I'm not sure whether I should congratulate myself for being alert enough to sense the need and make the call, or damn myself to hell for being complacent. That sudden silence felt very ominous to me. I could have done more. I combed the papers this morning and didn't see anything about a rape or a corpse, so I can just hope for the best.
     
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  2. 72ronin

    72ronin Purple Belt

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    Dont beat yourself up over it mate.
    You would be suprised at the stories out there of the good samaritan getting attacked by the woman they went in to help!

    You did exactly what was required of you, you contacted the police. I mean unless you were carrying a firearm and were perfectly confident to take command of the situation whatever it may be, and what then, you would have to contact the police anyway. Plus it could of led to a far worse situation etc not advisable at all.

    You did the right thing. You did protect her, And you should be proud of that fact.
     
  3. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    You done good, Flea.

    And don't let it dull your love for the place, sounds like a neat place to live.
     
  4. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    You did the right thing. You did something others probably didn't do. Don't feel like you wasted your time or the dispatcher's time. Among other things, when we receive multiple calls about something, it gets a higher degree of confidence. One call about people arguing or fighting, and it's kind of easy sometimes to do a cursory check, and leave it as nothing found or GOA. Several calls? Now we have a lot more confidence that something is happening.

    You may also be familiar with the story of Kitty Genovese. While there is some dispute about exactly what happened, it's indisputable that anybody who may have heard anything didn't call it in. We'll never know if the cops could have gotten there in time to save her life.

    My usual line about people who are embarrassed or reluctant to call the cops about something is simple: The dispatchers are trained to filter and assign calls in order of priority. They're not going to pull a cop off something "more important" to answer another call, so the most you'll do is keep some cop from writing someone a ticket. So -- by calling something in, even if it turns out to literally be nothing, you may be doing one of your neighbors a favor!
     
  5. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    goa?
     
  6. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    My guess would be something like Gone On Arrival, Don (but that is just a guess :eek:).
     
  7. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Exactly.
     
  8. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    You did the right thing, given the information you had available to you. I would have done the same, and no apologies. At that point, you were the only person who was able to give information on what was going on to the police. To put yourself into a position where you would no longer be able to bear witness AND perhaps get yourself into an escalating situation would have been wise.

    And if I may speculate for a moment, I can't tell you how many domestic disturbances start with a 911 call to the police from one spouse demanding police protection. When the police arrive and the offending party is taken into custody, the same person who demanded that action attacks the police. Yeah; happens ALL the time. You might well have found yourself in a situation where you had no friends, and the 'victim' was angry at you for intruding. You just don't know. You did the right thing.
     
  9. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    What he said.

    Wouldn't worry too much about the sudden silence either. Betcha dollars to donuts the sudden silence was triggered by the site of either a uniformed peace officer, or their flashing blue lights ;)
     
  10. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    +1 to all the above.
     
  11. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Just to throw something in the mix, unfortunately, it's not uncommon to "create" a situation like this to lure someone in there and the person goes in to help and unsuspectingly they wander into the trap and they are the true victim. That's why I tell my students and advise them to just call in a motor assist and not stop to help. The person on the road is still getting the help they need if they really do and the other person is kept safe as well.

    You admit that you didn't have the tools to deal with an unknown situation. You did EXACTLY what you had to do to keep yourself safe first and foremost and let the people know what was going on who ARE trained to deal with it and have the tools to do so.
     
  12. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    Thanks! I also remember a LEO giving a talk on safety telling people that it's okay to call in ambiguous situations. Any LEO would be happy to encounter a boring old false alarm as opposed to a crime scene where someone didn't follow their instincts to be careful.

    I've kept tabs on the paper since then, and still haven't seen anything about a violent crime out there. The occasional harmless brush fires bring all the news crews (and the paper!) out, so it seems like a safe bet that either she made it out okay, or she chose not to make a report. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed and stay out of that particular woods from now on.

    And yes, I still like it here. It's a low-income development so we get our share of trashiness, but it's like Disneyland compared to where I used to be. :uhyeah: Unless I win the Powerball and spring for a McMansion, I think I'll linger here for quite a while.
     
  13. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    If you're really curious, you can do two things. First, check the local PD's website. They may have a "police blotter" or similar information about calls for service. Second, you can cultivate a relationship with the local police. A good point of contact is the Public Information Officer or (if they have one) an officer assigned to be a point of contact for your neighborhood.
     
  14. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    You should have yelled, "It's OK, the police are on the way!" :)
     
  15. Neijia

    Neijia Yellow Belt

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    From a martial arts point of view that was perfect. You minimized your losses, you used your strength against their weakness and you didn't fall for a potential trap. What if you went there to help her and they mugged you? Its happened before. I am physically large and capable and in sparring can take three untrained people, but I would have done the same thing as you did. Even if you save the day and strike one of them and become a hero/heroine, you could end up paying them for life. The greatest warriors are strategists. Being a warrior is about service and survival. You didn't go the Hollywood route, you went the authentic route and may have saved someone in the process.
     
  16. Zenjael

    Zenjael Purple Belt

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    Among the reasons I carry a cellphone is for safety. Always keep 911 on autodial, I say. You did very good. I think cell-phones let you stay near if or when things turn really ugly, and you witness a rape or assault occurring.
     
  17. shesulsa

    shesulsa Columbia Martial Arts Academy

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    Many people would not call on this for various reasons, one of them being, "what would I say? the homeless people in the woods are fighting?" One can't know if this were the case or if an abduction had occurred or some young people were camping and she were the only woman in the group (an occasional recipe for disaster) ... or what. Sensible people need to call in on suspicious activity such as this. You were able to make out what sounded like a potentially bad situation and it sounded like someone were in danger.

    Good job!

    Not going in to try and help may have potentially saved your life, or at least your very own victimization. You can't help someone else when you're in trouble too. Unless you're a marine. ;-)
     
  18. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    My previous neighborhood was a very ugly place with a smorgasboard of crack, meth, and other entertainment options. My border collie meant that I had to go out a couple few times a day, so I waseo
     
  19. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    Damn touch screens ...

    I developed a system for my walks - I always varied my route, and used an over-the-shoulder leash to joel both hands free. One hand always helcharged, so I d my stun gun. In my pocket was my phone, full

    Ah, he'll. I'll finish this when I have access to a real keyboard.
     
  20. Tames D

    Tames D RECKLESS

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    Flea, I can't add much to this thread. But I will say that I'm so glad you are in a better neighborhood. I use to worry about you.
     

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