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tomhudson's Journal: Stupid people tricks. 60

Journal by tomhudson

Summary: Couple tries to intimidate woman, witness uses cell phone to shoot video, they try to break the phone - also caught on video, then flee before police arrive - forgetting that their license plate is also on video.

Pretty dumb ...

When I got my Motorola V635, I didn't buy it for the camera, or for its ability to shoot videos up to 4 minutes in length ... I just wanted a cell phone to replace my V60. I found out this weekend that its a decent tool for reporting crime.

It started with a trip to Canadian Tire to pick up some rice cookers on sale (my sister wanted one, and I figured I'd pick up two more for christmas gifts). They were out, even though it was the first day of the sale ... grumble grumble ...

WallyWorld was about a minute further down the road, and I'd have to pass it on the way home, so what the heck, why not stop there and see what they had ... so I went there, parked the car (jam-packed - its the busiest WalMart in Canada, according to the policewoman I spoke with).

Just outside the entrance, I saw and heard (and I'm sure you could hear it a block away) a man and a woman screaming at another woman - "We're calling the police. You're going to go to jail ... blah blah blah" Very strange. They were both "in her face"; the guy was over 6' tall, and between 220 and 240 pounds, and I'm thinking to myself "something's not right here!"

Anyway, I found out later that this was all because the couple who were doing all the shouting stopped in the exit, blocking people from leaving, and didn't like that someone *gasp* actually make physical contact with them. On a Saturday afternoon. When they're blocking a jam-packed store exit. In the busiest Wallyworld in the country. Oh, quelle horreur! Get Oprah! Dr. Phil! the Enquirer! Allo Police!

For this "crime", the couple were threatening the woman, telling her that she was going to jail, that he was a 4th year law student and knew the law; they also called the woman "dirty", "filthy", and a bunch of other stuff.

So I took out my cell phone and started shooting video. This way, either everyone would just leave rather than end up on youtube, or when the police arrived, it wouldn't be a question of "he said, she said ..." While its okay to say you're going to take legal action, its a criminal offense to try to intimidate someone, and their physical stance, combined with the verbal abuse, were intimidating.

The guy tried to make me stop, first by trying to physically block me, and trying to get me to back away, and then by threatening to sue ME for "violating his right to privacy". Then making allusions to how scared I must be of him. Stupid thing to say right up close and in the camera - it makes it clear that you're trying to intimidate someone via fear.

I just held the phone over his shoulder and continued shooting, and told him he didn't have any such "right to privacy" in a public place. What was he going to do - call the cops?

Speaking of which, why hadn't they called the police yet, instead of just shouting at the woman about how they were going to call them, and she was going to jail for assault? Something not adding up ...

Anyway, the guy went to put stuff in his Jeep Liberty (illegally parked, and I found out afterwards that all this time there was a kid of around 7 in there!?!), so I continued recording, and got some video of his license plate as well, then returned to continue capturing the shouting match (okay - it wasn't a match - it was pretty one-sided). The woman doing all the shouting didn't like that I was still shooting video, so she knocked the phone out of my hand and onto the concrete. It "sort of" came apart ... I shoved the memory chip back in, and the cover back in place, saved what I had shot, and got ready to shoot some more.

I also told them that I was calling the police, and not to leave.

At that point, her partner, Mr. 4th-Year-Law-Student, panicked and told her to get in the Jeep so they could take off. Suddenly, they didn't want to be there when the police showed up! She got in the Jeep, rolled down the window, and - and I couldn't believe what I saw - she SPAT ON THE OTHER WOMAN!!!

I'm standing there, thinking "This is retarded!" when, for good measure, she opened the Jeep's door and threw an old cup of hot chocolate on me. Yeech!

I called 911, the police arrived, and that's when the woman who was the original victim was told to check her purse - it seems that there are people who go around causing scenes, then, when the person is distracted, swipe their money. Fortunately, everything was intact. Funny thing, when it came time to fill in the police report, its me who's the victim of a physical assault, and do I want to press charges? All things considered, yes. Can I email the videos? Sure thing.

The data on the chip was messed up. The phone probably wasn't designed for rapid disassembly and reassembly in the rain followed by a bath of hot chocolate. It took me 2 evenings and $100 for a chip reader and another chip to recover most of it. Sorry - the spitting scene and everything after didn't survive, but the important stuff survives.

The woman who was being shouted at kept saying how grateful she was that I had stopped. What gets me is how many people didn't stop. I saw people come out of the WalMart and wave to her in sympathy, because they had seen the original "event" that started all this as they were going *into* the store, Nobody stopped. Nobody told staff inside that there was a problem literally on their doorstep. Are people retarded? Don't they realize that what goes around comes around?

Okay, what you really want to know is - "Will I post it on-line?" Well, in fairness I'd have to edit it to remove any references to the woman who was being shouted at, or find some way to block out her face, unless she says otherwise. Still, I could probably edit it down to a minute of "highlights" ... its kind of tempting. This couple could be the next dog shit girl.

Anyone got a name for them as a "working title", in case I do post it?

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Stupid people tricks.

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  • I don't know that you really want to post it online. Is there anything to gain from provoking them further? I am glad to hear that you're pressing charges. Unacceptable behavior.

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      I'm not worried about anything they might do. Legally, I'm on solid ground. Physically, hey - I'll make a video :-)

      Seriously, I don't know why people get off screaming like they were. They had a child in the Jeep, and instead of watching the child, they were doing this ... their priorities are all wrong.

      If I had known that there was a kid in the car, I wouldn't have waited so long before calling the cops. These people are wack-packs. Spitting on someone? That's something even 5-year-olds know is wrong.

      • by nizo (81281) *
        Screw all that; just sell it directly to Jay Leno :-)
      • by dave-tx (684169) *

        It's not the legal aspect that would worry me (although legal expenses CAN get, well, expensive). These people seem clearly unbalanced to me - who knows to what lengths they might go to "get you back"...

        • That's why you carry Mr. .357 Magnum Snubby inside your waistband, so that when the "calling police on cell" and "shooting video" doesn't stop the assault, "shooting bullets" does.

          Then again, you're in Canada, and gun "control" is the national credo. Glad to hear the 6 footer didn't decide to break you in half... shooting video might have been less than helpful then. I've seen a few cases in the nearby area here (towards the city though) where big thugs have permanently crippled locals, and what is their
          • That's why you carry Mr. .357 Magnum Snubby inside your waistband, so that when the "calling police on cell" and "shooting video" doesn't stop the assault, "shooting bullets" does.

            This is why those proposing that an armed society is a "polite society" are seriously wrong. Tom's talking about reducing the chances of confrontation; the above response to that is the reverse, arguing for confrontation and using the existence of firearms as an argument for being able to.

            There's no good reason to make this a

            • As far as I could tell... by choosing to get involved, he had already CONFRONTED that individual. If he had not gotten involved, he wouldn't have CONFRONTED the thug in question and the authorities are usually not that "effective". Whatever may follow is a direct consequence of that. He is either READY for it, or he is not (i.e. dials 911 and waits.)

              You did prove to me that clearly YOU shouldn't be armed because your logic still falls along the side of the "if I'm armed I'll gladly abuse it" thus you see
              • by tomhudson (43916)

                Its a tough call, because there are both emotional and logical arguments to be made on both sides of the gun debate. Canada has a lower murder rate (1/3), but more fire arms. However, one stat that is never talked about is how, if you remove the killings where a firearm was involved from both US and Canadian stats, the murder rate is the same per capita.

                The problem is mostly illegal firearms, on both sides of the border, or people who are emotionally unstable and yet find the means to acquire firearms. S

                • Tom, by the stats I've read, there are roughly 260 million "registered" (what canucks call "legal") guns in the USA. Some 80 million households are recorded as having at least ONE gun. Many of these are those "evil black guns" that so many "anti-gun" types are deathly afraid of, despite the fact that they've never actually handled one in their entire lives. The "federal estimates" I heard as of last year, place the so called, "illegal" (read, sovereign owned, not registered with an outside "master" or "
                  • by tomhudson (43916)

                    Actually, we think preserving medicare in the face of the huge deficits we ran in the '80s was our greatest achievement. Now that our deficit is gone, and our debt is dropping, we can actually spend more on medicare.

                    However, we DO try to take gun control seriously. Also, most of us don't consider the police our "oppressors", but public servants, and overall, we're satisfied with their efforts, though not always with the results - resources ARE limited, and like anything else, there's always room for impr

            • by ces (119879)
              Well I agree there are bigger causes to fight for but:

              1) while Canada does have different firearms laws than the US it isn't nearly as restrictive as some US states. Canadians actually own more firearms per-capita than Americans.

              2) Washington State has an individual right to bear arms in the State Constitution. We also have "must issue" concealed carry permits. Nonetheless there are few crimes committed with legally purchased firearms, and almost none by holders of CCPs (who have to take a firearms safety c
            • by tomhudson (43916)

              "the reality is the process of being processed by itself should be an awakening moment for him. It's not something you or I would want to go through. "

              The "principle person of interest" in all this is the woman, at this point. She was the one who tried to break my phone, spat on the other woman, and threw the hot chocolate on me. The man did try to intimidate me, and he also was acting in a fashion that intimidated the woman his spouse was screaming at, but I think it will be only after interviewing ever

            • by LaBelle (1063070)
              Unfortunately, the idea that if one is disarmed one will not be involved in a confrontation is false. Literally thousands of unarmed women are raped each year in their own homes. The other problem is that by the time the "authorities" arrive one can be quite dead. One never quite gets over being dead; nor does one easily get over losing a loved one to a psychopath. Armed societies do tend to be polite. Some years back Florida had a massive decline in violent crime which seemed to result from one minor cha
              • by tomhudson (43916)

                Nobody believes that disarming the general public will disarm criminals - they don't care about the law, obviously. However, it will prevent a lot of people from doing stupid things, people who, if they had a gun, would use it in situations where they were "losing it".

                Police response times here are quite good - generally under 2 minutes between the call to 911 and the first car on the scene. Additionally, at night al patrol cars are staffed by 2 officers. I think that makes a big difference in the attitu

                • by LaBelle (1063070)
                  Actually, it turns out that an armed general public doesn't result in the sort of violence you project; it seems that people who are armed tend to avoid the use of deadly force - the average criminal when confronted with the potential for serious injury or death tends to look for an easier victim.

                  Actually, firearms do prevent rape. Some years ago I had a man wearing nothing but a ski mask and running shoes force his way into my home. He was laughing his head off and waving a knife in my direction; when he r
                  • by tomhudson (43916)

                    I'm not going to dispute that men who are total assholes aren't dangerous. They are. All things considered, its a good thing you had a gun and the would-be rapist only had a knife. The guy was a rat, and nobody would have blamed you for shooting a rat, but its good you didn't - killing someone, even when you have to, can haunt you for a long time.

                    I don't think anyone should be required to work alone at night. Doesn't matter how "safe" the area is - there's always the possibility that something might happ

                    • by LaBelle (1063070)
                      Changing one's habits? Why should women and men have to live "underground", not driving or voting for fear of a violent psychopath? You talk about changing one's habits "for a while." One woman I know hadn't voted or driven in a *decade.* She only went out in public in huge floppy hats that hid her face from more than a few feet away; and she tried to only go out in large groups; her groceries were delivered, and she had taken up working at home. She lived in a stricter purdah than Saudi law mandates. Her p
                    • by tomhudson (43916)

                      What part of "All things considered, its a good thing you had a gun" didn't you understand? I think I've made it clear that, while I believe that the average person shouldn't be armed, there are exceptions. I don't blame victims, and I never said that it was their fault because of anything they did or any precaution they failed to take, so please don't try to pin that on me either.

                      I don't have a magic solution - but I do have a partial one. Like I said, if more people were willing to do *something*, perp

                    • by LaBelle (1063070)
                      Excuse me? I am an average person, so on the one hand you don't believe I should possess a firearm and on the other hand you think it was good that I had one to hand? One of the problems I am having in following your arguments is that they are internally inconsistent. And yes, the police in much of the US - and in parts of Canada - do seem to be an old boy's club. Yes, we found out later he had an ex-wife he had pulled this on in another state; and a couple of local girlfriends. As for publicizing his beh
                    • by tomhudson (43916)

                      part of the problem is that, as I pointed out, Canada IS more peaceful than the US. It would take a lot of work to change the situation in the US, ad the political will just isn't there.

                      As you point out with all your examples, there is no pressure on the people who control the police (like the mayors, etc) to do something, which is why the "old boys network" still exists.

                      We can see this also in the refusal to ratify the ERA. What is so terrifying about the idea that women should be recognized in the co

                • by LaBelle (1063070)
                  Well, as for suicide by cop it has been done in this area with a replica firearm, a vegetable peeler, a crowbar or tire iron, and by attempting to run the cops down.

                  I admire your idealism; but I suspect your efforts to perfect the human race are unlikely to succeed in either of our lifetimes; and in the mean time I prefer to defend myself from those who are most far from this perfection. What troubles me the most about your ambitious plan to perfect the human race is that you are asking others to suffer and
                  • by tomhudson (43916)

                    I'm not asking you to give up your right to defend yourself. As I point out in another response, I wouldn't blame you in the least if you shot the attempted rapist. Just try not to kill him - he deserves to "live" with the consequences of his attempted crime while in PMITA prison.

                    > "I wonder why you are so concerned for the continued good health of rapists and violent criminals? And so little concerned for the lives of their victims"

                    In February I was part of a jury that sent a woman to jail for life

                    • by LaBelle (1063070)
                      No, you can't even begin to identify with these stalked women; your lunatic criminal is not in the same league with them. He targets one or two people and does not make a full time job of it; nor is he particularly subtle since he shows up and gives them time to call the police from inside the house.

                      He has nothing on the calculating behavior of a psychopathic stalker; he has nothing on the man who stalked his former wife and her mother interstate, across the country, and finally cornered and killed them in
                    • by tomhudson (43916)

                      Do we even have gated communities in Canada? A quick search shows that what most developers call "gated communities" in Canada "includes walled projects with open street access." 241 "gated communities", 3/4 in BC, and not one in my province. Also, civic planners are passing laws prohibiting "gating" where this is going on, because of the long-term problems it causes. I guess that's why I've never seen one.

                      As for "privilege", I guess it depends on how you look at it. I guess our crime rates are lower ...

                    • by LaBelle (1063070)
                      Ironically, if the US would get rid of some of the idiotic victimless crime laws we have, most of our jails would empty out. The other thing that would help enormously is to secure our borders; LA County has an enormous number of unserved warrants for homicide and 95% of them are for illegal alien offenders.
                    • by tomhudson (43916)

                      I think drug use is a social, not criminal, problem, and throwing people "en masse" into jail, but with a stronger bias towards jail if you're black, is ridiculous. It diverts resources away from real crimes, while letting llegislators say they're actually doing something about the "crime problem."

                      The police, for the most part, don't like it, whereas organized crime LOVES it. Something wrong about laws that encourage criminals.

                      Maybe rather than trying so hard to keep people out, it would be better to m

        • by tomhudson (43916)

          That's the beauty of today's tech - you never know when some passer-by might pull out a camera and make a video - or upload live streaming video to the police. But I'm certainly not going to go out of my way to give them my address :-) Thanks for reminding me - I'm going to have to make it clear to the police that I don't want these people to know where I live.

          On the other hand, the police can be slow dealing with minor stuff like this, so that means that they have more time to worry, then to get their h

  • But if you were a USAmerican you could certainly sue them, too. At least for the damage done to your cell phone and probably even your time to retrieve the video. You spent what, 16 hours on that? And your billing rate for assholes is still around $2500 an hour, right? Things add up very easily my friend;-)

    More importantly, kudos to you for doing the right thing, too few seem to do that these days.

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      I definitely could file a civil suit, but I'm not really interested in that. (Seagate, on the other hand, seems to be *really* trying their best to tempt me ...).

      What I want to see is more people become aware that they can intervene passively, from a safe distance if necessary, with the tools at hand - in this case, their cell phone camera. I'm sure if half a dozen people had stopped and all begun to shoot video, they would have just left, rather than continue their bullying.

      That's why I'm sort of thin

      • by dave-tx (684169) *
        Not to drag this off topic, but have you tried out Western Digital's low-power 1TB drives yet?
        • by tomhudson (43916)

          Probably next year when its time for a new machine. Christmas is coming up ... and I need new winter tires ... and I've already spent enough on hard drives for a while :-)

          • by dave-tx (684169) *

            Probably next year when its time for a new machine. Christmas is coming up ... and I need new winter tires ...

            That's actually what I'm waiting for - I'll pick them up when it's time for a new machine. Since my main application for mass storage is music, trading off some performance for quiet/cool/low power is very attractive.

            ... and I've already spent enough on hard drives for a while :-)

            But what about the CA$H BAKK/FR33 S0FTWAR3Z!!! [slashdot.org]

            • by tomhudson (43916)

              Not available in Canada ... (guess it would hurt more having to pay it out in Canadian $$$). From a low of $0,60 to $1.06 is quite a climb ...

              • by dave-tx (684169) *

                From a low of $0,60 to $1.06 is quite a climb ...

                Indeed. I was fortunate to find a Canadian electronics dealer who was willing/happy to sell me an amp "under the table" when the exchange rates were more in my favor. Things certainly turned around quickly.

                • by tomhudson (43916)

                  Considering that you would have been able to get a refund on the sales taxes anyway, he wasn't doing you a big favour. Most people don't know that non-residents can get back the sales tax on their purchases by filing a claim. Sure, you'll have to pay the sales tax in your jurisdiction, but I'd bet its a lot less than ours, so you come out ahead, you stay legit, and you can then just bargain for a simple price reduction, instead of "don't pay the taxes", so you come out almost even, and you don't have to wo

      • My gut reaction, and IANAL- Canadian or otherwise, would be to post it. As a courtesy i would ask the victim if she minds, but as far as the couple- public place. You get what you get.
        • by tomhudson (43916)

          I would definitely keep the victim out of it. Some of the names they called her and things they said to her, and about her on the phone to their friends, were unwarranted and just plain nasty. Its like they WANTED to provoke a reaction.

          • Its like they WANTED to provoke a reaction.

            I have little doubt that they did. From your description their are living a sad, pathetic existence- which is everyone and anyone's fault but theres. This lady was just one in a long line of people who pushed them to anger or ruined their day. Why, without her, they'd have had a great day. But no, she pushed them to set them off. Then she wouldn't even fess up to it and stood there like a coward instead of admitting as to how much she had screwed up their da

            • by tomhudson (43916)

              I know mod points are "wasted" in JEs, but I'd certainly think your post qualifies as a +1 Insightful.

              Kieth Olbermann's show: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/ [msn.com]

              Includes a "Worst Person" link - which gives me:

              Your browser or operating system is not supported
              If you would like to continue anyway, click the button below. Continue to MSN Video

              We recommend using:
              Internet Explorer 6 or 7 on Windows XP SP2, or
              Internet Explorer 7 on Windows Vista, or
              FireFox 2 on Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger.

              Oh, well, I can

              • The MS is the unfortunate part, neh? As for the other, I greatly appreciate the comment. THough it comes more from trying to figure out an angry teen and having a friend get her masters in Psych than anything else;-)
  • People get away with egregious behaviour because everyone feels like it's "not their problem" when in fact it's everyone's problem. Taking it, and moving it to a public forum makes it everyone's problem, and enforces a standard of behaviour on society with a very real and very significant penalty.

    I think the video phones are an excellent tool in this sort of situation. Police Brutality? Video phone. People acting like maniacs? Video phone. Lot of people get away with a lot of crap when it's one person's wor
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Thanks for the support. I'm against "routine video surveillance everywhere", because that does raise privacy issues, in particular, the "anonymity of the crowd". This, on the other hand, keeps people "in the loop" in the decision-making process of what gets recorded and what doesn't, and also the reasons why. Seeing something wrong, then videoing it, is a very different proposition from recording everything, then checking if something is wrong.

      • Oh I agree. The only use I ever saw for video surveillance was after the fact. Someone gets shot on that corner, check the tape, and we'll see who did it.

        Checking the tape without a crime? Makes no sense. Why waste your time and resources?
  • In psych circles it's the "innocent bystander syndrome" -- a crowd of people observe something going on and instead of acting, they simply stand there. Generally speaking, each is thinking that someone else in the crowd will do something. Even the advent of the mobile phone and its attendant camera has not changed the dynamic. Everyone thinks that someone else will do something, and as a result, they've cleared their conscience and will not act. Only those with above average altruistic leanings will overcom

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Thanks. One of my friends mentioned the same thing about the reasons psychiatrists give for why people don't do something. For myself, I know if I *don't* do something, its going to bug me for days and days - "Should I have done something? What finally happened?" I end up feeling partially responsible - errors of omission and all that stuff.

      • by LaBelle (1063070)
        I'm 5/2" tall and in California I don't get involved because your average thug could flatten me with one palm. I do call the police; however, in California the police and the general public seem to think that the best solution involves making sure no one gets arrested - not even the middle school age punk who pulled a knife on an adult who tried to talk to him about the problem he was creating by stoning cars. Then both the public and the cops act surprised when some thug who has been violently acting out
        • by tomhudson (43916)

          That's just terrible!

          I can see how discouraging that can be, when the police are refusing to do their job. Perhaps its time that more people made videos, to shame the police into doing their duty.

          Police now routinely video speeders and routine traffic stops, so that there is no question of who said what. You can be sure that they also make sure that they don't "misbehave" while on camera. If your police aren't doing their job, you have the tools to change that.

          As more and more camera phones get video

  • Canadians. Still think we're all polite?
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Nice :-) You know, it might work, either as a title, or as an overlay ... thanks. I'll certainly keep it in mind.

      • Don't thank me. That's what stereotypes are for.

        Isn't Canada an island or something?
        • by BrenBren (940202) *
          It's the largest of the United States: The State of Denial. ;)
          • by tomhudson (43916)

            I'm thinking more along the lines of something that shouts "White Trash" or "Trailer Park" - you know = "Canada - We Got Rednecks, Eh?" :-)

  • What gets me is how many people didn't stop

    Not trying to defend cowardice, but life's pretty complicated and hard for most people without getting into a totally avoidable scene. I'd like to think that if it was more than shouting, you'd have had a different (if not by much) reaction from passers-by. Besides, there's always idiots like you and me that absolutely love getting in asshole's faces, so it kinda balances out, eh?
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Unfortunately, I think you're right about the "not by much" part.

      Still, maybe a short video clip would give a few people the incentive to do the same next time such a situation pops up. I'm sure dog shit girl [encycloped...matica.com] doesnt let her dog crap on the subway any more for the same reason.

  • Good for you, you did the right thing.
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Thank you. I'll give the police a couple of weeks to "get around to it" before paying them a visit to see what's happening with the file. I'll keep you up to date on what's happening.

  • Except, "I commend your efforts".
  • Is why the fuck store security wasn't right there the moment this started and why the hell store employees weren't right there calling police as soon as it was apparent that the shouting people were a bunch of asshats.

    I mean people around here (PNW) are know for being non-confrontational and passive-aggressive. But I just can't imagine a store around here letting a situation escalate to that level.

    They either confront the idiots pretty quickly or call the cops or both.
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Its one of the wealthier residential areas in the province, and it seems like a lot of people have a sense of entitlement and privilege. Apparently, come Christmas the police have to intervene at the nearby mega-mall "all the time as people start punching each other out over parking spots" - their words for it.

      You're right though - people in 3d have also asked "Why didn't the store do something?" Its a reasonable, legitimate question. Its not like they don't have security cameras around. I think it would

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