Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bad Neighbors and Bullies

I received this email from a member of the SDC Community about a potentially dangerous and frustrating situation.

It starts:
I just wanted to share with you.
I've spent my life doing the very same thing that you teach. I've worked in nightclubs as a bouncer, I have a PI license and have done a lot of security work.

Even after care surveillance and success. And being rewarded admirably for my works. Then something happened at home.....

My neighbor being in the very next apartment, after first meeting him. Seemed to be a cut above with his law school and former being an LEO [law enforcement officer] in the coastguard.

He showed me his unlabeled bottle of steroids, with needles that he used to "shoot up".

He seemed to have "two personalities". He would want to play fight, and then get serious. After being attacked 10 or more times. With my neighbors and kids watching. I had no choice but to call the Sheriff.

I was asking himself at the time, "Here is my next door neighbor". What kind of liability is going to happen if I use my martial arts training. Am I going to be sued ? And my next door neighbor at that. I could no longer use my street smarts and self defense training that I could have at work. Just what was I to do. Little did I know that this sense of "superiority was very prevalent with steroid users".

And as a Brother, Martial Artist. What to do at home, with the addict ??
Being that you'd never believe he's the same person that you first met.-Henry


First of all let's answer your question, martial arts or self defense training does not preclude you from defending yourself. The only time it becomes an issue is if an opposing attorney uses that to paint you as a violent person. Beyond that you have the right to protect yourself based on your local laws.

Contacting the local police was a good move from a legal perspective. It establishes a history of violence and immediately sets you up as the good guy. second, if this man is an attorney and a member of the coast guard who uses drugs and engages in felonious behavior he will be disbarred and tossed out of the Coast Guard. He has a lot to lose. But that doesn't guarantee he will stop his behavior or escalate it.

This is the crappy part. If you are going to continue to live in the same community you need to manage him. Given your experience, I know you already know this, but for the sake of the people reading it, I'll post it.

You can't be alone with this guy, ever. Now that you have drawn you line in the sand and we have established this guy as a loose canon, he can never be alone with you unless you are prepared to do what it takes to survive. He has already demonstrated sociopath type behavior, so it his possible he can go from friend to foe in a blink of an eye.

You are also going to have to be on alert when you come home. Until you are locked in your apartment, you need to stay aware. Hallways, parking lots, tree lines and doorways are good ambush spots. It's unfortunate that you can't relax until you're in your home, but now there is a real threat happening.

your best option is to move. Hey, I know it may sound cowardly, but it is far from the truth. Living your life, waiting to be attacked by an identified threat is not fun. I have dealt with bad neighbors and crappy co-workers an unlike something that happens in the street, you must face it every day. Sure, you would like nothing better than to toss the pain in the ass the beating of his life...but you can't. Unless you are physically threatened, you have to wait and the waiting is really the most painful part.

Years ago I had a neighbor who was literally insane and a passive aggressive son of a bitch. He would get pissed when people parked on the public road, in front of his house. One time I parked my car there and he parked his truck on my bumper and left it out of gear so when I pulled away, his truck would roll behind me. At first I thought he made a mistake and being the good neighbor I took his keys along with a note and put them in his mailbox. As time went on, he said something to my friend's girlfriend and then I put it together. Did I confront him, yes I did. Did I make sure he knew how I felt, absolutely. I even went as far as to try to get him to make an aggressive move towards me, but he didn't bite.

I had to deal with the SOB until the day I moved. Remember, every decision is based on that risk-reward equation. Is that scumbag worth it? The stakes are higher when it's your neighbor and coworker. Hell, its not like no one knows who you are.

At the end of the day, you did the right thing.

Steps to take for dealing with asshole coworkers and insane neighbors.
1. Let them know. Tell them in a polite, matter of fact way that they're behavior is causing and issue. If you want to avoid confrontation, do this when they are not engaging in the behavior. For example, your neighbor uses bad language in front of your kids or drives his car too fast down your street you could say something like "The other day you guys were using some pretty rough language and my kids were outside, can you try to avoid doing that?" Listen, if the guy is a dick he's going to be a dick, if he wants to be a good neighbor he's going to apologize.
2. Call the police. After a two conversations, if he's not going to stop the behavior tell him, "Look, I've asked you a few times and really, it hasn't stopped. So I'm going to file a complaint. I tried to be polite, but now it's out of my hands."
3. Build your case through audio and video recordings. Remember, it's not who's right, it's what you can prove. If you have audio and video of the guy breaking your fence or letting his dog poop on your lawn, it will be pretty compelling evidence when you are defending your actions in court.

You have to make a choice: take crap or not to take crap. You are not required by law to take anyone's bullshit. You are allowed to defend your home, yourself and your loved ones. You are not defenseless. It just takes a little effort on your part.

Neighbors Resolving their Differences

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1 comment:

halseysam said...

I liked this.The video at the end was the best.