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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 06:58 AM
Original message
Detained by the police for a joke
A few years back, I worked for a consulting company nut who believed that she could "spark creativity" by making people work in a big open room with our desks directly opposite people with opposing personalities. She was a psychologist and had everybody "figured out" so to speak. So there I was, a professional high-tech writer with a high IQ and quiet personality, and a job that required some privacy and a lot of quiet... sitting face-to-face with a very, very loud, abrasive and not terribly bright person (not sure what in the heck her job was other than to listen in on my phone conversations and loudly interfere and yell things at me while I was trying to interview, say, the director of user interface design at Microsoft :rolleyes).

So one day at lunch I was pretty fed up and went for a walk to get the heck out of that hell for an hour or so. We were on a dead-end street with just one other business (an inventory/distribution-type place) at the end, so I fully expected a quiet walk. I picked up an old stick and was whacking it periodically on large trees and a guardrail where a creek passed under the road. Harming nobody, doing no damage, letting off steam and just generally allowing myself to feel my misery without having to hide it under my professional "game face."

I was surprised to see a beat up old car come driving up the street, since the two companies that shared this street were not the type to have comings and goings, other than the occasional large delivery truck for the other company. The car slowed to a stop next to me. I expected someone to be asking for directions, or something along those lines. Instead, the driver, a woman, called over to me, "Is there anything I can do for you?" I was annoyed at the interference and sarcastically said, "Sure, just shoot me and put me out of my misery," and continued walking, now annoyed that I couldn't escape the continuous invasion to my inner quiet even on a walk.

I came to a path down to the creek, so turned down that and then knelt down by the water, now nicely hidden from further intruders and sound drowned out by the white noise of the water. Next thing I know, my privacy was again disturbed. Someone had snuck up behind me and stuck something along the lines of a baseball card in my face. The corner of the card stuck me inside one nostril, caused my eyes to reflexively tear. And a woman starts saying, "Just focus on the picture, just focus on the picture." Seriously, :wtf:?!?! It turns out to be a picture of the crucifixion, and I turned and saw the same woman from the street. :wtf:?!?!

Well, the nutty woman wouldn't go away and leave me alone. Then 2 cops came along, and then the woman left. And I was detained for questioning. It took them a few minutes of me answering questions, increasingly annoyed, for them to figure out that I worked in a crappy job and half my former pay, that I was minding my own business taking a break from work when this idiot woman came along. That I made a sarcastic joke trying to get rid of what turned out to be a religious nutcase.

They were not able to let me go until they got permission from their supervisor. And even then I was reprimanded and told to be careful of what I say to people.

So can somebody please explain to me why I was detained by the police for making what was obviously a joke and resulted in no harm to anybody except me thanks to the intrusion on my walk by a total stranger?

What gives others the right to prosyletize and not leave me alone?
What takes away *my* right to blow off a stranger intruding on my walk? I didn't threaten her. I didn't threaten anybody. Yet I was detained for over 20 minutes and ended up worried about losing my shitty job due to interference that amounted to harrassment by this nutcase.

Why is it that some people are allowed to say or do anything they want and not be held liable or responsible for their impact on others, even when it drives nutcases to murder or bully victims to suicide?

Yet others have no right to freedom of speech or freedom of expression, even when nobody is harmed and they're only trying to get rid of a nuisance?
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Aerows Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 07:15 AM
Response to Original message
1. She got the police involved
Once the police get involved, the situation is going to go downhill. That, more than anything, should tell you how far our nation has slipped into fascism. Everyone is terrified of being sued, and a busybody like that woman naturally doesn't care in the slightest that she was harassing you.

That sucks. I would have been angry as well.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 07:55 AM
Response to Original message
2. How are people supposed to know
what's a "joke" and what isn't?

Yeah, you knew you weren't serious, but this woman didn't.

Maybe she called the police and embellished the story a bit, which was why they had to question you.


You think she was harassing you, she thought she was helping. And if she did call the police, they have an obligation to make sure that the situation is safe before leaving.

I mean, what if you had been so despondent that you were about to take your own life and they let you go and you did something awful? Would your friends and family feel all warm and fuzzy toward the police then?

Moral of the story: You really do have to watch what you say sometimes, especially to strangers who don't have an inside track as to what's going on in your mind, and are only trying to help.

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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:25 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. moral of the story
Edited on Sat Apr-02-11 08:25 AM by northernlights
Actions have consequences. Including exercising free speech, when exercised to a religious nutcase.

Nobody was harmed by my incident, yet I was detained by police.

Just like religious nutcase Jones' exercise of his "free speech" provoked other religious nutcases to murder. Yet Jones' hasn't yet been detained by police for questioning.

Why is Jones not held liable for the result of his free speech, which he was *warned* would provoke nuts to murder. He cannot claim he didn't know what he was doing.

Yet I was held liable for *my* exercise of free speech, trying to rid myself of a nuisance whom I had no way of knowing was a religious nutcase.

Oh, I forgot. Jones is a *Christian.* So he has not only freedom of speech, but freedom from liability for the obvious, forewarned consequences of his free speech.

Sorry, doesn't work for me. What's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. If I'm held liable for consequences that result from my exercising my free speech, then so should Jones be held liable.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Life isn't fair
Having said that, the police had an obligation to make sure that you weren't about to harm yourself.

They were doing their jobs.


If the woman who "harassed" you, or someone else, called the police to report what looked like a very disturbed person, then the police would be derelict in their duties not to respond and ensure your safety.

I'm sorry you don't see it that way.

Instead of being annoyed about not being able to act terribly disturbed in public without being "harassed", you should be grateful that someone cared enough to stop and make sure you were alright.


May you never feel the pain of knowing someone who acted the same way you did, and nobody stopped the person and the person went on to do something awful to him/her self. People in this country bitch and complain that nobody cares, but then when someone does care enough to stop, even that's something to complain about.

Damned if they don't, damned if they do.





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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. yet Jones isn't held liable for *his* provocative speech
which *has* led directly to innocent deaths.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #11
17. You STILL don't get it...
You were NOT "held liable" for anything.

The police were checking on your well-being. That. Is. All.

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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #17
22. I was detained for at least 20 minutes
that was being held liable.

20 minutes detention meant late back to work, and her harrassment and the subsequent detention spoiled my lunch break.

You're the one who totally doesn't "get it."
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #22
24. So?
there's a time limit on how long it takes to make sure someone is OK?

I wasn't there, of course, but my feeling is that, on top of the upset from your job, you were probably also getting pretty hot about that woman who "harassed" you, plus being detained by the police, and being late back to work.

It's possible that your demeanor made the police keep you that long.

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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #24
30. wrong again. The police actually ended up apologizing to me
for keeping me from going back to work while they waited for their supervisor to return their phone call asking for permission to release me. They seemed pretty embarrassed by the end of our conversation.

I was flabbergasted at being detained by the police. I had been quietly walking down the road -- not yelling or babbling to myself or waving arms around. Just in a reverie with the stick absentmindedly banging on the guardrail when the car came by. Even seeing a car come down the road was surprising because it was a private business road with 2 companies and no traffic except a string of cars entering at 8am or so and leaving at 5, and the occasional delivery truck. I assumed the woman stopped to ask directions somewhere. I was annoyed by her and gave her a flip answer and continued on my way.

I was confused and shocked at being followed by her, irritated by her behavior, but didn't behave in any way out of normal range of somebody who is minding their own business and expects to be left alone.

I was confused and intimidated by the police. I have never been detained before or since, and being threatened with arrest for doing nothing wrong is pretty frightening. But again, I kept my cool. I am a professional -- as I mentioned in my OP, I have interviewed senior management at major corporations and don't allow myself to get ruffled easily.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #30
36. so they apologized...
Great.

They realized, at the end of the interview, that you were OK.

But that doesn't mean they didn't have a responsibility to DO THEIR JOBS.

If that woman, or someone else, called the police, then they were required to respond, assess the situation, and then get permission to let you go on your way.

You may not think you were acting in a way that would attract anyone's attention, but perhaps you were too involved in your own resentment and anger to realize how you may have appeared to someone else who stopped to make sure you were OK and got a very weird answer in reply...about shooting you and putting you out of your misery or whatever.

Like the police said, don't be making jokes like that to strangers. Your friends or family may have decided you were "just kidding", but obviously that woman didn't.

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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #3
34. Terry Jones is guilty of burning a book, probably purchased by himself
or one of his church members. In either case, a book that was printed on a machine made by a human and operated by a human - a machine capable of producing that same book by the truckload. That book was not writ by the finger of god/allah, it was merely a book. He is allowed to do this by the laws of the land in which he lives.

You typed "Oh, I forgot. Jones is a *Christian.* So he has not only freedom of speech, but freedom from liability for the obvious, forewarned consequences of his free speech."

The people who were/are offended by the burning of the book killed people because the writings in that book tell them it's ok. They also kill women who have sex outside of marriage, and people who are gay. All because it is written in a book that caused them to take offense when it was burned.

Jones did not kill anyone. People with terminal nutbaggery killed people. And yet, the outrage continues to be focused on the burning of a book. The burning of a book! Now, *that* is sick.


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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #34
40. my outrage is on the deliberate provocation of religious nutcases
Edited on Sat Apr-02-11 11:18 AM by northernlights
and failure to hold people accountable for their actions. Freedom of speech does not, in my opinion, equate to freedom from consequences for inciting violence or for hate speech.

Jones' *knew* what the consequences of his actions would be. Yet he persisted in those actions, hiding from the consequences behind "freedom of speech." His intent can only have been to incite violence because that was the only expected result and he was forewarned repeatedly.

So we have 2 scenarios:

In one, I *unwittingly* made a sarcastic joke to a Christian religious nutcase. I had no way of knowing in advance this person was a religious nutcase who was incapable of comprehending sarcasm. In exercising my free speech, I was subjected to the consequences of being detained and questioned by the police. And many people here believe that I deserved those consequences as a result of my free speech.

In the other, a Christian religious nutcase knowingly, deliberately provoked a bunch of different religious nutcases. He was warned that his actions would incite violence, yet he persisted *in full knowledge* and with the apparent intent of inciting violence. As a result of the provocation, the religious nutcases he targeted went on the fully anticipated murderous rampage. Yet the same people who insist I deserved the unexpected and unintended consequences of my free speech, which by the way caused no harm, seem to think that the person who deliberately incited violence should be protected from the consequences of his free speech.

I disagree with them.
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Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #40
43. No, the remark you made was not made *unwittingly.* You
Edited on Sat Apr-02-11 12:46 PM by Obamanaut
composed it, and you said it, not knowing whether or not the listener may have had someone say similar words to her, and then 'off' themselves. Just as you could not know what was in her mind, she could not know, with certainty, what was in yours. So, whe called the cops.

You say Jones should be subjected to the consequences of his actions - and yet you appear to believe you did not.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. actually, I believe I *did* suffer the consequences of my speech
My sarcasm joke was common among people I worked with for years. Too many years of Dilbert. This was, btw, in early 2001, the first ascendancy of Christian conservative busybody nutcases in my lifetime. I had no reason to expect someone driving up a road toward 2 businesses was anybody other than a worker, and no reason to think she would think that my suggestion that *she* put *me* out of my misery would be interpreted as my intent to commit suicide. By what? Hurling myself over a little bridge into a 6" creek? Hari-kari with a little, dead stick?

But regardless of my off-the-cuff, not thought out retort to her intrusion into my walk, I was detained by the police. Detention, questioning, prevented from returning to work (which could have led to further problems had my absence been noticed) were the consequences of a remark that *I* considered a sarcastic joke to a busybody stranger.

Jones, on the other hand, had prior advice and warning that his actions would provoke a violent response. He thought about his actions, planned them out, announced them, was warned and advised not too...and went through with his plans.

And yes, I do think Jones should be held responsible for the consequences of his "freedom of speech," just as I had to pay the consequences. He intended to incite violence by provoking irrational people. He planned it and he fully intended it. He realized his intent and now his irrational targets are on the rampage and committing the murders he intended to provoke.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #44
48. You're trying to equate
your detention for a well-being check after making a dumb statement with some sort of crime, which it wasn't.

You weren't detained for having committed a crime. You were very likely detained because someone thought you might be in danger from yourself. And so what if all she could see was a stick. How could she know you didn't have a concealed weapon? A gun. A knife. Or pills.

Terry Jones didn't commit a crime. He may have "known" beforehand what would happen if he burned those books, but he isn't responsible for the actions of others.

You mean to tell me that if you decided to burn a bunch of Teabagger tracts and it caused a riot in which 50 Teabaggers were killed, you would hold yourself responsible for the loss of those poor souls? Seriously?

And if the police came to your house to arrest you, you would go willingly, because, after all, you are responsible for what other people think and do...

I'm thinking the story might change a bit under those circumstances. Then you might be hollering about your "freedom of speech" (burning printed material) and how you are not responsible for what other people do as a result of your using that freedom.

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Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #44
56. It might be time to simply get over it and move on. nt
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-03-11 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #56
60. No kidding...this happened a couple of years ago, and is still an issue? n/t
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AlabamaLibrul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #2
45. No, nobody who calls the police on someone who's not interested in
religious harassment, honestly believes they're doing the right thing. If anything they're getting back at the little shithead that just disrespected them and their religion.

Ask me how I know!
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #45
52. How do you know that's why she called the police?
If the OP didn't already say s/he was in an emotional state, enough to the extent that the statement was made to, "Shoot me...blah blah blah" then I would say OK, there had to be another motive for that woman to have called the police.

But the OP made a strange statement. Or, at least, strange enough to that woman to cause her to feel obligated to intervene.

I mean, it's not like she was going down the street and accosted someone who was calmly waiting on the corner for the 12:30 bus or something...

She saw someone she thought was in distress.
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Edweird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:27 AM
Response to Original message
4. That's kind of a 'fire in a theatre' statement.
On the other hand, it's entirely possible that
woman was an overbearing busybody who was
going to find a way to 'help' you no matter what.

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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
5. You're free to express suicidal or depressed tendencies all you want.
I'm free to try to help you in that same vein.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. but *my* freedom of expression resulted in my being detained by police
Edited on Sat Apr-02-11 08:33 AM by northernlights
Yet *her* freedom of expression, which included not only accosting me while I was minding my own business, but also following me, assaulting me with a piece of cardboard and offensive pictures, and cornering me, had zero consequences to her.

Sorry, but *she* should have been held liable for *her* actions as well.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. If people were held liable for mistakingly seeking the well being of another...
...then no one would have a desire to help others.

You position is too individualist for my taste.

If I express tendencies that are suicidal I'd hope someone would intervene.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Yep, siccing the cops on someone is really helping them all right..
:eyes:
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. I would have preferred she not bring her religion in to it and left the cops out of it...
...and I am by no means saying this woman was stable herself.

But I do believe she did mean well.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #14
57. Recall that the road to Hell is paved..
With good intentions.

Stay out of other people's business unless it's really clear there is a dire need for help, this situation certainly was not anywhere near that level of clarity.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. You don't get it
She wasn't about to murder you with a hunk of cardboard picturing the crucifixion.

She didn't "accost" you, she stopped to make sure you were alright.

She wasn't in danger of harming herself, while she clearly believed that you were, based on what you said to her.

Suggestion...next time you decide to have a temper tantrum in public and someone asks if you need help, tell the person, "I'm fine, thanks" and then go on your way.

Or find some other way of coping.

Don't go out into public and put on a display and then expect people NOT to think there's something seriously wrong with you and try to help.

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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. Since when is walking down a private road "having a tantrum"
or putting on "a display?"

You have got to be joking, right?

I was quietly walking down a private dead-end road with 2 businesses on it.

I was minding my own business.

I was holding a stick that I occasionally banged on a tree and, as I walked along the guardrail, let it bang on the guardrail as I walked.

Again, I was walking down a dead-end, private business road, minding my own business.

I have zero idea why this woman came driving down this road. There was no reason to expect anybody to come by except the occasional delivery truck from the 2nd business.

She stopped me for no apparent reason.

I gave her a flip answer. I had a right to give her a flip answer. I did not threaten her. I did not threaten anybody. I made a flip, sarcastic remark, and continued on my way.

You are clearly the one who does not get it. :eyes:

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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. You were banging a stick on shit.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #16
31. I wasn't whaling away at shit
As I walked, I absentmindedly let the stick bang on the guardrail. It broke into little pieces because it was thin, long dead and stiff.

I wasn't yelling, waving it around, babbling to myself. Just absentmindedly walking along in a reverie.

And then I made a flip comment to a stranger who intruded on my walk. Quick. Call the cops and throw me in jail. Right. Whatever. :eyes:
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 11:00 AM
Response to Reply #31
37. Here, again, is what you wrote...
"I picked up an old stick and was whacking it periodically on large trees and a guardrail where a creek passed under the road."


"Whacking" is not the same as "absentmindedly letting the stick bang on the guardrail"


Whacking involves conscious action. Whacking involves some amount of force. It does NOT involve passive dragging or absentminded banging.


I have a feeling you told the truth in your OP and that you are now trying to change it.





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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #13
18. And how is anyone supposed to know
what you ultimately planned to do with that stick you were banging on trees and the guardrail?

This woman assumed you were despondent, for which you should feel fortunate.

Anyone else might have assumed you were bent on doing violence to someone. Especially on an isolated roadway.

And...anything done away from your own home is being done in public
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #18
23. that dead stick was breaking into pieces and I walked along the guardrail
Nobody else would have assumed anything.

Hell, I've been in Grand Central Station and watched hundreds of people walk by while a mother was whipping her screaming, scrambling toddler with a wide leather belt. And nobody intervened, until I did.

But my walking down a private road with a decrepit little stick that I'm am tapping on the guardrail as I walk am some kind of threat and deserve to be detained by the police.

Thank you, but I'll thank the Christian nutcases to mind their own damn business.

And speaking of the privacy of my home, the ones up here can stay the hell off my place, stop littering their trash...and never, ever again better park on my leachfield or *I'll* be the one calling the police on them for trespassing and harrassment. :eyes:
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. Hey, whatever...
Now it's that you were "tapping" a puny little stick on the guardrail.


The details keep changing to justify your outrage over being "harassed" and detained.


The moral of the story STILL is that you have to watch what you "joke" about in public, to strangers who may, or may not, misinterpret what you say.


Say what you want about that woman, but I do believe she had good intentions, Christian or not. And FYI, I'm not exactly a fan of religion, so I'm not sticking up for her because she's a Christian.

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BanzaiBonnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #25
54. No, NL does not have to watch what she's saying
Most people would have gotten the sarcasm in what she said.

And I would have offered to file assault on the woman with the police who showed up. Having someone poke something into you is assault. After all the issues of assault on their sovereign personhood that NL was already putting up with, to be verbally and physically assaulted by that woman AND the police was quite over the top. Being threatened with arrest is not something I would ever take lightly. I'd be shaking like a leaf.

From the picture NL painted in the description of what was happening with the stick, I had a perfect picture of the situation.

So, pipi_k, bear with me as I wiggle through this a bit. Just trying to figure out what's happening here.

I'm trying to understand what your payoff is for attacking NL. At least it feels like an attack to me. Your verbal behavior certainly seems overly aggressive for the discussion.

Ahhhhhh, I think I understand. You are trying to make yourself heard and you don't feel NL is hearing what you have to offer.. Is that right? What is this triggering for you that you have to defend the woman who was intruding? Or is it that you want to be understood? I'm guessing that's why this "discussion" has taken the direction it has.

It's always good to step back and look at what is triggering intense feelings in us. I did just that when I found myself responding to this dust up.

I immediately felt that, NL was asking to be heard. Rather than taking that in and offering empathy, you rushed to the rescue of the person who is not here to defend their actions.

But now I think I understand that part of what you're going for, is to be understood too.

Would you be willing to try having some empathy for a fellow DU member? You could offer to guess how NL was feeling, although he/she seemed to be pretty good at getting to it. Is it possible to just have a heart felt word without trying to correct the situation. Once you have offered to understand the other person, you might find you get much farther in being understood yourself.

And the whole object was to point out how the Koran burning pastor is not being held responsible for his actions. I suspect that is at the heart of NL's current frustration.


Recognizing that we all have the same need to be understood will go a long way toward holding productive, generous discussions in which we can all find our human connections..
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-03-11 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #54
59. OK let me word this a different way...
Nobody has to watch what they're saying.

People can say what they want. But they also have to accept the consequences of their words.

You say that "most people would understand the sarcasm".

You're probably right. However, there are some people in the world who do NOT understand sarcasm. People, for example, with Aspergers. One of my sisters has it, and is immune to sarcasm. She takes everything literally. She's not stupid, and she doesn't do it willfully. It's how her brain works.

OK so we settle the issue of whether people do or do not have to watch what they say...especially to strangers. They can say what they want.

NL, though, appears to want the right to say whatever without consequences and then blame the listener for misunderstanding. I can just imagine how that would work out if, for example, she "joked" about having a gun or bomb just before getting on a plane, ha ha ha.

Most people would know it's a joke, right?

TSA would have absolutely no call to pull her out of line for further questioning, if not outright arrest. It was just a "joke".

People can say it's the context, and maybe it is. Or maybe not. Still, the result is that when someone is exhibiting unusual behavior...whacking a stick on objects (as it clearly says in the OP) and then coming out with something odd, how can anyone expect a different outcome?

I'm not defending the woman. I'm understanding that she felt a need to help. I don't defend her attempt to shove Jesus in someone's face. At that point, I probably would have bitten her hand.

But NL apparently doesn't understand that her behavior and words caused someone who may or may not understand "obvious sarcasm" to attempt an intervention.

Sarcasm is tricky. Some people don't see it where it exists. Others see it where it doesn't exist.

I still believe the moral of the story is that if people don't want to get themselves embroiled in unpleasantness, they need to watch what they say to strangers.





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alphafemale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 08:58 AM
Response to Original message
15. Being questioned by the police is not a violation of your free speech.
You however seem to want Jones arrested for expressing his.

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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #15
19. my free speech resulted in no harm to anybody
Edited on Sat Apr-02-11 09:09 AM by northernlights
Jones' free speech provoked nutcases to commit murder.

I had no way of knowing that I was making a flip, sarcastic remark to a religious nutcase.

Jones' was repeatedly warned, yet deliberately and knowingly provoked religious nutcases.

DUers call for legal action against radio and political loudmouths who incite violence against "libruls" and "abortionists" and "fags" all the time. I agree with them. I just happen to agree with them even when I think that the results of the speech are directed against anybody, not just "my" groups.

Hate speech is not protected speech. Except, apparently, when it is "Christian hate."

Deliberate, knowingly provocative speech is calling fire in a theatre.
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RedArmy300 Donating Member (69 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #15
20. As I've said before you're dense as hell.
My god are you serious? Let me put this in perspective.

The OP is hounded by this shit constantly, they make ONE sarcastic remark and some nutbag calls the police while simultaneously stalking them for several blocks, yet you have the balls to stand there and defend said nutbag? Wow, just wow.

And yes I'm sure Jones burning a koran led to nothing negative at a-

Oh.

That's right ten people died.

And he was warned that extremists would seek violent retribution.

Sorry I don't buy your 'free speech for all' bullshit.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. I don't think anyone here has said that the woman was acting rationally.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #20
26. Free speech doesn't come without consequences
Jones didn't get any personally, although the unintended consequences is that people were killed.

The consequences, if you want to call it that, for the OP's "free speech" is that someone thought s/he was despondent and got the police involved.

Again, life isn't fair.

Although I imagine it would be a whole different story if the OP had been about to harm her/his self and was stopped by someone who thought she was helping.

How are people supposed to know if/when/where to help if others run around making "jokes" like that?


This could all have been avoided with a simple, "Thank you, ma'am, but I'll be fine, I'm just upset about something that happened at work".

But no...people want to be wise-asses and snip at others, then expect not to be taken seriously.

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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #26
33. what makes you think Jones' consequences were unintended?
He was warned -- repeatedly -- what the consequences would be. Yet he deliberately engaged in the most provocative act he could do from the safety of his "church" while hiding from consequences behind "free speech."

The repeated warnings and his insistance on engaging in a senseless, provocative act tells me the exact opposite -- that he *intended* to incite violence.

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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #33
38. Some people just don't believe
there will be consequences no matter how many times they're warned.

I know lots of them.

They don't INTEND for bad things to happen...they just don't believe they will.

I don't know Jones' mind and neither do you.

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alphafemale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #20
27. I've been questioned by police many times while exercising free speech.
During various protests and what not.

Being questioned by police is in no way a violation of your rights.

And if I saw someone walking down my block whacking at things with a stick and made a somewhat "unhinged" remark when I approached them I "might" call the cops too.

I certainly wouldn't stalk them and try to heal them with a "Jesus Card." though. I'd keep my distance.

Reaction to free speech is the fault of the reactor. Period.

Ten people died because their murderers were insane with hate.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #27
46. nobody said detention by the police is a violation of rights
it was a unexpected and unwelcome consequence of my off-the-cuff free speech.

What you consider "a somewhat unhinged remark" was normal sarcasm at that point in time in my neck of the woods. Normal moaning and groaning about work, in a kind of Dilbert fashion. I certainly never would have expected being detained by the police for it. Now, I'm far more cautious, especially of overtly religious people and of the police. Who knows what the current local laws are...I might be detained for "picking my nose" in public.



"I'd keep my distance."

And there is another of my points. Your reaction to somebody that you believe may be "somewhat unhinged" is to keep your distance. It's not to deliberately engage in provocative behavior.

Why is that? After all, you have freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Could it be because you wouldn't want to deal with the consequences of accidentally provoking somebody who might be "somewhat unhinged?"

How about provoking them from a safe distance? That way, the consequences would be wrought upon *somebody else.* So if the provoked, somewhat unhinged person now murders strangers, would that make it ok? After all, you're only exercising your freedom of speech. If somebody else suffers the consequences, too effing bad for them?





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alphafemale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #46
50. It's my freedom of choice to do so.
She chose to engage you otherwise. Also her right to do so.

Even though she may not have been exercising good judgment (In my opinion)

You did not exercise good judgment by walking down a road whacking things with a stick and making odd statements to a stranger. (In my opinion)

She was concerned by your behavior which (In your opinion) was an extreme over reaction. (In her opinion) It was not.

You were questioned by the police. This was annoying to you but is not in any way shape or form a violation of your rights to swing a stick. (In the opinion of the law)

Jones had a perfect right to do what he did even though (In my opinion) (In your opinion) it was probably a very bad idea and an incredibly offensive thing to do on top of that.

But...how exactly do you make a law saying what books you can't burn or desecrate?

Would I still be allowed to wipe my ass with a copy of Atlas Shrugged?

Will we put people in jail for stomping on Dixie Chicks CD's?

Will we bring a paddy wagon when a Pentecostal Church burns Black Sabbath and Metallic discs?

Or do you propose we are just going to bow and kiss the feet of the Taliban and Al Qaeda lest we offend their wretched pig, little-boy-dancer, butt-fucking, murderous, cowardly asses?
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #50
51. there is a large distance between bowing and kissing the feet of the Taliban and Al Qaeda
and deliberately insulting the religion practised by about a billion people. Especially when that insult follows on decades of deliberate injury in the form of bombing their homes and families into smithereens.

And when somebody does the insult *knowing* it will lead to violent retaliation, then that person should be held accountable for their actions.

What is the punishment for somebody yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre?
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alphafemale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #51
53. No. There's not. Either you stand up against religious insanity or you bow to it.
Edited on Sat Apr-02-11 02:32 PM by alphafemale
You stand for freedom of speech or you cede it because of maniacs.

Your shouting "Fire" in a theater is pretty much a no starter too.

In Jones opinion (there she goes that opinion thing again)

But anyway...In his Opinion?

Listen.

The Theater IS on Fire.

(In my opinion) (In your Opinion) He's wildly mistaken and an asshole to boot.

But can someone be legally bound for shouting FIRE! if they sincerely believed the theater was actually on fire?

And by the way the shouting Fire! In a crowded theater analogy is one that needs to be put to bed anyway.

Most people would hear the shout, look about, sniff...shrug and disregard the "Fire!" shouter as just another nutbag that you meet every now and then. Then they'd go back to the popcorn and Mega Cherry Coke.
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alphafemale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #20
55. ...wait. on second look. I'm what?
Maybe you'd better say it again.

Maybe I just didn't read you right.

I am one of those Uppity Women, afterall.

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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
28. Also, just wanted to point out...
this is what you said in your OP:


"So can somebody please explain to me why I was detained by the police for making what was obviously a joke and resulted in no harm to anybody except me thanks to the intrusion on my walk by a total stranger?"


A few people have attempted to do just that. Explain WHY you were detained.

You were detained because your demeanor suggested to someone that you might be about to harm yourself...she probably called the police, and the police have an obligation to respond and ensure your well-being.

Nothing more, nothing less.

You said you wanted an explanation, and it was given, and you're arguing with people, trying to justify whatever concepts you might or might not have about meddling Christians and the American version of the Gestapo.

My suggestion...let it go.

It happened. It's over. Find some other way to deal with anger and frustration at work. If frustration is a chronic problem at work, bring in a jogging suit and sneakers and run it off.


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Doremus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
29. Bizarre story. nt
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Shagbark Hickory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
32. So was she a prostitute? Where I'm from the only people that ask if they can help you are
prostitutes. nt
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davidthegnome Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 10:33 AM
Response to Original message
35. Nobody was harmed
and she was a nuisance - yet her concern may have been genuine. For all she knew you could have been intent on finding a quiet spot to swallow cyanide. I don't support religious nuts of any variety, but your comment, joking or not, could easily lead to people trying to intervene in a well meaning - if very annoying manner.

Now personally, I probably would have shrugged it off as a joke. That doesn't mean I would have been right, because I can imagine a similar case in which the next day I read about that person killing themselves. Then I live with the extreme guilt that I could have done something to help if only I'd had the nerve to try, if only I had recognized a cry for help when I heard one.

Jones is an asshole - but you're comparing apples and oranges. I will say - he deliberately instigated what happened, but he did not personally commit violence. As despicable of a human being as he is, he did nothing illegal. In his case, I wouldn't be too upset if his actions had unintended consequences which cause him a great deal of pain. Perhaps then he would recognize the value of humility (if he survived the experience.).

Now what I just said above - if someone kick's Jones's ass should I be held legally responsible?
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 11:13 AM
Response to Original message
39. If you weren't arrested there's no real problem
Usually police nowadays are polite - were they unpleasant?

but yeah, I'll never understand busybodies like that woman - I've never had that much curiosity about the acts of others - it would have to be a lot worse for me to call police.
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alphafemale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #39
47. That's what I said earlier. Being questioned by police is not a violation of your rights.
I've been questioned plenty because of protests.

But, I certainly never walked down the street whacking things with a stick and muttered odd things to strangers. lol

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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #39
49. the police were apologetic, especially once they realized
what had happened.

The only real problem was my lunch break was a total loss and I was 20+ minutes late going back to the crappy job. Luckily nobody noticed the time I slipped back in...
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Ikonoklast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
41. "Officer, am I under arrest?"
"If not, am I free to go?"


Calmly repeat until they give in.

They'll be very aware you know your rights.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-02-11 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. not under arrest and not free to go until they had permission from their supervisor
I was calm, albeit annoyed.

They were apologetic about keeping me from going back to my job and understanding that as crappy a job as it was, it was the only one I had and I preferred not losing it until I had another one lined up.
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JoeyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-03-11 07:34 AM
Response to Original message
58. Jones burned a book.
It was his book. He paid for it. When you pay for something, you're allowed to do what you want to with it.
You can read it, write in it, or cut out a bunch of construction paper and make the cover look like a little bear.
Or you can burn it. Anyone that doesn't like it can offer to buy it from you.
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