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Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:06 PM

Just want to share something with y'all

I had debated whether to share this even with family but on reflection, I would like some kind of public record about what happened to my partner and I a few short weeks ago.
A little background here. My partner and I are very visible Democrats and an out couple. (During election cycles our house looks like an outsized kiosk festooned with signs for Dem candidates.) On occasions when certain events are scheduled - like the recent boycott for low wage workers -- we'll put a hand-made sign in our front window. We also have a more permanent, large decal in support of Planned Parenthood there.
Anyhoo... I've been renovating my studio after some storm damage; the windows to my studio face the street. As I was on the ladder repairing some plaster, I happened to glance out the window and see some weird debris on the sidewalk. I went out to clean it up and to my alarm saw that there were two bullet holes in the house, just below the windows of the studio where I was working.
Of course I called the police. They took some cursory photos of the bullet holes, looked a bit around the neighborhood and left. End of story.
My partner and I are no strangers to being targeted for our political views or for the fact that we're out. Mostly it's just religious extremists leaving messages at our doorstep though one time, when we lived in Virginia, the KKK visited us in the middle of the night and left us a lovely letter. Nevertheless, we aren't the type to scare easily and even now I'm not frightened, just really pissed. The only thing I can't abide more than a bigot is a cowardly bigot.
So now we're left wondering just what pissed someone off so much that they decided to send us a message. Is it because we're an unapologetic, out couple? Our proud support of Planned Parenthood? Because we're dyed-in-the-wool Dems? All of the above?
There's been no followup investigation as to who took shots at us and we both know there isn't going to be one. But just in case something should happen in future, heaven forbid, I thought it prudent to share this story on a more public forum and I think the LGBT forum here is a safe space to do that. I also know that those who choose to participate in this particular group won't dismiss our concerns and fully realize that the intimidation and threats against GLBTs in this country are very real.
That's about it. I'm not inclined to take up forum space with personal issues such as this but hope you will understand why I decided to post this here.

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Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply Just want to share something with y'all (Original post)
theHandpuppet Sep 2013 OP
Behind the Aegis Sep 2013 #1
theHandpuppet Sep 2013 #3
Behind the Aegis Sep 2013 #5
theHandpuppet Sep 2013 #8
Behind the Aegis Sep 2013 #9
theHandpuppet Sep 2013 #10
Behind the Aegis Sep 2013 #12
theHandpuppet Sep 2013 #15
murielm99 Sep 2013 #2
theHandpuppet Sep 2013 #4
murielm99 Sep 2013 #6
niyad Sep 2013 #7
R. Daneel Olivaw Sep 2013 #11
theHandpuppet Sep 2013 #13
R. Daneel Olivaw Sep 2013 #14
theHandpuppet Sep 2013 #16
R. Daneel Olivaw Sep 2013 #17
theHandpuppet Sep 2013 #18
cate94 Sep 2013 #19
dickthegrouch Sep 2013 #20

Response to theHandpuppet (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:26 PM

1. How horrible!



Make copies of EVERYTHING and send to someone you trust; actually send several copies out. When I was being harassed by my bosses, I sent copies to my parents, and my best friend, just in case my apartment, which they had access to, was "inspected." (I lived in university housing and they could inspect my premises at anytime.) This means a copy of this post, all police reports, and anything else that may be in written or recorded form. I know this may sound strange, but contact the ADL (the Anti-Defamation League), as they actually do have persons who deal with sexual orientation issues. I would also suggest contacting a GLBT rights group, just to have one more place of record which is an official organization.

Take care of yourselves and never feel you can't share in this group; that is one of the reasons this group exists!

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #1)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:40 PM

3. Thanks.

I'm gathering together records of all the police reports (this isn't the first time we've been targeted) and we will be giving copies to our lawyer. Since we don't know what particular issue (or issues) instigated this most violent incident, we're hesitant to call in the ADL or even a GLBT rights group. We don't know exactly who we're dealing with here and I'd say we're waiting for the next move but who knows what that might be. Just hoping the situation doesn't escalate but if it continues we will take it to the papers.

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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #3)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:48 PM

5. It is good to have all the info together.

Though I really do encourage you to have many copies, in many places. Don't be hesitant to contact either a GLBT organization (you are one of us) or the ADL. There may be nothing they can do at this point, but should something come up, then they have a record of you and the case, and are more likely to jump in to the fray. The ADL has regional offices, you will have to find the one for your region, which may not even be in your state. It never hurts to reach out early; be prepared (and be safe!).

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #5)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:02 PM

8. Yes, I know you're right

My partner and I are pretty unflappable so our tendency is to underplay things that would freak most folks out. But it won't hurt to compile the records and send a file to several organizations from whom we may need help in future. If nothing else we need to register as a statistic, if you know what I mean.

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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #8)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:11 PM

9. Of course, I am right. Have you not met me before? I am always right!



I can understand your unflappable nature; I was the same when I was single; now, I am "flappable" but it is a wicked flapping, especially if my partner or our animals are involved! You may want to try a women's organization as well. G-d forbid, you need a safe space, then it could be ready and accessible to you both.

Also, I think it is good of you to become a "statistic," because, sadly, too many do not report. Rape, harassment, hate crimes, and bullying are all under-reported, some because people are, well, unflappable and let it roll off them, and others because they are scared. It takes strength and resolve to come forward, even if only to report!

I don't know what else I can do from this part of the country, but if you need something, let me know; I'll do what I can (and I guaran-goddamned-tee there are others here who would do the same!)!

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #9)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:22 PM

10. We are the Queens of Unflappable

My solution to having the garage window shot out, the spray-painted graffiti messages, the three break-ins, the 6 foot fence being torn down, and now the two bullet holes beneath the front window is to grab the toolbox and make a trip to the hardware store. My first thought is always, "something else to #@**@ fix!". I suppose this last incident was a little too close for comfort. Though I did repair the bullet holes within an hour after the police left. What can I say???

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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #10)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:31 PM

12. Apparently so!

I would be scared...and mighty pissed! One night, I got a text from my neighbor asking if we were alright. She had seen people approaching the house, and they ran off when they saw her turn on the porch light. I told my partner, who was already in bed, and he said call the police and promptly went back to sleep. For the most part, it was likely some kids trying to steal my sidewalk lights. All I will say, is this is Oklahoma, and everyone has a gun! For the most part (knock on wood), we have been lucky. Of course, when I was in college, then at my first job, I was involved with two people putting a "hit" on me. Ended up with FBI protection, both times. Now, that can get a bit scary, especially when you are dealing with drug lords (I had busted their runners).

Not to be too preachy, just make sure you balance "unflappableness" with a certain amount of caution.

Where were you when my fence blew down?! That shit cost me $2400!

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #12)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:50 PM

15. Next time call me

I have my own wood shop (carpentry is a hobby) and I can do just about anything from plaster a wall, level a floor, lay tile, build a fence, pour concrete, even sculpt custom moldings. I think it's fun. I get really annoyed at the thought of having to pay someone for shoddy workmanship when I can do most things myself. The fencing company we originally contracted did such a shoddy job that when it was badly damaged by a local criminal I saw that as an opportunity to rebuild it the right way! My latest chore (one I finished just a few days ago) was some roofing repairs. The only thing I don't fool with is electricity. I have a phobia about it and that's one thing really best left to people who know what the hell they're doing.
Back to the subject at hand... we've discussed getting a gun but so far have resisted the idea. I'm too good of a shot and am afraid if confronted with a potentially dangerous situation I might kill someone. I don't want that to ever happen, whether it might be considered justified or not. There has got to be a better way. My major concern is for my sweetheart.

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Response to theHandpuppet (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:34 PM

2. As poster #1 said,

by all means contact an LGBT rights group. This is serious.

Please, please stay safe. This is always my number one concern for LGBT friends and family members.

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Response to murielm99 (Reply #2)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:46 PM

4. Well, the thing is...

We're not even sure it's because we're gay. There are some virulently anti-choice people here who have confronted us and one woman actually told me she should kill my dog since I supported killing babies. Having the Planned Parenthood sign in our front window around here is pretty much painting a target on yourself. So you see, we don't know which bunch of haters we're even dealing with. With them, the end result is the same and they're all a bunch of damned cowards.

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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #4)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:49 PM

6. Make the contact anyway.

And sort it out later!

They may think of something we have not mentioned.

Yeah, haters are all pretty much alike, aren't they?

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Response to theHandpuppet (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:50 PM

7. as the other posters said, copies of EVERYTHING, multiples, to a number of people (and preferably

at least one out of state). Please be safe--the hatred for dems, for out couples, for any who are OTHER, has become a national disease. I used to get death threats regularly for my support for reproductive rights and other issues of concern to women--the police never cared (but it never got to bullet holes in my space!!)

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Response to theHandpuppet (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:23 PM

11. Wait. Didn't the police try to or ask you to see if the could extract the bullets from your house?

 

My first thought would be that a competent police office would want them for a ballistics match in case similar incidents were to take place.

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Response to R. Daneel Olivaw (Reply #11)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:32 PM

13. Well...

He did pry around the bullet holes but they were in deep. Our house is very old and the exterior has many layers. The original house was of wood; years after that they covered the wood with brick; years after that, the section of the brick which used to be a storefront was then covered with siding. We would have to have really torn up that section of the house in order to extract anything and even then I don't think the investigation would have gone anywhere.
We got a ruler and he took photos and measurements of the bullet holes. I did a pretty good repair so the bullets are preserved in there. As it happens, all those exterior layers of house probably saved my posterior layers.

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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #13)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:41 PM

14. Well, posterior layers intact is good, but the bullets are evidence.

 


Every bullet, if intact enough, reveals the gun that it was fired from. Bullets have fingerprints.

What part of the country do you live in? It's surprising that the police would be so lax in their job.

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Response to R. Daneel Olivaw (Reply #14)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:55 PM

16. You might be surprised but I'm not

Try living as a couple of old lesbians in small town WV. We've had three major break-ins and property damaged or destroyed, major thefts in the thousands of dollars. No followup to any of these crimes and it's gotten so bad we've stopped reporting to our insurance company. We just keep adding alarms, locks and lights. No one gives a damn. Hopefully in 2 or 3 more years we'll be able to afford to get the hell out of here.

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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #16)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 12:01 AM

17. May you find a better place to live.

 


Peace, and say safe.

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Response to R. Daneel Olivaw (Reply #17)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 12:07 AM

18. Thanks!

Our hope is to spend our retirement years in a safe, gay-friendly locale. Believe me, we're already looking.

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Response to theHandpuppet (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 09:25 AM

19. Being unflappable can be a good thing

however, in this case it might be a mistake. Whoever is trying to intimidate you seems to be getting bolder about what they are doing. Since you don't know when the last incident happened, you don't know how potentially dangerous it was. I agree completely with post #1. Document everything.

I hate guns, but I think it might be a good idea to have one around. Load it with blanks so you don't have to worry about killing someone. People who do the kind of shit you are reporting are cowards. If they think you have the ability to protect yourself they most likely will back off. Just a thought.

Sorry you are going through this. Please take care of you and yours.

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Response to theHandpuppet (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 02:17 PM

20. Surveillance cameras attached to your computer are fairly cheap these days

I would strongly suggest getting a few and having their output sent directly to the cloud for storage.
They don't have to record all the time, just when they detect motion.
newegg.com is a good source for inexpensive gadgets of this kind, but shop around for the best deal.

Be safe. Demand action from the cops/city.

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