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Old April 28, 2014, 11:44 PM   #1
leadcounsel
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Be aware of pranksters

You can Youtube and watch hours of pranks-gone-wrong...

Basically the setup is to create fear or humiliation in a person, causing some very embarrassing and possibly seriously dangerous situations. It typically involves a staged fight or argument, or someone jumping out of a trash can at unsuspecting pedestrians, or a fake strongarm robbery, or a fake attempted assault, etc. It's usually video-taped for entertainment.

The subjects/victims could be startled and have a heart condition, or fall and hurt themselves, or run and get hurt, etc.

I've seen several that could have resulted in an lawfully armed person reacting with lethal force and shooting the prankster.

Just keep in mind that sometimes situations may be a prank, and not a life threatening event.
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Old April 29, 2014, 12:57 AM   #2
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^thanks for the heads up LC.
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Old April 29, 2014, 07:33 AM   #3
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If the threat is real enough to me that I fear for my life, . . . they will be the ones explaining to the judge and jury why I used my firearm to stop the perceived threat, . . . if they survive.

But you are correct, . . . there are people out there who thrive on making other people laugh, . . . sometimes it is funny, even hilarious, . . . sometimes it is not.

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Old April 29, 2014, 07:38 AM   #4
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It is not just Youtube doing this. MSM programs like "What Would You Do?" stage scenarios that are recorded with hidden cameras. Abusing your wife or girlfriend and things of that nature recorded with professional actors. I cringe when I see that kind of thing going on because someone on the sidelines could mistake the activity for being real and react using deadly force. It is a matter of time before that show or one with a similar theme, takes things too far and someone reacts with some very serious consequences.

How many times have we read on this forum, that the opportunity to resist some unjust action on the part of others is very fleeting. In that moment you either act or you go along and hope for the best. We have seen video after video of CCW people being successful resisting someone pointing a gun at them by acting swiftly. Action time beats reaction time. Programs like the one mentioned, are well intentioned, but the activity certainly seems not well thought out when it comes to unexpected consequences.
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Old April 29, 2014, 10:09 AM   #5
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My family and friends know that that's not my type of humor.

My kids will probably continue to jump out from behind doors and try to scare me (as they do to each other) for the foreseeable future. We've already explained the "don't cry wolf" story to our oldest; she understands that creating drama for the sake of humor will have bad results. I expect that my boy will also understand this when we explain it to him when he's a bit older.

It's always a good point to consider that not everyone in the same situation agrees on the circumstances of the situation. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old April 29, 2014, 10:14 AM   #6
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As I recall... we already have one example of such pranks going very wrong. The details might not be correct but I think it was a Russian TV show wherein a guy would drop a briefcase at somebody's feet and run. He got shot.
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Old April 29, 2014, 10:44 AM   #7
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When I was in Boston - the mall was swamped by a zombie flash mob. In TX, the zombie response would have filled the food courts with blood and brains.

I did see a TV show where they hide a guy in a monster mask in the back of a van and he leaped at the 'victim' who responded by a full power punch to the snout and followed by repeated whacks to monster noggin before he was restrained.
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Old April 29, 2014, 10:45 AM   #8
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Here's a story about some Australian teens who filmed a fake ATM robbery. They did it as a prank, but then several guys intervened thinking it was real. One guy punched one of the teens in the face hard enough to break his nose and send him to the hospital.

I've read that the teens claimed they learned something from this, but apparently they just used the media exposure to keep doing what they're doing, but now they have a larger audience. As a result, I refuse to click on the YouTube link and give them any more views.
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Old April 30, 2014, 08:36 AM   #9
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There's a set of videos I came across the other day where someone points a laser pen at an accomplice sitting at a bus stop from across the street. The staged bus stop "victim" then pretends to be shot, sending bystanders scurrying as the laser-wielder points the laser at others.

I'm all for creative pranks and hyjinks but it takes a person with sociopathic tendencies to enjoy instilling true terror on unsuspecting people. I am saddened by the foreshadow of pain some armed citizen WILL face someday knowing they hurt somebody "just goofin"... not much sympathy for the instigator though.

Considering how aggressive some of these "pranks" are, it's frightening to consider how easy it could be to make a mistake that results in you defending your life in court. I do not envy the defendant or the jury in such a matter.

Thank you for posting this topic for discussion.

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Old April 30, 2014, 07:13 PM   #10
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This is normally the type of thing that I'd dismiss as urban legend, but I saw a couple of kids staging something like this a few days ago. They weren't attacking anyone, but they were yelling confrontational and disturbing things to strangers from a parked car and recording it on a phone.

One was yelling, one was filming with the phone. They were sitting together in the front seat of a car. I don't know if I avoided their attention by direct eye contact, or just because I got lucky. If nothing else I learned to look for the camera person (it was a girl in this case) and not just the loudmouth.

Scary times if you ask me. I know I could be a jerk when I was a teenager, and could act out as a means of getting a reaction. But I couldn't put that reaction onto a platform that millions of people had access to. That's a lot of power for a kid to have, and certainly something to be aware of.
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Old April 30, 2014, 07:44 PM   #11
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About 2 years ago, I read a news story (sorry, I've lost the link) about a staged kidnapping of a church youth group. Masked men with guns (rubber ones, I hope*) burst in and terrorized the kids; blindfolded them and took them somewhere. It was supposed to be some kind of object lesson, I guess. The youth pastor was in on it... but nobody else was, including any of the parents. One of the perps was a former police chief, I guess that's why nobody was charged with kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, etc. I followed the story for a while; the parents were upset but I could find nothing about *any* criminal charges filed.

*Knowing it was a police chief makes me a lot less certain that it was a rubber gun or airsoft, rather than a real one, I just hope it was unloaded.

This is the T&T forum... how is one supposed to deal with something like that? Or any of the situations brought up here? As far as I'm concerned, the threat is real and my reaction will be real. I can feel bad about it later (but not that bad) if it was a prank; the responsibility lies with the prankster.

ETA: it wasn't a former chief, it was an off-duty cop http://triblive.com/x/pittsburghtrib...#axzz30QD1dooH
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Old April 30, 2014, 08:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zxcvbob
As far as I'm concerned, the threat is real and my reaction will be real. I can feel bad about it later (but not that bad) if it was a prank; the responsibility lies with the prankster.
I agree. You should always do your best to analyze the situation, but if someone's trying to trick you into thinking your life is in danger, there's only so much you can do. If one (or more) of those masked men with "guns" had been shot by a parent, the responsibility would lie with the pranksters, not the parent (I'm referring to the moral responsibility; I don't know the legal responsibility, though I hope it would also lie with the pranksters).

I just Googled it and found a bunch of different articles on that story. Here's one:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/church-stag...ry?id=16012844

Wow, I can't get over that. That's one of the dumbest things I've heard in a while. One of the other articles suggested some parents didn't know about it, but it seems like all the adults present might have been in on the prank. That still doesn't lessen the danger: I've known a few teens who might decide to fight back, and that could have turned out bad.
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Old April 30, 2014, 09:38 PM   #13
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heres the suitcase thing, no one got shot, but didn't end well for the pranksters. they were apparently charged with felonies as wll as getting a whooping
http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_wei...-arrested.html

this one here is the ultimate in stupidity
http://www.mizozo.com/weird/03/2010/...-weddi....html
good job making his "friend" braindead
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Old April 30, 2014, 10:01 PM   #14
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I've seen several of these pranks, they are not harmless pranks, they legitimately make people fear for their life. There have been times were I think "they are lucky they didn't have a gun".

Unfortunately, this very well could result in someone being shot because the "prank" is very real and cannot easily be identified as a prank, even when you watch it as a video.
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Old April 30, 2014, 10:08 PM   #15
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Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Some folks don't have a sense of humor. I saw one video where a dude walks up to folks and ask, "Do you want to kiss my a..?" Finally he gets knocked out.
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Old April 30, 2014, 11:56 PM   #16
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Wow, I can't get over that. That's one of the dumbest things I've heard in a while. One of the other articles suggested some parents didn't know about it, but it seems like all the adults present might have been in on the prank. That still doesn't lessen the danger: I've known a few teens who might decide to fight back, and that could have turned out bad.
If just *one* teen had decided to fight back, they might all have. (and I've also read news archives tonight that the guns they used were real.) The church had to pay a $10000 fine, and the pastor plea-bargained to simple assault and false imprisonment and had to pay $500 and do community service. They got off light.

BTW, a lot of colleges and high schools are doing basically the same thing with terr'rism response drills, where they don't tell the students it's just a drill.
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Old May 1, 2014, 01:19 AM   #17
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There was the one that used his loud system in his suv to play gun noises for pretend drive bys. Last clip was 2 of the pedestrians running while the 3rd draws and fires as he speeds off.
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Old May 1, 2014, 08:54 AM   #18
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I saw a few episodes of a TV show ("Fear Factor" ?) where people were pranked with various situations involving danger - assault, kidnapping, threats, etc.

Several of these "pranks" would have justified an armed response - and the fact that in NO case did anyone do anything as obvious as picking up a brick and bouncing it off the (apparent) assailant's head made it pretty obvious that everything was staged and scripted, with the "victim" a well-rehearsed part of the show.

Unfortunately, not everyone who sees this will understand that it's only a TV show. Someone may be inspired to re-enact this type of prank scenario on an unwitting victim in real life . . . with tragic real life results.
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Old May 1, 2014, 10:09 AM   #19
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I agree. You should always do your best to analyze the situation, but if someone's trying to trick you into thinking your life is in danger, there's only so much you can do.
Analyze is going to happen in milliseconds. Over analyzing could very well cost you your life. As callas as it sounds if it were a prank then it will possibly be the last one the person tries to pull off and a very bad decision on the pranksters part. I feel no sympathy for pranksters that get that punch,kick,slap, or out now beating for being stupid and wanting their 15 minutes of fame on YOU TUBE.
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Old May 1, 2014, 10:35 AM   #20
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As Forrest Gump's Mamma Would Say...

"Stupid is as stupid does".

Some folks truly have no common sense whatsoever.
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Old May 1, 2014, 11:12 AM   #21
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While some would consider this kind of thing the natural evolution of the Candid Camera type humor (combined with slapstick), Shows like Fear Factor, Pranked, Punked, Jackass etc. are not my idea of good fun.

The have the advantage of being "productions", using actors, and being shot on closed sets (if the director has ANY sense at all).

Such things done "on the street" in real life, with real people who aren't "in on it", could easily lead to all kinds of grief.

When I saw the title of the thread, I though it was going to be about those MORONS who give a first,time shooter (usually a pretty girl) waaay too much gun, so they can film, and laugh at the results.

These staged "pranks" are a valid concern as well. But not in the life endangering fashion of the fake monster/terrorist/psycho attacks.

Unannounced security exercises carry a significant risk as well. Even with announced exercises, there is often somebody who doesn't get the word.

For example, at a place I used to work, a secured industrial complex protected by professional paramilitary armed security (actually a govt agency), they were running an "exercise" one night. I think facility management knew it was going on, but no one bothered to inform the rest of the workers. Probably because we weren't supposed to be involved....

Graveyard shift. One of our pipefitters goes out to the lay-down yard to look for some material. Sees a guy running, coming towards him, being chased by security. As the "bad guy" got next to the pipe racks, the fitter stepped out and dropped him. Seems like a couple feet of nuclear grade schedule 40 isn't just a scrap, its a tool as well.

"Here you go, boys! I got him for ya!"
The responding patrolmen were suitably appreciative.

Management, on the other hand, had kittens. After that exercise, we were both always informed, and on lockdown in the building when training exercises were being conducted. We were given a written procedure for what to do if we had to open a door, or go outside. A guard would be posted on the door, before we could open it!

A couple years later, I got told a story by one of the guys who worked in the shift office. A similar situation, back shift, and patrol was running an exercise. We needed to open a bay door so a forklift could go out, pick up some materials and bring them in. Had to wait on a guard for the door.

After being stalled for close to an hour, and it becoming time critical, or part of the process would have to be shut down, the shift manager called the patrol Lt. and supposedly told them that if they didn't get him the guard right away, he would tell xxxxxxx (me, by name! I was on shift that night) that I could "play" and could keep any of the guns I could catch!

The guard arrived within 3 minutes.

My boss was a good guy.
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Old May 1, 2014, 03:25 PM   #22
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I don't watch these shows, but I've often thought that some of them are a really quick way to get someone killed. Shows like "Fear Factor" where contestants know that they're on the show to do some stuff designed to scare them are one thing, but with things like "Punk'd" or "Scare Tactics" (I think that's the name of it) where some (ostensibly) unwitting mark gets the holy bejeebus scared out of him . . . Yeah, that could end tragically.
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Old May 1, 2014, 03:33 PM   #23
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Had one here in North Carolina where they staged a fake child kidnapping in a public park......police were called. Lucky they were not shot.
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Old May 2, 2014, 10:15 AM   #24
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Quote:
Shows like "Fear Factor" where contestants know that they're on the show to do some stuff designed to scare them are one thing, but with things like "Punk'd" or "Scare Tactics" (I think that's the name of it) where some (ostensibly) unwitting mark gets the holy bejeebus scared out of him . . . Yeah, that could end tragically.
I used to watch scare tactics, and often thought the same thing.
I assume the marks must be pretty thoroughly vetted.

Quote:
Had one here in North Carolina where they staged a fake child kidnapping in a public park......police were called. Lucky they were not shot.
I'd hope most people would try yelling/grabbing/threatening to stop a kidnapping/crime before they'd start shooting - at least if they weren't the intended victim.
And, I'd hope most pranksters would give it up if someone ran at them yelling with gun drawn.
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Old May 2, 2014, 10:34 AM   #25
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How long will it take until some real kidnappings include cameras as an 'alibi' if they are foiled?

People can be hurt or killed doing this, and 'prank' is not the word to use. Depraved indifference to human life is not a joke.
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