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Old November 17, 2018, 04:49 PM   #26
FireForged
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Police respond to and investigate suspicious circumstances each and every day ..all day and all night long. I would suspect that an unknown person following me, probably has hostile intent. That means contacting me for the purpose of a harassing confrontation( verbal or physical), assault, robbery, car jacking, property damage or similar crime involving the potential for danger. No matter what it is or isn't, I do not think it unreasonable for the POLICE to investigate the suspicious activity and determine for themselves what is afoot. If nothing else, they have identified the person and his behavior for future reference. They have stopped the person from potentially carrying out a crime against me. They have mitigated the possibility that we may have a conflict in a public venue and it also negates the potential that I need respond defensively. The guy may be stalking me, my vehicle because my wife drives it ( who knows).. at least we would have him on paper should these events continue.

Preventing a confrontation protects me, him as well as the public. Its just common sense to avoid it and put a stop to it. If it turns out to be nothing... so be it.


The idea that police only respond to active crimes being committed is a silly notion. The suggestion that it may be a waste of resources to notify the police that you are currently being followed/pursued is equally as silly. Lastly, if the suggestion is that you should not call the police if you a Man and not currently under attack.. that sounds like really bad advise.
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Old November 17, 2018, 05:50 PM   #27
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Briandg; Again, where is the imminent threat?? He followed him and chewed him out pertaining to his driving. Rude and anti social? Yes, absolutely. Illegal?? Nope. Sorry, you have ZERO probable cause. A DA would throw the case out and immediately call your Chief and the State LEO certification board. Without probable cause, the arrest itself would be illegal.
Right, wrong or indifferent... he broke no laws. If you were an officer and you arrested the "jerk", as written, you would likely end up stripped of your badge, without a job and involved in civil litigation for false arrest. A defense Attorney would LOVE for you to arrest his or her client as you described, especially if you own property or have a 401K plan!! There is the little thing you forgot about... its know as the Constitution.
Suppose the "jerk" were you. The guy cut you off and you, again right, wrong or indifferent, angry and having a bad day, you followed him to a store to tell him how close he came to causing an accident. And, you wanted to get his license plate number, in case he was drunk. Perhaps you also thought he was intoxicated, after all, he almost hit you. And yet HE calls the police, who meet up with you at the store. Would you expect to be arrested, charged and imprisoned for following him and telling him to be more careful, as well as verifying that he wasn't intoxicated? No threats, no weapons, and in your mind, HE was at fault for almost hitting you. But, there YOU sit on the steel bench, staring at the concrete wondering when you get to see a Judge. Saturday night... they serve you beans. Lovely.
Same situation, in reverse. Not funny is it? That's why we have a Constitution... to protect our rights. No probable cause equals no arrest.

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Old November 17, 2018, 06:25 PM   #28
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My friend.. Police can investigate based on reasonable suspicion. RS is considered by most people to be a lower standard than Probable Cause which itself is already a low standard. I do not need PC of an imminent threat to call the police or to take reasonably mitigating action to avoid a circumstance that is causing me concern regarding what I see as a potential prelude to a crime. Nobody said arrest the person or charge them with a crime or threaten them with violence. I said investigate the circumstance … the suspicion surrounding an unknown person following another is arguably universal.

Quote:
Suppose the "jerk" were you. The guy cut you off and you, again right, wrong or indifferent, angry and having a bad day, you followed him to a store to tell him how close he came to causing an accident. And, you wanted to get his license plate number, in case he was drunk. Perhaps you also thought he was intoxicated, after all, he almost hit you. And yet HE calls the police, who meet up with you at the store. Would you expect to be arrested, charged and imprisoned for following him and telling him to be more careful, as well as verifying that he wasn't intoxicated?
I think that maybe you did not read my post

I said investigate.. that's means you identify what is happening, who is involved, the nature of the circumstances and make some determination based on evidence ( if any). Nobody said toss em in jail based on spidey sense.
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Old November 17, 2018, 06:41 PM   #29
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Fireforged.... sorry, I should have clarified, I was replying to Briandg. Not you... Lol! I am well aware of RS and PC... I was replying to his most recent post on page 1 where he stated the individual had broken the law 2X.

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Old November 17, 2018, 06:48 PM   #30
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Sorry Bro.. It makes complete sense now.

Now that I see your comment within the proper context, I tend to agree with your general point. Being arrested for simply following someone (once) with no other compounding elements would seem rather harsh. I wont say that the law doesn't exist somewhere but I would be skeptical.
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Old November 18, 2018, 11:35 AM   #31
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Briandg; Again, where is the imminent threat?? He followed him and chewed him out pertaining to his driving. Rude and anti social? Yes, absolutely. Illegal?? Nope. Sorry, you have ZERO probable cause. A DA would throw the case out and immediately call your Chief and the State LEO certification board. Without probable cause, the arrest itself would be illegal.
I see this now. You're doing nothing but yanking my chain. I've wasted a whole lot of time on you, I'm not going to waste another second explaining to you. All you care about is arguing with me for the sake of winding me up.
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Old November 18, 2018, 12:09 PM   #32
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No Sir. Not yanking your chain. I'm trying to understand how you possibly think the "jerk" in the aforementioned scenario violated a law, and explain the other side of the issue as it seems like there is a tendency for some to blame LEO's for "not doing their job", etc., when in reality there was no violation of law. There is RUDE behavior and then there is ILLEGAL behavior. There is a distinct difference.

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Old November 18, 2018, 05:21 PM   #33
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One night late in the evening I driving home. I live out by the country and was going down an old two lane farm to market road. I passed another pickup and I noticed in my rearview mirror them turning around. They came up on me at a high rate of speed and then whipped it over on me forcing me off the road. My front end hit a barbwire fence. They (3 men) piled out of the truck mad and yelling at me in broken spanish (Sorry for you politically correct folks, just telling a story, nothing racist about it.). From what I gathered the driver was angry because he felt I blinded him. The driver headed for my door, the outside passenger headed for my passenger door, and their middle passenger pulled the bench seat forward and was pulling something out from behind the seat. I opened my door and stood up with a 1911 pointed at the driver. He started yelling at his friends and I could not believe how their courage vanished so quickly. We're sorry sir, thank you sir, have a nice evening sir, we are so sorry sir for what we did, never again sir, etc. etc. etc. I drove home and called the county sheriff's office to tell them what had occurred and to tell them I pulled a pistol. The shift Lieutenant laughed at the story and pretty much said, " Well I bet they won't do that again."
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Old November 18, 2018, 06:40 PM   #34
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The cell phone camera and dash cam, as well as body cams and helmet cams are a wonderful thing.

Unless they get into the hands of people with no scruples, a you tube account, and a reason to lie.

A month or two ago, a local police officer in one of the smaller suburban towns stopped to talk to a young black kid, 16 years old. No ticket issued, a conversation, and a warning that he is in a small town and that he needs to drive more carefully.

His mother went ballistic on FB. Fortunately, every officer for that dept has body cam, and the PD posted the entire thing to facebook the next day.

My phone has no camera, but I surely would like to have a front yard surveillance and dash cam. when something like this goes badly, there's less of a need to pray for honest and reliable witnesses.
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Old November 19, 2018, 12:24 AM   #35
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One night late in the evening I driving home. I live out by the country and was going down an old two lane farm to market road. I passed another pickup and I noticed in my rearview mirror them turning around. They came up on me at a high rate of speed and then whipped it over on me forcing me off the road. My front end hit a barbwire fence. They (3 men) piled out of the truck mad and yelling at me in broken spanish (Sorry for you politically correct folks, just telling a story, nothing racist about it.). From what I gathered the driver was angry because he felt I blinded him. The driver headed for my door, the outside passenger headed for my passenger door, and their middle passenger pulled the bench seat forward and was pulling something out from behind the seat. I opened my door and stood up with a 1911 pointed at the driver. He started yelling at his friends and I could not believe how their courage vanished so quickly. We're sorry sir, thank you sir, have a nice evening sir, we are so sorry sir for what we did, never again sir, etc. etc. etc. I drove home and called the county sheriff's office to tell them what had occurred and to tell them I pulled a pistol. The shift Lieutenant laughed at the story and pretty much said, " Well I bet they won't do that again."
All right. That is scary right there. And I am very glad that you producing a handgun resolved the situation very effectively. The presence of the gun saved you and quite possibly the lives of these guys too.

Because if I were in that situation and I did not have a firearm on me, and upon noticing the events highlighted in red happening right before my eyes, I really think that I would have flipped the switch right into full CQC mode. The only thought that would be going through my head would be: "So that's it...I will probably never see my mother, father, or sweetheart again". And with that, it will be kill or be killed. Either two things are going to happen:

1: I deploy one of my fighting knives and go right for the driver. Since he is almost at my own driver-side door, it will be a quick and decisive matter. A massive thrust at the neck with C-pattern twist and take him out right then and there, and immediately go for the same on the second perp entering my passenger-side door. The third one is quite possibly trying to get a gun from that truck? Whatever it is, my only option then would be to do a prison-yard rush on him and try to take him down too...And all the while praying that if he shoots, I don't get hit. OR:

2: Gun the accelerator all the way to the floor and ram the front vehicle as hard as possible. That would probably keep the third perp from getting to his gun and the collision might even be enough to put him out of action. And THEN deal with the other two using the knife. Either option, it is going to be a brutal, bloody and barbaric affair. If I want to make it out of there alive, then there seems to be no other options once two starts to advance on me and a third one is possibly going for a weapon.

And it really does not help that my mind is wired in a way since very young that I am only able to see the worst things that can happen in any situation. To this day I am still not sure if this is a blessing or a curse, but I think it saved my ass multiple times in the past. Felt a lump in my throat one day at work when I was trying to swallow a cup of water. Lump remained there for several days. But as soon as I felt it, the only thought in my mind was "cancer", and as soon as I got out of work, went for an appointment with my doctor. Turned out to be nothing. And lump feeling went away after a few more days. But hell no, I ain't risking it. That is just one incident.

In this case, the appearance of the gun was really a saving grace for all parties involved. It deescalated the situation and prevented actual blood from being spilled.
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Old November 19, 2018, 09:33 AM   #36
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No Sir. Not yanking your chain. I'm trying to understand how you possibly think the "jerk" in the aforementioned scenario violated a law, and explain the other side of the issue as it seems like there is a tendency for some to blame LEO's for "not doing their job", etc., when in reality there was no violation of law. There is RUDE behavior and then there is ILLEGAL behavior. There is a distinct difference.
I think that the observation and inquiry in this post is very reasonable. This thread seems full of emotional rhetoric, innuendo and unqualified buzz words. Shurshot asked for a very simple outlining of probable cause relating to a specific violation of TN law... not drama. Nobody is claiming to be an expert here and I dont think anyone is trying to compile or offer legal advice, we are just some guys talking about what we happen to think about it. I expect he(Shurshot) intends to debate you on the technical merits not emotion. That seems fair

I have not claimed that there was any specific violation of the law and I will not speak to anything relating to TN law. Speaking generally, if some stranger starts following me in any sort of determined manner, I will report the suspicious behavior to police. This angry guy acted suspiciously and ultimately offered some MINOR PROTEST regarding the driving habits of the OP. I wont say that "Hollering" briefly in public is not a minor breach of the law, it may certainly be. Most people and most LEOs would probably require the application of good ole common sense when considering whether or not its a actionable crime. Calling it Stalking or Assault without qualifying it specifically on the elements seems rather dramatic. It might be Stalking.. it might be Assault but I would like to see it outlined for the purpose of discussion. This guy Protested, was a little bit rude and left without further incident. Now that we have the luxury of being able to consider this event through to its natural conclusion. Whats the big deal?
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Old November 19, 2018, 10:42 AM   #37
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I agree you did the right thing, though calling the police or driving to the station couldn't have hurt.

I generally write down a plate number, car, and description of the driver on a business card if I get the long honk, finger, or F#*K you from aggressive drivers.

If they leave me alone after a couple of blocks I toss the card in my center console and hold on to it for a week or so, should anything happen to my vehicle (I park on the street in a city so my car could be easily recognized by the driver should they pass by).

Luckily, haven't had any confrontations outside of the vehicle, but it gives me the peace of mind to have their information readily available should anything go wrong.
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Old November 19, 2018, 11:31 AM   #38
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Fire forged;

Tennessee law.

Quote:
Assault (Simple Assault): Assault is defined as either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another; or, intentionally or knowingly causing another to reasonably fear imminent bodily harm. It is charged as a misdemeanor.
This is as clear as humanly possible. It is absolutely clear that he deliberately harrassed the OP. The OP did, in fact, believe that it was a dangerous situation. laws were broken.

This is clearly a situation where calling the police and asking for intervention is appropriate, since there is clearly a violation of the law, and there is a concern about violence.

Concerning whether or not the follower should be arrested, that is completely, totally irrelevant to the simple assault violation. Any further escalation would be violation of other, more specific laws.

Police intervention to prevent possibly dangerous escalation of this illegal harassment as stated would have been entirely appropriate and justified by the above quoted law.

There is is. It is simple and clear. A crime was committed with a potential for dangerous escalation.

There is no argument that can change the letter of the law, or the facts reported by the OP.
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Old November 19, 2018, 12:05 PM   #39
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It would have escalated if he had encountered a different person
Saying that it [would] have escalated is a very absolute statement... how do you know it would have?

Quote:
A law was broken.
which one?



Quote:
There was an immediate threat
Did he ball his fist? Verbally threaten to harm him? Get into his personal space? Did he have a weapon? Was he acting alone? Did he block his path? Cut off escape? Suddenly close the distance? Did he forecast by other physical action some sort of intent to attack him? The OP walked off and the angry guy let him and did not pursue him further. The OP didn't say how close the man got which lead me to believe that he didn't get dangerously close(fighting close).

I am just curious how you are qualifying the "reasonable" impression of imminent bodily harm? Which seems to be the hypothetical standard that you quoted earlier.

Is a person verbally protesting your behavior a suggestion of imminent bodily harm? Would a reasonable and prudent person think that? I am not so sure

A hostile verbal protest along with unusually close proximity might be a problem.. physical motions which are normally seen as pre-attack indicators are certainly a problem .. stance, verbalizing the threat, fists clenched, closing the distance, posture, accomplices with similar attitude (MOB) is a problem. A guy telling you that your driving sucks and basically expressing his displeasure ( from a relatively safe distance) is not really forecasting violence. There is certainly a potential and may certainly be concerning but someone please outline the "reasonable" indication that harm is IMMINENT. I think that some people are using possible, potential and imminent as the same thing.

again, I am not saying that its not.. I want to understand. Absent any of the indicators that I outlined above, I would not likely have felt that I was about to be harmed. Others may feel different
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Old November 19, 2018, 12:19 PM   #40
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As a police officer, I would advise that you call the police any time you reasonably determine somebody is following you. Don't worry about non emergency, just call 911, the call is going to get dispatched the same way regardless and it saves you some time.

Whether or not there is reasonable suspicion or probable cause is not your concern, your safety is. You pay your taxes which pay for public safety and you are entitled to assistance if you feel you are in some sort of danger.

I can tell you that in my state, there would be more than enough reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop on a vehicle that was following somebody for the purpose of conducting an investigation. Especially if I actually located the described vehicle still following the victim, since there would be several minutes between the time the call was made to when I arrived, and thus plenty of opportunities for the suspect to stop following the victim. Law violations to be investigated would include disorderly conduct, stalking, aggressive driving, and assault.

Road rage is a well documented occurrence and it is commonly known by law enforcement that it can culminate in serious violent felonies. Most law enforcement officers would rather respond before that occurs than clean up afterward. And yes, I would call this road rage.

Is it likely that the police would find that probable cause existed to arrest somebody? Assuming it was somebody being a jerk. . . more than likely not, especially assuming the person being followed had never stopped to allow a confrontation to take place. The police will more than likely educate the other driver and send them on their way. However, there could be other circumstances. The driver could be intoxicated, they could have warrants, they could have drugs, etc. But again, that's not your concern.

To that end, my personal advice would be not to stop at all until police arrived, or to drive to the nearest station if you knew where it was while you were on the phone. Stay aware as you are driving and make sure you keep your options open. Don't allow yourself to get boxed in or be put in a situation where you couldn't immediately drive away if the other driver exits their vehicle.
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Old November 19, 2018, 12:44 PM   #41
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There is no argument that can change the letter of the law
those letters make words and words in the law have a particular meaning as determined by the courts.

words in the law, elements of a particular charge may not mean exactly what you believe them to mean. Its not always as easy as common language. That's why case law is so important. I am sure that this exact issue has been brought before

Again, I wont speak to what TN law means or doesn't mean but I have some doubts that what you are using as an example of an "imminent threat of bodily harm", actually is.
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Old November 19, 2018, 02:48 PM   #42
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briandg, “imminent bodily harm” traditionally requires you show ability, opportunity, and jeopardy such that a reasonable person fears imminent harm. I’m not seeing any evidence of this in the original post. What factors do you think demonstrate this?

As for calling the police or not in grey situations, I think it is important to listen to your gut. I believe a lot of the times what we perceive as a gut feeling is an observation your brain has made but not necessarily processed fully. So when you get that feeling, it is important to listen to it or, at a minimum, give some thought as to what observations may be causing that feeling.

Having said that, unless you want to live in a police state, it isn’t practical to go around calling the police every time someone gets angry with you in public. And if you do call police, be ready for the reality that there may be a major difference between how they solve the problem and how you think the problem should be resolved.
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Old November 19, 2018, 04:00 PM   #43
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briandg, “imminent bodily harm” traditionally requires you show ability, opportunity, and jeopardy such that a reasonable person fears imminent harm. I’m not seeing any evidence of this in the original post. What factors do you think demonstrate this?
That is a very traditional standard and one that I personally use. I think a lot of people get all caught up in the emotion of the adversity they face and do not think things through. I did not see anything that I would personally recognize as actual JEOPARDY when I read the OP. People have a right to feel any way that want about a particular situation but the "reasonableness" of their feelings is often times what is in question.
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Old November 19, 2018, 04:18 PM   #44
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"People have a right to feel any way that want about a particular situation but the "reasonableness" of their feelings is often times what is in question." (Fireforged)

"briandg, “imminent bodily harm” traditionally requires you show ability, opportunity, and jeopardy such that a reasonable person fears imminent harm. I’m not seeing any evidence of this" , and "unless you want to live in a police state, it isn’t practical to go around calling the police every time someone gets angry with you in public. And if you do call police, be ready for the reality that there may be a major difference between how they solve the problem and how you think the problem should be resolved."(BartRoberts)

Exactly! I was hoping someone else would reiterate what I was trying to say and reword it for Briandg. Fireforged and Mr. Robert's did a fine job!

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Old November 20, 2018, 12:03 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Ton
As a police officer, I would advise that you call the police any time you reasonably determine somebody is following you.

...

I can tell you that in my state, there would be more than enough reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop on a vehicle that was following somebody for the purpose of conducting an investigation. Especially if I actually located the described vehicle still following the victim, since there would be several minutes between the time the call was made to when I arrived, and thus plenty of opportunities for the suspect to stop following the victim. Law violations to be investigated would include disorderly conduct, stalking, aggressive driving, and assault.
Thanks for the perspective from the LE point of view.
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Old November 20, 2018, 12:53 PM   #46
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and committed a second incident of misdemeanor assault by yelling at him, and went a bit farther than just calling him a jerk.
Legality aside, if I call 911 because someone yells at me, I fully expect to get flamed and blasted by everyone, not only that, I will have my mancard revoked for at least 90 days.

If you can't handle someone yelling at you, and insist you are the victim of a 'misdemeanor assault', then maybe you might be the one who winds up drawing your gun on someone who you believe is about to kill you, except they were only extending their arm up to try and give you a high five.

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Old November 20, 2018, 01:32 PM   #47
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Someone yelling at you is one thing. Someone following you around town in a car is, to me, another.

I'm not particularly worried about my "man card". If I haven't done enough in this point in my life to prove to myself my own masculinity then that's my problem and I couldn't care less about what someone else thinks. I'll add that being overly concerned about masculinity and then carrying a firearm seems like a potential problem in the making.

It seems to me there are two arguments here. Is it advisable to call the police in a potential road rage situation and is road rage itself as discussed in some examples a crime? It seems on the latter part of the discussion much of that will depend on your local laws as well as the degree to which a threat has been conveyed. It seems on the first part a number of former police officers have said calling was, in their opinion, acceptable if not prudent. That to me is what I care about. I wouldn't call for someone yelling at me and giving me the finger. The guy following me around town is another matter. Even if I call and the answer is, "Sorry you're on your own," then I at least have a record of having called the police and attempting to convey a potential problem. That to me is worth something. I've dealt with my local police enough to know that calling when I see something brewing isn't regarded as problematic. Obviously that will depend on your department.

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Old November 20, 2018, 01:47 PM   #48
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If you can't handle someone yelling at you, and insist you are the victim of a 'misdemeanor assault', then maybe you might be the one who winds up drawing your gun on someone who you believe is about to kill you, except they were only extending their arm up to try and give you a high five.
I agree with your point regarding a seemingly coiled spring mentality. My concern would be that some people may deem darn near any form of hostile adversity as an 11 on a 0-10 danger meter and potentially meet it with an improperly measured response. This tends to happen with situations where emotion clouds thoughtful reasoning.

Coiled Spring Mentality: This is where a persons general "reaction" to adverse conditions tends to resemble that of a coiled spring which is either fully compressed or fully sprung. The suggestion being that a response is essentially all or nothing, there is no real sense of degree or measurement.
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Old November 20, 2018, 02:52 PM   #49
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I've been followed before. Never thought to myself 'I better call the police'. I just led them on a fun scenic route.

I've been subjected to small incidents of road rage. To me, someone yelling is something I can handle. They can even say they want to kill me. Its just words. If they try to hit my car with their vehicle, that's where the line has been crossed, in my humble opinion. If they brandish a firearm, the lines crossed into something I can then call the police about.

Its not really about 'masculinity'. I put that in for comedic relief. However, if a person thinks they have to call police because someone yells at them, and labels it 'misdemeanor assault', that's just a little bit of a waste of time. Will the person who yelled get arrested? No. Will they even get a ticket? Probably not. Will it change their behavior in the future? Not likely. Is it even a crime to follow someone? Please, someone cite your local statutes or laws stating that it is a crime to follow another driver.
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Old November 20, 2018, 04:03 PM   #50
shurshot
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Join Date: August 25, 2006
Posts: 1,018
Spacemanspiff; "However, if a person thinks they have to call police because someone yells at them, and labels it 'misdemeanor assault', that's just a little bit of a waste of time. Will the person who yelled get arrested? No. Will they even get a ticket? Probably not. Will it change their behavior in the future? Not likely. Is it even a crime to follow someone? Please, someone cite your local statutes or laws stating that it is a crime to follow another driver."

Exactly my point. Think how often we inadvertently make a mistake driving and someone honks or flips the bird. I can't imagine calling the police every time that happens, or because some hothead tailgates me on I95 and won't pass. Yes, the Police will respond and investigate "legitimate" road rage incidents (actual threats conveyed, vehicle collisions, etc.), but where do we draw the line pertaining to labeling every little action as "ROAD RAGE" and calling 911? At what point do we become the politically correct little boy who became triggered and cried Wolf?

And we have an LEO (Ton), who advocated;
"As a police officer, I would advise that you call the police any time you reasonably determine somebody is following you. Don't worry about non emergency, just call 911".

Unfortunately, without applying common sense, which many in modern society lack, that well intentioned advice can and will easily be misconstrued and abused. The result is wasting precious tax dollars and understaffed / over strained emergency resources on BS calls because someone had their "feelings" hurt over the middle finger, or the person behind them just happens to be traveling in the same direction. Ignoring / defusing the offending party, barring any REAL immediate threat (verbal threats of harm, weapon displayed, vehicle bumping, etc.), is perhaps ones best action, as the OP demonstrated.

Last edited by shurshot; November 20, 2018 at 05:09 PM.
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