Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The First Rule of Heathers Club is...

So, a pack of preteen girls in Rhode Island buddied up to a classmate to get her to attend a party, and while she was there, they lulled her into a false sense of security and then launched a gang beatdown on her.

But, wait! It gets better!

The neighbor guy didn't call the cops because he was too busy using his cell phone to video the whole sordid event. He claims that he thought the girls were just staging it, since some of them were apparently filming it, too.

Here's the dilemma: What do you do in his shoes?

With a cry of "Remember Kitty Genovese!", you vault the privacy fence and yell at them to stop. Suppose they don't? Suppose they ignore that carefully practiced command voice of yours? Do you start grabbing 'em and flinging 'em off the victim?

Suppose, their blood up from a few minutes of putting the boot in on a Group Monkey Dance, one or two of 'em even come at you?

Phhhttth! Who's afraid of a couple of twelve-year-olds? You'd just...

Just what, Batman? Deck 'em? Use your Krav Maga on a couple-three teenyboppers? Wait, no, you'd pepper spray them!

The very act of me typing these words is causing a third-year journalism major to toss in his sleep with a smile on his face and a strange tingly feeling in his naughty place over the very thought of being able to slap a headline like "38 y.o. Gun Nut Pepper Sprays Preteen Birthday Party" over his byline.

Hey, you weren't by any chance open carrying when you went over the fence, were you?

Maybe in perfect Wookietopia or back on Walton Mountain we wouldn't have to worry about this kind of stuff, but here in 21st Century America, I don't know. What do you do in a situation like this? (I mean, beyond hoping you never find yourself facing a wilding pack of preteens singing "Happy Birthday to you! Kobayashi Maru!")

I do know that they take money out of your paycheck for 911 services, and dialing that number will cause a guy dripping with qualified immunity to show up and pepper spray the preteen birthday party, so us bloggers can rake him over the coals for it.

65 comments:

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

" beyond hoping you never find yourself facing a wilding pack of preteens singing 'Happy Birthday to you! Kobayashi Maru!'"

Best coinage of phrase I have read all month.

Tango Juliet said...

Indeed it would take Kirk-like wisdom to surmount that little dilemma.

azmountaintroll said...

NEVER get involved with other people's children. EVER. That's the rule our 'civilization' has evolved, and that's the rule I live by.

Nathan said...

I would ask WTF kind of upbringing these apparently-feral children are getting, but then I consider who their parents must be (late Gen-X and Millenials) and then I don't wonder about that anymore.

Tam said...

Welcome to the Endarkenment.

Mikael said...

I'd have no problem telling them to stop, nor would I have any problem with wading in and pulling them off her if they didn't.

Then again I'm from sweden, and I've got asbergers, I've got a natural aversion to bullies.

aczarnowski said...

Call 911 and leave my phone nearby, leap the fence, dive into the middle, cover the girl getting the beatdown and try to move her back across the fence line with as little interaction with the rest as possible. If they leave bruises, I'll sue their parents later.

Could I have thought of that in the moment? Probably not.

Jay in OK said...

Ah Tam,

Your sharp wit once again brings a smile to my face....qualified immunity......who'da thunk it?

Joseph said...

I'd yell "Jackpot" and run and get my hoods and ducktape and pull the windowless van around front, 'cause obviously, nobody is gonna miss these girls.






obviously, I'm joking, I'd videotape the whole thing first, DUH!

mikee said...

In an old neighborhood of mine somebody, for whatever reason, started tossing plastic bags of dirt on the roofs of houses. Made quite a mess when the bags would go splat, really hard to clean off. No idea who or why they did it.

I was home early one day and saw two little darlin's about 10 or so loading up plastic bags across the street from my house. I took pictures of them with the bags of dirt as I walked up to them.

They started cussing me. I told them the pictures were going to the police and their parents if ever another bag of dirt or other vandalism was seen. They cussed me some more. I ignored that and just left.

No more vandalism for a few days, then a week.

I gave the pictures to their parents and police anyway. I'm mean like that.

SGB said...

One size does not fit all.

Anonymous said...

NB that these little sociopaths were issuing this beat-down because the victim called one of the assailant's ex-boyfriend "cute."

Ken said...

Is Wookietopia anywhere near Hardyville?

And I'm with NJT: "Happy Birthday to you! Kobayashi Maru!" is the best line I've read on the Internet since "STATE ALL FACTS YOU HAVE NOT STATED HURRR" in a comment at Popehat.

docjim505 said...

If George Zimmerman has taught us anything, it's mind your own business. No good can come of trying to be a Good Samaritan in America these days.

As Tam says, welcome to the Endarkenment.

Ben said...

I believe I would start taking notes for the next novel. Assuming, of course, that Megan Abbott hasn't already written it.

Anonymous said...

Call 911 and and hope the K-9 units are first on scene.

Gerry

cj said...

Color me amazed at the mother of the ringleader's statement: "I love my daughter, too. But my daughter needs help. My daughter has done this too many times. She needs to be punished for this."

And here I thought the parental view of everyone accused of anything was turning their life around...at least that's what I usually read.

Shrimp said...

"My daughter has done this too many times."

I believe Gavin De Becker would call that a PIN.

Robin said...

911 and then a water hose.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.
Sounds every day carry should now include a video camera to record every encounter, whether with police, skittle-carriers, or little girls.
Especially little girls, because you just know those little darlings will claim "bad touch."

Bubblehead Les. said...

What Robin said. But I'd have something in my Pocket and a Clear Line of Retreat to Cover, even if you have "Stand Your Ground" laws in your State. And do your best to get the whole thing on Video AFTER doing what you need to do. And share it IMMEDIATELY with Trusted Friends. Primary Source Documentation will be needed for the Trial that one of these "Little Darlings" Parents will be sending you to for all the "Damage" YOU inflected on their "Baby Princess."

And hope that Al Sharpton doesn't raise his Ugly Head after the Event.

Guffaw in AZ said...

In the olden days, they would have lured her to the prom and doused her in pig blood.
And, you remember what happened after THAT?
Maybe a serious pellet gun, in the dark, from a distance, with night vision is a solution? Maybe not.

rickn8or said...

Nobody's gonna comment on the ""38 y.o. Gun Nut Pepper Sprays Preteen Birthday Party" ??

karrde said...

@cj,

when a parent says "My [child] has done this too many times, [he/she] needs to be punished for this," it is encouraging.

Slightly.

I mean, who should do the punishing?

It's good to hear a parent who is not willing to excuse a child's misbehavior.

Maybe it's good for the parent to realize that children need instruction in following rules...

But I can't avoid asking: why did this realization not come a little earlier? Like the first or second time the child did something like this?

Or am I misunderstanding the "my child has done this too many times" quote?

DirtCrashr said...

Shoot the dog.

Goober said...

"my child needs o be punished"

And it is a crying shame, really, that in our society, we have no one to perform such a duty. You know, someone who looks after the kid on a daily basis, provides them a roof over their head and three hots and a cot. I don't know what you would call such a person. Maybe her legal guardian? I don't know. Possibly "parent"?

Hard to say. The shame here is that there is no such person in this girls life, and she really does need to be punished. I just wish we knew who would be able to do such a thing... /snark

Robin said...

Rickn8or wrote "Nobody's gonna comment on the ""38 y.o. Gun Nut Pepper Sprays Preteen Birthday Party" ??"

Talk to my lawyer.

staghounds said...

Ricn8or, I think I saw in the Tokyo Times, they are offering that for ¥50,000 on Patpong Road.

Also I call rule 34.

Woodman said...

"And it is a crying shame, really, that in our society, we have no one to perform such a duty. You know, someone who looks after the kid on a daily basis, provides them a roof over their head and three hots and a cot. I don't know what you would call such a person. Maybe her legal guardian? I don't know. Possibly "parent"? "

Well, if the parent punished her too much she would go to jail, not pass Go! and not get her $200. This parent is looking for "punishment" from the same people who told her she can't be in charge.

I for one, dare my child to call the CPS on me when she pulls that card. It may be a royal pain in the ass and quite a few things may be ruined by them sticking their snouts into my life, but I refuse to be blackmailed by my children with governmental action. Call 911 in my area and try to find a cop who is sympathetic to a screaming brat who got smacked, or got her phone taken away.

But, in many areas, and sometimes my own area, you could be taking a ride in the back of a cruiser if your child screams loud enough. I think it's worth the risk to raise a real human being, but a lot of people don't, and I'm not sure how much I can blame them.

Anonymous said...

'I'd rather be judged by 120 million, than carried by 7...'

Anonymous said...

Pepper spray = obscured vision and pain for 90 minutes. Outcome? Parents take responsibility for pain and suffering of ALL attendees. Lawsuit? Depends on the DA and the state, but it's not likely to go far (defense of life vs assault and battery, mayhem, disorderly conduct, conduct regardless of life . . .). Well written!

Anonymous said...

"38 y.o. Gun Nut Pepper Sprays Preteen Birthday Party"

Not a bitchin' name for a band, not even a decent album title, but damme if that's not a great name for a track off the album.

Mike James

Anonymous said...

And then, of course, there's this:

How Can a 10-Year-Old Die from a Fist-Fight?

I don't know what I would do--immunize myself from all the merry hell which would result from diving into a fistfight between two little girls? Life is short, and I've got nothing to prove, especially if my prospects for remaining out of jail are imperiled.

Or wonder about whether I should have at least tried, if someone else outlives their little child?

Mike James

Anonymous said...

What about an app for smartphones that simultaneously dials 911 and gives your location and a recorded message you make as it's dialing, and starts the video recording. Something you start, and perhaps hand off to someone to get video whilst...no, that might not be useful.

Mike James

Woodman said...

I think I would intervene. If I was thinking clearly enough to step through it I'd rather be able to sleep at night, even in jail or a cardboard box, than stare at the ceiling wondering if I did the right thing by ignoring it.

Just like that woman who didn't even look out her window during the Zimmerman thing. Does she carry the death of a innocent young man, or the potential lynching of another man on her conscience?

Stretch said...

What's the difference between adult and juvenile offenders?

Juveniles take a lower point of aim.

Roberta X said...

I'm a bad person; my immediate thought (but never deed) is those three little words that all start with "S."

In reality? Not my kids. Darwin can have his day. You can't win the game. All you can do is refuse to play.

LabRat said...

In defense of the little psycho's mother, at least partially, she may well be afraid of her own child. I've known/seen a couple of cases of a genuinely mentally ill kid who has realized that force monopoly on the part of their parent is not actually a law of nature. It's a hell of a lot more common for a parent to abuse a child, but there are the odd Psycho Jrs. out there who start terrorizing their parents/grandparents/older siblings in the no-fooling way from pretty early on.

So, she could be saying "authorities, control my brat for me", or she could be saying "authorities, my child is fucking scary and having her phone taken away doesn't faze her, and I don't have the chops to go MMA on her".

It's the part where a ten-year-old is carefully strategizing "kill Piggy" before executing the plan that makes me wonder about that latter possibility. That's not normal behavior even for a spoiled bratty kid.

Anonymous said...

GREAT post.

When I was twelve, I was as tall as most grown men, and probably weighed about 180. But I was a male.

My daughter and her friends probably averaged about 115 lbs at that age. Small woman sized. 12 year-olds are energetic, though. Very little judgment. If they've got their blood up, you actually could find that the same group who would commit this nearly homicidal act turn on you.

But I'm not turning away. I have to sleep nights. Well, days. But you know. So call 911, make sure that the location is stated and that they're getting cops en route, and leave the line open (and recording) while you wade in.

"Command voice" needs to be turned to 11. And kick.

TELL me that your gun is covered. It is, right?

I don't care if one's swinging a crow bar and the other has a 2X4-- you don't let that gun see the light of day or even hint at its existence until one of them has displayed a gun or at least a katana (and she better be showing ninja training with the latter.).

Anonymous said...

GREAT post.

When I was twelve, I was as tall as most grown men, and probably weighed about 180. But I was a male.

My daughter and her friends probably averaged about 115 lbs at that age. Small woman sized. 12 year-olds are energetic, though. Very little judgment. If they've got their blood up, you actually could find that the same group who would commit this nearly homicidal act turn on you.

But I'm not turning away. I have to sleep nights. Well, days. But you know. So call 911, make sure that the location is stated and that they're getting cops en route, and leave the line open (and recording) while you wade in.

"Command voice" needs to be turned to 11. And kick.

TELL me that your gun is covered. It is, right?

I don't care if one's swinging a crow bar and the other has a 2X4-- you don't let that gun see the light of day or even hint at its existence until one of them has displayed a gun or at least a katana (and she better be showing ninja training with the latter.).

Matt G said...

Huh. How did I end up being AnonyMouse, just above?

--Oops.

Tam said...

Matt G,

"TELL me that your gun is covered. It is, right?

I don't care if one's swinging a crow bar and the other has a 2X4-- you don't let that gun see the light of day or even hint at its existence until one of them has displayed a gun or at least a katana (and she better be showing ninja training with the latter.)
"

I was thinking that would be about a nightmare scenario right there.

You wade into the pigpile and are physically pulling little Tiffani off of Amber when suddenly from your blind side you feel Bethany's 12-y.o. fingers closing on the grip of your XD40, and it is on like Donkey Kong.

Brrr. Even the best outcomes from there aren't very good, and the worst are horror shows.

It would be nice if all DGU's were the ones where the armed 28-year-old felon kicking in your door at night already had a rap sheet as long as your arm and was currently wanted on a felony warrant.

Matthew said...

Speaking of dripping, God gave us garden hoses for a reason. Works on dog fights anyway.

Yell, call 911, keep yelling, set to super-soaking. If heads start popping out all over the neighborhood your actions get more and more defensible.

Getting film would be okay for evidentiary purposes, but for heaven's sake turn it over to the cops immediately on arrival lest you get labeled some kind of perv.

Matthew said...

Anyway, that's the exact scenario for which I carry a spare clip of Ich Luge bullets.

Old Windways said...

Not to channel Monty Burns, but is "release the hounds" an acceptable answer?

karrde said...

@LabRat,

You might be right.

That's pretty scary, even if it is only an edge-case.

John A said...

Film for at least a count of 30, then call 911 - because you are going to be talking with 911 for quite a while, and photo/video evidence is invaluable.

And yes, shout at the little darlings that you have 911 online.

Anything else, you are on your own.

And yes, I sympathise with the Mom who said her daughter is out of control and needs help/punishment: there are limits to what a parent can [legally, or affodably - psych docs COST] do.

As to it being a new problem - look up Salem and Witchcraft. Even (?) Cotton Mather tried to stop that batch of madness, and failed.

The Jack said...

"Happy Birthday to you! Kobayashi Maru!"

Damn... and I already put in for a free Internet for you today.

Well you win another one!

It's getting to where you can start a museum.

Sebastian said...

911 and then a water hose.

38 y/o gun nut turns pre-teen birthday party into his own, perverted wet t-shirt contest.

NOTWOOKIEVILLE, RI -- Police say a man with a loaded pistol in his pocket, along side a loaded .380 Ke-Tec, sprayed a pre-teen birthday party with a garden hose, in an apparent attempt to create his own, preverted, pre-teen wet t-shirt contest. Though Mr. Gun Nut is not registered as a sexual predator, parents of the teen stated to the Daily Sewer "I can't imagine would else could have prompted such an action? Why would anyone want to turn a garden hose on a bunch of preteens? It's just sick!"

Drang said...

I'm thinking this would call for the extra large size bear spray, the 24 ounce jobs intended for Kodiaks.

And, yeah, I'd be using my old command voice, playing Cruel Tyrant Sergeant: "STOP THAT. I HAVE 911 ON LINE, AND THE POLICE ARE ON THE WAY!" Followed by the gentle wafting of pepper fog...

Burt I hate these "what if's." The fact that this is from real-life doesn't change that. Even growing up in Detroit I never saw any Lord-and-Lady Of The Flies crap like this, even the worst bullies in my school kept it one-on-one.

Ian Argent said...

Being on with 911 and providing a video record are not mutually exclusive activities with most smartphones. Speakerphone or headset allow holding the phone up to record video simultaneous with 2-way communication with 911, or America's Funniest Home Videos, take your pick.

Aaron Burr said...

Am I the only one who knows where to get a balaclava?

Matthew said...

@Sebastian

41.

41 y/o gun nut...

I hit "creepy old man" last year.
=)

Anonymous said...

A different story, but...

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/02/27/california-schoolgirls-death-in-fight-ruled-homicide/
Feb 27, 2012 4:18pm
California Schoolgirl’s Death in Fight Ruled Homicide

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for a few years now, but that last paragraph was without a doubt the most intelligent common sense thing I have read anywhere all year!

CL

Brad K. said...

All I know is what I read in science fiction novels.

1) Call 911. Claim, "I think she needs an ambulance".

2) Hopefully all the miscreants will be noted in official files, and will contribute to justice being served, if the lil' darlings repeat antisocial behavior. It also gives the downed girl's family a starting point for civil litigation.

3) Make an estimate -- is the downed girl in dire need, at risk of serious injury or death? State that to 911 -- and make every effort to rescue the girl if she is at risk. If there doesn't appear to be immediate danger, wait and let the cops handle the whole thing without having to unravel your contributions to the mayhem.

4) Don't underestimate the damage that determined, experienced children can do. They could have years of bullying and/or abuse experience to bring to the encounter.

5) A camera might eventually get the attack stopped -- photo every individual taking part, ask for names, and tell one and all you want to report this fairly to the police.

6) Consider signing a criminal complaint against the attackers for disturbing the peace, and against the parents next door (failure to teach a child discipline -- the will to complete a task -- is grounds for Federal child abuse charges) for child abuse.

7) Whether you do or don't do anything -- check with your attorney.

dustydog said...

Some police departments are better than others. I don't think we would see a police car within an hour, for a call of gang of girls murdering another girl with just their fists and kicks. The 911 operator would be argumentative and would want to filter and re-frame the caller's report.

Notably, a drug dealer would probably have no qualms intervening. Or an illegal immigrant in a community of illegals.

Strange times, when criminals have more freedom to protect norms of civil behavior than regular folks.

Fowl Ideas said...

Shit comes from assholes.

Has anyone taken a close look at the parents of these girls or is that still taboo?

the pawnbroker said...

Well, this fun little scenario play sure shoots the shit out of the Wild Thing thing just prior. :(

tweell said...

Interesting. When I was a boy and living on the wrong side of town, I got on the wrong side of the pre-teen gang wannabee kids, and a bunch of them were doing a number on me when my father showed up. He did a 'grab and toss', anyone who came back for seconds got a fist in the belly. It worked out quite well. One parent showed up to complain, but declined a one-on-one match with either his son and I or him and Dad.
I would feel obligated to do the same.

Ryan said...

Maybe I an missing something but the answer is clear to me. Yell "knock it off" in an authoratative voice which I have then if necessary wade in and grab the kid on the ground. Have her call her parents. Tell the parents of the neighbor girl what happened.

I don't see a reason to call 911 unless she is seriously injured. If her folks want to involve the cops it is their business. No need to use Muy Thai Kickboxing or judo or mace or batons or tasers. Just grab the kid and stop the fight. I might look at it differently if I was a 105 pound woman but I am not. These are preteen girls we are talking about for heavens sake.

Wraith said...

Anyway, that's the exact scenario for which I carry a spare clip of Ich Luge bullets.

Matthew, you know you wanted them dead. Your true feelings were just too gross and icky for you to face! ;)

Anonymous said...

"These are preteen girls we are talking about for heavens sake."

Ryan, you're right. And you're going to love what they will spontaneously tell the cops about you. And whatever preteen girl you try to rescue will have communicated to her the severe adverse consequences attendant upon failure to back up the gang's allegations regarding you.

I'm not sure joining a pack of preteen girls brawling is a high-percentage play.

Mike James

Peter B said...

"Edge case?"

There's a lot of that going on. My car window was just busted out by a third grade girl throwing rocks. Nice neighborhood, right by the school. I work nearby. It seems there was a "club" at the school. The mom cut me a check and had the girl hand it over with an apology.
When prompted by her mother she allowed as how what she had done was "dumb." I asked her if she thought it was wrong. "No."

Matt G said...

I just ran across Matthew's Heathers reference. :)