A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Morality issue

Post 1

Moving On

I live in a block of council flats below two individuals who both have social and mental health problems; she is Aspergers and has learning difficulties, he has mental issues but I don't know exactly *what* his problems are, excpt that he rants continually at the walls, and has an absolutely savage temper. They are both middle aged (ish) and technically they are a couple, although they live in adjecent dwellings.

This morning I heard them arguing - yet again - in his flat, and his temper was flaring - by the sounds of her cries and squealing I was reasonably certain he was beating her up.

So I called the police - both parties are known for their anti social and inadequate social behaviour - and the coppers came within 5 minutes. I was genned in later by the police call centre that they had both been given a talking to by the police officers, but no further action would be taken.

I let both the Council Housing Officer and her social worker who had asked me to keep her informed of any "incidents" between the 2 above, who I'll dub E (the man) and J (the woman) of the situation between them.

Trouble *is... E, if he hasn't got J to harrangue - or hit - tends to take his temper out on anyone else who is handy - ie, me; last time I let the social worker know he was bullying her, he came down to the flat and screamed and harrangued and threatened physical violence to me (prolly because he was miffed someone had "told" on him to prevent him bullying). which scared me poo-less. I reported it to the police, obviously, but no action was taken

Fortunately I'm adult enough to diffuse a situation like that verbally, but I am dreading the next few weeks whilst he stews himself into a temper until he decides to start another war with me. It's his unpredictable ness that frightens me the most.

I discussed the situation with 2 close friends this evening - one said (basically) that because I have suffered domestic violence in the past I was perhaps over sensitive to violent noises and possibly turning up the stereo to escape the noise/nuance's of E's insane rantings might be an idea... and the other suggested breaking a broom handle in half and sticking a bread knife into it "just incase" might be sensible.

I'm pretty certain there must be a middle ground here, somewhere.

What do you think?

Morality issue

Post 2


How would a bread knife in a broom handle work as a weapon? It sounds quite impractical. I´d think you´d be better off with just a normal knife, and something sharper than a bread knife. A fillet knife would probably work well.

Morality issue

Post 3

Moving On

M'mmm... I thought the broom handle was a bit superflous meself; a fillet knife of better yet a base ball bat'd be more practical, surely?

What worries me more though is the idea of turning up the sterio to muffle the sounds of someone being beaten up. To turn a blind eye - or in this case, ear - to another's suffering seems to me somehow shirking one's moral responsibilities

Morality issue

Post 4

Spaceechik, Typomancer

How about getting a tazer or some pepper spray? Non-lethal (for both of you, should he wrangle your defense from you), and less likely to be dubbed "excessive force" should he (or J!) wish to sue you. Keep your chin up, and good luck. Been there, done that, and had to move on, myself. smiley - erm

Morality issue

Post 5

Moving On

I like the idea of pepper spray as defense - and yes, I rather suspect J is quite as capeable of violence as E in her own quiet way. To hell with them sueing ME tho - I'm the victim here, not the aggressor, and I'll defend myself in whatever way I can. To allow them to think that simply because they have "disabilities" - in their case mental issues, can allow them to have a teddy tantrum and harrass me because I am not prepared to tolerate ANY form of violence, be it to them OR me is a form of discrimination, surely?

I might add I am physically disabled - so technically we're even stevens on that issue

I have no intention of moving on because of them- this is my home, and I like my little flat. It's mine.

Morality issue

Post 6

clzoomer- a bit woobly


smiley - cry

smiley - towel

smiley - cheers

Morality issue

Post 7

Dea.. - call me Mrs B!

As far as I'm aware, any form of pepper spray is illegal in the UK as is threatening anyone with a knife - stuck in a broom handle or not. Never mind them sueing you - the CPS could still find a charge even if you are defending yourself if you have a pre-prepared weapon at hand. That's not to say you can't keep a spare walking stick by the door- just in case you need it to support you while answering the door.

I'd suggest a tape recorder to record any evidence of verbal abuse to you or as a record of what is going on above to demonstrate to the Social Worker/Housing office or police, constant calls to the police if you are feeling threatened or if you suspect physical abuse is going on above plus a darned big bolt/lock on your door if you expect an abusive neighbour.

I sympathise as I have had abusive neighbours in the past and it seems like very little can be done with them, but you just have to keep registering every complaint to establish a precedent.

Good Luck

Morality issue

Post 8

Moving On

I like it - cheap, simple, portable and above all , theorectically effective - thank you Mr Zoomersmiley - oksmiley - hug

Going back to the idea/suggestion of turning up the sterio to muffle the noise though: this niggles me somewhat. It suggests to me the idea of an S.E.P. I think violence within any community is Everyone's problem until it's solved one way or another

My answer to that suggestion would be somewhere along the lines of "And suppose - god forbid - it was *your daughter being beaten up - wouldn't YOU want someone to attempt to stop it, or would you accept they just turned up the music and ignored it?"

(My own parents did, to me. but that's by the by. Councilling is a wonderful thing; I can live with what I see to be their cowardly behaviour and sometimes I feel very sorry for them. Other times, I admit, I merely despise them)

My friend believes that I identify too closely with any form of violence, purely because I experienced a lot of it myself in another life - ie, before I learned not to be a Victim

Would anyone one else here subscribe to the theory of "turning up the music" and not being disturbed?- is this how "civilised" people generally behave? I don't claim to be civilised; I grew up in a gutter and know the rules - but I aspire to be better than that.

OK I'll hold my hand up in that I hate to see any violence in films/entertainment, even now because I don't find it entertaining, but I never have done, ever. Fair fights and swash buckling I can cope with fine. i find them quite amusing

Defending myself vigourously against a mugger - I slashed the high heeled shoes I was carrying accross his face and knee'd him on the way down - I can live with fine. It was him or me, and I didn't want it to be me - he shouldn't have started it. he got His, and I kept my bag, keys and cash

Its the "turn up the sterio" advise that niggles me the mostsmiley - erm

Morality issue

Post 9

Moving On

Simulpost Deakie

I've got several walking sticks - some I keep by the front door, and some i keep by the back door...

Just in case, of course.smiley - winkeye

And I ALWAYS have one when I walk out

...incase I fall over!

Morality issue

Post 10

2legs - Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side...

The idea that turning up the hifi/ignoring the situation in that manner is natrually shurking your 'moral responsibilities, isn't, necessarily so.... Are you really shurking any moral obligation by ignoring it, when the alternative, I.E., acting, calling police, etc., doesn't often really achieve any more than the act of ignoring or not acting apon whatever scene is being played out... Unless the 'authorities', weather that be police, social services etc., are willing to act and actually, heaven forbid, take a descision on an issue like this, then there isn't ever going to be a solution to it, until such time as the villence used by the perpitrator is sufficient to actually i kill someone and land the perpitrator in some kind of secure detention... smiley - erm
If these neighbours, are unable to live there, satisfactorily, without causing harm to both themselves and others around them, then they clearly ought not be there, as some other form of accomidation seems to be more appropiate... So... maybe the only real route, to a full long term solution is to just keep applying as much pressure as you can onto their social workers (or whatever this is termed these days), and the police, until they give in and look at the situation and take some actual action on it smiley - ermsmiley - goodlucksmiley - erm

Morality issue

Post 11

Spaceechik, Typomancer

smiley - ok to the walking sticks! Oddly, folks never ask this 60yo female where the dents on my cane came from... smiley - winkeye

I am NOT a "drown it out" sort. I once banged up my sleeper sofa by leaping on it to smash against the wall, to tell my abusive neighbor to stop hitting his girlfriend; when the cops showed up he freaked, and he moved shortly after they got involved (finally!).

Gotta say, I live in the US, and people will sue you even if they're CLEARLY at fault! Crooks who get injured while breaking in to a store, and unlicensed illegal immigrant who ran a stop sign, and smashed my friend's car, totally wrecking it -- just to name a couple of cases. Oh yeah, and the woman who fell off her own platform shoes and tried to sue the store she fell in -- on an unobstructed, clean aisle!

Morality issue

Post 12

Moving On

I've been to-ing and fro-ing with both their Social Workers for the last year (AND the coppers AND the Council) for the last year... And I've got records of it all in written writingsmiley - erm And photoes, etc etc. I've applied to the Council for both Written Logs and Sound equipment, but they're still dithering. I think we're too near the end of the budget year for them to afford it yet.

And Complaints about these 2 people have been flooding into the Council - apparently - for at east the last 5 years from other neighbours - it's not just me that's being affected, it's just that I'm more local to emsmiley - sadface Local Gossip tells me that J attacked a neighbour of 79 years old on the bus the other day

Basically I&#39;ve got 2 weeks left before support from both S/Workers for Upstairs ends (Private contractors via our Council - don&#39;t ask <roll eyes&gtsmiley - winkeye I&#39;m then left with the Police and the Council Housing Officer... several walking sticks, (and thank god, a seriously Serious boyfriend who wants me to move in with him)

Though being
(a) cautious and
(b) hopelessly romantick,

I&#39;d prefer to move in with him because I *want* to and not because he&#39;s a convenient bolt hole. I don&#39;t care if he *IS as rich as cresote and besotted with me, thats not the point

" Legs has summed it up beautifully - no one will act until some one is either hospitalised... or, as I suspect will happen, one or the other of them will push the other one down the stairs in a fit of temper/anger/pique/defense. I just don&#39;t want it to be me that gets thumped. I&#39;m allergic to pain you see.

Its just that I hate hearing her scream and wail when he hits her - i was still shaking a good 4 hours after the whole thing had been...erm... Dealt With.

Morality issue

Post 13

Taff Agent of kaos

1. if he comes to your door, keep the chain on

2. if he threatens you or you feel threatend, call the police

3. the words "i believe he may have a gun" improve responce times and the level of responce of the police, and cannot be tied directly to you as misleading the police

4. 1-2 times being confronted by armed officers might encourage him to "wind his neck in"

5****"i BELIEVE he MAY have a gun"***** nothing TOOOOO comital, about that!!!!!!

smiley - winkeye

smiley - bat

Morality issue

Post 14

Moving On

smiley - laugh with Space Cadette - ditto to the dents on my own walking stick(s) as well - no one asks so no one gets told, either: but several of the local thugs have corrugated shins and are too embarrassed to tell as wellsmiley - winkeyesmiley - ok I get my sons to mention it around town, instead.smiley - whistle

The Blame/Sue everyone else culture is pretty awful here in GB, too but it&#39;s more the insipient/pervasive "We Can&#39;t Incase We Offend" culture that riles me.

If it were youngsters behaving as these 2 do, they&#39;d have been whipped off and had an ASBO slapped on &#39;em quick as wink, and been evicted years ago. Because there&#39;s no real place for these 2 to go - we don&#39;t *have any Care in this Community - and they haven&#39;t actually caused anyone terminal damage they&#39;re an SEP too.

Morality issue

Post 15

Moving On

Oooh Taff... I think I&#39;m in love with yasmiley - smooch That&#39;s almost fiendish an idea

Morality issue

Post 16

Taff Agent of kaos

smiley - kiss

smiley - bat

Morality issue

Post 17

kea ~ Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded but very well read blue and white website

Would anyone one else here subscribe to the theory of "turning up the music" and not being disturbed?- is this how "civilised" people generally behave?

Depends. Usually no, but as a coping strategy it might be necessary while other actions are taken. Of course, me being sensitive to noise, if I was one of your other neighbours, a loud stereo might be my tipping point.

Turning up the stereo and ignoring the situation is part of why we have so many disturbed people in our society now.

Don't make up a weapon, that is dangerous (in the event of an attack, and legally), but yeah, have a non-weapon weapon available.

Keep calling the police. Everytime you have the energy for it. Make sure that they are recording all your reports. If a big enough file builds then the police will be more likely to take action (not least because of how it will look if they've ignored the situation and something more serious happens).

Keep calling the council. Maybe get the local MP involved if there are multiple people being affected.

Have you talked to the woman? It's good that you are concerned for her too.

While I understand 2legs' sentiment, the idea that these people can live somewhere else might not be real. Where else could they go?

If there are alot of people making complaints, can you get together and strategise?

Morality issue

Post 18

The Twiggster

"To hell with them sueing ME tho - I'm the victim here"

You're operating under the delusion that the law is fair. It isn't.

Best advice I'd offer is to echo some of the thoughts above and to directly contradict and warn against others.

1. Keep calling the police.
2. DO intimate that you're afraid he may be armed. Don't be specific about what he's armed WITH. People have been shot and killed in this country for carrying a short length of wood in a plastic bag, so you can but hope for something like that.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, ever open the door to this man. Forget about keeping the chain on - I could kick a door chain off without trying hard. Social conditioning is hard to break, but break it - if he knocks on the door, DON'T ANSWER IT. Get a peephole fitted. You are under no legal obligation to answer the door to ANYONE, ever. If he knocks, ignore him. If he knocks again, call the police.
4. Do not, under any circumstances, prepare a weapon for your defence. Do not make pepper spray. Do not strap a knife to a broom handle (smiley - huh). Do not buy a walking stick with a sword in it. Do not keep a kitchen knife by the door. Using a deadly weapon in self-defence is *difficult*, not just technically (i.e. being physically capable of delivering a debilitating blow before being injured or restrained) but psychologically (i.e. even if you're physically capable of stabbing him in both eyes and then in the throat - can you seriously bring yourself to do that in the heat of the moment? Because if you can't, and you're standing there holding a knife, frozen, that may just annoy him enough to take it off you and use it on you.).

Without the proper physical and psychological training, relying on a deadly weapon for self-defence is almost never a good idea.

Your best self-defence is your front door. Make sure it's strong enough to resist a kicking. Fit a peephole. Forget about a chain - you only open it AT ALL if you're 100% sure it's safe. And keep calling the cops.

I sympathise with your predicament. Don't let him grind you down.

Morality issue

Post 19


Have you thought about taking it to the papers, or threatening to do so? Especially as you have been keeping records of what has been happening, it may cause something to be done. I have (luckily) never been in your situation, so I have little else to offer, I'm afriad. smiley - erm

smiley - fairy

Morality issue

Post 20


Good that you are keeping a written record of every incident. If it's that loud video record the floor and get the sound.

Video record incidents at the door even if you don't open the door.

People can wriggle out and fob off written stuff...bit more difficult when you can show them visual and aural evidence.

As 'The Twigger' has said avoid physical contact. You'll probably come off worst...if the cops are brought in...you can see the social workers saying how someone has attacked a mentally ill person and isn't that terrible.

Of course the social workers under whom these people are being looked after have a duty of care to you and the general public to ensure your safety.

It's quite obvious this is not happening and threaten to get in touch with the HSE. Sectino 3.1 or one near that of the HASAWA (Health and Safety at Work Act) should cover any potential 'negligence' on their inaction.

Call environmental health as well and report anti-social behaviour. You don't need to tell them the people have mental problems...not an issue as far as you are concerned.

Write the landlord (if there is one of your flat and theirs) saying the same thing. Presumably there should be clauses in the contracts about no excessive anti-social noise or behaviour (unless it stats it doesn't apply to nutbars).

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