Full disclosure here….the image above is not an actual photo of this event with my annoying neighbor. Although, I wish I had actual video footage. I also didn’t beat the hell out of him, I actually only hit him once. I was unprepared, and this experience taught me some valuable lessons.
Let’s face it, an annoying neighbor is one of the worst aspects of living in an urban environment. No matter where you look, you have neighbors all around you, and chances are one of them’s an ass. Hopefully you won’t end up like I did with them living directly beside you. The main problem I had on this day wasn’t with my annoying neighbor, it was her annoying father. Who was paying a visit early in the morning. This wasn’t your typical family visit though.
He showed up to his daughters house (my annoying neighbor) with a friend of his at approximately 7:00am this day. My wife, 6 week old baby girl, and myself were asleep in bed. My wife was awakened by the sound of obnoxious car horns, and dramatically excessive beating sounds coming from the house of our annoying neighbor. It then proceeded to wake up our baby girl, and she began crying and screaming because of it. If you have kids, you know how this can present some frustration.
After dealing with this nonsense for 30 straight minutes my wife decided to wake me up. I can sleep through an atom bomb. So she woke me, and asked me to go see what was going on. It had been 30 minutes of listening to it. It was as if they were trying to wake up his daughter who was apparently asleep inside too. None the less, something of a bigger deal was going on because normally if someone hasn’t came to the door after you beat on all sides and honk your horn for half an hour, chances are they don’t want to talk to you, or they are dead.
So I threw on some shorts, shirt, and a pair of flip flops. I was still about 75% asleep while walking out on our deck to see what the commotion was all about. Her father, the man I eventually punch was around the back of the house at the time, and his friend was on the side of the house. I, with a little frustration in my voice asked what was going on, and told him they just woke up my wife and baby. He apologized and I went back in the house.
No longer than it took me to take off one of my flip flops, her father walks back in front of the house with his friend, and he lays on the car horn again. So this started to irritate me. Doing what any man would logically think to do I walk back out on my deck and asked him what his malfunction was. He was waiting halfway across the street for me to come back outside, like he was taunting me. He then told me he had a problem, and that I should come solve it. So me being the direct guy I am, I politely accepted his invitation, but here’s where it get’s interesting.
As I get closer to this man I realize he has a lot of age on him. I came to find out he was actually 70 years old after this all went down. So me, being the highly trained and prepared person I am took note of this. I figured he’s just a grumpy old man, possibly intoxicated, and maybe even a little retarded to be so open to starting conflict with a guy like me. I had already begun walking towards him, to meet him on the edge of my property line. Knowing the status of this man I had made the decision upon approaching him that I was just going to talk to him, and see what was really going on. My offer to handle things maturely got declined as he decides he would rather try to put his hand around my neck, and take a swing at me.
I duck his redneck hay-maker and counter with a single straight #2 to his mouth. It immediately knocked all of his teeth out into the road, and knocked him onto the ground, slamming the back of his head into the pavement, and scratching up his elbow. I was going to proceed to beat the hell out of him and then I came to my senses, and heard my wife yelling at me to stop. I also noticed his little friend who came running up beside of us threatening me to get off of him, “before I get two of them on me”. I invited him to play but it turns out he didn’t actually mean what he said.
I didn’t know if either of these men had weapons, especially his friend who had ran up on us. So I quickly backed off and collected myself, and we both returned to our respective places. I then called the cops to file an assault report and trespassing violation, as this incident initially occurred on my property, but ended up in the roadway.
Now, I say all this not to brag at all. Like I mentioned, this guy was old, and I did not want to get into a physical altercation because I know exactly what I am capable of doing to a person. I have infantry training from the military, and 6-7 years of martial arts training. I am also an amateur MMA fighter. I am quite comfortable with handling myself against your average Joe. I don’t ever feel the need to prove that either. Afterwords I really felt bad for the guy, but at the end of the day he asked for it.
After I came back inside they both proceeded to honk their horns, and beat on the house regardless of what just unfolded. It wasn’t until the cops arrived 20 minutes later that his daughter actually came outside of the house, but you best believe that she, and her boyfriend who was also inside played the witness role. They came outside with their phones in the officers faces, raising hell about me, and telling them they seen everything. Which of course they did not.
So here’s what happened next…
The cops took their reports, and advised us to go to the court house to file something against them, because they said our annoying neighbor would be doing the same against us. An ambulance came, and they took him to the hospital. They played it up like I completely destroyed the man. Almost as if they’ve done this before.
Our annoying neighbor (his daughter) and her boyfriend, furious with what has happened, started to harass us. Little did I know with this being the first time we’ve had to deal with this situation is that there’s virtually nothing you can do to stop harassment. None the less we ended up having to call the police on them for continued car honking, air horns, shouting vulgar language, and much more. We called the police 3-4 more times throughout the same day because they just wouldn’t stop. We made the decision to call them each time because that’s what they advised us to do, but every time they came out they basically said there’s nothing they can do but ask them to stop, which would make it worse. After the last call of the day they told us that we had to stop calling. Some help right?
A few days pass, the harassment continues. Waking our baby up on a daily basis, and they knew about our baby too. They didn’t care, they kept doing it. After a couple more days I get served with a court summons. They decided to try and sue me for assault, and medical fee’s for $25,000 dollars. Ridiculous right? Anyway…We lawyered up and went to court. It got continued 3 times before we eventually settled the matter on the 4th try. The outcome was not what we expected though. Not at all.
Bare in mind this whole process drug out for an entire year, and the harassment still continues even today. The whole family lives on disability and SSI. So they are ALWAYS home, and never work.
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A few days after this happened we installed a security camera system to try and capture any harassment. We also shot handfuls of videos on our phones with audio to show actual proof. We kept a written log of all harassment events with months worth of entries as well. All advice we received from law enforcement too.
On the day of the event the police report never mentions anything about me pulling a gun on them, and it also has police taken photo’s of our disturbed grass showing where the event occurred. Which was on our property. This man came onto my property, and tried to assault me.
I also subpoenaed 4 cops to show in court to testify for my case. Every single one of their testimonies were in favor of my defense. We presented the judge with numerous pieces of evidence to prove the harassment, and the police report and evidence they gathered further proved my statement of where the fight began on our property.
NONE OF IT MATTERED.
The judge essentially acted blind to clear evidence, overlooked the weight of 4 LEO’s testimonies, and also ignored obvious characteristic traits of a liar when the other party presented their testimonies. They tried to say that I was on top of him, and almost beat him to death by hitting him 5-6 times. They said I charged him and beat him for no reason at all. They then said after I was done beating him, that I said I was just going to go get my gun, and shoot him.
Funny how it was never mentioned in the police report right? Also funny how if I was so guilty, why didn’t I get arrested?
They told the judge I broke his retainer, and that they had medical bills to pay, even though his insurance already covered it all. They came to court with no figures to the amounts of any of these things. They just ball parked and said $6,000. They also had taken some personal photo’s of his bruised ears, trying to claim that I had hit him excessively. The thing is I only hit him once in the mouth. So how did he get bruised ears? Your guess is as good as mine. These bruised ears also weren’t in the police report either, imagine that!
The judge, having pretty much discredited my entire defense, although he was presented with credible statements from law enforcement officials, video evidence that proved identity, intent, and harassment, and overall idiocy of my opposing party STILL decided against me. A Military Infantry Vet with years of martial arts training. Sure, one might argue that people of that type can be aggressive in nature, but it’s totally false in the majority of cases.
You see, to be trained in combat of any form the fundamentals are pretty much the same. The first lesson you learn from martial arts is when it’s okay to employ it. It teaches you how to be reserved and master your emotions. It teaches you discipline, control, and trains you on how to maintain a level of maturity above general society.
My military training was no less efficient. The first things being centered around the progression of appropriate force. I am trained to defend myself. I am trained to kill if I am in a position that makes it necessary. I am not however, trained to beat old men up for being too loud, and I am for sure not trained to use more than appropriate force. As I stated above I never knew if either of these men had weapons. I assessed my threat, and put it to rest quickly, effectively, and neutralized any chance of the threat hurting me. I never tried to cause excessive bodily harm. I simply handled the situation with appropriate force.
So at the end of the exhausting court process the judge ruled that I used excessive force, admitting and believing in their personal photo’s of the mans ear. Even after all of our efforts and quality defense. They played me up to be a hot head bully all because I know the skills I know, have 2nd amendment signs and decals on my house and Jeep, and train mixed martial arts. It makes about as much sense as blaming the guns in the world for killing people. They profiled me the way they profile all gun owners of the world.
“He owns a gun, that must mean he’s a domestic terrorist! Throw him in jail!”
The judge ended up deciding to make me responsible to pay them $5,000 in damages, and just basically told them not to harass us anymore, even though they continued as soon as we got home, and there’s not a thing they will do about it either.
So here’s what I learned from this experience, and I want you to pay attention so you can learn from my mistakes.
I had never been in a law suit situation in my adult life until this happened. There’s always something you can learn from every situation. Even if you weren’t necessarily wrong.
- A judge can do whatever they please. Regardless of what you show them. This is when having a jury present can save your life. You get the opinions of many, vs the opinion of one, possibly misguided, and unreasonable judge.
- Anytime the hint of conflict like this happens. Situational awareness is king. It’s vital that you know your rights, and it’s important that you video document anything possible. Security cameras at your home are invaluable. You will be amazed at the things your camera catches about your neighborhood that you never had a clue of. We never had one until this point. After it happened we installed the camera system. Video with audio is crucial. Audio provides context for an event that might get misunderstood and passed off as speculation if it’s only video alone. Had I had this camera system installed prior there would have been no question as to what actually happened. It was their families opinions, vs my mine and my wife’s.
- An annoying neighbor can truly make your life miserable at times. It’s good to have a strong ability to ignore, and just let stupid be stupid all on it’s own. An annoying neighbor can even have an impact on the value of your home. Being a Realtor I know first hand about disclosure. When selling any home you are required by law to disclose if you have an annoying neighbor to prospective buyers. This can impact the value of your home, forcing you to sell lower, or ultimately cost you the ability to sell at all. There are ways around it, but it’s still another con of having an annoying neighbor none the less.
- Growing up as a kid we handled our problems by fighting like men, and often times ended up shaking and squashing problems then and there. In the adult world things are different, no matter what generation you’re from. You see, in the adult world everyone is sue happy. These people make a living suing hard working people. They have nothing better to do. As you get older and acquire assets you start entering into a dangerous place for conflict to exist. In the world of sue happy people you put yourself, your home, your vehicles, and everything you’ve worked your whole life for in danger of seizure and liens. We no longer live in a time when people can handle things as men. So when something like this happens to you, call the police immediately, and let them handle the situation. Even if you think it’s nothing. Just like I thought this situation would be nothing, and thought I could handle it as a man on my own, you will get surprised when things take this kind of turn with a quickness.
- Language is incredibly important when dealing with law enforcement. You need to be honest, but don’t incriminate yourself. This is why you should always demand a lawyer and let them do the talking. In the heat of an event like this it is incredibly easy to get trapped in a maze of strategic questions that are designed to make you slip up. Especially by lawyers. Their job is to make you look as bad as they can to win their defense. They will say things that will provoke your anger and frustration to reveal a side of you that makes you look bad in the eyes of the court.
- When officers arrive at the scene it’s important to be respectful, honest, and composed. Don’t be edgy. Don’t come out throwing your camera up in their face. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to record the engagement but do it in an inconspicuous way like a security camera, or prop your cell phone somewhere off to the side. When cops arrive at a domestic dispute like this they are there to simply gather statements, build a report of the event, and diffuse any immediate dangerous situations. Pay close attention to the intent of the questions you get asked, and respond with a clear mind. You can request a lawyer on the spot and refuse to talk. You be the judge of your situation. These situations are not like a traffic stop. They’re not there to raid your house and find your hidden dope stash. (Hopefully you don’t have one lol).
- The court system is a nasty, often unorganized, and painful process to go through. Avoid having to go there in the first place.
- I should have called the police when the noise started that morning. Instead I went out and handled the situation myself, and it resulted in a long painful process. Sure, you can handle things on your own and get away with it. Probably more often than not, but that’s not the point. In our mission here to fully be prepared, the most important aspect of it is to avoid these situations at all costs. Make fighting your last resort. I know it sucks, and it’s not manly, but it’s what must be done in this violent world full of sue happy people. I’m not saying I will never handle a situation like this on my own ever again, i’m just saying I will do it much more strategically and clear minded the next time it happens. And this is what I want you to understand.
- At the end of the day, there’s not a lot you can “legally” do about an annoying neighbor. There’s tons of not so legal actions you could take, but we do not condone these things. You are however, your own person. Do what you feel needs to be done to protect your family. When you have an annoying neighbor the best thing to do is pay them absolutely no attention. These kinds of people fiend on drama, and will do anything they can to get a rise out of you.
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- Get to know your neighbors, their capabilities, and find out who the potential “annoying neighbor” is. This way you can isolate them and avoid confrontation with them.
- Invest in your preparedness. Start learning self defense skills and train your mindset to become a master of your emotions. You never know when something like this will happen to you, and you never know when it could get much worse. If one of these guys had brought a weapon the outcome could have been dramatically different. Little pieces of the element can change the entire battlefield. Preparedness is your key to victory. I may have lost this case to some unfortunate circumstances but this was a learning experience for me to help more people become prepared by sharing this knowledge. Yes I could have appealed, and most likely won this case with a different judge or a jury. But the time, and money involved in doing so would have been more damaging to us than simply accepting it as it played out. It sucks, it pisses me off on a daily basis, but that’s life. We can’t win them all, but we can learn from them all. We must be the change we want to see in the world.
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