Wednesday, April 23, 2008

DC Frustrations and the Jedi Mind Trick

I don't want to turn this into an anti-dc blog, but if you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I have no love for the DC police department, whose mixture of incompetence and laziness is only rivalled by their stupidity.

This weekend I'll be helping a friend of mine move. Being from the midwest, he probably was underestimating how dangerous his neighborhood would be. But after his third mugging in a year, he's had enough of his neighborhood. The first two times he fought the muggers off*. But this time there were four of them and one of them had a gun.

He was sitting on his stoop drinking coffee and working on some papers when they approached and pulled a gun on him and demanded his money. He said he didn't have any money on him, which was true. All he had was coffee. And not even good coffee at that. Unsatisfied with the java, they ordered him to open up the door to his place. Two of his female roommates were asleep inside. He didn't know what would happen to his roommates if he let these guys inside, but you can bet it wasn't going to be good. He said he wouldn't do it. I'm sure if he had, the odds are good that it would've turned into rape/robbery or rape/murder/robbery. But being from the midwest he was willing to take a bullet to protect them. He said no again, and was able to bluff his away out of it. "There's 8 people in that house man, it's not worth it, just walk away." And surprisingly, they did.

Now, I've always been a fan of Star Wars and, as a kid, I wanted to be a Jedi. (shutup, you know you did too). The coolest thing about Jedis (aside from the light saber) was the jedi mind trick. I always thought that the Jedi Mind Trick was fake (like light sabers), but maybe Lucas was onto something. Imagine how much easier life would be if the Jedi Mind Trick was real.

Boss: Frankly, you hardly show up for work anymore and when you do, your work
sucks. we're not giving you a raise this year, ninja.

Ninja: Yes, you are.

Boss: Okay, we are.

Or in other contexts! For instance, my site is number on the interweb when you do a Google Search for Rachel McHottie. And it just so happens that Rachel McAdams is in DC RIGHT NOW filming a movie with the asshat who shall remain Russell Crowe. Imagine if I had the Jedi Mind Trick for this:
Rachel: Look, I don't know how you talked your way past all my security guards, but this is my movie trailer and I don't like coming in here and finding you going through my underwear drawers. So, take your flowers and 24 pack of condoms and get out, I'm not marrying you.

Ninja: Yes you are.

Rachel: Okay, maybe I am.

Back to the story. So he did what you're supposed to do when someone points a gun at you and tries to rob you: he called the cops. Now, I don't know if there was a sale down at the Dunkin' Doughnuts store, or if the whore house was giving a buy one get one free deal on deviant sex, but those cops took their time in coming (no pun intended). They got there 2 and half hours later.

I'm sure you're not surprised that they didn't find the guys. It doesn't take very long to flee a crime scene, but in 2 and half hours, you could pretty much crawl back to your hideout, stop for some pizza on the way, chat with some friends, smoke a cigarette and rob someone else and still have time to make it home before the cops get there. TWO AND A HALF HOURS!!!

Maybe those fat doughnut eating morons aren't as dumb as they look. If you knew that there was a guy running around with a gun, and you'd run into him if you got there quick enough, maybe you would take your own sweet time too. Or...if you're not going to do the job they are paying you to do, maybe you should quit and become a panhandler.
And Breaaaaathe!!!!
Soooo....what are you guys up to this weekend?
*His Jiu Jitsu is better than mine, and his Muay Thai standup skillz are pretty good too.


Capitol Hill 20210 said...

Ahh, I will have to agree, DC Police not that great. I at one time was one of the federal police officers who had MOU powers with the department and would have to rely on them being my back up.

I was also their back up. There are some bad apples in every department, I just think that department needs a major overhaul big time. 2.5 hours is just bad, however they took their own sweet time, when some woman punched my car on North Capitol St, and I detained her - I end up saying fk it and gave her to Capitol Police.

Glad your friend is ok

Anonymous said...

Wow, ok. Gonna try to keep this short:

A friend of mine was robbed and pistol whipped at his doorstep a few years back. It was all caught on camera. His doorman, who was watching this happen on the monitor, called the cops as it was going down. Friend was fine, though obviously a bit roughed up and about $50 poorer.

He is waiting, waiting, waiting for the cops to come. Finally an hour passes and he goes outside to look around. The cop had come and FALLEN ASLEEP in his car. He begs my friend not to report him, and my buddy feels totally conflicted as the guy knows his name and where he lives--he doesn't want repercussions. The cop takes a half ass police report and goes to leave when my friend says:

"Do you even want to look at the tape or do I really not matter at all?"


Anonymous said...

ubelievable. I hope your friend is okay. I hope Lemonex's friend reported that cop too.

Muskego Jeff said...

And my brother in the city wonders why I live in the burbs and always will. After almost 40 years of living I've never been mugged. Never seen a mugging. And don't know anybody who's been mugged.

Last time I called the cops (also the only time I can remember) it was because the license plate from my truck was missing. It might have fallen off or may have been stolen for the registration tags, I don't know which. Cop was at my door in less than 15 minutes to take the report and note it as stolen in the DMV files.

Maybe part of the safety we have out here is that the criminals know that so many of us in the burbs have guns and lots of room to bury bodies...

Anonymous said...

wow...glad everybody is ok...

KRIS said...

although i think DC police as a whole aren't top notch, the ones in my neighborhood are pretty great. it helps that they live in my neighborhood and their kids go to school in my neighborhood too. for some reason all the bad stories i hear about police in this city come from the lesser safe areas- shouldn't the police have a stepped up game in areas where you're at greater risk to be mugged, beat up or worse?

your friend sounds bad ass.

Cheat to Win said...

I'm not exactly anti-DC either, but the cops here are probably the shittiest in the country.

And Lemmonex - unfortunately, I've heard about stuff like that happening way too many times. Fuck tha police.

media concepts said...

It's easy to be down on the DC cops, and based on the anecdotes at this site (don't even get me started with their lack of enforcement of the hands-free cell phone driving law), their reputation seems to be deserved. But are there any large U.S. cities that (a) don't have high-crime neighborhoods, and (b) have fast-responding police?

When I lived in Boston and had my car stolen like so many others, I received yearly notices from the Boston Police saying that they were updating their records, and asking me if I had found my car. Silly me, I thought that was their job.

dcavocado said...

I'm so glad your friend and his roommates are OK. He is quite the stud! DC police are a mixed bag, The ones in my neighborhood aren't that bad. Which is a good thing since we've had some pretty bad violence the last couple of weeks!

HomeImprovementNinja said...

Cap Hill: you are a badass :)

lemmonex: unfortunately, it is believable in DC.

Anonymous : I hope so too.

Muskego Jeff: this is why we need legalized guns in DC>

suicide_blond: Yeah, thank goodness for that.

SickGirl: they make 'em pretty big in Iowa.

Cheat to Win: agreed.

media concepts: cops are bad a lot of places, but this is the worst of the worst.

dcavocado: where is that?

Anonymous said...

Wow -- that's pretty insane that it took so long for them to get there! That's crazy.

dcavocado said...

Eckington (Ward 5). About two blocks north of N. Cap and R, where a couple of shootings happened just recently.

Lola Gets said...

I cannot believe that the police took that long to respond to call that claimed a fool was running around with a gun. Im having difficulties with that.

The Jedi mind trick does work in other cases too: I once told a mugger that I was not wearing a ring, even though it was clearly visible. That fool was not getting my Smith College class ring - I worked too damned hard for it! The mugger wound up taking the earrings my sister was wearing. Unfortunately, those were mine also.

Magnifique said...

Thankfully I haven't needed to interact much with the DC police in my ten years of living here, but only a few weeks ago, I actually had a remarkably great experience. I am considering moving to Anacostia and I called the department to inquire about gang activity in that neighborhood. They referred me to a community liason officer, who not only returned my phone call in 2 hours, but also met me personally at the house I was considering buying and talked to me for 45 minutes about the neighborhood. Best DC government service I've ever received....

HomeImprovementNinja said...

zandria: yeah, I think he's had enough though.

dcavocado: my friend is in the shady part east of chinatown 3rd and M.

Lola Gets: maybe if it was g'town, it would be different. But yeah, that sux.

Magnifique: good! unfortunately, your experiece is the exception, not the rule.

Rob said...

I came by this post via, and I thought to myself "what a coincidence the same thing happened to my roommate this weekend", then I realized that you were talking about my roommate.

I was home at the time, actually in the shower (I am a dude), and I sure as crap am glad he kept his cool.

Also I would clarify that it was 3 guys, it took the cops multiple calls and 3 hours to arrive, and that we have a station about 4 blocks away.

lacochran's evil twin said...

First: Your friend IS a Jedi: Great courage and nimble minded and noble!

And he was very lucky. Even if he doesn't feel that way today.

Even if the police were spread thin and tied up with even more pressing emergencies (people still at gunpoint versus people recently at gunpoint), an explanation would be in order. There has to be an ombudsman or community liaison or someone to get at the bottom of th e delay. If not, call Mayor Fenty. Call WAMU DC Politics Hour. Call 7 On Your Side. Make a large enough stink and things will change.

Marissa said...


Anonymous said...

Ok, my crappy DC police story:
My friend was mugged and pistol whipped in front of our house a few years back. The police came, and we listened over their radio as another police car chased the car based on his description.
They ended the chase when the felons in the car flashed a gun at him. The cop at our house seriously looked straight at my heavily bleeding friend and said "sorry-- they're not going to get shot for your wallet."

My only time personally calling 911 was when I was working at a restaurant and a homeless man attacked my manager with a knife. I was put on hold.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

Rob B: you sure it's the same person? What are your roomie's initials?

lacochran: I seriously doubt there were more pressing things going on than people with guns.

Marissa: agreed!

Erica: i believe it. We should start a list of these.

Anonymous said...

Instead of being angry at the police and touting his fictional Jedi powers, your buddy should spend his Jujitsu skills on kicking the snot out of his real estate agent. The realtor clearly bent him over and corn-holed him when he or she sold him on the "up and coming" neighborhood.

But nevermind the realtor, he should blame himself.

Seriously - three times you have to get mugged before you decide "maybe I'm in a bad neighborhood"? If the girl at the Dunkin Donuts screws my coffee order up ONCE, I never go back to her. How many times do you need to pee on the electric fence before you get tired of being shocked?

Look, cops have it tough. There's plenty of real crime going on to innocent people (that didn't CHOOSE to move to the aforementioned shitty neighborhood) that they have to combat. Cops across the country are underfunded and overworked, so pardon me if I don't have any sympathy that a cop working a 12- hour day didn't rush right over to hold his hand and promise him "the bad men won't hurt you." I'm sure your buddy already called his mommy for that anyway.

I chalk this story up to another example of Mr. Darwin's Theory in practice: if you're friend isn't equipped with a survival instinct of his own, perhaps he was destined to be some thug's bitch thrice over. Even a dog knows when to come in from the rain.

So instead of helping to move your buddy's extensive action figure collection, you should teach him some common sense and quit blaming his own stupidty on hard-working police officers.

Anonymous said...

I so commiserate with your story.....mugged at Columbia Heights metro...go to tell metro police...guy is asleep in the booth, can't wake him up....loose all faith...went home defeated. :-(

Anonymous said...

I can't agree more with the Thin Blue Line! Learning where NOT to live is step 1 in living. While a resident of the VA suburbs for the past 10 years, I look forward to being financially able to move back into DC, but in a neighborhood that this won't happen to me in. Then again... $h!t happens!

Rob said...

Ninja, his initials are A.S.

Regardless of whether we are talking about the same person, fuck you Thin Blue Line, he didn't want his hand held, he wanted to file a police report, it shouldn't take 3 hours for the police dept to do its job. Not everyone can afford to live in Georgetown or Cleveland Park, and we should not be blamed when we are targeted in front of our own houses.

Also the landlord is an imbicile, and a liar we have known that for a while.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

Thin Blue Line: You know what? If you can't handle your job, maybe you should quit and go into telemarketing. So no one below 14th street deserves police protection or something? Then why build a stadium in Anacostia?

And you admitted you go to Dunkin Doughnuts! HAHAHAHAHAAA!!!!

Jason: Sadly, as I said, this is not a rare occurrence.

Thin Blue Line's Friend: I'm sure you two have lots of fun sitting around eating retard sandwhiches and circle jerking each other. Stay in virginia with the other rednecks. kthnxbye.

Rob B: Yeah, that's him! He's a really nice guy (helped me do some work on my place a while back) and didn't deserve what happened to him. And I'm not kidding about his jitsu. I haven't been able to tap him out in months.

Shannon said...

Thin Blue Line, if I took 2.5 hours to get to a task, I wouldn't have a job.

And I'm just a secretary. Nobody gets raped or bleeds to death if I mess up. If a cop can't do the job, it's time to find a new line of work.

Velvet said...

Uh, I think you know my take on this. DC Cops Suck Ass.

Anonymous said...

If you get mugged repeatedly, it's time to make some changes because you're being repeatedly targeted for a reason. If you look like a geeky overdressed whiteboy that looks like an easy target, make some changes to that end. If you often chill in a park that is a hot spot for crime, stop going there.

DC police isn't that great, but this is not a crime in progress. There is no rush to file a report. He can wait.

Most of DC is the hood, and if you can't deal with it, there's plenty of cheap safe areas in NoVA. Saying that not everyone can afford to live in Georgetown is silly. If you can't afford to live in Georgetown and you don't want to deal with crime, you should move out to VA burb that is not within walking distance to metro, (you can take the bus, or bicycle, or drive) and you will have a place that is both cheap and safe.

Anyway, I lived in outer VA burbs, inner VA burbs, as well as Foggy Bottom, Gtown, and Glover Park. I am living in the hood now. I have lived in Bloomingdale's - 1 block away from N Capitol - for over 1 year. There's been plenty of robberies here, and a few murders. (2 murders within 7 blocks in the past week, actually) The cafe on my street has been robbed at gunpoint 3 times in the last year, and there's drug dealers on the street.

I am a white geeky white guy too and I do things like excercise runs up GA avenue at 11pm and walk at night all the time to get some food. My plan is to not look like a profitable easy target... I underdress and don't look like easy money. And the fact is that alot of people new to the city don't think about this, and they do look like easy targets. I feel for your friend and hope he doesn't experience this again, but tell him to tone down his image, stay away from shady corners, and fit better in the neighborhood. When in the hood, act like the hood. In a perfect world, we shouldn't have to do this, but this is the hood, not the perfect world.

Lemon Gloria said...

Yikes - sorry for your friend. I agree that you can't blame someone for getting mugged because of the neighborhood they live in. Several of my friends have been mugged in Dupont - which by all accounts is an expensive area to buy.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

Shannon: sing it sister!

Velvet: yeah we know your take on it!

dc_publius: i don't know why you think someone isn't entitled to live where they want without guns pointed in their face. THis isn't bagdad!

And the only thing he could do to "blend in" is not be white, any tips on that one, chief? And if you think he's a scrawny geeky guy, then you must be built like godzilla.

Lisa: exactly!

Anonymous said...

This isn't Baghdad, but this is a high crime neighborhood in a high crime city. No one deserves this, no one should have to do anything, but that's not realistic in DC. Certainly, anyone can get mugged any time - even in Georgetown - but there are steps one can take to lessen the risks. And it has little to do with money; NoVA outside of metro is still cheap, so anyone can live in a safe neighborhood if they choose to.

Personally, I moved to the hood to try it out... (If I ever buy a place, it will have to be in the hood.) But after a year, I am sick of it. NoVA has better food options, bars, and clubs. Much better grocery stores. NoVA has gym options. Wait a second... there are no bars, clubs, food options in my hood aside from really bad chinese takeout and 2 cafes. There are no gyms in this area, and the 2 grocery stores suck.

So after 1 year, I can say that 'living in the city' has nothing to do with 'living in the hood'. People in the hood have a tendency to romanticise the city life but the more I think about it, living in the burbs is a lot better than living in the hood. (With living in a good part of town like Gtown or Glover Park being the best of all options)