Paranoia

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Mary M S, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    I have a left brain/right brain argument going on with myself.
    Just now while browsing HTF (instead of working [​IMG] ) A car pulls in the driveway.
    I go back & forth on these things and decide today; - I’m not in the mood to answer the door to a total stranger by attempting to converse through the glass window located near to door to find out what he wants. So I hide. He stands on my porch for a long while, with no knock. I hear him talking so I think there are two. Turns out he must have been on a cell phone for as he leaves I only spot the one.
    He is on my front porch so long ...I have time to pick up a phone (ready to dial 911) then sneak past windows through which he might see me, and retrieve a handgun, then I sit. He is there a long while, knocking only, very softly, - once.
    I don’t know what his request would have been.

    Background:
    One: My Mother was robbed in front of a Blockbusters when she was with me a couple of months back. ..
    I am sensitized currently; the suddenness of the violence did scare the hell out me that night, rising so abruptly during the middle of the mundane errands of life.

    Two: Crime has risen in the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex due to Katrina influx.

    Edited: to get rid of thinking out loud while typing yesterday. [​IMG]
    The gist of it. Out of 4 recent door solicitations. 3 did something out of the normal parameters. 2 by driving only to my house and knocking...then driving off. In all past experience; they are on foot....going door to door.. you see them walking the street both sides. Why come to one house (mine) only...to sell magazines ..or ask for money, then leave the area.

    The blockbuster incident was in an area near her home, previously nice & quiet, which is becoming dangerous.. Immediately after we were robbed, I see a “Dallas Swat” incident on TV, where a man in a top corner outer apartment (the same I chased the robber into) had held off police shooting about 50+ rounds of ammo, locking down the strip mall we were at and the nearby large & busy intersection.

    I have lived here long enough to know that people selling magazines, asking for money, selling the “best soap ever” to clean anything in your life.. come through in waves....like customers at 7-eleven. Whenever it starts in past years ...it seems to have a cycle with long lulls in between.

    Just now, ....the knock today...I am musing...should I prepare for ‘home’ invasion, and if so, How?
    I feel like a total goose. I have never been known for ‘nerves’ but am feeling them now. My life is changing currently...this exacerbates the feelings of [I don’t know ? what ? I’m feeling].

    If life is dealing me a coincidental amount of traffic at the front door (it DOES wax and wane with nothing at all, - for months at time). I am ready for this particular rash of it, to conclude.

    Whew, sorry for the long post and thanks for space to vent.
     
  2. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Remember, just because someone knocks at your door, you are under no obligation to answer that knock. Personally, if I do not recognize the person on my porch (UPS driver, neighbor, etc.), I do not answer the door -- regardless of whether they see me look throught the window or not.
     
  3. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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  4. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    "you are under no obligation to answer that knock."
    our home was broken into...all electronics etc taken many yrs ago. I was told at that time by police, that if I was home alone and someone knocks, - even if I don't open the door...do let them know I am there. They stated this is because most perpetrators do not want to run into a homeowner. If you don't answer they think the house is empty. This is becoming a grey area..since there appears to be a rise here & elsewhere across the country of 'home invasions'. They break in knowing homeowners are in.

    I edited 1st post (to make a little more sense [​IMG] ).

    My life was more the Pollyanna type. Always looked for the best in any situation and EXPECT the best out of humanity in general.
    Due to recent violence (my mother) and odd behavior by people solicitating at the door, factoring all recent events including that sometime in the last wk someone stole a very heavy engine lift ..out of our backyard; I am beggining to come to the conclusion (which boggles me) our home may be being 'cased' by someone who is trying to figure out whose cars belong to who, and when we are home. I HATE this....feeling.... of parniod.

    "Everyone thinks I'm paranoid..." but Eric...I have never felt in my past that secretly beamed radio waves were targeting and destroying my brain. [​IMG]
     
  5. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    I treat the door same way I treat my phone. I'm under no obligation to answer either. Typically if we don't recognize person at the door, we don't answer it.
     
  6. chris_everett

    chris_everett Second Unit

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    A random "home invasion" in the US is pretty rare. A very large percentage of home owners are also gun owners, and criminals know this, and most aren't willing to risk running into someone with a 12 gauge (The media will protray a single incident as an epidemic, but we all know that...) But your house may be being cased for when your not home. IMHO, I'd do a good security audit on your house. Check your locks, alarm system, maybe even condsider a couple of video cameras, etc, etc. Often local police will provide that service for you. Also, it might be time to consider moving. One thing I learned a long time ago is to trust that "sixth sense", so don't just dismiss your feelings as irrational.
     
  7. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Please tell me the glass pane at your front door is on the hinged side, not the side with the knob. If it is, make sure your doorknob and deadbolt (you do have a deadbolt, don't you?) are the type that require a key to unlock them from the inside and the outside, not little buttons or handles, otherwise all anybody needs to do is punch a hole in the glass, reach in and open the door.

    You might consider a webcam, a motion detector light and an intercom for the front door. Not terribly expensive or hard to set up, especially for a home theater enthusiast, and it would let you see and talk to anyone at your front door without letting them see you or putting yourself in physical proximity to that damned glass pane. [​IMG] If I didn't live in a condo, where everything outside my door is "common area" making it difficult for me to install and conceal such a thing, I'd have a camera outside my own door. Come to think of it - I might replace the cracked "peep-hole" in my front door with a fisheye lens camera that I could check from my home office or my bedroom (via the laptop) when I need to. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  8. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Also in the Dallas area, I accidentally left my shed door open on Thursday and my lawn equipment was gone yesterday. They took a mower, edger, weedeater and a couple of gas cans. They are apparently starting the lawn business I didn't want to start, because they didn't touch anything else in the shed. The cop was pretty sure it was a crime of opportunity, since the shed door could be seen open over the fence. Still, more future vigilance and motion detector lights are the new order of the day.
     
  9. Stan

    Stan Producer

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    I Always check the peephole in my front door before opening it, but my neighbor rented his house, renters moved out, and he's now painting, repairing, etc., so he's been coming over to chat.

    Somebody knocked yesterday, thought it was him, so didn't check and it wasn't him.... Turned out to be a clean cut, neat and tidy "intern". All he wanted was for me to put a security sign in my front yard, saying my home was protected by "Joe Blow's Security company". I'd get $1600 if I kept it there for three years, he just wanted to walk around the property to find the right location.

    Very sleazy approach. Even had the nerve to question me when said this is probably going to cost me isn't it? His response "Did I ever mention anything about this costing you? Who brought up anything about fees?" What a load of BS.

    Never again do I open the door unless I recognize the person. Paranoia can be a good thing.
     
  10. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    Stan, this would set off more alarms in my mind than if he wanted to charge me. I would think that this was a guy casing your property.
     
  11. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Makes me think of one of my favorite X Files quotes. "Just because your paranoid doesnt mean they're not out to get you!"
     
  12. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    They may have used the line on X-Files, but it long predates the show. (Like by a couple of decades at least.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  13. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Also, you might as well put a "NO SOLICITING" sign on your front door, that should ward off most "normal" solicitors from knocking on your door.
     
  14. Kyle McCabe

    Kyle McCabe Stunt Coordinator

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    Forgive me. I'm usually wearing my tinfoil hat, so I firmly believe that "paranoia" is indeed reality on a finer scale.

    I don't want to bring up a taboo subject, but... nobody mentioned a gun as a tool for home defense. Why is that? I think it's important that us average law-abiding citizens take the necessary means to defend ourselves in the event that an intruder violate our properties. If society as a whole were to do this, then I guarantee that crime rates (believe it or not) would reduce drastically. A successful criminal is always going to choose unarmed victims.

    First, I would start with an inexpensive alarm system, which I'm sure that you probably have already. Next, I would look into a 12-guage pump shotgun. A reliable one, not just the cheapest thing on the rack at Wal-Mart. Specifically, I recommend a Remington 870, but a $200 Mossberg would also be a competent tool to help you defend your home and family.

    Edited to add: I should also mention that a SAFE way to store your weapon is imperative! Safety is the main concern for your home. A lack of safety concern around firearms is obviously counterproductive in this situation.

    So... now that I've stated my opinion, I would also like to add that I'm only advocating guns as a method of self-defense or recreational shooting. Having to shoot someone, an intruder or otherwise, is the last thing that I ever want to have to endure. But I do enjoy my right to defend myself.

    I'll leave it at that. Although I really enjoy the discussion here, this is also a place where I like to keep somewhat of a "business face" (albeit a relaxed one). So I won't get into the politics that revolve around the subject.
     
  15. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Mary mentioned a handgun. Don't mess with a Texas girl!
     
  16. Kyle McCabe

    Kyle McCabe Stunt Coordinator

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    That's why I shouldn't post after midnight, Greg. I totally misread that part!

    We're based out of Frisco, so I spend a great deal of time in the Dallas area. I've definitely noticed the rising crime rate since the Katrina influx. Hopefully it will settle in time.
     
  17. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    This thread, Mary's first post in particular, reminds me of the first fifteen minutes of When a Stranger Calls Back.

    We answer the door only for food delivery (we order in a lot at my house), UPS and of course people we know. However we have a VERY strict "no Jehova's witness" policy that we have not broken in ten years.
     
  18. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    While I would never suggest that owning a gun should be against the law, the fact of the matter is that people are more likely to be killed by their own gun then anybody else's.

    If someone robs you at gunpoint, chances are you're going to get robbed and maybe assaulted, but come out the outside alive. If someone points a gun at you and you point your own gun at them, it raises the stakes immeasurablely. The attacker, no longer fully in control of the situation, will be more likely to take desperate actions than if you DIDN'T bring a gun into the equation.

    That said, I don't think it's necessarily wrong to be paranoid. When I'm living in Boston and I'm forced to walk home after the T closes and after the bar crowd shuffles out, there have been occasions when I've been followed pretty much to my street. I used my body language to let them know that I was aware of them, and I never had a problem. But it's never a bad thing to be aware of your situation and surroundings.
     
  19. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    One thing I learned a long time ago is to trust that "sixth sense", so don't just dismiss your feelings as irrational.
    That sixth sense of mine is a fickle fellow. It has gotten me out of dangerous situations throughout life, and been on the money as far as ‘instant’ feelings I have about people. Then again when it works too well for several instances ..I start weighting it too heavily.

    It’s funny but all the large & true emergencies have a credence-acceptance gap....those moments your brain wastes when it needs to kick into emergency high gear; thinking: “this can’t really be happening...or this is just like the movies. [​IMG]

    Joe: People on the porch is what is bothering me, because that was the area broke into when we were burgled.....So now this debate with myself. Let them know I am here (as police advise) or pretend to not be in...because its awkward and unpleasant (and makes me feel like I’m a paranoid weirdo to NOT be answering my door) and shouting through people via glass. (I come from a very strong line of ‘speak when you’re spoken to’ upbringing. The whole thing of insulating ourselves for safety (in modern times) does not suit me. My nature is to believe that everyone is inherently good and means no harm.

    When we were robbed long time back, the elder neighbor across the way saw two men pull in our driveway and knock, When we didn’t answer the door she quit watching them after (she thought) they had driven away. But while on our porch they had popped our front door open with a crowbar...one came in and unlocked the backdoor. They drove around to the back alley, came in via the backyard, and carried things down to the alley. At that time when replacing the cracked sheetrock beside the door etc. my husband beefed up the framing, and put a new deadbolt in with much longer shaft. The door has an arch glass top. The window (I yell through [​IMG] ) is on a turned wall from the door which faces the porch but is not near enough door to use it to reach a lock. Back door being half lite ..has a keyed deadbolt...for the glass break issue.

    The ISSUES of guns.. yes and I felt like Annie Okley going to get it! And then thought...what a strange thing to be doing!
    “the fact of the matter is that people are more likely to be killed by their own gun then anybody else's.”
    Adam brings up all the points I have wrestled with recently. The handgun I went and retrieved...is an antique from my father’s collection (he was never a hunter but inherited from ancestors who were). When my mom was robbed I had my husband dig it out and show me its use. My father DRILLED gun safety into us as kids, because of the collection he had, but when we were children (who went to church 3 times a wk, and highly respected our parents) we still went and dug out the guns just ‘to look at’ when we were old enough to be home alone.
    If I could do it (goody two shoes...then) anyone could. I banned guns in my home, while my boys were growing up just because of the stats on family accidents with guns. When a preteen, my grandmother had an acre home in a very nice neighborhood. The elderly woman, who lived directly behind her, was shot and killed by her own gun when a burglar broke into her house.

    All of above said...the world is a changing.
    I feel handling & owing guns requires a great amount of responsible reflection. What I was forcibly reminded of in the incident with my mother was that awful [female] feeling of total helplessness. Unless I get the jump on someone (poke his eyes out quick) a man is likely to win via sheer mass in any battle. I know the odds of me being in a situation where I have time to access a weapon, and draw it...et all are slim. But I think I want that slight edge in my future, for if those set of circumstances ever come together. (As it has for a rare few), I want what assets I can bring to bear. Growing up I shot skeet and took one 22 course, but guns have been a foreign object to me for a long while now. I think its time to become current, to take all the safety courses. Ect.

    In our business in past, both my MIL & myself have driven to construction sites frequently to meet with new homeowners...I never carried... just would not have them around for fear of the boys running into one left under a car seat etc. My Mother in law did. I felt she was irresponsible to do so, since she never took a course or attempted to stay familiar or current with a weapon. She had to use it once...pointed it at a man in a iffy part of town when she had to stop for gas who tried to open her car door. She should not have been carrying it ...she’s an original Betty Crocker/church matron and hardly knew how to point it. I feel you owe the world the effort and time to stay familiar, current and trained, - if you are going to own a weapon.

    We have two attractions, which could be attracting someone’s interest, - a large two-story garage filled with tools and separated from the house sitting next to a alley, and an award winning restored mustang which comes & goes, which men will stop to look at driving down the street. Could be either of those things are sometimes attracting extra "unwanted" attention. Hope that’s all and no-one wants what’s in the house. We did have ...in the last 4 months our first (blocks away) homeowner robbed by gunpoint after getting out of their car in their front driveway! Dallas is having some issues and some of the ‘best’ parts of town are being hit hardest, so it really does not seem to matter where you live...it’s where ever you go.

    “They are apparently starting the lawn business I didn't want to start.” [​IMG] [​IMG]
    saves you all that sweat in the Texas heat! (really, - i’m so sorry)
     
  20. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

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