Violence In The USA

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Main Question or Discussion Point

What level of violence is acceptable in our society. It appears that we indeed have become desensitized to rising levels of violence and aggressive behavior.

I posted earlier this week about the group of third graders who were plotting to kill their teacher. There were no replies.

Today I learned of another event that I found to be disturbing.

My son's fiance. Nicola, moved here a six months ago from Northern England. She is a U.S. citizen as her father was career American Air Force. Due to his failing health she came here primarily to help her father.

She soon found that finding a job was a necessary. She went to work at a new car dealership. I teased her a bit about selling Volkswagens with her almost Scottish accent.

During her first week on the job she was out on a test drive with a customer. The potential buyer quite apparently violated the speed limit and was pulled over by a Tucson Police Department officer.

Nicola got out of the passenger side of the car and started walking towards the officer. She had gotten out the words: "I am so sorry to have troubled you" just before the policeman pulled his Glock 9mm and pointed it directly at her head and started screaming: "Get Back in the car, Get back in the car."

She was terrified, she had never even seen a hand gun before. Police in many areas of England apparently still do not carry weapons. She had to miss several days of work after this event. It was only recently that she finally talked about the incident.

We have gotten to the point where a young woman dressed in business attire and emerging from a new vehicle with a dealer plate on it is seen as an immediate threat.

This has come upon us very gradually. I hate to see this type of reaction by police, yet they say it is forced on them by the criminal element. Last year an officer shot an innocent passenger in a car because the man flipped open his cell phone to make a call.

Nicola can see no rational reason for this type of behavior.

Just at what point did we totally lose it? What does the future hold in store for us?



Just venting, edward
 

Answers and Replies

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1) The third graders plotting a murder was an exaggeration blown out of proportion. Several (at least one that I read) psychologists said there's no way they would have gone through with it.

2) She came to this country without knowing how to follow the law and procedures properly. That's okay, it happens. Nobody studies from a handbook before they go some place. But from the cop's point of view it was just as surprising to have someone come out of the car during a regular traffic violation. Usually people stay put. Only people who want trouble get out of the car. Moreover, a business suit was supposed to mean she was harmless? Ever hear of the mafia?

3) You are completely ignorant of history if you think we are getting more violent.
 
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We have gotten to the point where a young woman dressed in business attire and emerging from a new vehicle with a dealer plate on it is seen as an immediate threat.
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I'm sorry that happened to her. It must have been quite traumatic. Unfortunately the circumstance dictated a more than casual response.

The car was new

It had dealer plates

The driver was speeding

There was more than one person in the car


From what I've read it fits the criteria of a car jacking or vehicle theft. If he didn't, he should have explained to her why he acted in such a manner after the fact. It probably wouldn't have made the experience any less stressful, though.

Not to stray too far of the subject.... from what little I know of such things, if the officer was alone in his vehicle he should have called for backup before attempting the stop. That alone makes me think he either lacked good judgment or training if the circumstance is as you've relayed it.

Far Star
 
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I'm very sorry she had to experience that. Her actions must of alarmed the police, for them to have pulled a gun. Our police force faces crazy men and woman everyday, and I completely understand the "Stay in the car and keep your hands visible" unwritten rules.
Yes the USA is not North England, someone really should of told her what to do when your pulled over, long befor it happened.
 
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I've never heard of anyone being able to get out of a car and walk toward the police when being pulled over. I'd be afraid of getting one of those big flashlights smashed across the back of my head.
 
Astronuc
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I'm sorry about your son's fiance's misfortune, Edward.

1) The third graders plotting a murder was an exaggeration blown out of proportion. Several (at least one that I read) psychologists said there's no way they would have gone through with it.
While the 'murder' motive is an exaggeration, the plot was not. The plot was to assault the teacher, even stab her, in retaliation for disciplining one of the students. According to accounts, the student planned to bludgeon the teacher, rendering her unconcious, then tie her up and stab her. She very well could have been killed!

2) She came to this country without knowing how to follow the law and procedures properly. That's okay, it happens. Nobody studies from a handbook before they go some place. But from the cop's point of view it was just as surprising to have someone come out of the car during a regular traffic violation. Usually people stay put. Only people who want trouble get out of the car. Moreover, a business suit was supposed to mean she was harmless? Ever hear of the mafia?
Umm, how many people here know what to do when pulled over by a police officer? It used to be that they would ask the driver to get out, but now apparently the procedure is to have the driver (and passengers) to remain in the car. And don't make sudden movements. Police officers are under a lot of stress, since they people (members of the public) they encounter are strangers, and once in a while someone will assault an officer.

3) You are completely ignorant of history if you think we are getting more violent.
Violence and crime fluctuates, and there seems to be a steady or persistent level.
 
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russ_watters
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What level of violence is acceptable in our society. It appears that we indeed have become desensitized to rising levels of violence and aggressive behavior.
Do you have evidence of these "rising levels of violence"? AFAIK, violent crime rates are far lower today than 10 or 20 years ago.
Nicola can see no rational reason for this type of behavior.
She needs to learn, then. She needs to follow directions. There is no mystery here.
 
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russ_watters
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While the 'murder' motive is an exaggeration, the plot was not. The plot was to assault the teacher, even stab her, in retaliation for disciplining one of the students. According to accounts, the student planned to bludgeon the teacher, rendering her unconcious, then tie her up and stab her. She very well could have been killed!
Read some of the more recent articles on it, you've missed Poop-Loop's point: experts are saying the plot just plain wasn't real.

Comcast seems to be experiencing some sort of outage right now, or I'd give you a link - PF is the only one of my regular websites I can access!
 
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Do you have evidence of these "rising levels of violence"? AFAIK, violent crime rates are far lower today than 10 or 20 years ago.

She needs to learn, then. She needs to follow directions. There is no mystery here.
If violent crimes are so much lower, why have police changed the tactics they use during a normal traffic stops?:rolleyes: Off hand my evidence is 67 years worth of observation. The officer's actions would have been unthinkable 20 years ago.


I would say she learned the hard way. She had only recently arrived here from England. Follow what directions? The officer was just getting out of his car. She did what was perfectly normal from her background and viewpoint.

Police in the area where she had previously lived only carried night sticks.
 
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I'm sorry that happened to her. It must have been quite traumatic. Unfortunately the circumstance dictated a more than casual response.

The car was new

It had dealer plates

The driver was speeding

There was more than one person in the car


Far Star
The new car had a magnetic dealer plate on the trunk. There was no plate in the normal liscense plate attachment point. New cars taken for a test drive typically have a magnetic plate and two people in the car. The only issue here was speeding.
 
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Earlier I stated that it appears that over time people have become desensitized to violence. Some of the replies here seem to prove my point.
 
wolram
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What level of violence is acceptable in our society. It appears that we indeed have become desensitized to rising levels of violence and aggressive behavior.

I posted earlier this week about the group of third graders who were plotting to kill their teacher. There were no replies.

Today I learned of another event that I found to be disturbing.

My son's fiance. Nicola, moved here a six months ago from Northern England. She is a U.S. citizen as her father was career American Air Force. Due to his failing health she came here primarily to help her father.

She soon found that finding a job was a necessary. She went to work at a new car dealership. I teased her a bit about selling Volkswagens with her almost Scottish accent.

During her first week on the job she was out on a test drive with a customer. The potential buyer quite apparently violated the speed limit and was pulled over by a Tucson Police Department officer.

Nicola got out of the passenger side of the car and started walking towards the officer. She had gotten out the words: "I am so sorry to have troubled you" just before the policeman pulled his Glock 9mm and pointed it directly at her head and started screaming: "Get Back in the car, Get back in the car."

She was terrified, she had never even seen a hand gun before. Police in many areas of England apparently still do not carry weapons. She had to miss several days of work after this event. It was only recently that she finally talked about the incident.

We have gotten to the point where a young woman dressed in business attire and emerging from a new vehicle with a dealer plate on it is seen as an immediate threat.

This has come upon us very gradually. I hate to see this type of reaction by police, yet they say it is forced on them by the criminal element. Last year an officer shot an innocent passenger in a car because the man flipped open his cell phone to make a call.

Nicola can see no rational reason for this type of behavior.

Just at what point did we totally lose it? What does the future hold in store for us?



Just venting, edward
Heck i am glad i do not live there, i would be shot to death in no time, our cops are just fine collectors and pansies.
 
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Last year, a state trooper was killed here in that kind of stop. The passenger came out and shot him. So, not long ago in another stop, I heard a police officer explain pulling his weapon by saying, "I didn't know what he was planning on doing, but I was planning on going home after my shift." You need to know to stay in the car and place your hands in clear sight when stopped.
 
Astronuc
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Experts dubious of Ga. 3rd-grader plot
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080402/ap_on_re_us/children_s_plot [Broken]
WAYCROSS, Ga. - Allegations that third-graders hatched an elaborate plot to knock out, handcuff and stab their teacher were met with shock by neighbors and with doubt by psychiatry experts who said it is unlikely that children that young seriously intended to hurt anyone.

Police say the plot at Center Elementary School began because the children, ages 8 to 10, were apparently angry after the teacher disciplined one of the students for standing on a chair.

Students brought a crystal paperweight, a steak knife with a broken handle, steel handcuffs and other items as part of last week's plot, police said Tuesday. They said nine students were involved, but prosecutors are seeking juvenile charges against only three of them.

Experts said children that age are certainly imaginative and capable of creating elaborate games. But Dr. Louis Kraus, a child psychiatry expert at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said he doubts they would have actually attacked.

"The reality is it is highly unlikely they would have been successful at this," Kraus said. "Even if it had begun, it's unclear whether they actually would have followed through with it."

Most premeditated acts of student violence in schools usually don't occur until high school, Kraus said. Younger children have been known to bring knives or other weapons to school, experts said, but often it's more a matter of showing off or acting tough than part of a deliberate assault attempt.
Certainly some experts doubt the plot, while officials involved are concerned based on evidence. Like the plot would have failed, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it would not have been attempted.

Based on personal experience, it is possible that the kids might have attempted it. If one looks at child-upon-child violence, then it's conceivable. On the other hand, the anger might have subsided, and anyway, children are usually too concerned about punishment to attempt an assault on an adult - but it does happen.

We had some situations locally, but the events are kept out of the public eye and media, and are handled within the school itself or possibly within the school district administration depending on severity. Elementary school kids, especially those from troubled families, can and do act out violently.
 
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Moonbear
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I posted earlier this week about the group of third graders who were plotting to kill their teacher. There were no replies.
I didn't see your post about it here, but probably wouldn't have bothered discussing it much anyway...I've just already heard too much about it to want to talk about it more. Most of the follow-up stories I read on it sounded like only one or two of the older kids in the group (by their ages, they should have been fifth graders already) were plotting anything, and the rest of the kids thought they were playing a pretend game (for example, one kid in the group was described by police as commenting that he was supposed to bring in a toy gun, but didn't because he thought he'd get in trouble if he did...does that sound like a criminal to you? It sounds like a kid with a proper sense of right and wrong who when put under peer pressure to bring in a toy gun chose not to do so.)

During her first week on the job she was out on a test drive with a customer. The potential buyer quite apparently violated the speed limit and was pulled over by a Tucson Police Department officer.

Nicola got out of the passenger side of the car and started walking towards the officer. She had gotten out the words: "I am so sorry to have troubled you" just before the policeman pulled his Glock 9mm and pointed it directly at her head and started screaming: "Get Back in the car, Get back in the car."

She was terrified, she had never even seen a hand gun before. Police in many areas of England apparently still do not carry weapons. She had to miss several days of work after this event. It was only recently that she finally talked about the incident.
Why did she get out of the car in the first place? Someone needs to explain to her the procedure for traffic stops in the US...she better get the driving manual from the DMV and actually study it (what other laws of the road are different in the US than UK that she's neglecting to follow?) You NEVER get out of the car unless instructed to do so. Didn't she notice that the driver was staying put? Police have a dangerous enough job during traffic stops without having the added worry of a passenger getting out and coming toward them when they don't know why.
 
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Why did she get out of the car in the first place? Someone needs to explain to her the procedure for traffic stops in the US...she better get the driving manual from the DMV and actually study it (what other laws of the road are different in the US than UK that she's neglecting to follow?) You NEVER get out of the car unless instructed to do so. Didn't she notice that the driver was staying put? Police have a dangerous enough job during traffic stops without having the added worry of a passenger getting out and coming toward them when they don't know why.
She got out of the car because it was not an unusual thing to do as per her experience in England. She also felt a responsibility to act in a manner that had been instilled by her employer. She had been instructed to be courteous and helpful in any traffic matter.

The Arizona DMV manual printed in both Spanish and English does not contain any information regarding proper protocol during traffic stops. There is no law of the road regarding this matter.

The section in bold in your quote is just plain mean spirited and unnecessary. You are making an inference relative to a matter you know nothing about.

Perhaps the DMV should print a welcome to America version. The dam illegals usually get out and run like hell because that is what they do in Mexico.

My point in the OP was that this type of police action during routine traffic stops has not always been the norm and that we have gradually accepted it to be normal in a supposedly advanced society.

Some how this has gone off on a blame placing tangent.
 
Mk
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I don't see violence here, I merely see preparation to use violence. There's nothing wrong with that.

When a police officer pulls you over, you are under suspicion of something. When you get out the car and start running towards him and yelling, no matter how you look, that makes the officer feel like he may be in danger. There is no legally defined way to proceed with yourself if you get pulled over, but sensibly I still believe that sitting in the car and being calm is a good way.
 
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I'd rather live in the US than Haiti. Mind you I'd rather live in France than DC as well. :smile: Americans don't have more violent crime than the UK, what they do have is more violent crime that is likely to leave you dead. In Hampshire last year 5 people were murdered, population about 10 million. In Washington DC 500 people were murdered. And lets bear in mind the majority of Hampshire's population is concentrated in large cities such as Portsmouth, Southampton, Winchester and Chichester. Americas level of gun crime is actually quite scary I think. Well at least to someone who's never seen a gun let alone heard a gun shot, or seen a GSW.
 
Vanadium 50
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My point in the OP was that this type of police action during routine traffic stops has not always been the norm and that we have gradually accepted it to be normal in a supposedly advanced society.
I took driver's ed in the US almost 30 years ago. Back then we were told to stay in the car and to do otherwise would probably be interpreted as threatening by the officer who pulled you over. So while it may not have always been the norm, it has for maybe 1/3 of the time we have had cars.
 
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I don't see violence here, I merely see preparation to use violence. There's nothing wrong with that.

When a police officer pulls you over, you are under suspicion of something. When you get out the car and start running towards him and yelling, no matter how you look, that makes the officer feel like he may be in danger. There is no legally defined way to proceed with yourself if you get pulled over, but sensibly I still believe that sitting in the car and being calm is a good way.

Oh for gods sake this is getting to be ridiculous. Nicola did not run at the officer she walked empty handed. She did not scream at him, he screamed at her. He drew his Glock and pointed it at her head.
 
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Moonbear
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She got out of the car because it was not an unusual thing to do as per her experience in England.
And that is my point. She's living in the US now, not England, and needs to familiarize herself with the differences in the rules, just as it would behoove someone who moved from the US to the UK to know what is different there...if the custom in the UK is to get out of the car during a traffic stop to ensure the officer you have no intention of driving off as he approaches, then they would only have themselves to blame for not learning this before getting behind the wheel if they found themselves getting into more trouble for appearing defiant in staying in the vehicle rather than getting out.

The section in bold in your quote is just plain mean spirited and unnecessary. You are making an inference relative to a matter you know nothing about.
It was not. If she is unaware of one set of conduct, it's a good chance she's unaware of others. She needs to educate herself on what is expected in the place she's living so she doesn't wind up in more trouble. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse to break it.

Perhaps the DMV should print a welcome to America version. The dam illegals usually get out and run like hell because that is what they do in Mexico.
And you're accusing me of mean-spirited comments?

My point in the OP was that this type of police action during routine traffic stops has not always been the norm and that we have gradually accepted it to be normal in a supposedly advanced society.
No, it has been the norm for at least the 20 years I've been driving. When pulled over, you sit in the car and wait for the officer to approach you. You don't reach for things, you don't bend down where they can't see you, and you certainly don't get out of the car to confront them. This is for their safety. When someone jumps out of the car, that is seen as confrontational, and when it's the passenger, they very well may be trying to distract the officer from something the driver is doing. There's no need for a passenger to do anything but sit still and wait since a traffic violation is between the cop and driver.

Some how this has gone off on a blame placing tangent.
It started as placing blame, except you want to place blame on the cops for doing their job when the rest of us see it from a less emotional perspective that what she did was considered confrontational.

Pass these articles along to help her understand what to do in the future.
http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-handle-a-police-traffic-stop.htm
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/266231/what_to_do_during_a_traffic_stop.html [Broken]
 
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I took driver's ed in the US almost 30 years ago. Back then we were told to stay in the car and to do otherwise would probably be interpreted as threatening by the officer who pulled you over. So while it may not have always been the norm, it has for maybe 1/3 of the time we have had cars.
Thirty years ago one could get out of the car and walk to a safe area away from the road. Officers saw this as a courtesy. At that time the most likely event would be that the officer would be struck by on coming traffic; for that matter it still is.
 
Art
It seems some people have missed the point of the OP.

I don't believe the concern was in relation to the individual officer's behavior but rather that society has reached a point where such a reaction is a necessary part of self survival. No-one doubts that it is a fact police officers in the US have genuine concerns for their safety during a traffic stop situation but as I understood it the OP simply expressed regret the level of violence in the US necessitates such a reaction.

In countries such as Ireland the idea a motorist would do violence to a police officer who pulled him/her over isn't even a consideration in the officer's mind as it just doesn't happen so if you want to sit in your car, get out or even dance a jig it's up to you :biggrin:
 
Astronuc
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Thirty years ago one could get out of the car and walk to a safe area away from the road. Officers saw this as a courtesy. At that time the most likely event would be that the officer would be struck by on coming traffic; for that matter it still is.
That's what I was taught, and that was what some friends who were officers told me to do. That has apparently changed for most police departments.

In fact I did once get pulled over, and when I got out of the car, the cop yelled at me to get back in the car, and I complied. I was simply doing what I had been taught. When the rules change, they are not usually posted.
 
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Well maybe not Ireland now but Northern Ireland in the past :eek: but that's the same sense I took from the op. That an officer might have to behave in that way because of the chances of a threat to him, because of the dangers that exist in the US to police officers. I think the sad thing is there's not much you can do about the sort of culture that exists in the short term, and nothing much you can do about gun culture anyway. At least that's the impression I get from people in the US.

AFAIK there are no hard and fast rules in the UK. Get out stay in the car, so long as you're not acting in a threatening manner either is acceptable I think?
 

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