Personal Security

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A few days ago I talked about Apache Security. An exploit for FreeBSD was widely released today. Right now it's hard for me to care at all though.

cries for helpAn hour ago I was on my way to go to sleep when I hear something that sounds like an argument half a block down back in the alley (or down where there's a blind street ending). Sure this is Los Angeles, but my neighborhood is really nice and quiet.

But here I am with a bunch of loud talking and then honking. There's a female voice and at least one other person; it was hard to hear. I can't figure out if it's bad or not; it's a bit too far away to really decipher. Suck. Should I call 911?

Maybe a minute or two goes by and the "noise pattern" changes a bit; the most important part is that the woman is now yelling something along the lines of "don't fucking hit me; {various non human sounds} arrrgg. You hit me, you hit me, don't hit me, {crying}". Or something like that. Main thing was that I had no doubts that it was no longer just loud talking.

So, obviously that's really uncool. Finally I pick up my phone and dial 911. After about a billion rings (time is moving really slowly by now) they pick up.

This is nine one one. Are you calling about an emergency?

No, but there is a lot of yelling down in the alley behind my place. There is a woman screaming.

We already have a call in for a fight scene.

[They have the SuperPlus version of Caller-ID, huh?]

Uh, okay. In the alley by Melrose and Almont Dr?

Yes sir

Oh, good. Thank you.

Thank you


For a few minutes it got quiet, and then the woman starts screaming again "help me", "help me".

I consider going down. I can't see anything from my window. I can see across from my kitchen window to melrose avenue but hear or see no cops. "They'll be driving without lights and sound, huh? Residential area and to not scare the offender?" I am feeling really disturbed by now. Maybe 5 minutes go by with the woman still calling for help once in a while. Bad. Maybe less, maybe more. It felt like a long time. When someone calls for help like she did; I didn't want to think about what was happening. I surely couldn't continue the geekish working and reading I had been interrupted in.

5 minutes later it was too much for me. The yelling had stopped, but I didn't know how. I didn't see any lights from any cops down the alley. Bad. I changed my sandals for shoes (not sure what that was about), tried finding some excuse for going to the store by looking in the fridge. Didn't work; I couldn't see anything I really needed. Or needed at all.

I put money in my pocket anyway, thinking that I was just going to the store. I also put my phone in the pocket knowing that it would work from down in the alley. When I drive by Almont drive I see two police cars there. "phew".

I drive around and stop behind one of them. One of the cops is in his car with a woman. He comes out and sees me, I wave him over and he puts his hand on his gun. "Uhu, don't do anything fast or surprising now." I've roll down the passenger side window and he comes over.

So I explain that I live just over here.

"You have to drive the other way around."

No no, I know. I called 911 because I heard the yelling and screaming.

"You heard them scream?"

Yes, I didn't see anything, but I heard the woman call for help. She screamed that she was being hit and stuff.

Yeah, we are trying to figure that out now

So I just came over to tell and to see if I could help.

Then the cop asked for my name (yay, fun explaining my first name). Felt bad about that "oh no, I don't want to get any trouble". So he thanked me and asked me again if I called 911 ("yes, but someone else called first so they didn't ask about anything") and then didn't ask for anything else, so that was kinda odd. Of course now I realize that on the 911 records they could easily find me. I hope they won't need to.

Somehow it felt like I was doing the right thing for once; and in a slightly more meaningful way than your average mailinglist reply to someone trying to get some perlish thing to work. But disturbing. Ouch. :-(

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This page contains a single entry by Ask Bjørn Hansen published on June 23, 2002 4:58 AM.

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