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Three score and ten or more

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Terrorism in the USA

Terrorism in the USA

Okay,  I am back from Idaho and Utah and the funeral, and I assume that folks were expecting me to react to the funeral, the trip, etc.  The fact is, I will, and I think (being an absolute egoist) that I have some interesting thoughts, but I am going to start with a piece that I call terrorism in the U.S.A.  Let’s see what you would call it.

We flew from Jacksonville to Salt Lake City, arriving in the city in the evening, so we elected not to try the two-plus hour drive to South Central Idaho.  Instead we bunked in with my sister and her husband who have a beautiful home in Bountiful (Northwest Salt Lake).  We went out to have a snack then settled in to visit (shoot the bull, renew old- - whatever, you know the drill).  It was after four A.M. when the family blither stopped and we sagged off to bed, planning to get up “bright and early” to make the trip to my other sister’s home in the Magic Valley area (Burley, Declo, Heyburn, Twin Falls, Filer, etc.: one of the most fertile valleys in the world).  When we arose (it actually WAS bright and early in the morning) we received a spate of phone calls which made us glad we hadn’t attempted the trip last evening.  The basis story that we received (from my sister and a couple of other sources) was that they had received more excitement that evening than anyone wants, and that we, my wife and I, would have found it less than thrilling.

For the sake of this story, I am going to refer to my sister and her husband as Deedee and Dan Byington.  I don’t think they need their actual names to be spread across the internet (even if my readership HAS been tanking lately). It seems that, late in the afternoon of Wednesday June 7, Deedee received a call from someone whose voice she didn’t recognize.

“Is this the home of Dan and Deedee Byington?”

“Yes, It is” (dialogue is NOT exact, I wasn’t there, but it is as close as I could reconstruct it)

“I’m trying to trace a phone call.  Does Amber Byington live there, or do you know where she lives?”

“No, I’m sorry but I don’t know anyone named Amber Byington”

Long pause.

“ I don’t believe you.  I think you’re lying!” Immediately there came the click  (or cluck) of a phone being slammed down.

Deedee asked Dan if he knew an Amber Byington, to which he responded “No” and after watching a little TV, being farmers who also had to be up bright and early in the morning they retired to bed.  Sometime after midnight, the phone rang, and it was the local sheriff.
“Dan, we have had a 911 call about some stuff happening up on your block, have you seen anything or heard anything?  Is everything alright at your house?”
“No,  haven’t heard a thing, but everything seems fine here.”

“Okay, but if you see or hear anything unusual, give me a call.”

“I’ll do that, Goodnight.”

Dan turned to Deedee who had been awakened by the call and told her what the sheriff had said.  It didn’t occur to them that it could have anything to do with the evening call, but, though  puzzled, they decided to turn out the light and go to sleep.  Just as they turned off the light, the phone rang again.  

It was Dan’s younger brother.  “Dan, do you have any idea what’s going on down the street from you?”

Now curious “No, what is it”

“Well I was coming back from changing my water (irrigation term) and I saw fire engines, EMT, and the swat team all bunched up at the end of your block.”  (A fair distance away, in farm country the blocks are about a mile long in Idaho)

“No, I don’t have any idea, but the sheriff called and said that he thought something was up.”

“ Well, it must be a big something, cause there’s a real crowd down there.”

Dan was puzzled, went to the door and looked down at the corner, but there were no lights, so he went back to Deedee in bed and told her that something was really screwy around there.  Just then, the phone rang again.  

It was Dan’s older brother. “Dan, what in the world is going on.  I just got a call from the sheriff, and he says that he has had a 911 call that you just shot Deedee, and are holed up in the house with an AK47 threatening to shoot anyone who comes around.  He wanted me to tell him what kinds, and how many weapons you have in the house.”

Dan, “Well, I have an old shotgun, but I’m not sure where it is.”

“Dan, you know that’s not what he’s talking about.  Why don’t you give him a call and straighten this out.”

Dan hung up, turned to Deedee, and explained the situation.  Deedee picked up the phone and called the sheriff’s office where she was connected to the dispatcher (who is an old friend)  whom she asked “What is going on?  Something is all messed up around here”

Dispatcher, “Deedee, is that you, are you all right?  I was so upset.”

Deedee, “I’m fine but we have been getting calls that people are all around at the end of the block, with guns, and it’s frightening.  Denver called and said that the sheriff told him that I was dead”

“You’re not?  I’m sorry that was a silly question, but I am so flustered.”

Deedee.  “Could you call the sheriff and tell him that everything is okay here?”

“Why don’t I patch you through and you can tell him yourself?

“Okay”.  So Deedee held on to the phone until the sheriff answered in an appropriately authoritarian tone.

“Sheriff, this is Deedee.  I’m fine, you can let everyone go home now.”

The sheriff replied that it couldn’t be that easy, that they would have to talk to Dan and her in person.  Deedee relayed that word to Dan who  said “Tell the sheriff that we will get dressed on drive down there, he knows the car.  I don’t want guys in camouflage suits with rifles with teeny red lazers shining through our windows.—Don’t tell him that last part.”

Deedee relayed the appropriate response, then she and Dan put on their clothes and drove slowly down to the corner where there appeared to be an army parked with no lights but with a lot of camouflaged folks with machine guns.   When they got close, the sheriff told them (probably through a bull horn, that’s the way they do it on TV) to stop, turn off the car and raise both hands.   They did.

“Now, using only your left hand, open the car door and get out”

So Dan did as he was told until he realized that his seat belt was fastened, so he reached down with his right hand to unfasten the belt, when he and Deedee were both shocked by the loud instant click as all the weapons were raised, locked and loaded (whatever that means).   With their hands in the air, they both stepped gingerly out of the car.  Someone came over to verify that Deedee was indeed Deedee, and Dan was first patted down, then asked to raise his shirt to verify that there was no hidden weapon.  

After the car was searched the sheriff apologized, hoping that Dan understood that they had to take calls seriously, and gradually everyone went home.  It was after four A.M. when they finally got back to bed, where they did very little sleeping.  It was not till the next day that he discovered that men in camouflage with rifles had indeed been looking though his windows before they drove down to meet the sheriff.

Who made the 911 call and was the call tied to the other call in the evening, has not been proved.  The 911 came from a blocked number that just gave out 000 0000.   They are still investigating, but when I left a week later they had no suspects.  I asked Deedee (a high school teacher) who she had failed that term and we laughed (but not really) about the whole thing.

Metropolitan Police who find a man waving a gun, drawing attention to himself often ask if the man is attempting “Suicide by Cop”.  I appeared to me that in a real sense the person who instigated this “prank” my have been guilt of “Attempted Murder by Cop” because the results could have been truly tragic.  I certainly feel that the creep was as much a terrorist and anyone who sets up an IED by the roadside in Iraq.


At 10:34 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

That was a most enjoyable story but is so creepy knowing that it is true. There are nuts around. That's why I keep guns.

"...in farm country the blocks are about a mile long in Idaho..."

Here too and we probably wouldn't find out about it till the next day.

At 5:10 AM, Blogger Ed Abbey said...

I'm sitting here trying to imagine what it would have been like lying in bed when a swat team came crashing in through the doors and windows. I'm sure glad this story ended differently.

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

Patrick, Dan and Deedee's son's family lives on the corner where all the armament was parked, and they slept right through it, they didn't hear about it till the next day.
ed, Me too.

At 11:46 AM, Blogger exMI said...

Our police like everyone else in this nation seem to have been conditioned to overreact to everything.
I don't suppose the the Sherrif could have believed Dan when he called and asked if everything was allright? Or he could have gone by a checked with something less than the local militia forces.
the bad part about keeping guns PJC is thatif you had pulled one when man in black woke you up by crashing through your window is that they would have then killed you, and been validated in the action. If on the other hand you managed to kill one of them (which would be perfectly justified in my mind) and managed not to get killed yourself, you would be facing murder charges and a life time in prison.

Do none of these farm families have noisy dogs to wake them when strangers camp out to assault their yard??????

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

That post should have been titled:

"Idiocy in America"

It has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with idiots.

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Thotman said...

email me at thotman at hotmail...I would like to send you a file with a newsman saying it the night the olympics ended...lol..

oh my heck...

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

I agree that this type of idiocy is a form of terrorism and I only wish whoever started the entire thing could be caught! Someone could have very easily been killed.

And you, Three Score and Ten or More, were nearly caught up in all this unnecessary BS. Good grief!

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

06 22 06

What a crazy story. And I agree that the prank was an act of terroism. People have been killed for less! I figure that any action which affects our personal liberties is tantamount to terrorism. Sorry they went through that madness.

Seems like you have been going through quite a bit lately. I am sending you good thoughts now:) Have a great weekend:)

At 7:46 PM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

Mahndisa. So nice to have you back. I hope your studies will allow you a little time to visit more often.


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