Earlier this year, worn down by nearly a year of mobbing, I attempted to get anti-harassment orders against the owners of the mobbing houses. By this, I mean the houses from which the mobbers work, some of the houses that “surround” the home in which I reside. I brought with me as many documents as I could, both relating to the situation of physical, more “civil” harassment and bullying in which I had already lived for at least three years, as well as those that I believed would help to bring attention to the escalated harassment directly into my home as a component of “real estate mobbing.”
Because the crime of harassment or “mobbing” was, in my case, preceded by years of physical harassment attested by documents, I hoped that the claims that I would bring of constant harassment by voice projected into my home and onto my TV, my radios and my computers would at least be considered.
The mobbers were prepared. They came with their attorney, an apparent college chum of one of them whose law firm, coincidentally, advertised a specialty in eviction law as well as in real estate transactions. They came naming their professional credentials, in their suits and dresses, and with their flowery descriptions of their clients’ stature in the community. And they came with a brief so poorly written and extravagantly laced with defamations that I was shocked that the judge would bother to consider it.
I was to be pilloried for little more than threatening to call the police on people who had sought my eviction from my home and its likely acquisition for real estate speculation and profiteering.
I was pro se. The judge refused into evidence numerous letters and pieces of evidence that I offered after they were challenged because the parties who had written them were not present. The renters down the street that I had helped with an attempt by the captain of the neighborhood association to get an order against them by giving them a stack of public disclosure and other documents were unable to attend and they moved within a few months after that.
The judge took pause at my accusations of radio-based harassment or “voice harassment,” as I probably called it at the time, that was “projected” onto my radio and TV. But he needed someone else to make the insinuation.
The owner of one of the houses said that he would like to ask me a few questions. At the time, I had requested but not received public disclosure of the police complaint that, as it turned out, he had made just a day or two before about noise when tired of listening to the harassment that was coming from his house and the house of the other guy against whom I sought the order, I put my speaker outside. I did this, and still do it, because it points the harassment away from me and not only dims the harassment because the mobbers must ensure that it is not heard by others, but because it diffuses it and allows me to listen to NPR without having to hear the harassment quite as well. Anyway, when Seattle Police Department came to talk to me about this legal noise during hours that are not “quiet hours” in the City of Seattle, the guy who had a few questions for me, who was also the owner of the house to my north against whom a temporary restraining order had been issued before the court date, came out on his deck and was pretty clearly listening.
I told the police what I have always done in this neighborhood, that there was no law against having my speakers outside. Frustrated, I tried to tell them about the use of my speakers for harassment. Surely, I thought, they must be savvy enough to have heard of such things.
No such luck. The Seattle Police Department, I have concluded, is woefully unprepared to deal with crimes that are not solidly in the visible world.
So, back to the courtroom. Yes, the owner of one of the mobbing houses said. He did want to ask me a few questions. I was sworn in. Standing before the judge, he introduced himself by his esteemed profession. Then he began, noting that I had been visited by the police. Was it true, he asked, failing to note that he had made the complaint to the police and then gone outside on his deck to listen to whatever I told them while he was supposedly under a temporary restraining order pending the anti-harassment hearing for which I was the petitioner, that I had said I heard harassing voices on my radio?
It was pretty obvious where that was going. I scrambled to explain, but when you’re on the stand, a “yes” or “no” will do, thank-you-very-much!
“Yes,” I admitted. “But –”
“Dismissed!” cried the judge. And down came the gavel.
We were in a court of law, where a woman who had reasonably documented proof of harassment of renters in the neighborhood by captains of the neighborhood watch and their friends, coincidentally some of them real estate developers and speculators, tries to get an anti-harassment order. Granted, she explains that the harassment has escalated to what can only be considered a phenomenal level. Admittedly, it’s not every day that women come to court complaining that they are being “monitored” by their neighbors and followed everywhere they go on wireless and radio systems. And most women don’t claim that they are at least being listened to as they perform their ablutions, or their evacuations for that matter. But women and men do claim to have been raped. Those crimes often rely heavily on testimony of the victim and they are prosecuted. Stalking can be another such “invisible” crime. Hoaxes, and there have been many of them in this mobbing, are also often invisible to everyone except for the victim.
“But Grandmother! What big eyes you have,” said Little Red Riding Hood.
“The better to see you with, my dear,” replied the wolf.
In this fairy tale, my fairy tale anyway, there’s this little thing called the law and, though I’m not a lawyer and those who have the luxury of having them or being them do like to cite the truism that the man who acts as his own lawyer is a fool, the judge’s immediate dismissal of a woman’s attempt to get an anti-harassment order in a fairly clear neighborhood bullying situation seems questionable to me.
Given these factors, not to mention the sequence of statements preceding the judge’s ruling, I would venture that the judge in this matter dismissed my cause not because of lack of proof, but because he was fooled by the mobbers’ trickery.
The law is limited and so too is the knowledge of one man who is a judge. A judge who follows the law should not discard a claim because the alleged perpetrator defends himself by saying that the victim is a nut. What kind of justice system is that? At least, a judge should dismiss an attempt to get an anti-harassment order based on the victim’s inability to provide sufficient proof, to show cause. And perhaps the judge should only disregard those parts of the claim that cannot be proved. There was some evidence of harassment that was not thrown out but this judge was unwilling to look at those documents or to spend the time required to make any fair consideration of whether harassment existed. A judge of the same court, in the matter of the renters down the street, had examined one of the same pieces of evidence that I had also offered and had said that it appeared that some in the neighborhood watch were trying to do something to the renters down the street, and to me.
Being unable to prove something–at least, not yet–does not make it imaginary.
Stay tuned for part 2 to find out how you too can put your voice, or your music, on your neighbors’ speakers. Yes, the technology exists and you, and the mobbers, can and perhaps do, find it on the web.