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Some Input from You Guys about a Radical Neighbor

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#1
I have been flying RC for off and on for several years, but like many here, I got into multi-rotors for the last 18 months because it allows me to fly pretty much anytime. 95% of it has been in my backyard, for maybe 150 accumulated hours.

Now after 16 months, I was approached by a neighbor. . .

Ahhh, I'll let the letter I sent to the Sheriff AND to the neighbor explain it all. . .

One thing to note is I have all personal details blacked out, but I'm calling the neighbor by his address (I explain why) and I use the word "helicopter" so as to not go down the road to explain a multi-rotor. He and the Sheriff both act like they have no idea what it is. I'm was flying my standard David Windestål "V2.6 Deluxe" tricopter both times. . .

Yesterday, after I know he's read the letter which I mailed to both the Sheriff and the neighbor, I come home and he has a 5 foot by 3 foot yellow banner of the coiled snake with "Don't Tread On Me." draped across his front porch.

After reading below, I would really like your input if I am being overly reasonable and 'soft' or too patronizing, or am I just wrong. . or do I have an unreasonable, possibly nutcase neighbor? I freely admit, I was probably pushing it before Aug 25th since I didn't know the disposition of everyone in the neighborhood. But I will say I avoided actually flying over someone's actual house. He's a guy, upper 30's and is in the Marines with a wife and 3 or 4 kids. So I'm not sure if the military would make him more sensitive to such things. And am also curious if any of you have run into this kind of person?

The link to the video is one I have linked before and that I mention in the letter.

 

Tritium

Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
#2
A paranoid Marine, Better be VERY Careful of him. Marines of today are not the Marines of yesteryear. As a matter of fact more and more increasingly there is severe mental instability in the ranks of the armed forces! I notice he has a pool. Possibly he and his wife enjoy "playing" there. ;)

Thurmond
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#3
I would say Thurmond might very well be on the mark, on both the pool and the instability. I still do not understand how it scared his kids. Any kids that have seen mine, flock to it and are curious. Never had anyone scared of it.
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#6
Thanks for the thoughts guys. As to the kids being scared. . . I know for a fact that's untrue. While I have never flown that far over, I have flown at around 150 feet and over to the other end of the lot beside me several times where and know the girls could see it, and I could hear them continue to laugh and splash in the pool like it was nothing. The guy that lives beside me are pretty good friends with two young boys and they think it's cool and he doesn't care in the least. The second house over is empty. I even have suspicions he made them uncomfortable somehow because they were black and they moved but I have nothing concrete, just the way he acts in his yard all the time. Never waves to anyone as they pass.

He's paranoid I'm "spying" on his family or something equally nutty. But what surprised me is him calling the Sheriff for flying over my own property. The only thing I can figure is I fly up to around 250 feet or so quite a bit and to his poor judgement, he sees that "above him". Even if it is at least at a 45 degree angle, if not less. He also may think my camera is still seeing something.

When he approached me that August 25th, he acted very odd, like he was very nervous or very mad and was holding it in. It somewhat freaked me out.
 
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#7
Iagree, a well written and respectable letter. As for kids, as stated above the children on my street ask me to bring my rc's out and they range from about 3- 11 years old and I've never had one be scared..ever

Side note: he maybe making his own video in the pool and wants to corner that market :/ lol
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#8
It's a shame you don't have a good way to turn this around -- maybe someone else has a way, I'm not sure I can think of one.

Most folk spend too much time ignoring their neighbors and becoming isolated. Despite what he may want, he probably needs quite a bit less of that -- isolation feeds paranoia, and the flag is a strong "the world's out to get me" sign. Can't force him though, and not sure what kind of olive branch would be taken as anything other than a threat.

If you could find a way, CD, you'd likely have one of your most loyal friends for life, just three houses down. Wierd firend, for sure, but once your on his side, you'll be like family.

FWIW, I'm praying for help in any peace-making you chose to attempt. It's the hard path, but If neighbors take care of each other, the state won't have to.
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#9
Yea, I should have said something like, "I respect your willingness to look after your family" or something equally non-threatening, but it was all I could do to muster up the letter I wrote as it was the morning after my visit from the Sheriff.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#10
No, I think the letter was appropriate, if a touch formal.

Not to invite folks over to your house for you, but you might offer to host dinner for he and his wife (and kids). sorta a "we got off on the wrong foot" invitation. might get slapped back, but again, it might be the first step to making a fantastic friend out of it. Sometimes a little humility and kindness can do amazing things, especially when it's not deserved.

You're the one who has to live with it, so take the path you think is best.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#11
Dan has a good idea there. If you don't feel the one-on-one will go over well, maybe something like a block party. Since you are on a cul-de-sac, it would be easy to keep it just to the neighbors and have a neighborhood cook-out/barbeque/hobby show and tell. Have everyone bring out and/or talk about what they do for fun (maybe not the stuff they are taping in the pool!). Kids would love to be a part of it and maybe if he sees the rest of the neighborhood being ok with R/C and other hobbies, it may turn him around also. If nothing else, it would show that you are not doing anything nefarious and it might even get more neighbors involved in the hobby.

The only drawback would be flying over the people so make sure they are aware when you are airborne and don't fly directly over them and make sure the kids aren't chasing it. I've had that happen, too. Usually it's enough to ask them to stand by me until I land it and then we'll have a close look once it's powered down...
 
#12
I had issues with neighbors once. But for a much better reason. I was breaking in my lst2 in the front yard. (Nitro obviously)... It solved itself once I apologized (apparently they had small children, and my free time fell inline with nap time) respectfully we worked out a deal that wouldn't cause either of us any troubles or incovienance.

Regardless, my current neighbors also have some concerns with my 500 sized heli. Also understandable. But not nearly as hostile.


I feel for you friend. But there's nothing illegal about what your doing, unless they bend it untill it looks like your peeping on them in the pool, or somehow disturbing the peace... How ever privacy laws are in place and your not breaking them... Also your on your own property, obeying the laws... The police should be the least if worries.


The nutt bag living down the street would be my biggest concern.
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#13
Once he hung up the flag I pretty much knew it was a lost cause, I know this guy's track record with other neighbors.

As to the Sheriff (we don't have police out here in the rural suburbia). After my three minute interview, he flat out said, "Don't worry about it, we are required to respond."

The Sheriff most likely went back up the street and told him with a shrug something like, "He's not breaking any law." So I fully imagine him hanging out the flag was his attempt to say, "I'll handle it if the Sheriff won't." I get the impression he's that far gone.
 

RoyBro

Senior Member
Mentor
#14
... but you might offer to host dinner for he and his wife (and kids). sorta a "we got off on the wrong foot" invitation.
I agree this might be a good approach. You might also show him some of your videos, and videos of others. A lot of people are completely unaware of this aspect of the hobby, and only imagine the worst when they see a camera flying overhead.
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#15
A paranoid marine is worrisome, as Thurmond said. My first thought was to wonder if he has something to hide. Logically, he is treading on your enjoyment of your hobby. But, I doubt he would ever see things from that point of view. Did you receive a response from the police?
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#16
I linked to the video I took the day he came in my yard.

I'm pretty sure he would ignore an invitation without a response. I gave have him my phone number, and said I would be 'happy to explain'. He put the flag up after my letter. Basically flipping me off. No response from the Sheriff's office from my letter. Doubt I will. I'm pretty sure they see this as extremely minor. They have the proverbial 'bigger fish to fry'. . .
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#17
I linked to the video I took the day he came in my yard.

I'm pretty sure he would ignore an invitation without a response. I gave have him my phone number, and said I would be 'happy to explain'. He put the flag up after my letter. Basically flipping me off. No response from the Sheriff's office from my letter. Doubt I will. I'm pretty sure they see this as extremely minor. They have the proverbial 'bigger fish to fry'. . .
Even a better reason to get the neighborhood together. A little show of community solidarity might make him rethink his tactics. I respect what he does in the line of duty to protect my rights as an American, especially if those duties take him into harms way, but that does not grant him free reign to be an asshole, or worse. Respect goes both ways, and frankly, his actions so far in this matter, are commanding zero respect.
 

Jaxx

Posted a thousand or more times
#18
I hate to be negative, but I can't stand people like that. They will say anything (“you scared my kids”) to back up their point. I can't see how your tri-copter would be a problem at that distance. My neighbors are always trying to get me to fly my scratch builds right here in the neighborhood. All the kids think my planes are cool, and some of the neighbors' kids have even come with us when I take my kids out to where I fly. This reminds me of the type of neighbor who will always find something to gripe about. And even if there was a problem, I believe he could have used a more neighborly approach to resolve the issue. I have to give it to you for being so cordial. I don't know that I would have handled it as well as you did. I wouldn't go out of my way to invite him over if you really didn't want him over. At most, I would introduce myself, let him know that I didn't want any hard feelings to linger as a result of the situation, and maybe tell him a little about the hobby. If he is unresponsive, then I would just leave it alone. It's unfortunate, but the possibility he may be unstable is a legitimate concern.
 

Jaxx

Posted a thousand or more times
#19
Even a better reason to get the neighborhood together. A little show of community solidarity might make him rethink his tactics. I respect what he does in the line of duty to protect my rights as an American, especially if those duties take him into harms way, but that does not grant him free reign to be an asshole, or worse. Respect goes both ways, and frankly, his actions so far in this matter, are commanding zero respect.
Unfortunately some guys take that "attitude" home with them, and misrepresent the military.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#20
Even a better reason to get the neighborhood together. A little show of community solidarity might make him rethink his tactics. I respect what he does in the line of duty to protect my rights as an American, especially if those duties take him into harms way, but that does not grant him free reign to be an asshole, or worse. Respect goes both ways, and frankly, his actions so far in this matter, are commanding zero respect.
Veterans day is coming up, and the Fall has been mild so far. Might be a good time to do something.