April 04, 2006

Wisdom Wanted (Or, Help Me Not Get Shot)

My White Trash Neighbors (WTN) are at it again and I'd like some advice. I've written about them before but, for those of you who need a refresher, here are some highlights.

  • The WTN family consists of White Trash Husband (WTH) and White Trash Wife (WTW) and their three kids - two girls, 8 and 15, and a 2 year old son who seems to appear and disappear at will. He's around about 25% of the time for some unknown reason.
  • The White Trash Automotive Fleet (WTAF) consists of an ever-changing line-up of cars, usually high-end. Currently, they're driving a BMW, a big-ass professional grade pickup and a Hummer.
  • Two insanely annoying, yippy ankle-biting dogs also live with them, both of which run wild. One day I shall step on them and I won't be sorry.
  • Neither the husband nor the wife excel in the area of interpersonal communication...unless yelling counts in which case, they've got it mastered. They tend to stand in their front yard and scream at each other for everyone to hear. This most often occurs while their children watch.
  • One of the more recent altercations occurred while I was standing in plain view, cleaning out my car. I was rather surprised (which is hard, given some of their past performances) to see the WTH hanging off of a moving Hummer shouting "Give me my wallet, give me my fucking wallet, bitch." When he noticed that his eight year old daughter was watching the whole thing, following the Hummer down the street, he ordered, "Go over and wait for daddy on the sidewalk. Your mother is being psychotic and is putting you in danger. Go stand on the sidewalk so mommy doesn't hurt you while she leaves. Because she doesn't want to be a part of our family anymore."
  • Several months ago, during another blow-out, WTH sought refuge in his BMW. WTW was clearly displeased with this turn of events. In addition to hurling insults she armed herself with large rocks. Then threw them at the BMW. WTH eventually left.
  • In another incident, WTW threw herself (literally, I shit you not) through their front door. WTH actually had to get in his pickup, head to the local Home Depot and buy a new door and door frame.
  • These arguments - which happen, on average, two or three times a week - end up with either WTH or WTW getting into one of their many cars and driving off quickly. Very quickly. Like, there's squealing of tires involved here.

Fast forward to Saturday and my ethical dilemma.

The weather was gorgeous and I was sitting in front of an open window in our office, soaking up all the breezy goodness. Whilst editing photos I heard another White Trash Fight (WTF...heh) break out. I was amazed what I saw - the eldest daughter hanging off the side of the Hummer while WTH drove away. Instead of slowing down, after about 30 feet, he sped up and veered into the curb in what I interpreted as an attempt to knock her loose. 100 feet later, he stopped. WTW arrived on the scene (with the other daughter in tow) and proceeded to lose it. They screamed and yelled for a few minutes and, eventually, WTH took off in the Hummer.

Here's the thing - I'm sick of this shit. Really fucking sick of it. I'm extremely pissed off and refuse to live, much less raise my daughter, in an environment in which this is allowed to happen. We don't live in a trailer park in rural Appalachia (these people would sully the good name of Appalachian trailer parks). We don't sit around our front yards on our couches playing banjos while chewing tobacco with our three teeth. We live in a nice, middle-class neighborhood. One with tons of kids and parents who actually seem, for the most part, to give a shit. These asshats are the exception, not the rule.

For the last two days I've wrestled with this. I should have called the cops while it was going down. I know this. But then I think about the consequences. Sure, these asshats don't really deserve that kind of consideration and, possibly, I'm giving it too much thought, but I'm extremely reluctant to insert myself into another family's drama. To make matters that much more confusing, there are a total of six houses on our street. Despite their puny brains, I'm sure it wouldn't take too long before it becomes obvious who got the cops involved. And? He has a job for which he carries a gun.

So, let's recap - I'm sick of my WTNs yet I'm reluctant to release a shit-storm on emotionally unstable people with firearms. Now I ask you - what the hell do I do?

Posted by Chris at April 4, 2006 07:31 AM

Don't call the cops, call child protective services. All reports are anonymous. Be as deatiled as possible about everything. The only thing is you may be subpoenad to testify, and there is nothing you can do about that. But, it may not get that far, most of these things settle out of court. Think about what the kids are going through. This is emotional abuse, neglect, and physical abuse.

Feel free to email me, as you can probably guess, I work in this area.

Posted by: Jodi at April 4, 2006 07:39 AM

I think you might want to consider moving to a trailer park in Appalachia. Seriously. A whole different life. Safer, calmer, cheaper, more real. Need I go on? You were pretty quick to throw stones there, Dude...
Nah, I know you didn't mean it. ;-)

Posted by: JuJu's Mom at April 4, 2006 07:46 AM

I agree with calling child protective services. It's pretty obvious that their children are not in a loving, caring environment.

Posted by: Wicked H at April 4, 2006 07:46 AM

I dunno, I'd go with the cops next time something happens. They are likely to be able to respond much more quickly and actually see some of the action themselves. I've never been shy about calling them, and thus far have lived to tell about it. Good luck with this one...

Posted by: mc at April 4, 2006 07:56 AM

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Waitaminute! The Homeowners Association was giving you a ration of crap about having to see your trash cans and yet let these buttheads act like this? WTF indeed. =)

I tend to agree with Jodi. I would call child protection services. Hopefully they will see that the children obviously are not in a good situation. If anything else, it may show your neighbors that they are acting like assholes and need to shape up.

If all else fails, I could bring some of my "homes" ::did I spell that right? *snort* And we could hang out all Mexican like and intimidate them. Bwahahaa!! =)~

Posted by: Lauren at April 4, 2006 08:02 AM

I just conferred with my hubby, who just happens to be a police officer. He says call the cops immediately the next time you hear the beginnings of a fight. Tell them that it happens all the time, and you're worried about the kids and tired of listening to the drama. But at the very least it's disturbing the peace, and at most it's child endangerment or domestic violence.

Or, move. That's probably what I'd want to do.

Posted by: Alissa at April 4, 2006 08:04 AM

The cops probably won't do anything at this point. Calling them will lay down a track record for future calls, though. Hmm...And bullies usually back down rather than become more assertive.

All things being equal, I would agree with the above statement that child protective services is your best bet. Unfortunately for you, they need two separate calls from two people before they can investigate.

But you would be call number one-- and really, who knows whether your other neighbors have called?

Posted by: jen at April 4, 2006 08:07 AM

We used to live across the street from a very similar family, except that their cars were not high-end and their vocabulary was not nearly as advanced as your neighbors'. They ONLY knew the four-letter words. I don't have any sage advice. It got violent a few times with a pipe and I think there was a knife in there somewhere between family members and also directed at the police who arrived (on a regular basis). They moved out a couple times after their house burned down (twice) but they always came back. We finally moved and I was happy to get out of there without any of my family members getting shot or run down by their pickups screaming out of the parking lot. It's a horrible situation to be in. I don't envy you.

Posted by: Empress at April 4, 2006 08:08 AM

Okay, is this the White Trash Drama week and no one warned me? I just got done posting my own story....

I, personally, would call both Child Protective Services and the police.
With the police, like someone else stated, it would at least lay the ground work. You could take the time now while it's quiet to talk rationally and tell the whole story and tell them your concern. And to warn them that you will call the next time this occurs. Get the name of whomever you talk to, then you can ask for the same person when you have to call back.

Posted by: fauve at April 4, 2006 08:13 AM

I am of the school that if you see child abuse, or if you suspect child abuse, you report it. When, and if, you do, make sure that you tell "the authorities" that the person carries a gun, maybe that will help in them acting more quickly than the normal red tape sequence.

Posted by: Dawn at April 4, 2006 08:22 AM

Jen-I'm not sure where you live, but where I live CPS does not require 2 phone calls. Only one phona call is needed, and there are time requirements for an investigation to be completed.

Posted by: Jodi at April 4, 2006 08:23 AM

Not that I am usually a big fan of calling child services, i think that could be a good way to go about this. They will involve the cops if necessary and its anonymous. I am sure they act like white trash when they are out in public as well, so really they should have no idea who called it in. Be as detailed as possible. I would be a little worried about the shit-storm as well, but more importantly is 1-your sanity (you dont wanna go postal on em) and 2-the childrens well being. these kids need someone to intervene before they are run down by that hummer.

good luck. Sometimes *most times* i just hate people,

Posted by: kristied at April 4, 2006 08:25 AM

My own personal WTN are moving! I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. Wait, yes I can. It makes me REALLY happy.

Yeah, I would have called the cops after I saw him trying to slough the kid off the car. What a dickweed.

On the bright side, you've broadened my horizons! When you were talking about their vehicles, I was all 'they can't be white trash, they have money' and then you described their behavior and I saw the white trash light.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do, but somebody needs to call somebody, that's for damned sure.

Posted by: Contary at April 4, 2006 08:25 AM

Call the cops, for the first thing. Once that's on file, if it happens again (which I'm sure it will), then call CPS/DCS/DFACS whatever it's called up there.

That's what I'd do. I've got no qualms on calling the cops, though I usually reserve the CPS call for something bigger, which this sounds like it, especially with the daughter hanging off of the Hummer.

Posted by: amber at April 4, 2006 08:33 AM

I gotta say, the cops really do help. I just called them the other day about the barking dogs our 3 neighbors all have. I originally just called to ask how to go about reporting them, and the officer took all my info and went out there later that day. Needless to say, there are no more barking dogs at 6AM. And I'm sure they'd get your back on a more serious issue as you've stated above (rather than barking dogs!). It can't hurt to at least file a complaint.

Posted by: Michelle at April 4, 2006 08:35 AM

Thats a tough spot to be in. For the safety of the kids I would call someone.

Posted by: Bill at April 4, 2006 08:37 AM

I agree with calling CPS. Who knows if anything will get done, most caseworkers are overworked and have huge caseloads to begin with, but they will e be mandated to at least investigate. If WTF is doing this kind of stuff in public I shudder to think what goes on behind closed doors. And I would call the police. We've had our share of nuisance neighbors an d persistance does pay off. Eventually.

Posted by: Lisa at April 4, 2006 08:40 AM

ok...he carries a gun AND drives a hummer and a BMW? Who does he work for? The Godfather? Scarface?

Anyway...I would call your equivalent to Children's Aid Society and tell them what you've seen...(make sure they know it's anonymous)and let them determine the next step.

Posted by: Pamalamadingdong at April 4, 2006 08:42 AM

Call Child Protective Services and put your house up for sale and move.

Posted by: daisy at April 4, 2006 08:51 AM

That's a real tough one, do you have any kind of environmental health officer who deals with nuisance noise like we do in the UK?

Have you talked to your other neighbours, they might all be as sick of it as you then you know you're not alone. Phoning child protection sounds like a good way to go but if there is an 'incident' I'd get onto the police. Remember a lot of abused and neglected kids could have had less problems if a neighbour had done something sooner.

Good luck!

Posted by: Katherine at April 4, 2006 08:53 AM

Call whomever in order feel like you've done something but the truth is, not much may come out of it. The cops are unlikely to get heavily involved in domestic situtions as one of them is not likely to press charges on the other.

If you call CPS they will investigate but unless the children are in very clear danger, they won't do anything either.

Posted by: wendy at April 4, 2006 08:54 AM

When my mom and siblings stayed with me for a couple of days while dad was served divorce papers, I had the cops on "standbye". Basically, I told them about the situation and prior history so that if anything happened, they knew what was going on, yet this wasn't an official report. Could maybe you do something like that? An unofficial, non-emergency report? Otherwise, I do recommend child services,... although the touchy part is that any abuse or problems can simply be exacerbated by an investigation.

But, the comments these children are forced to hear, and the environment they have to live in seems to be clearly abusive. I can't stress enough that I think SOMETHING needs to be done for these kids (think about it. They have no power, and are probably scared, both of their situation, and the uncertainty of change. That's how I felt when I was younger).

Posted by: Heather at April 4, 2006 08:57 AM

You definitely need to call somebody. They're inserting themselves into YOUR life. Plus they're fucking up their kids in all kinds of ways. If you're worried about White Trash Retaliation, do something anonymously.

Posted by: Fraulein N at April 4, 2006 09:02 AM

You received a lot of good advice. I too would probably call the police. I can't believe no one else has said anything. It amazes me that people are so damn passive. I just wrote about noise in my apartment complex and no one gives a crap. Maybe it's because I just came from a house, but even then I had no problem calling the neighbor and telling that their dog or their party was disturbing me.

Posted by: The Misanthrope at April 4, 2006 09:04 AM

In my old, shitty apartment I lived in alone, I had nieighbors that threw parties EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and would BLARE music until 2 or 3 in the morning, so loud that the pictures on my walls would rattle and I couldn't watch TV because I couldn't hear it. I would call the cops, but I guess they could see the cops pulling up out front so they would turn the music down and when they would knock, they wouldn't answer the door, so the cops would leave. Then the dude that lived there threatened me because he had a feeling it was me calling the cops. So the next night they had a party and it sounded like someone might be fighting - so I called the cops and told them it sounded like there was a really bad "domestic disturbance" going on in there. So, the cops showed up and when they didn't answer the door? The cops broke it down. They found people doing drugs and underage kids drinking. So, not only did they go to jail, but they had all kinds of fines, and had to replace their door. It was classic. And, no one ever did anything to me.

Point is, all is fair when it comes to shitty neighbors. Call the cops, child service, the IRS (although I don't have the balls to do that one for fear it would come back to bite me! haha), whatever. Make their lives as inconvenienced as they make yours. I have a crazy neighbor across the street now, and while he hasn't brought me to the edge like last time, I'm getting there. My feelings are that I'm paying some damn good money to live here, I shouldn't have to put up with this bullshit. No one should. When they start their shit, immediately call the cops. Hopefully, they'll get sick of the cops showing up at their house a few times a week and learn how to take their shit inside.
Good luck! Bad neighbors are the worst.

Posted by: RockStar Mommy at April 4, 2006 09:14 AM

You can probably survive but I'm not so sure about those poor kids. First the cops, then CPS. I wonder about the two year old and mysterious absences too.

If it doesn't work the first time, call them again and again. Sometimes CPS will act immediately and sometimes not.

Actually if you call the police, they may call CPS but I'd still call them both just to be sure. You don't even have to wait for the next blowout to call them. In CA, you could remain anonymous and it's probably the same there.

Good luck. I can't tell anyone what to do but I'd never forgive myself if I could have done something and didn't.

Posted by: ann adams at April 4, 2006 09:18 AM

And be sure to tell the police and CPS about the gun.

Posted by: ann adams at April 4, 2006 09:19 AM

he has a JOB where he carries a GUN - ouch. anyhoo (anywho?) i agree with calling child protective services, dept of youth services, whatever it is you marylander's call it. call animal control, too. do you have any ordinances about the number of registered/unregistered cars allowed at a residence at one time? call the building inspector. and regardless of the situation and threat of retaliation - when people's lives are in danger call the cops.

my only other thought... move. though that would only let them win. i think it's horrible that they're raising their children to live this way. and you're right to worry about bringing up your child around this.

Posted by: monique at April 4, 2006 09:21 AM

H2 = HummerHonkeys

Posted by: Betti at April 4, 2006 09:28 AM

That is quite the quandry. Too bad you can't find some way to make their house haunted temporarily so that they freak out and leave. Because that really would be the best solution for you.

However, that might not be the best solution for the kids. Are there other neighbors who witness these things? Maybe the rest of the neighbors could go in on the police or CPS report so that no one person bears the brunt of your neighbors ire.

Whatever your decision, good luck!

Posted by: Jessie at April 4, 2006 09:29 AM

LOL Too bad their dogs aren't HUGE and VICOUS. [I mean, yeah they're probably vicous but they sound like they're tiny?] I had those type of neighbors last year? They had 2 vicious dogs that almost always got through our fence on a daily basis. I complained to the housing office here on our military base almost daily. They would always get on their case about it. They got tired of me bitchin so they finally moved. LMBO

They kind of sound like your WTN's. Almost.
I'm glad they're gone. They were annoying.

Good Luck. And Stay sane!

Posted by: Bonita in Pink at April 4, 2006 09:41 AM

Did I say "Vicous"??? I meant VICIOUS! Oh lord... is it Friday yet?

Posted by: Bonita in Pink at April 4, 2006 09:41 AM

Have you talked to your other neighbors? Maybe if you all filed reports with the police it would carry more weight and also the WT neighbors would not be able to focus their anger on just you for going to the police.

WTH carries a gun? What does he do? I hope he's not a cop.

Posted by: Pinky at April 4, 2006 09:48 AM

Definitely call the police and CPS while its calm--and do be sure to mention that child hanging off the side of the hummer when dad hit the curb intentionally incident. That alone is child endangerment...

Posted by: christina at April 4, 2006 09:49 AM

Look at it this way - if you do nothing, one day Mia might be standing outside on the sidewalk when WTH or WTW decides to make another great escape in one of their vehicles. What if WTH loses control of the Hummer? Or WTW accidentally runs over one of her own kids in front of Mia?

Call the police. Child protective services will only look to see if there's food in the frig and there aren't bruises on the kids.

Posted by: Theresa at April 4, 2006 09:55 AM

I have been where you are before. We used to have neighbors that would fight all the time. The wife was an alcoholic and she'd throw fits when she'd get drunk. She once went outside and ripped every bush they had in their yard out of the ground while screaming at her husband who would sit in her car so she couldn't drive off drunk.

I also didn't want to get my name involved but on a Halloween night once, she got drunk and took a 2x4 and starting beating the shit out of the side of their house - all while trick-or-treaters were walking by. At that point, other peoples saftey (especially the kids) was more important to me than them knowing I reported their dumb asses.

Maybe reporting your WTN's will straighten them up. Maybe the'll even be so embarrased when the cops show up that they'll knock that crap off. Besides, I'm sure you wouldn't want Mia outside playing as she gets older when those asshats are driving up and down the road like that.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Posted by: Dooneybug at April 4, 2006 09:58 AM

The child was in danger. This isn't about you or the white trash parents, it's about protecting a child, and the cops should've been called.

That said, I understand your reluctance to call the police in the instance of just a loud fight between the two of them. However, in any case where you believe harm might be incurred, you are obligated to. (When she was throwing rocks, when she came barreling through the front door, etc.) Some states even have laws obligating you to call the police during such occurrences, though I don't know if VA is one. Regardless, it's the right thing to do.

Posted by: Polichick at April 4, 2006 10:04 AM

Seriously though? You get in trouble with the HA for trash can "violations" and they continue on bringing the quality of the street down???

Im curious too now about his job. He drives high end cars and carries a gun... Hmmm....

Posted by: alfredsmom at April 4, 2006 10:08 AM

I am also the type of person who is very reluctant about inserting myself into another family's drama, but I have to agree with what everyone else has been saying. I think as soon as you saw the girl hanging off the car, the decision was made for you. (Yeah, I know, lucky you.) But if you're worried about WTH having a gun, perhaps you should mention that to the police. Nobody that unstable should have a gun in the first place, IMHO.

Posted by: Spring at April 4, 2006 10:08 AM

Like Rockstar Mommy, we had a neighbor like this too in our 1st apartment. I called my land lord instead though about the fighting. I also complained about the smell of weed although some of that may have been our fault! LMAO They eventually got kicked out before the bitch got to kick my ass. Seriously I left a note on her piece of shit car that I talked to the landlord and came home to find her waiting for me to pull in the parking lot so she could kick my ass. She chased my car down the alley and I had to get a police escort back to my place. I was 19 yrs old, she was like 30 something. When they moved out they left the door opened and my hubby and I with the 2 other tenants in the building went in and found tons of drug materials and cig buts all over the floor and they had a little girl living up there with them.

I really get weary about the whole CPS but in a case like this it sounds definately warranted. I would have called if I would have known that was going on upstairs from us. I agree with you on the cops though and them finding out. That happened to me once at my current house when I complained about my neighbor building things in his garage at 1 AM. He came over and asked me (since we live in the country and there's only a few houses nearby) and I said "fuck ya I called the cops Barry. It's not my job to get out of bed and remind you of the time." He was pissed. We don't really talk anymore, I can't figure out why.

Posted by: Sabrina at April 4, 2006 10:14 AM

You should talk with the neighborhood association nazies and tell them to make an ordinance against loud arguing. :-D

Posted by: Ginny at April 4, 2006 10:20 AM

First, and most impotant, CYA ! Whatever you decide to do, you should first get video of some of the drama. Put the camera in your house facing out toward the most popular White Trash Smackdown Stage (for "bird watching" purposes legally). If you decide to let nature run it's course; WTH kills WTW and then himself, WTK's are left to become the 7-11 robbers and meth-freaks they have been primed for at a young age, then at least you'll have a few episodes of a pretty good reality show that you could sell. Mia's college fund :)

Posted by: Geezitron at April 4, 2006 10:22 AM

i commented on dadcentric already. ditto ehat everybody said here, too.

Posted by: kara at April 4, 2006 10:28 AM

I would call the police the next time anything occurs. They don't have the right to make you feel uncomfortable in your own house and neighborhood. I've been in your situation before in past houses, and while it's no fun (I hate being a tattle-tale), I at least felt better knowing I did something instead of just being a bystander. But that's just me.

Have a great day, Chris!

Posted by: Shash at April 4, 2006 10:33 AM

Jeesh. Pee in their gas tank. That always works for me.

Or horse head in the bed, ala Godfather. That works AND it rhymes.

Seriously, I almost called DCFS myself just reading this and then realized that my descriptions MAY not be clear enough. (anyone can call DCFS...I'm a teacher and we're supposed to do that kind of stuff for parents who leave their kids at school too long after pick up time. I think dragging them from a hummer is slightly higher up the ladder of neglect-itude)

Posted by: andy at April 4, 2006 10:48 AM

I had a similar situation in the last place I lived. We struggled for a long time over what to do - we knew the WTW in our situation was making a slide back down into drug addiction, and that the BOW (Boyfriend of the Week) was trying to keep a job to keep all of the kids fed (only 1 of the 3 was his I might add). They would have screaming, raging fights when she would come home drunk/smashed and have one of her "friends" with her...
The day we knew we had to do something was when we found the 6 year old "babysitting" the 2 year old. He had left her in the park at the end of the street. (a dog had chased him and he ran) The 13 year old was in the house asleep with head phones on... We called the police and let them decide if CPS was needed. After that - every time there was a fight that we could hear in our house and we knew there were kids home, we called the police. It was that simple - I had decided I couldn't live with myself if something happened to the children.
It only took 2 months for the kids to be removed but my point is that the police handled everything without involving me once.

Posted by: Sue at April 4, 2006 10:49 AM

I get pissed of reading this even though I'm a freaking continent away. If it was just the couple, no kids, it would still be annoying but the kids make it a totally different situation IMHO. I agree with Jodi, call child protective services and also call the cops. You don't have to give your name and don't have to be involved. I've never had trouble with the police but I know they tend to get very angry when there are parents who endanger kids. When I say very angry I actually mean fucking pissed off.

If you live in a nice middle class area it's likely they will see that and would want to keep it that way. Like others, I would encourage you to call the police next time. Not becasue you're annoyed, because next time the kids might get hurt or die.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do and hope they stop their bullshit (doesn't sound likely...)



Posted by: AdventureDad at April 4, 2006 11:04 AM

Tough one because no one ever really wants to get involved in someone else's business, especially when that someone is a white trash psychopath with a big car and a gun. I can certainly understand your fear of reprisals.
Have you spoken with any of the other neighbors? Have they expressed concerns? Maybe that might be a first step, talking with others to see what they have seen and what they think.
But ultimately I would still call the police and at least make a report of it. I would explain the whole background of the situation to them, also indicating that you even fear repercussions.

Posted by: Traci at April 4, 2006 11:26 AM

Such a tough situation, I completely understand that - especially with a baby at home - it's hard to make a decision to potentially place your own family in harm's way for the sake of another's. But I'm with everybody else: make the call. Don't even wait until the next time - as you just don't know if perhaps that's the time that'll end up in tragedy for one of those kids. And I know you'd never forgive yourself if something did happen, and you'd failed to take action to prevent it.

That said - dude, don't be dissin' on Appalachian trailer parks, front yard parties, banjos and dental problems! ;) That's the f'n life, when you put it alongside the rat race...

Posted by: Tonya at April 4, 2006 11:42 AM

I'm assuming that moving is not an option given that this is the DC metro area and affordable middle class friendly housing, is pretty hard to come by. That said, call child protection services. If you call the cops, they can only do something about it if the WTH files a complaing against the WTW or vice versa.

Posted by: Heather B. at April 4, 2006 11:43 AM

Ack, I used to live next to WTNs as a kid. It doesn't do anything but escalate. The daughter hanging from the vehicle definitely warrants a call to CPS. Does the vanishing toddler possibly have a different father than the older two-- shared custody?

I'd also suggest- not to say that people with plenty of (legitimate) money can't act like this, but if they've got high-end vehicles all over the place and this kind of action going on, do you think they could be dealing? Our WTNs had oil money (of all things) but they burned through that in a few years and had to switch to selling drugs. Any late night activity or lots of strange cars visiting?

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at April 4, 2006 11:45 AM

I don't think calling the cops will help at all. I have been you and it only made it worse. Just wait till their kids are teenagers, then the fun really starts.
If there is no hope of them moving, you have to. Case closed.

Posted by: Jenn at April 4, 2006 11:45 AM

I think you should call the cops next time. This guy can't do anything to you, assuming he ever finds out it was you... and once the cops are involved, it's only a matter of time before they call it quits. This couple will get divorce at some point and once that happens, you're free! and the cop thing will definitely be a catalyst.

Posted by: Ava at April 4, 2006 11:54 AM

I have lived this nightmare with both neighbors AND family. Here's my sermon: I think you are morally obligated to report them to the authorities. If anyone is being abused, and you have knowledge, you have a responsibility as a fellow human being to report it. That's just my opinion. I can't say whether there is actual abuse going on (but it sounds like it) and if that's the part you see, you really do have to wonder about the stuff you don't see. If you call the cops and/or CPS and nothing comes of it, at least you've done your duty.

And think of it this way, those girls will likely grow up and be in abusive relationships because that's what they know. If things change even in a small way and you have any impact at all, you may alter the course of their lives for the better.

Here's one caveat: I lived next door to a couple where the woman beat and verbally abused her mentally ill husband. I reported it. They always denied that it was happening so the case was closed and the abuse continued. Did I change anything? No. Do I feel better because I tried? Yes.

Also, if there is a gun in the house, statistics show that a family member is more likely to be a victim of gun violence than you are. So, that should be comforting. Sort of.

Posted by: Ms. Q at April 4, 2006 12:06 PM

Dude. You don't have a couch on your front lawn? What the hell kind of people are you???

At least a nice loveseat or something.

Posted by: statia at April 4, 2006 12:30 PM

Definitely call CPS. If you live in a big city, the police don't really have time to deal with this issue post-event. CPS is required by law to follow up on tips--in some places it just happens more slowly. It's fine if those two adults want to drag each other into the gutter (and their story will ultimately probably not end well), but their children have witnessed this day in and day out their entire lives. Think about what goes on inside the house that you don't see if they are so brazen with what the world is allowed to see. Those children are already screwed up for life--but may be salvageable if they get the help they need. That's abuse--just make the call for those kids and don't worry about the rest.

Posted by: Lori at April 4, 2006 12:53 PM

If you really have balls I would go outside the next time with a video camera and start taping. Tell them you are making a documentary of childhood neglect. Maybe they will be on their best behavior.
I would do this of course AFTER you call CPS.

Posted by: Jamie at April 4, 2006 01:14 PM

Wow, thats just crazy.. I never knew you were my neighbor! LOL

Kidding of course.. I would call the cops the next time they are out fighting, yelling, being reckless with their vehicles.. and if the kids were involved I'd put a call into CPS as well. And then drop an business card in the mail to them for a really good divorce lawyer.

Posted by: molly at April 4, 2006 01:23 PM

I'd definately call CPS and the police. CPS will jump right on it, whereas the police may not, but like others said, this opens the door for a history. Also, do you have a neighborhood watch? If not, start one. Get together with your neighbors. The only way we were finally able to deal with the bully that lived behind us (and who was meticulous about bullying through the law) was to band together with our neighbors. Once we did that, we discovered this jerk was doing what he did so he could buy up all our property.

Strength in numbers, dude.

Posted by: jayne d'Arcy at April 4, 2006 01:42 PM

I hate to say this, but parents being assholes is not warrent for getting their kids taken away. You could try the cops, it may get them to be a bit quieter for awhile, but getting CPS involved will probably not do a damm thing. My mom has been working in the system for a long time and it actually takes a lot for CPS to do more than just go out once and visit. And then all they will see is kids who probably aren't abused, just asshole parents. Chris, I feel for you, I do, but there really isn't much you can do. Well... except move. Or learn to ignore it. I've had to do the same thing with our WTF next door. When they get crazy, we tend to go inside or turn up the volume on the CD player so the kids don't have to hear or see it. Sorry to not be more helpful.

Posted by: Melissa at April 4, 2006 02:14 PM

Sorry I haven't been around lately. But WTF?? Call everyone you have to. Call the cops and definitely call Child Protective Services. Those poor children!! How is Mia anyways?

Posted by: Pixie at April 4, 2006 02:16 PM

Do you own a video camera? You should tape their fights through your window or door or something. That's the best evidence you can have for the police or CPS. It would show the 100% truth...no chance for he said/she said stuff. Then take it to the police/CPS and file another report.

Posted by: Nik at April 4, 2006 02:43 PM

Next time? Call the cops right away. Who cares if they know you are the one that ratted them out. They HAVE to know what they are doing it totally wrong.

And how are they getting away with this while you are getting letters about a trash cover? Please!

(didn't read through all the comments, but I'm sure everyone is saying the same thing, right?!)

Posted by: Isabel at April 4, 2006 03:06 PM

Move. Before they make your property value go down :)

Posted by: SMIT at April 4, 2006 03:29 PM

C! P! S! C! P! S! CPS! CPS!

*ahem* Any questions?

Posted by: Queen of Ass at April 4, 2006 03:59 PM

I would be inclined to call the cops if you witness another episode like the one where the daughter was hanging off the Hummer while Dad sped up. He could have easily killed her.

Also, if you don't want to wait for another near hang-and-run, I would call your child protective services. I find it hard to believe someone else besides you hasn't already done so, but that I chalk up to not wanting to negatively impact another family. And while I can respect that, Chris, you have a right not to be subjected to their drama. And their kids deserve better.

Posted by: Lachlan at April 4, 2006 04:18 PM

I suggest getting a Confederate Flag and raising it in the front yard and a raging crack habit. By the time you seek drug treatment, everyone around you will have moved because of the general disrepair your neighborhood has fallen into. Mostly because of your dealer and your crack buddies milling around your streets at all hours of the night and day.

If you can't beat 'em, beat 'em.

Posted by: chantel at April 4, 2006 04:52 PM

Wow, I don't know what it's like there, but in my state, if the cops are called for a domestic disturbance, they are required by law to arrest someone. Personally, I'd feel morally obligated to call the cops, along with (is there an echo in here?) Child Protective Services. Especially if the kids are in any kind of danger. If one of them was hanging off the Hummer, it sounds like these particular parents aren't really interested in the welfare of their children.

Posted by: Jen at April 4, 2006 04:58 PM

I also think calling CPS is the way to go. The cops probably won't be able to do anything if all the parents are doing is yelling at each other, but CPS can intervene if the kids are in danger.

You could always report them to the homeowners association for trash can violations. :)

Posted by: bad penguin at April 4, 2006 05:15 PM

Call CPS and the cops. Even if nothing comes of it, at least you know you've done everything in your power to help the situation. I understand your hesitation, though, since you've witnessed the parents' violence on numerous occasions. You just have to do what you feel is right.

Posted by: kim at April 4, 2006 05:18 PM

Oh, God lord Chris. I think I agree with the child services angle. I think that calling the cops would be a good idea too though. Have you considered talking to them? I know that would royaly suck and be very uncomfortable but you have a bean now and can't (inadvertantly, of course) jeapordize her safety and right to a happy, front yard-playng, not to be awoken in the middle of the night by screaming skanks, childhood. I feel for ya. Maybe they'll move. Thanks for the sweet comment on my site. I just havent felt like i've had anything worth posting about. :)

Posted by: Bethany at April 4, 2006 06:26 PM

Like Jodi, I have worked in this area. You don't always need two calls before CPS investigates. Endangering the child is way different than a random "I think he uses drugs" call or my favorite "the kids are dirty/running wild." Be sure to mention the disapearing two-year old as well--it could be that he is the child of another daughter or relative and there may already be a case file on that situation. Oh, and the job for which he carries a gun? Probably going to put him on probation if CPS gets involved in his personal life.

But, while calling CPS is absolutely the right thing to do, it doesn't get them out of your neighborhood, which is what you really want. Can you complain to the homeowners association for parking/noise/disorderly conduct violations? As moving is probably not in the cards for you, perhaps you can report them, then spend the next several weekends elsewhere--parks, grandparents etc. Could you talk to the other houses on your street--present more of a united front so that you alone are not a target?

Posted by: wavybrains at April 4, 2006 06:32 PM

The kids really do make a call to CPS the right thing to do, IMHO. And the cops, to establish a history. I'm kinda saying what everyone else said, of course, but please do...kids shouldn't have to live like that.

Posted by: Heather at April 4, 2006 06:59 PM

I hate conflict/confrontation. So, this would have me shaking.
But I would call child services.

A kid hanging off of a Hummer?
That's the go straight to jail card.

I don't know if I could forgive myself if something happened to her and I didn't call. (Not a shot, Chris. My own guilt speaking up.)

Posted by: Opal at April 4, 2006 07:15 PM

You can place anonymous calls to the cops. Tell them you want it taken care of, but if they need to meet with you, you would be glad to drive to the station so that your neighbors don't know for sure it's you.

Posted by: Susie at April 4, 2006 07:45 PM

While this idea doesn't solve all the problems...One could dispose of the dogs easily enough without involving authorities. Bleach is easy to obtain and goes well with bacon or steak, which dogs love.
Just a thought. Life is of course precious.

Posted by: Craig Greenwood at April 4, 2006 08:26 PM

Well for what it's worth, we had a drug dealer living two-doors down. One night, someone rang our doorbell looking for drugs. We called the cops, and talked to the neighbours. It took about a month, but slowly the cops put the pressure on these folks to move out. No retaliation.

But for the sake of their kids and your own do something. I'd mention in making your call that you fear retaliation and that you know he has a gun.

And WTF is your condo association doing? Or is he president?

Posted by: Nat at April 4, 2006 08:46 PM

Well, as everyone else said, call CPS. And after a long hiatus from pretty much life, it was nice to catch up on your posts. You make me smile and laugh and I can't forget I need a lot of that these days.

Posted by: Heather at April 4, 2006 08:50 PM

Lots of comments.

But I would report to the police.


I've learned that no matter how much money is earned by either party it does not take away from poor upbringing.... and these people need to be turned in.

And also... the fact that they own a Hummer... please. That's reason enough. What is gas up to now? $3 a gallon?

Posted by: Snidget at April 4, 2006 11:02 PM

obviously you've gotten plenty of advice, but for the sake of democracy, i'm gonna add my 2 cents... call both the police and CPS... CPS will be useless unless the home is disgusting or they see abuse firsthand. the police can help because if they show up during a fight and make a report, that can be passed on to CPS... witness-to-trauma sort of thing...

Posted by: brianna at April 4, 2006 11:18 PM

Call DCFS. They won't tell the family who has called. The fact that the man's daughter was hanging outside of the car, WHILE the man was driving and that he didn't slow down is very alarming.

These poor children. This is their relationship model. Why don't they just get a divorce? Uhhhg!

Posted by: Lisa B at April 5, 2006 12:24 AM

I would call the child abuse hotline and make a report, you can even make it anonymously. It sounds like these people are in serious need of a reality check. If they are doing this in plain view, imagine what they are capable of doing in the house. I doubt the children would be removed from the home, but it may be just enough of a scare to make the parents realize that they are hurting their kids with all this fighting and physical violence. Making a report also documents the situation, even if nothing is found, and could help if something else would happen. These people need help with their anger.

I am a foster parent, and while it is not as common for social services to be involved with parents who have houses, and jobs it doesnt mean it doesnt happen there too. So consider reporting it...for the kids sake.

Posted by: linda at April 5, 2006 12:30 AM

I'm really sorry to say this, and I wish it wasn't true, but, don't involve the cops. It will start a war, and it will be a bloody one, I promise you.

I speak from experience. We live on what is termed a 'Problem Area' council estate and for years, lots of bad and unsavoury things have happened, and groups of kids and teenagers loitered around in gangs yelling at people, jumping in front of and throwing things at people and cars, drinking, drug dealing; sometimes in plain sight, vandalising, and doing other things generally making the place an unsafe and miserable place to live in for the law abiding people who simply can't afford to move.

The place is much better now the more 'troublesome' of the gangs have moved on, but it's still unsafe, and their are still gangs of youths doing all the above. I don't go out alone after dark in the evening: EVER. We keep our heads down and say nothing. If they yell things at us, we don't react, if they drug deal in plain view a short distance from our house, we do nothing. Calling the police is pointless as nothing is done, and the one time we did react to it (not involving the police) several months of Hell ensued because we were targeted by every gang in the area.

So, no useful advice for you, except to do nothing unless you either have every other person living in your street definitely behind you all the way or you intend to move to live somewhere else.

Oh, and I sympathise about the dogs, too. I hate yippy little dogs. Give me a big dog any day, but those tiny ankle nippers - I just want to kick.

Posted by: Alice at April 5, 2006 05:52 AM

That would be 'there' and not 'their'.

And apologies in advance for all the other spelling and grammar mistakes I almost certainly made as well.

Posted by: Alice at April 5, 2006 05:55 AM

I can't remember if you were the one that told about the trash cans and the housing development coming after you for that, but if it was, then call them--that should actually be a worthy cause. Gossip to the other six neighbors if they have heard/seen it and get them all to agree to bully them. Obviously their marriage is on it's last chapter, but who knows how many pages is in it...so play mind games so they don't know who it is that giving them hassle. Ha ha.

Posted by: Krista at April 5, 2006 07:02 AM

Can you be white trash and drive a Hummer? If a bear pees in the woods and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

Dude, your neighbors are Jerry Springer yuppie-wannabes.

No advice, sorry, but I liked the idea of calling CPS. If it were me, I would save assloads of money (in preparation for moving) and I'd record every White Trash Fight for posterity's sake. You'll be the coolest grandpa at the nursing home someday with those stories...

Posted by: Noelle at April 5, 2006 12:27 PM

If I were you, I'd put the house on the market and cross my fingers that the WTNs aren't out in full force when prospective buyers come by to see the place.

Seriously, I agree with all of the comments about contacting Child Protective Services & the cops and everything, but you've got a wife and kid of your own to consider. And your wife is home alone all day with the baby, the last thing you need to do is piss this guy (or his crazy wife) off and have them come over and start something when you're not even home. And I'm just talking about an argument or whatever. (But good Lord how scary is it that this guy has a gun?) Nope, I think it's better to move and then call the cops & CPS. Just don't leave the WTNs a forwarding address.

Also, you said he carries a gun for work, right? If he's a cop in your town then I'd think twice about reporting them while you're still neighbors. Granted, if he's a complete jerk the odds are good his coworkers know about it, but if not you could be setting yourself up for more problems.

I probably seem like a jerk for saying this when the white trash kids (WTK) are in potential danger, but I think you need to consider all of the possible consequences before you decide what to do. I do think you should report them to CPS at some point, but I don't know, if it were me I'd be thinking about my own family first (selfish, I know). Good luck with whatever you decide.

Posted by: erin at April 5, 2006 01:05 PM

I'm a day late and a dollar short, but Child Services, definitely. Being a foster parent, I'm a mandated reporter, and if I saw ANYTHING like what you've described, I'd be on the phone in a heartbeat. Imagine, if you will, your daughter at that age and (god forbid) in that situation. Would't you want someone to step in? Whenever I see a situation I always think of how I'd react if it was my child involved. I could care less about the parents, it's the children who need protecting.

Posted by: Randi at April 5, 2006 02:08 PM

Read "Protecting The Gift" by Gavin de Becker. Not only is it an amazing resource for learning how to protect your own child, it really makes it clear what your responsibilities are for other children as well. It takes a village.

Posted by: mom on a wire at April 5, 2006 07:39 PM

What concerns me about people like this, is that if they have no problem behaving like this in public, then how do they behave behind closed doors? Being an Adult Child of a White Trash Family(ACWTF), I think it is safe to assume that things are probably worse behind closed doors. If you feel like you should call somebody, I would suggest CPS. Any calls to them are to remain confidential, so maybe you can protect your identity that way. But, remember protecting the safety of your family is always the priority. I can definately understand why you are fed up.

Posted by: Nicole at April 6, 2006 06:48 AM

get some balls, and call

Posted by: at April 6, 2006 04:16 PM

I used to have some neighbors like this in Denver. I finally started calling the cops every time they fought. I learned that if I told the cops they were threatening the kids (which they were) they would come out very quickly. They were eventually evicted from their apartment and the landlord told me it was because there had been 30 calls to the cops about them in one month. I think about 10 of them were me.

I also think calling child protective services is a great idea. You don't need it and those kids certainly don't need it.

Posted by: Leslie at April 6, 2006 07:23 PM

Man! I probably would've already called the cops! Do you have any friends (or friends of friends) who are cops? That's what we do when we have a problem--call up our Cop Friend! And, if you have any kind of relationship with your other neighbors, you might want to call a sort-of "Neighborhood Watch" program?
I'd be really worried about the situation, especially if you expect to be living in the neighborhood for "years to come," just think about how they could possibly influence or affect your own daughter?
Oh, and that video of your little girl (where you're reading the manual to her) is Adorable!!

Posted by: Celina at April 7, 2006 05:01 PM

That is seriously messed up.

Posted by: Zandria at April 7, 2006 11:11 PM