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Why I Called The Cops On My Best Friend

September 23, 2015

The signs were all there; a house full of guns, a history of anti-social behavior, a garage door standing open in the middle of the day, the car missing, and a barking dog. 

I’m not a suspicious person. I believe that most people are good people, that the simplest solution is normally the right one, that we live in one of the safest societies in the world. So, I wasn’t too concerned when I went by my friend Darrin’s house Monday afternoon to return his ax and found his garage door open. I’ve been to Darrin’s house dozens of times. We are really close friends. 

I’ve never seen the garage door left up. 

Darrin’s garage is full of really expensive toys. The one thing missing from Darrin’s garage? His car. 

Okay, so lots of people occasionally forget to close their garage door when they leave. There’s nothing too suspicious about that. And I wasn’t suspicious. I put the ax behind a computer cabinet and pressed the button to close the garage door. As I stepped over the invisible beam I heard Darrin’s dog barking from inside the house. That would be an important clue later on. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about anything other than being late for dinner. 

I called Darrin to let him know I brought back the ax. Darrin is a great guy, but like many people, he has some social anxiety. I usually call before I show up at his house, because it’s not unusual for Darrin or his wife to not answer the door if they aren’t expecting visitors. 

No answer on Darrin’s cell phone. I tried a couple of times. I tried his home phone. Also no answer. I finally texted him.

Your garage was open. I left the ax behind the server cabinet. I closed your garage door.

Over the course of the evening I tried Darrin a few more times. Okay, maybe more than a few, but I was started to think about that open garage door. Maybe they had headed off to Darrin’s parents’ in Ogden. But, they wouldn’t go and leave their dog. 

Before bed I sent Darrin a email.

Ha ha. Just checking to make sure you’re not dead. Send me a text, or an email, or call me. 

I wasn’t exactly worried. But, I was certainly concerned.

Yesterday I had to be at work at 6:00AM. Our client was on site from San Antonio and we had a major product launch. I checked my email and phone when I got up. Nothing.

My morning was taken up with our product launch. It went well and about 10:30 I was back at my desk with some time to catch up on email. But, still nothing from Darrin. I texted a mutual friend that talks to Darrin every day. 

Have you heard from Darrin recently? Kind of worried about him.

He tweeted me a joke too offensive to post publically yesterday about 2:30pm.

Social media! Darrin is very active on social media. I went to his twitter feed. Nothing for the last three days. That’s like 6 months in Darrin-days.

Called cell phone and home phone again. No answer. I texted:

Darrin – I’d better hear ‘my phone fell in the toilet’ or something.

What should I do? What would you do? 

I don’t often post about current events on here. I’d like to think that my musing here might have some value at some point in the future. Maybe just to my kids, but at least someone. 

Last week there was a case in the news about a boy who brought a homemade clock to school. The school officials thought it looked like a bomb. They called the cops. The boy was arrested. It turned out to be a clock. The officials overreacted. It caused much embarrassment. 

On our production floor we have a no cell phones policy. It applies to the agents. It doesn’t apply to me because I have to troubleshoot issues on a regular basis. Last week I was walking through the call floor while using headphones on a call with our client. I passed one of our supervisors who nearly did a perfectpirouette  as she turned to follow me.  

Umm. . . .

It’s okay. I’m Rodney, the Technical Account manager.

Oh. . .Okay.

Thanks for checking though.

“If you see something, say something.” 

The problem was I didn’t see something at Darrin’s house. Finally, around 11:00AM I decided I’d rather be made to look foolish than risk ignoring a threat. 

Springville Police Department, how may I help you?

Yeah, I was wondering if you could send an officer to do a welfare check on a friend of mine?

I explained my concerns and why I worried. Either the Springville cops had some spare cycles, or they take Welfare Checks very seriously. The responding officers called me less than five minutes later. 

We’re outside their house. Are there guns in the house? Dogs? History of domestic issues? How does your friend feel about the police? 

Yes, several. Yes, but I think she’s frendly. Never any history of violence or domestic abuse. I THINK my friend is fine with law enforcement, but if you burst into his house, he does have a concealed carry permit. 

The police don’t just knock on your door during a welfare check. It’s more of a pounding “we are trying to break this door down with our bare hands” “wake the dead” kind of knock. 

That was good, because my friend REALLY didn’t want to come to the door. Being super sick will do that to you. Apparently it also makes you not want to answer your phone. . .or email. . .or be active on social media. 

I owe my friend an apology for “Swatting” him. In fact, we laughed about it. But, in today’s world, I’ll take some teasing from him in exchange for knowing that I didn’t simply ignore the warning signs. 

Oh, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to answer his phone the next time I call him.  

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday about 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

One Comment
  1. Well, that was a bit silly, but better to be silly than, as you say, miss a threat.

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