Sunday, August 17, 2008


Let's say that you were informed by a reliable source that a threat had been made against a friend (not a close friend, but a friend nonetheless) and fellow countryman's life by someone who is not a friend, nor a countryman, but a supposedly "documented" alien over a matter of a couple of thousand dollars -- a detail which to me is only relevant in that it establishes motive. And let's say, after having contemplated the implications of such threat which you learned of second-hand, you further asked of the person who informed you how serious, having heard and seen it with his own ears and eyes, the threat actually was. And he replied initially: "Very serious!...", but later in the conversation when he realized he had given out way too much information and implicated himself as a moral ingrate (among other things), began to recant his initial statement saying in effect "well, I don't really think he'll ever go through with it."

What actions would you take?

Obviously you inform the person (friend or not) whose life has been threatened. Do you leave it at that, or do you take it further, notifying some local, state, or national law enforcement or immigration agency? Let's say that the person whose life has been threatened has expressed a fearfulness that to go to the authorities himself might provoke the threatening individual to actually act out on his threat. How would you handle such a situation, all of this considered?

Additionally, let me say this: People like the threatening individual in question have a tendency to create a "to be feared" intimidating image of themselves by going about "talking it up" to their friends and associates until one day they've painted themselves into a corner, feeling forced to act on their threats, or else be labeled a "blowhard". It's hard to determine what that point is, but it's a real phenomenon, and always a danger with people who make these kinds of "idle" threats...

Update: This issue seems to have been temporarily resolved in a meeting between the principals in which I've been told that a partial payment was made on the debt owed and a promise to pay the balance within a reasonable timeframe. In the meantime I'm keeping my eyes and ears open for any more threats of murder from the individual in question. Nothing could do my heart more good and serve to ease my mind than to have this person (along with his supposed accomplices) deported from this state and nation. That in itself (which I make no bones about) is probably enough for him to consider me his enemy numero uno.

Will yours truly be the next on his list of enemies which he wishes to kill? It would be a grave mistake on his part, I can assure you!


Call Me Mom said...

"supposedly"documented alien"" -That would require investigation because undocumented alien = trip home to country of origin.

Otherwise I don't think the alien part of it factors in at all as to my course of action.

I would get the threat-maker and the threatened party together in a room. I would ask for them to listen until I was finished without comment.
Then I would tell them what I had heard-leaving out sources-suggest that my course of action, unless I am convinced that they hold good will towards one another, will be to notify the proper authorities of the threat and suggest that they need to talk to one another and settle their differences privately rather than leaving themselves open for that kind of conversation concerning their interactions to be bandied about in public.

I think that would pretty well cover it, unless the threatening one directed his/her ire towards me in a threatening manner. In that case, I would leave and make a police report.

jamey said...

I inform the threatened individual and strongly encourage him to go to the local authorities. If he is unwilling to go, then I go to them myself. I never take threats of physical violence lightly.

Terry Morris said...

Mom, thank you. You wrote:

Otherwise I don't think the alien part of it factors in at all as to my course of action.

It factors into mine, and here's why:

If the individual in question is a "documented alien", this just means to me that he is a guest in my country; a guest who has made a threat on a fellow countryman's life. To my way of thinking, he probably shouldn't be here in the first place. That he's made a threat on a fellow countryman's life ... ends it. But that's just me.

Jamey, thank you. Your approach is very close to mine.

Indeed, I need to discuss this with you privately.

Rick Darby said...


Something abut the tone of your posting suggests this is not actually a hypothetical question, but a real situation you are peripherally involved in.

Do you personally know the person who is threatening your acquaintance? Do you have a basis for believing that he is likely to carry out his threat? Is the third party who told you the story credible? Is he or she likely to stick to the story if questioned by law enforcement?

Either way, yes, you need to tell the person threatened, including any reason you believe the danger could be serious.

The responsibility for any further action has to fall on your acquaintance. You can, and should, argue for your view (if you have one), but it's ultimately his decision.

Unless you have physical evidence of a threat, there's probably not much the police can do, I'm sorry to say.

Terry Morris said...

Rick, thanks. Was I at least able to mask my fuming anger over this situation as deep concern?

Hopefully I'll be able to say more about the situation in the coming days. I will say this:

The person whose life was threatened was informed of what was said and by whom within a few minutes of my learning of it, which, incidentally and by some freakish chance, was only a few minutes after the threat was made. So the threatened individual was aware of the situation within about twenty minutes of when the actual threat was made. What are the odds?

Call Me Mom said...

What I meant was that my initial course of action would be the same as opposed to that of notifying the authorities of the presence of an undocumented alien in my community.

Yes, it is a situation with more serious repercussions if one of the parties is a guest in the country. The initial course of action I outlined would be the same,for me, because I like to believe that people are reasonable. Were I to believe that was not the case with one of the parties, it would be straight to the proper authorities.

Sadly, your experience with the first hand witness is all too common. People have a disturbing tendency to deny reality when they find it scary. It is difficult to acknowledge the threat of physical violence even when one has experienced it first hand. It should not be dismissed as hyperbole when the initial reaction to the threat was that it was very serious.
I would also recommend a book titled the Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker for your friend who was the first hand witness to the threat.

Terry Morris said...


The person who related the story to me only began to change his tune late in our second conversation when I was trying to reason with him in order to, I'm convinced, tell me what he thought I wanted to hear. That point in the face-to-face conversation got loud and standoffish. I remained calm but resolute, and I allowed him to do most of the talking while I responded with very negative body language and facial expressions, occasionally interjecting with a few thoughts on why he was wrong to defend the Mexican. But as I said, I don't think I was getting anywhere with him except to convince him that, right or wrong from his perspective, I wasn't going to yield my position, period. And this presented a very real threat to him.

Once again, I'm leaving out a lot of details, but I can assure you that much (most) of what was said was quite disturbing, offensive, and downright irrational. One result of all this is that a seven or eight year long friendship and business relationship has been dissolved. There is no room for reconciliation here.

Call Me Mom said...

Stand your ground Mr. Morris. A quote from the most recent Patriot post seems appropriate here: “’Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” —Thomas Paine