Re: Police come for a visit, episode 3


Interesting, Nick.  I'm afraid i would have been one of those who would've give my id right away. I even think I did do that once on the colonial parkway. Glad you raised that point. I

It is a maddening hobby in that this is just one more of those things you have to put up with (add it to mosquitos, pollen, dew, ...)

Recently I drove 2 miles to the beach when I visiting Fla to view Omega Centauri even though I could have easily done so right from where I was staying. I was afraid looking through binoculars around a condo would lead to accusations of being a weirdo.

And, by the way, Omega Centauri was awesome! it seemed fantastically high in the sky compared to that time we saw it in Coinjock. 

On Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 5:31 PM, Nick Anderson <nranderson.deepskyobserver@...> wrote:

Well...have I an interesting observing story to tell!! During a brief Mars observation next to my apartment building around 2 am last night, not even 10 minutes into my session, two cars parked with their headlights annoyingly pointed right at my setup area. I initially thought they were merely some inconsiderate college drunks dropping friends off at home from a night of drinking downtown, especially since the bars would've closed right around then. Then I heard the distinctive sound of a police radio and realized that the cars' occupants were headed for me...

I gave the two officers a friendly greeting and suggested that they must be looking for a different person. Nope! Apparently one of the neighbors reported "a drunk guy slumped over by the trash cans", probably from a neighbor that needs to get their glasses checked or, in the words of the officer, someone that needs to mind their own business. Noting that my phone's clock read 2:07 am (and the cops came probably 2 minutes earlier), this neighbor must have literally called just a few minutes prior since I took my first peek of Mars only at 1:58 am.

Off the topic, it did give me the opportunity to practice politely refusing to hand over my ID, a right guaranteed in such a situation. Too often are people easily intimidated into voluntarily giving information (later twisted by the police) or permitting unwarranted searches, both of which can haunt the individual in court later.

But in the end, I gave each of them a quick look at Mars before sending them off their way. I think Saturn impressed the cops two years ago a bit more.

-Nick Anderson

Vice President
Astronomy Club of Virginia Tech

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