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I am in need of some discussion regarding my personal safety. I’m sorry this is long, but you need to know what has happened so you can give me wise counsel as to how I should handle it going forward from this point.

There was a situation in our neighborhood that I felt needed addressed so I sent a private email to one of the board members asking a simple question and to bring this to her attention. Since mid-June I have been going to the pool to do an hour of laps. We have a keyed entry to the main part of the clubhouse and another key to access the gazebo off to the side of the pool. Just last week I sent the email asking why there was an additional combination lock on the gazebo gate that prevented residents from entering. She got back with me and informed me that another resident got tired of young men who are not part of our neighborhood jumping the gate and using the gazebo so he locked them out. She told me out of respect for him she could not identify him. I told her thank you for protecting his identity because although I didn’t ask for it there is no reason for me to know who he is. I also told her that it was not his job to lock out all of the residents who live in the neighborhood because he decided to take matters into his own hands. He is to report it to the board and let them deal with it. I told her that the lock needed to be removed immediately because I pay my dues and have a right to access the gazebo.

The next day the lock was moved over so the gate could be open but it was still attached to the gate to give the appearance that it was still in place. I emailed back and told her it was not acceptable that this resident was given a pass to simply shift the lock instead of removing it altogether sending him the message that he is still able to self-police the residents. I asked her how she knew who this person was and why this has not already been addressed. I told her she was leaving me with the impression she was either in on this or turning a blind eye since she has known about this for so long. And why would she allow the lock to be shifted instead of totally removed especially when she knew the reason why he installed it in the first place? What would happen if everyone in our entire development decided they also wanted to randomly install locks on the clubhouse gate? Would that be allowed, and if not, why is this man allowed to install a lock that only he has the combination to? Things just weren't adding up at this point.

During our back and forth she told me she added our property manager to the loop so she would know what was going on. After I asked her about why she knew about this and why it was allowed to continue the property manager sent me an email telling me to stop accusing people and blaming this woman for this matter. She then informed me then that this woman was not even on the board anymore.

The next day I returned to the pool and after my laps a man entered the clubhouse and walked out onto the pool deck and asked me if my name was (let’s call me MamaBear, but he used my real name), I said yes and asked him how he knew my name because I didn’t know who he was. I will add that there was one other older man who had just arrived and got in the pool at this time so I was not alone out there with him. At that point his whole countenance changed and he started raising his voice at me and asked me if I was the one who sent the emails. I told him he had no right installing a lock keeping residents out of the gazebo. He marched over to the gate and jerked it up and down and then jerked the lock to show me it was broken, and that he put the lock there because the kids came out at night and scared him and his guests. He was definitely raising his voice at me at this time. I told him that he had no right to lock out the rest of the residents because we pay our dues to have access to the gazebo. I told him that it was not his job to control the actions of other people and to call the association again to fix the lock. He was very angry at this point and informed me that I did not understand the situation and that the association would not fix the lock so he put his own lock on. He was mad and started pacing around and accusing me of being part of the problem for trying to get his lock removed. He then told me he had never even seen me on the gazebo anyway. After this short outburst of his I knew he was irrational so I proceeded to walk out to my car.

After I got home I realized how shaken I was. Then I was furious. I called the property manager and left a v.e.r.y. chilly message and told her I was FURIOUS that this angry man knew who I was. I told her that this man had tracked me down at the clubhouse and had accosted me and proceeded to berate and humiliate me in front of another guest. HOW DARE someone give him my name and not protect my identity and privacy. I was outraged and it definitely came through on my message. I came completely unglued. I have to say I have not been that livid in forever because that is simply not part of my nature. So this has gone from me bringing attention to a lock that shouldn’t be there to me being afraid to go back to the clubhouse knowing this man knows who I am and knows that I go to the pool in the mornings. Does he also have my last name? Has he already looked up my name to get my address? Is he going to be stalking me now because he is furious that sent the emails? Is he going to accost me again if I go back to the pool? Is he a raging lunatic who will try to hurt or kill me because he is so irrational? Who is this man? What is HIS name? Why does he know about me and I don’t know who he is? WHO gave him and name and WHY was my privacy not protected like his was?

After my phone call I got another email from the property manager telling me that this man could have gotten my name off any public site and that she can't control that we happened to be at the pool at the same time, and that neither she nor this other woman gave him my name. There was more to the email but this shows her tone. I did call back and left yet another message and told her that I had every right to be furious because not only did this man call me by name he was brazen enough to track me down at the clubhouse and openly confront me, and it was because one of the two of them gave him my name. She has not said one word that she is concerned that my privacy has been exposed or that she is in the least bit concerned about my safety knowing I have been confronted by an angry man at the clubhouse.

Last night I sent a summary of this to the president of the homeowners association asking for a meeting with the entire board. I will request a sheriff’s officer to be there because at this point it is about my safety in my own neighborhood knowing that my privacy has not been protected. I want the sheriff to know that I am afraid of this man because of the way he tracked me down and exploded his anger on me, and that because of the actions of these women I do not feel safe in my own neighborhood. I have not heard back from her since it is a holiday weekend. I will follow up with you, but in the meantime, what are your thoughts?
MB

Yes, I had Bear in my swim bag because he goes everywhere with me. I would not have hesitated to defend myself had this man decided to physically attack me instead of raging at me. I kept enough distance between us at all times that I would have had time to draw Bear if it came to that. I will also add that I was as cool as a dead man when talking to him. I did not raise my voice. I did not provoke him in any way. I got out of there after his outburst.

I will post this thesis and give time for y’all to reply before I reply again. I want to discuss if I have any legal recourse for my name and emails being exposed to this man knowing only these two women had the emails. I want to discuss self defense in a pool setting when I obviously can't carry Bear in the water. I have been going to the far end of the pool and using the table in the corner, I keep my head on swivel when I am in the water, I keep an eye on the entry way, I keep an eye on any movement. I don't know what else to do at this point. I want to discuss what I need to say to the sheriff's officer. Please tell me any of your thoughts that will see me through this. I refuse to stop going to the pool because of this jerk, but at the same time I don't want to invite another confrontation.

I will add that as important as this is you have to understand that there is an Alabama game on at 8 and even this will not stand in my way from watching it. Roll Tide!

I will check back with you soon. Thank you, my sweet and caring friends.
 

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MB, if I had a similar situation, my wife and I would both go to see the property manager- in person- and insist on having her schedule a meeting with her, this man, and whoever else may be involved to discuss the actions of all involved. "Whoever else" would include anyone else who is on the BG's lease- significant other, etc. What happens next would depend on the property manager's actions and the result of the meeting if it occurs. The more serious self defense questions that you ask will be of general interest regardless, but you need to address your specific situation as well.
 

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I am in need of some discussion regarding my personal safety. I’m sorry this is long, but you need to know what has happened so you can give me wise counsel as to how I should handle it going forward from this point.
First thing, I would have denied that I was "Ms. Mamabear" (when asked.... for my personal safety) and asked him who he was. If he refused to tell me I would have told him to Bug off. I would have denied him any information about me (or force him to confirm to me that he know who I was). I'd have left the pool area ASAP and taken a circuitous route away to see if he were tailing me. If yes, then I definitely would not have gone home but to a police station to report that he was tailing me.

Secondarily, it becomes a matter of the squeakier wheel getting the grease with the HOA/Property mgr. I'm thinking he might have been the squeakier wheel at first, as he's claiming it as a "security/safety" matter. I'm thinking the mgt. co doesn't want the potential liability of any safety incidents happening on property they control. But it also seems like they don't want to provide funding for security for the pool area, either. That's their responsibility. My HOA does provide a security officer on the weekends and then daily during summer months when kids are out of school, just to ensure that only residents are using it. We all have key tokens that operate the magnetic gate lock. But that might not stop any one from crashing or forcing the gate open.

You need to become the squeakier wheel with the property mgt. and HOA board. And by that, I mean you might want to consider organizing some of your neighbors to appear at the next HOA meeting and making your voices heard about this. I agree with you that no one resident should be able to lock up the pool area and prevent other residents (who pay the fee) from using it. Good idea to bring a sheriff's deputy with you to the next meeting... for your own safety if no other reason. As for the immediate situation with the pool, I'd not try to confront the man again. If you see the lock on the gazebos again, take pictures of it and build evidence for your case with the property mgr/HOA. If it means that much to you, you could involve a lawyer to argue with the HOA on your behalf. After all, you're being denied a resource you're entitled to use, since you pay for it. But make sure your contract with the HOA doesn't require "arbitration" that almost always favors them. : censored

This happened to me as well, but in a different scenario. I was hit by a truck many years ago (minor damage, no injury). And, as it turned out, we had the same insurance company, but different agents. Shortly after reporting the accident to my agent, I received a call from the owner of the truck (not the driver), attempting to get me to use their body shop to effect the repairs. First of all my phone numbers are all "non published" and were at the time, so how did the Truck owner get it? It was given to her by her agent (not mine). I tore their insurance agent a new one for giving out my private information to a potential adversary that I might have to take to court! In the end, I used the body shop of my choice and they had to pay. But if they wanted to challenge, that could have gotten ugly, quickly.
 

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you need a redneck in your entourage......
 

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Somebody locks you out, just cut off the lock and throw it in a garbage can. ( EVERY TIME)
I could never live in a Nazi camp run by some idiot gestapo Home Owner association. It seems the only people on the boards are brainless idiots that have "NO" life except to make everyone in the neighborhoods life miserable.
My cousin lives in a ritzy place and had a pickup truck. He was not allowed to park it outside in "HIS" driveway overnight. They sent him letters and fines and harassed him to death.
He sold his new Ford Pickup and bought an old piece of junk 70 something Chevy half car half pick up bed that was a beat up rusty eyesore. ( El Camino) sic.
It was registered as a car and he then parked it out on the street 24 hours a day. It was tagged and it was not a truck so the Nazi's had nothing to say about it at all. His immediate neighbors were fine with it because they all had problems at one time or another withe the HOA.
If it happens again, just cut the lock off and enjoy the pool or whatever else you pay dues for.
Ronnie
 

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I say have brownie pay em all a little visit while he's down there in November and be done with this.

I'll sell tickets to watch and donate the funds to a charitable organization of your choice.

Seriously though, that's a completely unacceptable position to be placed in. There's zero excuse and several people have dropped the ball.

Wish I had some words of wisdom other than good luck and stay safe MB.
 

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Find out who this idiot is.

Then, remove the lock from the gate without damaging it, if possible
Next, take the lock and use it to secure a concrete block to one of the wheels on his car.
Finally, break a key off inside the lock.

For extra credit, you could include a note that says: "How's it feel?"

But since he already knows your identity, probably best not to stir the pot.
Let the HOA deal with it.
 

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I like the idea of a sharp knife clipped inside your suit.

I do a lot of mountain biking and wear spandex shorts with no pockets. The Camelbak is too cumbersome to reach into quickly so I tuck a small Spyderco into the waste band of my shorts. The clip, and the fact that it's pressed against my flesh, keep it perfectly steady. It's never once shifted on me and I don't feel it at all. You should be able to swim with one with no worries.

You'd have a strong advantage because most people would never suspect a woman getting out of a pool to be armed.
 

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MamaBear,

It sounds very much like your HOA Board is the type I absolutely despise. From everything you've stated, the HOA and/or Property Manager have handled this situation extremely poorly and both had better be very careful of getting themselves in father into serious lawsuit trouble if this situation escalates any more. Like FfNJGTFO stated, attorneys may need to get involved and if they do, it sounds like you are very much on the high ground here! I am so glad there is no HOA where I now live, a really nice little quaint neighborhood.

First, no way should your identity details relevant to your complaint to the HOA Board/Property Manager have been discussed anyone else not on the Board. That was unethical and likely went against the Bylaws of your HOA.

Secondly, no one but the HOA or Property Manager should be placing any locks on Community property or Common Areas. If the HOA Board or Property Manager are condoning it or instructing a neighbor to do so as an agent of the HOA Board, that's one thing, but it sounded like the HOA Board/Property Manager have abdicated their responsibilities and merely not enforced HOA Bylaws, CCRs, etc., opening them up to legal action if all goes south. It also sounds like the Board has turned hostile to you by 1) releasing your information outside the Board, and 2) by not returning your calls promptly.

Recommendations:
1) I know you're very familiar with it already but I would re-read the short two paragraphs of F.S. 776.012 and make sure once more that you understand it front to back and back to front!
2) If possible, bring someone with you to the pool to help watch your back while you're in the water. Have your phone or some other method of recording audio and video and notify threatening you that you are recording the encounter for your own safety. It's unlikely your rude neighbor, who likely has an alligator mouth and hummingbird arse, will be so "brave" to berate a female with someone else there witnessing and recording his actions. If he corners you again at the pool, or in any other place you legally have a right to be, tell him that you feel threatened and to leave you alone or will be calling 9-1-1 if he doesn't not immediately cease and desist. You'll know what to do after that dependent upon what he does next.
3) I strongly suggest you research the governing documents of your HOA very thoroughly, to make sure you know the HOA Bylaws, CCRs, and any other governing documents better than anyone, particularly better than the HOA Board knows them. In particular, pay attention to the Bylaws discussing the method and timeline of reporting grievances to the HOA and timeline for HOA Board response, appeal process, etc. If necessary, involve a competent real-estate attorney.
4) If you've not already done so, I would notify the Board in writing, by Certified Letter, if necessary, of your grievance, citing the applicable HOA Bylaws and/or CCRs and of your request for meeting to discuss the issue. Hopefully there is a defined timeline requiring their response in the HOA Bylaws.
5) I find it incredibly shocking that your HOA Board's negligence or incompetence has made you feel so unsafe in your own community common areas or in an HOA Board meeting! I would certainly hope you don't really need a Sheriff's Deputy along to remain safe but if that is truly the case, then something is really, really wrong and I definitely would involve a competent real-estate attorney!!! Is it possible that a neutral third party could accompany you as a witness would be enough to make you feel comfortable and safe? A Sheriff's Deputy might be a good option but realize it will likely make the HOA Board meeting more confrontational and less productive. Regardless, I would recommend you also notify them who will be coming with you to any face-to-face meeting; the HOA Bylaws likely require such notification. Regardless, your safety is paramount and I'm sure you will make the right decision.

Please accept my apologies if any of the above appears condescending! That was certainly not my intent and only wanted to be thorough with my own experience of how to deal with an incompetent HOA. Best of luck and of course, keep us informed.

By the way, congratulations on the game tonight! :grin Mrs. BeerHunter is an FSU alumni so naturally she's quite disappointed.
 

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I like the idea of a sharp knife clipped inside your suit.
... The Camelbak is too cumbersome to reach into quickly so I tuck a small Spyderco into the waste band of my shorts. ....
I think you mean "waistband". :grin
That's a much better visual than a colostomy bag poolside.
 

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I think you mean "waistband". :grin
That's a much better visual than a colostomy bag poolside.
Oh yeah, I can see how that would cause problems.
I'd probably lock the area up to if someone were doing that.:grin

No more posting after midnight for me. :smack
 

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Reason 10,001 why I will never live in an HOA neighborhood! They are nothing but nosy good for nothing people that have nothing better to do than to gossip and pass trash around about others!
 

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Am I the only person thinking "Glock 17 with maritime spring cups installed"? :grin

Pretty much no matter where you decided to conceal the gun it would probably "show" badly, but printing isn't illegal so who cares...
 

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Both BeerHunter and I have addressed the need to have a meeting or meetings with the property owners to discuss their responsibilities in this and to let them know that legal action can be taken if they don't live up to their responsibilities. Another meeting with the property owners and the aggressor and his co-lessee (if any) is in order. It may well turn out that his attitude changes considerably when he's placed in a formal situation and made aware that there can be legal consequences.

Now let's consider the more general question of self-defense in the kind of situation that MB describes. I believe that carrying a firearm can, in some situations and for various reasons, be a liability rather than an asset. This situation may be one such, because the gun itself must always be protected. If an unarmed BG takes your gun from you, you're in a worse situation than you would be if you had been unarmed to begin with. It's hard for me to see how the gun can be properly protected if you're alone at a pool and swimming laps while the gun is in a bag on a table in a public place. Even if you're watchful, you can't prevent other tenants from walking close to where you've left the weapon. My choice would be to either leave the gun at home (or safe place) or to go with another person who will be on guard while I swim. If neither of these choices is viable for me, I would seriously consider giving up swimming there or finding another place to live.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Roll Tide!

Thanks for your replies. You have given me much to think about. I will discard the ones that tell me to cut the lock off because that would be vandalism and I want no part of that. Sorry guys, not in my nature to do such a thing. I am not aggressive in any way. I went through the proper channels to get it removed. We are not in a position to move due to work and school. We have no choice but to be a part of this HOA since this is the house we picked out many, many years ago. We can't just up and run to a different house.

Steve, your comment about leaving the gun unattended is warranted. For the few months I've been going there is no one else there and when someone does come in everyone goes to their own corner and steers clear of everyone else giving them their space. No excuse, just me reading the situation. There is no one else that can go with me. That is the reason I go in the mornings and basically no one is there but me except the few regulars who all pick out their distant table. No table is placed near another one so they are placed in all the corners. Still though, you have given me reason to rethink this. It has been a welcome hour of solitude and stress release. It has taken me so long to get to the point that I would even go to the pool for exercise and now this happens.

BeerHunter, I will look up the info you shared. Thank you for taking the time to look it up for me.

I'm wondering if it would be possible for me to clip a knife on my bathing suit strap on the shoulder area? Due to the cut of the suit it wouldn't show except for the clip. Yes, there will be an outline but if someone recognizes it as a knife that should tell them to keep their distance. It is the form of a knife - who knows if it really is a knife, right? Anyway, Is there a knife that won't be rusted if I dry it off each time?

I have alerted my neighbors and all of their concern lies in the exposure of my identity as well. I will wait for the president to reply to me any time after Tuesday. I want to talk to a sheriff anyway to get their professional opinion. I'm done with the property manager. She is doing nothing but covering her own but and protecting this guy. You can tell by her emails. I will not contact her again and will only speak to the president at this point. My neighbor knows her real well and she will not be happy at all there is a security breach regarding my privacy and especially with the way the property manager has been so careless with how she has handled not only the stupid lock in the first place, but with how she has treated me afterward and especially her not addressing what happened after the verbal assault that was inflicted on my by the guy.

Thanks again. You have given me much to think about. I knew I could count on you.
 

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If and when you contact the local LEA prepare to describe the actor's behavior in the terms that are used in the statute concerning stalking.

If the actor confronts you a second time it would be wise to start a paperwork trail with the locals LEA.


784.048 
Stalking; definitions; penalties.–

(1) As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Harass” means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.
(b) “Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, which evidences a continuity of purpose. The term does not include constitutionally protected activity such as picketing or other organized protests.

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?mode=View Statutes&SubMenu=1&App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=stalking&URL=0700-0799/0784/Sections/0784.048.html

 

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Discussion Starter #19
TTL, thank you for this info. I want so badly to go work out today, but do not want to take the chance to invite another encounter for him to finish what he started should he be lurking to find me. I'm not willing to risk it so I will stay home instead. I'm not happy about that.

I will keep everyone informed of any new developments.
 

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Roll Tide!

Thanks for your replies. You have given me much to think about. I will discard the ones that tell me to cut the lock off because that would be vandalism and I want no part of that. Sorry guys, not in my nature to do such a thing. I am not aggressive in any way. I went through the proper channels to get it removed. We are not in a position to move due to work and school. We have no choice but to be a part of this HOA since this is the house we picked out many, many years ago. We can't just up and run to a different house.

Steve, your comment about leaving the gun unattended is warranted. For the few months I've been going there is no one else there and when someone does come in everyone goes to their own corner and steers clear of everyone else giving them their space. No excuse, just me reading the situation. There is no one else that can go with me. That is the reason I go in the mornings and basically no one is there but me except the few regulars who all pick out their distant table. No table is placed near another one so they are placed in all the corners. Still though, you have given me reason to rethink this. It has been a welcome hour of solitude and stress release. It has taken me so long to get to the point that I would even go to the pool for exercise and now this happens.

BeerHunter, I will look up the info you shared. Thank you for taking the time to look it up for me.

I'm wondering if it would be possible for me to clip a knife on my bathing suit strap on the shoulder area? Due to the cut of the suit it wouldn't show except for the clip. Yes, there will be an outline but if someone recognizes it as a knife that should tell them to keep their distance. It is the form of a knife - who knows if it really is a knife, right? Anyway, Is there a knife that won't be rusted if I dry it off each time?

I have alerted my neighbors and all of their concern lies in the exposure of my identity as well. I will wait for the president to reply to me any time after Tuesday. I want to talk to a sheriff anyway to get their professional opinion. I'm done with the property manager. She is doing nothing but covering her own but and protecting this guy. You can tell by her emails. I will not contact her again and will only speak to the president at this point. My neighbor knows her real well and she will not be happy at all there is a security breach regarding my privacy and especially with the way the property manager has been so careless with how she has handled not only the stupid lock in the first place, but with how she has treated me afterward and especially her not addressing what happened after the verbal assault that was inflicted on my by the guy.

Thanks again. You have given me much to think about. I knew I could count on you.
This is the perfect knife to swim with. I have several and love them. Make sure to get the stainless steel.

OC of a knife is perfectly legal. Have your FLCWFL handy in case someone tries to say it was concealed. You are covered either way.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005EOJAKI/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 
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