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UER Forum > Archived UE Main > Why I've been gone for so long... (Viewed 7193 times)
DJ Craig 

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Location: Johnson City, TN
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Why I've been gone for so long...
< on 4/17/2011 7:40 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
So some of you may have noticed that I've been absent from this community for quite some time now. I fucking miss you all and I've decided to finally write about what happened to me. Part of the reason I waited so long to talk about this on here was legal concerns. And it was partly because it was hard to talk about, because it was such an awful experience.

Back around Christmas of this year, I was exploring an abandoned school in a bad ghetto with an explorer friend who wishes to remain anonymous. We went in at about noon on a warm, clear winter day. There was nothing special about this place. It was the very first explore of many more to come since I had just gotten out of school and was just beginning my christmas break UE roadtrip around the gulf coast area. The school was very easy to get into. It was a pretty standard abandoned school that one finds all the time in the ghetto; very similar to the ones that Gary, IN is so well known for. I've been in SO many abandoned schools, and they aren't my favorite locations. There was nothing valuable in this building; it had been abandoned for 15 years and everything had been stolen by scrappers. There was a lot of vandalism and things were badly decayed.

At some point, my friend and I separated. We had been in the building for about an hour and a half and I was ready to leave. I sat down in the pitch black school theater and I was texting. I had been sitting down for about 5 minutes when I heard loud voices. I heard nothing to indicate whether they were cops, friendly explorers or "bad guys" but they were getting closer quickly. I stood up and saw flashlights shining into the room but still couldn't see any people. And then I saw a laser pointer moving around the room. I yelled out "Hello?" and in less than a second I was completely surrounded by a SWAT team with assault rifles with lasers on them, and there was a very large dog on a leash making a HELL of a noise and fighting with a cop trying to get at me. They yelled at me to "GET THE FUCK DOWN" which I did, immediately. They asked me, yelling over the dog and cussing a lot, where in the building my friend was and I told them the truth which was that I had no idea. They put me in handcuffs and one of the cops took me out of the building, and most of the other members of the SWAT team left, presumably to find my friend. If you've never tried climbing through a chest-height broken window while in handcuffs, you should try it sometime. It might have been really fun had it not been for the situation. I wanted to call my friend but, stupidly, I didn't have his phone number (first lesson of the day).

I sat in the back of a cop car outside the abandonment for what seemed like an eternity. Through the caged window, they asked me all of the standard questions cops ask when they catch urban explorers, and I gave all the standard, safe answers. I'm good with cops and I'm a good social engineer and once they calmed down I did manage to get some understanding out of them and get them somewhat on my side. One cop explained to me that I wasn't actually under arrest; I was just in "custodial arrest" and that they were probably just going to let us go.

I'm going to switch over to what was happening to my friend while I was talking to the cops. I didn't find this part out until later in the day. He had been upstairs when he first heard voices, not too far from where I was. He and I have both independently had previous experiences in this exact area with running into rather sketchy people in abandonments. When he heard the voices, he thought they were thugs or crackheads...and I believe it because I had the same thought when I first heard the voices. He went into a bathroom and hid in a stall. He listened to the voices nearing him, and then he heard a police radio. He stepped out of the bathroom stall right as the SWAT team entered the bathroom. They told him to get on the ground and he cooperated. Then, AFTER he was down on the ground, he saw the cop let go of the dog's leash. The dog began gnawing on his upper thigh and, as he put it, "there was a lot of blood". The cop stood there for some time just watching the dog chew on him as he screamed, and then grabbed the dog's leash, kicked my friend in the ribs, and then stomped hard on his back as another cop put him in handcuffs.

Back outside, I eventually heard a voice over the police radio saying that they had found my friend and that he had been injured by the dog. Then I heard one of the other cops say, "Well, now you HAVE to take them to jail." Five minutes later, I watched my friend climb out of the same window I had, but having much less fun doing so since he was badly injured. They explained to him that they had already called paramedics and that when they arrived, he could either accept or decline medical treatment. If he accepted medical treatment, he would have to wait many hours in the ER, and then many more hours in jail as they dealt with the paperwork and that we would BOTH end up spending the night in jail. If, on the other hand, he declined medical treatment, we'd be out of jail within an hour or two and he could seek medical treatment on his own. So when the paramedics arrived, he signed a paper and declined medical treatment. They did very quickly bandage up the wound for him, but it was definitely not the adequate medical attention that he needed.

After this, they took us to police headquarters where we had an interview with the "burglary detective" which lasted all of about 3 seconds. And then they took us to the city jail. I don't want to say what city we were in, but it was NOT a nice one to be in jail in; the city that we were in is one that often makes appearances on those "Top X most dangerous cities" lists that you see in various places. After a LOT of waiting and processing, we were stripped of all of our possessions, put into jail clothes and placed in a holding cell with 14 other SCARY inmates. And then we stayed there for EIGHT hours. During most of this eight hours we were completely cut off from any kind of communication with anyone other than the inmates and the occasional Correctional Officer that would walk down the hall and ignore us along with all of the other crazy inmates screaming total nonsense at them.

My friend was still bleeding badly and was getting faint and dizzy. Every time a CO would walk by, he would tell them that he needed medical treatment. He would try to yell it over the other inmates but they would just ignore him. After probably 4 hours of this, he finally got a COs attention and convinced her to take him to the jail nurse. The jail nurse gave him some water and then sent him back to his cell. We stayed there for another 4 hours, still having no idea why we had been there for so long, or how much longer we would be there. We ate dinner in jail (it was delicious). I made friends with some of the inmates, which was a really interesting experience. At one point, one big, loud drunk guy who was a total stereotypical "bubba" in jail, got up in our faces and told us he was going to rape us and beat us and yelled incomprehensible nonsense in our ears for 10 minutes. He eventually got taken away by the COs, but it took quite a while.

Occasionally they would let us use the phone. I wanted SO badly to talk to my girlfriend. But there was some kind of weird system on the phone (I've been told since it was collect calling?) that would NOT allow me to call anyone. I've never used collect before and the COs weren't willing to explain how. My girlfriend kept on getting a really confusing call with a recorded voice saying "You have a call from an inmate at ________ City Jail. Would you like to set up an account and take this call?" She tried to take it, but nothing worked. I wasn't allowed long at the phone and when I explained that I couldn't get it to work, they just didn't give a shit and they put me back in my cell.

Finally, after a total of eight hours in the cell, my friend convinced a CO to let him see the nurse again. The nurse again acted unhelpful but we think that she actually said something to the COs to the affect of "You need to hurry up and let this kid out". We went through the long process of being released from the jail on an RC bond (meaning we don't have to pay bail or a bond, but we are still technically considered "out on bail"). We eventually received our possessions back and were given a court date and released...about 10 miles from where our cars were STILL parked in the ghetto. We managed to get hold of a UER friend and got a ride from the jail to our cars.

Upon arriving at our cars at around 11 PM, as we suspected, two out of state cars sitting in the ghetto in a strange parking place for over 10 hours wasn't something the locals had chosen to ignore. This was something we had been worrying about all day, because we NEVER would have voluntarily abandoned our cars in a place like that for such a long time, especial after sunset. My window had been smashed. Fortunately, I have been through this before and all of my valuables were locked in a hidden safe in the back of my car that is bolted and welded to the chassis, and I had a few other valuables locked in my glovebox. The thief stole my suitcase which contained almost every article of clothing I owned but that's all. I called 911. We waited about an hour for one lonely cop to show up (we didn't get a SWAT team unfortunately) and file a police report. She refused to even get out of her car and look at it. We ended up getting to bed that night around 4 AM, 16 hours after we had first entered the building.

I cancelled the rest of my road trip. About 4 months later, I came back for my court case. A friend of mine who is a lawyer in that area and also an urban explorer himself offered to represent us in court free of charge, which I can not POSSIBLY thank him enough for (I did give him a decent tip, at least). We were charged with trespassing and sentenced to probation until we complete 30 hours of community service each, and didn't have to pay any court fees since we're both students. Once the community service is complete, our record gets cleared.


To any new explorers reading this who are freaking out and considering never exploring again...please know that this is NOT a normal occurrence. I have been in literally hundreds, maybe even thousands of buildings like the one I was in that day, and I know a LOT of other people that do this too. I don't think I have ever heard of anyone having an experience like this (not saying I'm the ONLY person it's ever happened to, just that I don't know anyone else). For the few people I know who have actually been arrested at all exploring, there was some kind of other circumstance involved, such as a breaking and entering charge, theft, vandalism or possession, or they were trespassing at a very obviously high-risk active site, and most people who get arrested don't have quite that bad of an experience in their usually brief time in jail. I don't want to scare anyone else away from UE. What happened to me isn't going to happen to you.

Exploring may never be the same for me. I don't know. I haven't been exploring much at all since then since I was first out on bail, and then on probation. I've missed it SO much. My life feels so empty without it. For me, UE was what made me want to get out of bed each morning. It was what made it worth running my business so I had money to spend on traveling. It was what made it worth going to school so that one day I can make more money and thus travel more and explore more. Fortunately I found other activities to somewhat take its place in my life, and I'm doing fine now, but I still miss urban exploration a LOT. But even more than the peeling paint and lonely chairs, I miss all of you motherfuckers on this web site that completely changed my life a few years ago. I wish SO badly that I could make it to the next big party in the northeast, but that won't happen. But I can't wait for the next meetup that I can make it to so I can see you all again!

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..." -Dr. Suess
Captain_Slow 

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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 1 on 4/17/2011 7:48 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Holy shit. What is this country coming to?

The Seeker 


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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 2 on 4/17/2011 8:08 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
shit man.. thats intense! I've only been busted once... but no handcuffs or anything.. :/ I cant even imagine what you went through.. and I feel REALLY bad for your friend... why are police so brutal?!

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barefootpoetry 


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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 3 on 4/17/2011 8:28 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Damn dude. I'm really sorry you and your friend went through this.

She who hesitates, sees bulldozers.
thefo2101 


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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 4 on 4/17/2011 10:06 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
God i hate the 5-0 so much. There just legal thugs.

Million Dollar Man 


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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 5 on 4/17/2011 11:13 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Thanks for sharing your story. Its so ridiculous that they were going to let you guys go until that cop let the dog attack your friend.

Before a big explore I like to work with leather. The Native Americans always said that working with hides and pelts releases the soul.
BrownThumb 


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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 6 on 4/17/2011 11:32 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
My question is,

why the hell was an entire SWAT team sent to an 15yr abandoned school in a gettho for two out of state urban explorers?

What kind of tip did these guys get, considering when you had to call about your car they sent one cop.. one whole cop, who wouldn't even get out of the car...

wow.. just wow...

Regards to your friend, I do hope his leg has healed, I know emotionally its going to take a little while for you guys to get through this, all the best.

[EDIT]

I am still blown away for an entire SWAT team for a trespass... I wonder if there was something in that building of significance you were not supposed to see ... did you see anything really out of the ordinary?
[last edit 4/17/2011 11:35 PM by BrownThumb - edited 1 times]

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DJ Craig 

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Location: Johnson City, TN
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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 7 on 4/17/2011 11:57 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Thanks for all the support!

Posted by BrownThumb
My question is,

why the hell was an entire SWAT team sent to an 15yr abandoned school in a gettho for two out of state urban explorers?

What kind of tip did these guys get, considering when you had to call about your car they sent one cop.. one whole cop, who wouldn't even get out of the car...

wow.. just wow...

Regards to your friend, I do hope his leg has healed, I know emotionally its going to take a little while for you guys to get through this, all the best.

[EDIT]

I am still blown away for an entire SWAT team for a trespass... I wonder if there was something in that building of significance you were not supposed to see ... did you see anything really out of the ordinary?


We pretty thoroughly explored the whole building and there was nothing interesting. They said a local resident called 911 when they saw us going in. My friend's leg healed fine in the end.


Does anyone here happen to know legally what difference it made when my friend got hurt? It seems that the moment he was injured, I went from being under custodial arrest to actual arrest. The cops seemed to genuinely want to just let us go, but claimed they couldn't because he had been hurt.

There was, by the way, a separation between the SWAT team and the cops outside that actually questioned us and took us to jail. The SWAT team's only job was to go in and get us out. The cops outside were much friendlier...although they still fucked us over with the whole "declining medical treatment" thing.

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..." -Dr. Suess
solstice 


Location: Charlotte, NC
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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 8 on 4/18/2011 12:01 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
This is ultra fucked-up. Excessive force/police brutality is exactly why I don't trust cops. Reading this I was continually shocked at the ridiculous shit that just KEPT ON happening to you guys. Very sorry all this happened but I hope you and your friend don't let the man get you down and get back into exploring someday--don't let them win! Hopefully the awesome community of UER can help you through it; welcome back!

Also, I completely understand you being discreet but I wish you'd have said the city so I can put it on my list of places to NEVER EVER visit or pass through, lol.

I <3 archaic industry.
rob.i.am 


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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 9 on 4/18/2011 12:15 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by DJ Craig
Does anyone here happen to know legally what difference it made when my friend got hurt? It seems that the moment he was injured, I went from being under custodial arrest to actual arrest. The cops seemed to genuinely want to just let us go, but claimed they couldn't because he had been hurt.


If your friend got bitten by the dog during some minor incident the threat of a lawsuit would likely be greater than if it were during some high risk takedown.

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CDSbigsby 


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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 10 on 4/18/2011 12:20 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Damn Craig, I'm sorry man. That was a horrible experience, but that thing about the lawyer free of charge and the fellow UER-er who gave you a ride in the middle of the night just goes to show that this is a very tightly-knit community. And I know that, if it came to it, if I got a message or phone call from you in the middle of the night, I would give you a ride or whatever it was you needed, because I know you'd do the same for me or any other explorer.

I hope exploring goes back to normal for you, because one of my fondest memories is meeting you and exploring with you. I could tell you just have a lust for life and exploring is what fuels you.

Glad to hear your friend's leg healed fine, too.
[last edit 4/18/2011 12:22 AM by CDSbigsby - edited 1 times]

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OwlsFlight 


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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 11 on 4/18/2011 12:40 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Yeah, holy shit that is gnarly. I myself can't believe the whole SWAT team thing in a school like that. What a waste of manpower, money, whatever. It really sucks it was just one thing after another, especially your trip coming to an end and your buddy getting hurt. Good thinking though with the valuables locked in the the WELDED safe in the trunk. Wow, that is some good fucking planning on your part. What I want to know is, what the hell kind of exaggerated story did the local resident tell to make a SWAT team and the whole city's police force show up?

I've been myself. You figure you trespass however many times, there's always a chance of "wrong place at the wrong time situation." I had the guns drawn, get the fuck on the floor thing, dragged out in handcuffs, only for them to realize.... "Holy fuck, there really is only camera gear in his bag. He's telling the truth." Whatever, live and learn. I hope the comm service goes well and things come back together for you.

Exploring the distance between points A & B.
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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 12 on 4/18/2011 1:30 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
"And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean 'n' ugly 'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me and said, 'Kid, whad'ya get?' I said, 'I didn't get nothing, I had to pay $50 and pick up the garbage.' He said, 'What were you arrested for, kid?' And I said, 'Littering.' And they all moved away from me on the bench there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I said, 'And creating a nuisance.'"

-Arlo Guthrie

But in all seriousness, that story is horrifying. It's insane just how emotionally void the powers-that-be can become.

I guess I should probably write something down here.
Price 


Location: Houston,TX
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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 13 on 4/18/2011 1:48 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I love to watch Dallas swat and Kansas City Swat. and they will send in SWAT teams for extraction. which is one of ther main purposes. if someone called the cops in an area like what you were in they prolly thought you had a set up OR that building might have previously or is regularly used for drugs/gangs etc. and they prolly sent swat becuase cops are to how do i say... less prepared to go into a big spooky school by the lonsome when u can have swat officer scar over my right eye go in.

the dog thing is some stupid shit though that made me rage. and i dont doubt they did that becuase im sure ther "tough" cops in some "tough" area and they have to release dogs alot and he was like awwwww i should just release the dog anyway so lassie can get her fill. but thats just \imo/ lol

this is a crazy story. and you told it DAMN well.

luckily i know a bunch of cops and or have family who are in enforcement and they know what i do.

i hope this never happens to anyone. thats why i always make sure if i know ppl can see me going in someplace i try to make it as obvious as possible im a photographer lol but going in operator is way more fun =]



“It still amazes me how many millions goes to discovering another star in the galaxies when, for all we know, we are still sitting on top of another undiscovered world beneath our feet.”

-Martin Dansky (1952)
Price 


Location: Houston,TX
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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 14 on 4/18/2011 1:51 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
good thing they werent chinese swat



“It still amazes me how many millions goes to discovering another star in the galaxies when, for all we know, we are still sitting on top of another undiscovered world beneath our feet.”

-Martin Dansky (1952)
\/adder 


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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 15 on 4/18/2011 2:02 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I feel ya. Haven't done much since I got in trouble last summer either. It's not due to a lack of effort though: money, luck, and opportunity have all been lacking.

I can't shake the edge. If I don't pursue it with my own two feet, I drive recklessly on my day-to-day commute, there's no escaping it.

I know you don't want to disclose the city, but seriously fuck that place, second time that city has fucked you. Every city has abandonments and cool shit, this one's not worth it.

"No risk, no reward, no fun."
"Go all the way or walk away"
escensi omnis...
LauraBeth 


Location: oreoreoregon
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where to go

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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 16 on 4/18/2011 2:03 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I'm really sorry buddy. I was wondering where the hell you were...

I'm just really grateful that you came out of that without any physical injury, and I know you're strong enough to work out the emotional stuff. You'll get back to your passion when the time is right for you. Splorin' will always be there.

Now let's get that SEXXX board up and crazy again ;)

L'Ali 


Location: Clarington
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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 17 on 4/18/2011 2:03 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
That is one crazy story. I'm so sorry that happened to you, what a terrible experience.
Posted by rob.i.am

If your friend got bitten by the dog during some minor incident the threat of a lawsuit would likely be greater than if it were during some high risk takedown.


Agreed. Had an incident happen here where my brother got hurt by the cops and they trumped up the charges. It was eventually dropped after we lawyered up and pressed charges back.

Everything is sweetened by risk.
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sandy frank 


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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 18 on 4/18/2011 2:26 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Wow man. What a nightmare!
I'm sorry you and your friend had to experience such a thing! I probably would have shat myself. Twice.

I've no sense, I lick electric fence; I put barbed wire in my pants and do a Celtic dance.
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DJ Craig 

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Location: Johnson City, TN
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Re: Why I've been gone for so long...
<Reply # 19 on 4/18/2011 2:37 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by TheVicariousVadder
I know you don't want to disclose the city, but seriously fuck that place, second time that city has fucked you. Every city has abandonments and cool shit, this one's not worth it.


I wasn't in the city that you're thinking of. But really, I'm kinda done with ghetto locations in general. I'm glad I got to go to a bunch of them, but after a while, most of them are the same (destroyed and gutted). Looking back at my favorite locations I've visited over the years, none of the REALLY incredible ones were in ghettos.

Posted by Harlan
"And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean 'n' ugly 'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me and said, 'Kid, whad'ya get?' I said, 'I didn't get nothing, I had to pay $50 and pick up the garbage.' He said, 'What were you arrested for, kid?' And I said, 'Littering.' And they all moved away from me on the bench there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I said, 'And creating a nuisance.'"

-Arlo Guthrie


I LOVE ALICE'S RESTAURANT!!! When I was younger I used to be able to recite the whole song acapella.

Posted by LauraBeth
I'm really sorry buddy. I was wondering where the hell you were...

Now let's get that SEXXX board up and crazy again ;)


LOL that would be awesome! I miss you guys...and the sex board. Good times.

Posted by rob.i.am
If your friend got bitten by the dog during some minor incident the threat of a lawsuit would likely be greater than if it were during some high risk takedown.


That's a really good point that I had honestly never thought of before. I assumed there must be some kind of actual law surrounding being injured by cops that actually required them to arrest us at that point, but I haven't been able to find anyone who knows of such a law, including my lawyer. Now I'm totally sure you're right.

Posted by CDSbigsby
Damn Craig, I'm sorry man. That was a horrible experience, but that thing about the lawyer free of charge and the fellow UER-er who gave you a ride in the middle of the night just goes to show that this is a very tightly-knit community. And I know that, if it came to it, if I got a message or phone call from you in the middle of the night, I would give you a ride or whatever it was you needed, because I know you'd do the same for me or any other explorer.

I hope exploring goes back to normal for you, because one of my fondest memories is meeting you and exploring with you. I could tell you just have a lust for life and exploring is what fuels you.

Glad to hear your friend's leg healed fine, too.


This is why I love UER, no matter how much shit the UER haters and trolls will talk about it, or how imperfect the structure of the community and it's rules may be... I didn't include any UER names because it would expose what city I was in, but there is a long list of UER friends who helped me out SO much in this awful situation. Everything from picking me up at the police station, to picking up copies of the police reports and mailing them to me, to representing me in court (those were all three different people). The friends that I've made through this web site have been there for me in SO many ways in the last few years. And I try to return that as much as I can; indeed, CDSbigsby, I would also give you a ride if you called me stranded in the middle of the night!

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..." -Dr. Suess
UER Forum > Archived UE Main > Why I've been gone for so long... (Viewed 7193 times)
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