Confused, threatening letter left at immigrants home
February 26, 2017 2:41 PM   Subscribe

An immigrant friend who would be perceived as foreign found this letter at his home (left there while he was out). Can anyone provide any context or advice?

The neighborhood is already on edge after a child waiting for the school bus was harangued from a passing pickup truck (enough that the 7-9 year old sought refuge in a neighbor's house).
Cops have been called and said they would patrol the street. I'm hoping that the author of the letter is just a griefer kid and not a psycho adult.
posted by 445supermag to Law & Government (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This looks to me like something a kid wrote to another kid or to some imaginary person. I wouldn't interpret it as a threat. It looks more like a friendly warning than a threat, but I wouldn't interpret it as a serious warning either. Everything about this looks like playful fooling around to me - the little drawing, the eyes in "watch yourself," the letters at the side that spell "your now whats best," the reference to "clues," the crossed out "I wanna be wit you" part. Does your friend have any reason to believe this was actually left for him specifically (vs. accidentally dropped in his yard)? Even if it was put in his mailbox or slid under his door, I would assume a kid accidentally brought it to the wrong house or left it at a random house just for fun. I wouldn't give it any more thought.
posted by Redstart at 3:19 PM on February 26, 2017 [11 favorites]

This actually reads to me as a letter of support from a mentally ill person warning your friend to protect themselves from the threats the letter writer perceives.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:19 PM on February 26, 2017 [36 favorites]

This is odd but I see no reason to connect it to the truck event. Was it crumpled up and torn out or neatly folded and slipped under the mat?
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:26 PM on February 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

The crossed out part at the top is in a different handwriting. (It's possible the rest of the letter is written by the same person in their non-dominant hand to disguise the handwriting, but the "a"s are different.)

I would feel very uncomfortable if I got this sort of letter. Even if this is the work of someone with mental illness, the "kill him" (father "in disguise") is a targeted threat.
posted by basalganglia at 3:58 PM on February 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am about %90 sure this was a note passed between 2 middle-school girls and it got to your neighbor by accident. There are 2 separate handwritings, and it reads like two people basically sound boarding off each other without having a conversation: one person writing help him, the other person crossing it out and saying "kill him". Note passing in school was never about communication like letter-writing, it was.. more abstract, more like meme culture now where people just throw out singular abstract ideas in response to other singular abstract ideas. This reads a lot like that.
posted by FirstMateKate at 4:20 PM on February 26, 2017 [17 favorites]

The top reads like song lyrics. I think the whole thing is something that has been passed between two kids, writing back and forth. I think it's been dropped by accident, and if it were me I wouldn't see it as a threat.
posted by Jubey at 4:21 PM on February 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Note was something passed in school (middle or jr high) by kids, dropped accidentally, and then blown onto your friend's porch.
posted by zippy at 4:49 PM on February 26, 2017

(not sure about the list that goes 1-5, but the rest definitely)
posted by zippy at 4:51 PM on February 26, 2017

Yeah, unless this was taped onto your friend's door or something, this is a note that fell out of some middle schooler's backup and wound up in your friend's yard (or whatever).
posted by jferg at 5:39 PM on February 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

If I saw this on my porch I would have forgotten about it 20 seconds later.
posted by value of information at 5:46 PM on February 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I would not have forgotten about this note if I found it on my porch 20 seconds later for what it's worth. Different people unfortunately have different levels of threat they have to live with.

This seems like a mentally ill person and I would not connect it to the pickup truck. But that doesn't mean it's irrational to link the two together in one's mind. We are living in very strange and scary times.

I think your friend is OK but glad the police will be patrolling if that gives peace of mind.
posted by sockermom at 5:50 PM on February 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

This looks like kids passing notes. The Your father isn't your father sounds like they're quoting a movie plot or something off of Creepy Pasta or another "scary" story or YouTube video. The letters just look like some kind of note passing code. Totally looks middle school to me. Would not worry me at all and I assume some kid dropped it. You already said kids wait for the school bus there.

The handwriting and doodles also look middle school level (and I still don't have good handwriting.)

The crossed out portion is so that they know they read that part. I used to do that when passing notes so you could keep track of the conversation.

Absolutely do not think it's A) directed at the neighbor B) threatening at all C) anyone with any sort of mental issue.
posted by Crystalinne at 8:42 PM on February 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Completely agree that it's pretty clearly one of those notes that schoolchildren pass back and forth; it's so much like the stuff my friends and I used to write that it almost feels like I've actually seen it before. I suspect if people weren't already on edge from the other incident, no one would have given this a second thought. I get why it looks sinister to your neighbor, given the current social and political climate, but I feel very, very confident in saying it has nothing to do with them at all. It's just schoolkid weirdness.

(A relevant aside: Inside jokes between schoolchildren often seem kind of weird or creepy to adults. My mother used to get seriously freaked out by the stuff she heard my friends and me joking about over the phone because what sounded hilarious but perfectly sensible to us sounded out of reality to her -- little snippets of Monty Python sketches, stuff we heard on the Dr. Demento show, etc. This note looks like much the same thing, only with different cultural references.)
posted by holborne at 8:47 PM on February 26, 2017

Overwhelmingly likely to be kids. I was a teacher for many years and this looks garden variety to me.
posted by Miko at 9:12 PM on February 26, 2017

Thanks all, I agree that it is probably a kid's note. I will try to reassure him without being dismissive. I think this showed up at a bad time for him, one of the victims in the Kansas shooting was a friend of a friend of his.
posted by 445supermag at 9:43 PM on February 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Update: It was definitely not blown up on his porch or something, it was left inside a diaper, with open me up written on it (that's why it is crumpled). Still could be kid to kid, but they would have to choose the wrong house. The diaper is a source of extra worry, they have a 3 month old baby.
posted by 445supermag at 7:41 AM on February 27, 2017

I remember doing some dumb and insensitive stuff as a middle-schooler, and this still sounds like a kid prank to me. But I think calling the cops is warranted, in case it does escalate.

If I were your friend, I might look for ways to meet folks in the neighborhood - is there a library storytime / emergency preparedness committee / neighborhood association meeting / PTA fundraiser / knitting night that sounds interesting? What's their NextDoor situation like? Being engaged in the neighborhood can help 1) identify allies 2) show any xenophobic assholes that friend is an accepted part of the community, and thus a poor target.
posted by momus_window at 10:20 AM on February 27, 2017

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